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House Plants/dancing dolphin


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 looses 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 loose it.  
When she had it it always had  many many blossoms on it and looked a lot different than it does now.

I have re- potted it and it is is 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.

thank you in advance
please advise.

Hi Laurie,

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.

I have written a detailed article on repotting that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

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