Columnea Gloriosa An Attractive Trailing Epiphyte

COLUMNEA GLORIOSA is a Costa Rican vine with attractive velvety leaves and scarlet tubular flowers. It belongs to the same family as African violets, gloxinias, and achimenes, though it looks and should be grown quite differently.

The leaves are about 1 1/4″ inches long and are brownish on the upper side and red underneath, a color combination that makes them look almost maroon.

Trailing EpiphytePin

With the sun shining through them, the effect is most delightful. The scarlet flowers are about 3” inches long, the lower part tubular, opening into a large upper and small flower lip.

As A Hanging Plant

Grown as a hanging plant, columnea is most attractive, with perhaps a dozen trailing stems a yard or more long—the longest of ours is over 5′ feet—and as many or shorter ones.

The flowers, as shown in the accompanying illustration, appear at various points on the stems, and many may be seen at various stages of development at one time. They last nearly 2 weeks.

Since this plant is epiphytic, fern root is an excellent medium to grow it. Our plant has been grown on a sun porch with windows on the southeast and southwest sides, where the winter temperature ranges from 80° degrees Fahrenheit on a sunny day to 55° degrees Fahrenheit at night. 

The plant hangs in a corner where it receives maximum light without direct sunshine.

The porch also contains ivies, begonias, geraniums, amaryllis, veltheimia, and various other plants, all standing in trays to maintain a humid atmosphere, which columnea needs.

Our plant was started from six cuttings in a 6-inch half-pot containing fern root and has not been repotted. It has been fed about once a month with commercial fertilizer and watered sparingly.

44659 by Ruth P. Merry