Columnea microphylla COLUMNEA

This lovely plant comes from the tropical rain forests of Central America and the area around the Caribbean Sea. It is a trailing plant of tidy habit; long hanging stems with close-set tiny leaves are covered with bright orange or scarlet flowers in season. It is suitable for hanging baskets but is seen to better effect lower down. It is not an easy plant to grow but give it a try; it can be worth it.


  • Growing season 20-24 °C (68-75 °F)Columnea microphylla COLUMNEA
  • Minimum winter 13 °C (55 °C)

Soil: It is an epiphyte; in nature it grows in trees, so the soil should be very light: 50% soil-less compost with 50% chopped sphagnum moss.

Where to position: A well lit spot away from bright sunlight. Shelter from draughts and keep warm all year round.

Watering requirements: Maintain a moist springy soil condition. It must be well drained. Provide humidity. Mist-spray frequently, especially in hot weather, once or twice a day if possible.

General care: Follow the cultural instructions, feed once weekly with weak liquid fertilizer. As buds show colour, stop feeding. Keep soil moist; mist-spray often, more lightly when in bloom to avoid marking flowers.

Rest: There is no marked resting period. Keeping it a little drier in winter encourages flowering later on.

When it looks sick:

  • Leaf drop causing the stems to look bare : Ensure that the plant has plenty of humidity and is mist-sprayed frequently. The same symptom can indicate draughts, too low a temperature, over- or under-watering and each of these must be checked.
  • Parasite attack : Check regularly. If present, use a method from HERE to deal with them.

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