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How to Grow Columnea

Columnea bloom
Columnea bloom

Columnea produces tubular flowers in shades of brilliant red, orange, or yellow, or combinations of all three. It has branches that arch horizontally or distinctly weep. It is a good choice for an indoor hanging basket. Under the right conditions, Columnea will bloom on and off almost the year around.

Get to Know Columnea

  • Plant type: Tropical vining plant
  • Growing Zones and range: 10-11
  • Hardiness: Tender; prefers temperatures between 65°F and 75°F (18°-24°C)
  • Height and width: Vining 2 to 3 feet (61-91cm) wide
  • Foliage: Leaves are often hairy and range in size from ¾ inch (19mm) to 6 inches (15cm), on stems measuring up to 4 feet (1.2m).
  • Flowers: Tubular flowers appear in yellow, red, orange, and pink, ½ inch to 3 inches long.
  • Bloom time: Blooms on and off year-round; blooms last for several months
  • Uses: Houseplant in a hanging basket
  • Botanical name: Columnea
  • Common name: Columnea

Where to Plant Columnea

  • Indoors bright light from eastern, western, or lightly shaded southern exposure with several hours of direct sun in winter.
  • Does well under artificial light, needing 14 to 16 hours daily.
  • Plant Columnea in all-purpose potting mix.

How to Water and Feed Columnea

  • Keep the soil moist like a squeezed-out sponge; use tepid water.
  • Mist around the plant but not directly on foliage to avoid spotting. Humidity of 70 percent is ideal. Place in a naturally humid room such as a kitchen or bathroom
  • Fertilize columnea every two weeks while blooming; use a complete liquid fertilizer.

Columnea Care

  • Columnea prefers to be potbound; repot only when roots occupy ¾ of pot space.
  • Prune after flowering to encourage branching.
  • Start a new plant every few years as old-growth tend to become woody and leafless.
  • To encourage flowering, cut back older branches by 1/3 to ½ in spring.
  • To promote flowering, reduce water in fall then withhold completely for a month before resuming a normal schedule.
  • Columnea is susceptible to attack by mealybugs and spider mites. Soggy soil may cause root or crown rot.

Columnea Propagation

  • Start new plants from tip cuttings taken immediately after flowering. Also, propagate from seed.

Columnea Varieties to Grow

  • C. arguta features trailing stems with large waxy leaves and salmon-red flowers.
  • C. gloriosa has small leaves and trailing stems and red flowers with yellow throats.
  • C. hirta has scarlet-orange flowers.
  • C. linearis grows upright and bears slender, shiny leave, and pink flowers.

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