Guppy plant, also known as Nematanthus gregarius, clog plant, and goldfish, is a beautiful flowering plant that grows on trees. The plant has long stems covered in dark glossy green leaves and orange flowers. It belongs to the Gesneriad family and is native to Brazil. ‘Kissing lips’ plant is another name of guppy plant; however, hypocyrta was the old name for this genus, but now Botanists has correctly identified as Nematanthus. The plants earned their name because of their masses of red or orange flowers with 2 to 3 inches long stems and 3 feet branches.
How to grow Guppy Plant
You can grow guppy plants in your house, office, or garden. Propagation through stem cuttings
- The best time to propagate through stem cuttings in spring and summer. The plant will easily root from stem cuttings.
- At first, choose a stem of about 3-4 inches with no flowers.
- Place the cuttings in a bright and warm area. Avoid direct sunlight and keep it humid until you can observe new growth.
- Feed the plant weekly with a weak liquid fertilizer that includes micronutrients, during the growing season.
- The plant will flower in summer after propagation.
- Prune the stems after flowering. It helps to promote branching, give a bushier look, and grow quite thick and long branches.
- Similarly, in case of outdoors, you can pinch off the stems to make it short about 2 feet tall, as the plant grows to about 3 feet high.
HOW TO CARE?
- Soil: It prefers light and fasts draining potting soil. You can use a combination of equal quantities of perlite, sphagnum moss, and vermiculite. Ensure the pH value of soil about 6.1 to 6.5. But generally in the forest, Guppy plant grows on another plant.
- Water: Water the plant enough during summer to make the soil moist. Never let it be dry. Water very less in winter but be aware that the land should never dry entirely out.
- Light: It requires bright but indirect sunlight and grows best in a shady location. It blooms for a long time if it gets Northern or Eastern sun exposure. The plant sleeps during winter, and if you lack proper care, then you might lose your flowers.
- Temperature and Humidity: These plants are somewhat sensitive to high temperatures and moisture on their leaves. If the temperature is too high or the leaves are getting wet, then it might result in brown leaves or leaf-drop. The suitable room temperature for the plant is about 65-75 degree F.
- Fertilizer: Provide liquid fertilizer ( that includes micronutrients and encourages blooming) weekly during the growing season.
- Pruning: You can prune the old damaged leaves and flowers to encourage its good looking.
- Re-potting: The goldfish plants need to be re-potted in every 2 to 3 years. You can gently root-prune the parent plant to encourage new root growth, and re-pot into slightly bigger pots.
- Insects and pests: Some insects such as aphids, spider mites, gray mold, and powdery mildew may infect the plant. You can treat them with insecticides and pesticides. You need to care your plants attentively else you may encounter other significant problems like leggy growth, leaf drop, and lack of flowering, etc.
Benefits of the goldfish plant:
- Like other aquarium plants, guppy plant creates a more natural-looking habitat for your aquarium tank.
- It produces oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide.
- It absorbs ammonia that your fish creates in the aquarium.
(Tips: Be careful about the quality of water because these plants may die too cold or too warm water, and lack of oxygen in the water.)