Callisia repens is a herbaceous perennial plant bearing a multitude of small, fleshy leaves. The Creeping Upholstery is not very demanding when it comes to caring for it, so it is also suitable for beginners who do not have a green thumb. The plant doesn’t like something, it can be recognized immediately because it changes the color of its leaves. With optimal care, the leaves are lush green on top and purple on the underside. The otherwise juicy green turns pale yellow when the sun is too high, and completely purple when it is too dark.


  • botanischer Name: Callisia repens
  • other names: creeping beautiful cushion, hanging callisie
  • belongs to the Commelinaceae family
  • perennial herbaceous plant
  • Height of growth: up to 30 cm, but mostly overhanging, creeping
  • Leaves: Ovoid, fleshy leaves, green above, purple to bronze below
  • Flowers: rather inconspicuous, up to 1 cm wide, white flowers
  • evergreen
  • Use: traffic light plant, supplementary feed for many animal species


Wild forms of Callisia repens come from South and Central America and the tropical regions of Africa. There they have established themselves either as hanging epiphytes on trees or at the edge of the forest on the ground. The Creeping Upholstery grows as a perennial plant and forms creeping mats of long shoots with small, succulent leaves that taper to the front. The plant is slightly succulent. This means it can store water in its leaves.


The creeping beautiful cushion needs a bright location with as little direct sunlight as possible. Half-shady locations are easily tolerated, but the blazing sun – especially behind a south-facing window – quickly leads to burns on the delicate leaves. In a warm and humid location, Callisia repens shoots can grow up to a meter long. The plant tolerates heat well as long as the substrate and air are moist enough.

  • Light requirements: light penumbra, indirect light
  • Morning sun, evening sun, winter sun
  • Temperature: even warm temperatures at 20 to 25 degrees
  • loves high humidity
  • suitable for indoor culture all year round
  • can also go outside in summer


The Callisa repens is not very picky about its substrate, as long as it does not contain too many nutrients. The soil should be able to store the water well, but not be too heavy. Waterlogging and poor drainage usually quickly lead to root rot. Small amounts of peat or other acidic media are well tolerated.

  • seed soil
  • cactus soil
  • green plant soil
  • herbal soil

watering and fertilizing

A Golliwoog prefers constantly moist but not wet soil. It is best to place the pot in a saucer and pour it from below. Any water that has not been absorbed by the substrate after about ten minutes is discarded. The plant has slightly succulent properties and does not tolerate waterlogging. Thanks to its good water storage capacity, the Callisia repens can also do without watering for a while. The prerequisite for this is that the humidity is high enough. Therefore, Callisia does well with a weekly spray of water, especially in hot and dry site conditions.

Cultivated as a traffic light or houseplant, the Callisia repens is happy about occasional fertilizer application between April and August. You fertilize either with liquid fertilizer over the irrigation water in a rhythm of about six to eight weeks. Alternatively, long-term fertilizers such as horn shavings or fertilizer sticks are also suitable for green plants. However, since the hanging Callisie does not have a high nutrient requirement, it is sufficient to fertilize it at the earliest one year after purchase or after repotting it in fresh substrate.

Peculiarities of forage plants

If you want to feed your Golliwoog to animals, you should preferably use plants from the pet shop (of organic origin) or plants you have grown yourself. Specimens from the supermarket or the nursery could be treated or fertilized with pesticides, to which pet birds and many other animals are sensitive. In this case, potting soil or cactus soil, which are very poor in nutrients, is suitable for cultivation. Alternatively, good herbal soil can also be used as a substrate, as this is usually mixed with organic fertilizers such as compost. Organic fertilizers release their nutrients slowly and therefore do not lead to the accumulation of nutrients in the soil. If you still want to fertilize your Callisia repens, you should prefer organic fertilizers (compost, horn shavings). Plant, that are grown in biological substrate can be placed in the cage, enclosure or aviary together with the pot. Alternatively, it is of course possible to cut off individual shoots and feed them.

Tip: The plant is very popular with some animals. In a few days all green parts are eaten bare. It is therefore advisable to grow a few new Golliwoog plants right away so that there are always supplies available.

To cut

The Callisia repens does not need regular pruning. Her shoots are constantly growing in length and she is constantly developing new shoots. If the plant grows bare from the inside as it ages, severe pruning usually does not lead to new growth at the base. In this case, it is better to cut cuttings and stick them in the ground between the shoots. If you use your Golliwoog as a fodder plant, you should never harvest the plant too much, as this will weaken the Golliwoog. The easiest way is to cultivate several plants at the same time when the need is high.


