Aeschynanthus Radicans, more commonly known as a lipstick plant, is a popular and striking evergreen tropical houseplant.
It gets its name from the vibrant red and tubular flowers that appear above a burgundy bud. These flowers grow in clusters and, along with the waxy, glossy, green foliage, they have a cascading, vine-like habit. This makes them an ideal choice for use in hanging baskets or tall containers.
An epiphytic species, these plants are native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia. Here they can be found growing from tree branches and in cracks in rocks.
Provided they get enough warmth, humidity, and filtered sunlight, you'll enjoy a prolific display of flowering through much of the year. Generally, though, lipstick plants flower most abundantly in the summer and fall.
One thing worth noting is that the lipstick plant isn't one to select to add a fragrant aroma to your home. Although the blooms don't have a strong scent, it isn't particularly pleasant!
|Botanical Name||Aeschynanthus Radicans|
|Common Name||Lipstick plant, lipstick vine, basket vine|
|Mature Size||3 ft. tall|
|Sun Exposure||Partial shade|
|Soil pH||Neutral, alkaline|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer, fall|
|Hardiness Zones||10 - 11, USA|
Even with its impressive, tropical appearance, the lipstick plant is generally considered a relatively easy-to-care-for houseplant. It's all about just getting it right in terms of lighting and moisture levels.
In their native damp and tropical regions, these plants grow as epiphytes often rooting onto branches, rock crevices and even other plants. Care is required to ensure they don't suffer from root rot when planted up.
Potted lipstick plant will benefit from being grown in a medium that is well-aerated, evenly moist, and light. Many enthusiasts include sand and sphagnum moss in their mix as this helps ensure good drainage, prevents over-compaction, and promotes absorbency.
Although lipstick plant like consistent moisture, particularly during their most prolific growing period, overwatering and saturated conditions can lead to root rot, leaf drop, and fungal issues.
Moderate watering is best. Ideally, you want to avoid allowing the potting medium to dry out completely and offer water when the top couple of inches are no longer damp.
Temperature and Humidity
Ideal temperatures for a healthy blooming Lipstick Plants range somewhere between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. As a tropical species, they appreciate warmth and high humidity. Temperatures that fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit aren't ideal, and leaf drop will usually start to occur.
Sudden changes in temperatures and drafts are problematic too. So it's best not to sit your lipstick plant close beside doors, drafty windows, or air conditioning.
Your lipstick plant will appreciate regular applications of a slow-release fertilizer during the growing season.
Varieties of Lipstick Plants
Given the lipstick plants popularity, it's not surprising that a number of cultivars have been developed. Some of the most widely available include:
- Aeschynanthus radicans ‘Curly’ - The leaves on this cultivar are wavy rather than smooth in appearance, meaning it stands out from the crowd.
- Aeschynanthus radicans ‘Mona Lisa’ - Known for having a distinctive orange-red shade of flowers rather than the vibrant red of a traditional lipstick plant.
- Aeschynanthus radicans ‘Variegata’ - The green leaves of this cultivar have tones of yellow, whites, or cream mixed in too.
With its cascading habit, pruning of the stems can help to prevent the plant from looking straggly. It can also help to encourage new and healthy growth and a fuller appearance.
Propagating Lipstick Plants
These plants are easy to propagate from soft stem cuttings.
Look for healthy, new growth and cut a piece around five inches long. It should be a section without any blooms on it, and all but a few leaves should be removed. Dipping the end in rooting hormone before potting can be helpful.
Providing the potting medium is kept moist, and the cutting is kept warm and out of direct light, your new plant should start taking root after around a fortnight.
How to Grow Lipstick Plants From Seed
Although it's easier to grow these plants from cuttings, it's still possible to germinate lipstick plants from seeds. They should be sown in a warm indoor location. The medium should only just cover the seeds, and they should be kept at a temperature of around 70 to 75 degree Fahrenheit. Seedlings should begin to germinate in around a fortnight.
Lipstick plants don't tend to have any major problems with pests, but if they're overly wet, they can be prone to fungal problems and leaf spot. The leaves should not be left damp, and the potting medium should be well-drained.