< Back
You are here:

Dancing Dolphin

Question:

I am sorry that I do not know the  Botanical name for this plant but , my sister gave me the plant and referred to it as a Dolphin plant. I have heard it called a dancing dolphin vine / plant. I have been looking everywhere to but another plant. The one I have  is not doing very well.  As it grows out,  the stems get longer, it loses the leaves and also it has quit blooming.  I know that I am doing something wrong with it. My sister, now deceased, gave me the plant about 6 months ago and I do not want to lose it.  When she had it always had  many blossoms on it and looked a lot different than it does now.

I have re- potted it and it is in a small clay pot in the window of my kitchen over the sink.

The leaves look good and healthy but it is in a somewhat dormant state. I did use miracle grow potting soil.

Answer:

There are several plants that are commonly referred to as Dancing Dolphin, but yours is most likely to be Columnea gloriosa, the correct botanical name. If this is not what you have, be sure to let me know.

Your Columnea must be kept potbound in order to flower. In addition, over-potting often leads to root rot, especially for plants that are not doing well. Ailing plants should never be repotted, contrary to popular belief.

Columneas should be placed right in a sunny window that is left uncovered throughout the daylight hours. When properly potted, it should be watered as soon as the top half-inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Since you repotted yours, you will probably need to allow it to dry even deeper into the pot before watering. If you see gnats flying about, you can be sure you are watering too often.

Like most vining plants, Columnea stems must be pruned back regularly to keep the stems from losing lower leaves and becoming leggy. Stems that have lost more than half their leaves should be pruned back to about 1-2 inches above the soil. Other stems can be shortened by about one-third.

Your plant is not dormant, but it is now putting most of its energy into filling the pot with roots at the expense of foliage and flowers. You must now be patient as well as very careful with your watering.