When cultivating the hanging Callisie in the room, you should use the largest possible pots up to about 50 cm in diameter for older plants. While the plant doesn’t grow particularly fast, it doesn’t like cramped roots. As a rule, the Golliwoog should be repotted after two years at the latest, or at least placed in fresh substrate. To give the plant the best possible start, you can put it in a slightly larger pot immediately after purchase.

Note: In pots with a diameter of at least 20 cm, a Golliwoog usually grows so luxuriantly that a little can be cut off for the animals at least once or twice a week.


Growing Callisia repens from seed is not difficult, but quite time consuming. It is better and easier to propagate from cuttings or sinkers.


The cuttings of the Creeping Beautiful Cushion can either be planted or placed in a glass with water for rooting. In both cases, the cutting should be placed in a shady place for about two hours after cutting so that the cut can dry.

  • Time: all year round
  • cut strong, healthy shoots
  • Length: about 15 cm
  • remove lower leaves
  • Leave at least two or three pairs of leaves
  • Cut the shoot tip
  • place in a (dark) glass with water
  • alternatively stick in moist potting soil or sandy substrate
  • the lower leaf node (where the leaves used to be) must always be in the water or moist soil
  • always place several cuttings in one pot
  • Location: partially shaded
  • Temperature: 20 to 25 degrees
  • Duration until rooting: about 2 to 4 weeks

For cuttings in the substrate, the soil should be pressed lightly after insertion so that the end of the stem and the moist substrate come into close contact and the cutting does not simply dry out. It is also advisable to put the pot in a freezer bag, into which a little water has been poured beforehand. The sealed bag retains moisture and allows enough light through for the cuttings to grow. Air briefly once a week until the cuttings begin to grow. The formation of new leaves is a clear sign that roots have formed. From now on the Golliwoog can be treated like an adult plant.


Some plants can be propagated quickly and easily by lowering them. This works not only with sage and currants, but also with Golliwoog. To do this, simply leave a long shoot of the plant on the mother plant and lower it into a pot with soil. This can be a second pot with substrate or the creeping cushion’s own pot.

  • select healthy, long shoots
  • remove leaves where it touches the ground
  • press into the ground and cover with some substrate
  • If the drive doesn’t hold up on its own, you have to give it a helping hand
  • weigh down from above with a small stone or piece of wood
  • Triebspitze must continue to look out of the ground
  • cut off after successful rooting


Older specimens of the hanging Callisie tend to bare the shoots near the roots. As a preventative measure, the plant can be regularly (a little) shortened, then the leaves will remain in the lower regions. If a plant is already quite bare, this is not a problem either. A few cuttings are simply cut and placed in the middle of the plant in the ground. The whole thing also works with sinkers, which are guided backwards as close as possible to the middle of the pot.

What makes Callisia repens a popular forage plant?

The creeping beautiful leaf is full of fiber-rich raw fibers and provides important minerals and vitamins. But the plant is also extremely suitable as a water dispenser thanks to its juicy leaves, especially for animals that don’t take their drinkers very well.

  • high fiber content
  • high moisture content
  • Carotene (Provitamin A)
  • Vitamin E
  • calcium
  • Magnesium
Note: The Golliwoog is not suitable as a complete feed, but only as a supplementary feed.


Plants that are outside in a sheltered spot over the summer must migrate indoors at the latest when night-time temperatures fall below 10 degrees. However, the Golliwoog can also be cultivated indoors all year round. If the rooms are heated in winter and the air becomes dry, regular spraying of the leaves with decalcified water has proven itself. However, it is easier to accommodate the Callisie in a slightly cooler but bright room. The cooler the creeping cushion is, the less irrigation water the plant needs.

diseases and pests

Diseases are rare in Callisia repens. Mistakes in care often lead to reduced growth, discoloration or the death of the plant.

  • strong lightening of the leaves: mostly due to the fact that the Golliwoog is suddenly in a lighter location. This grows out again, but in principle you should slowly adapt the plant to other site conditions
  • brown leaves: too low humidity or waterlogging
  • Spider mites or other sucking insects: humidity too low in winter. Do not use pesticides on forage plants. Rinse with water only.

Maintaining and propagating a Golliwoog is not difficult. In this way, even relatively inexperienced hobby gardeners can cultivate the plant themselves without having to keep buying new Callisia in the pet shop. If you grow the Callisia repens yourself as a fodder plant, you should avoid mineral fertilizers and use compost or horn shavings instead. The animals tolerate it better.

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