The lipstick plant, also known as Aeschynanthus radicans, is a popular houseplant known for its attractive, tubular flowers that resemble lipstick tubes.
The plant is quite easy to grow, and perfect for those who love the look of trailing indoor basket plants with pretty flowers.
Keep reading to get some tips for successfully growing a lipstick plant.
Lipstick plant overview
Brush up on your knowledge of lipstick plant with these interesting facts.
- botanical name – Aeschynanthus radicans
- family – Gesneriaceae
- type – tender perennial grown mainly as an indoor plant
- sun exposure – bright, filtered light
- bloom time – all seasons except winter
- native to – Southeast Asia. It is found in countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, where it typically grows in tropical and subtropical regions.
- growth habit – In nature the plant is an ephiphyte. This means that it grows on the surface of another plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water accumulating around it .
- common names – lipstick plant, lipstick vine, basket vine, red lantern vine
- symbolism – in some cultures the vibrant flowers symbolize love and beauty
- cold hardiness – Lipstick plant is not frost-tolerant and will only overwinter outdoors in zones 10-11.
- propagation – stem cuttings are the most common form of propagation.
If you are looking for a trailing plant whose unique looking flowers spark curiosity with your house guests, lipstick plant is for you.
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Lipstick plant care
Lipstick plant is primarily grown as a houseplant. It’s a popular choice to grow indoors because of its attractive, tubular flowers and relatively low maintenance requirements.
The plant thrives in a controlled home environment, where it can receive just the right sunlight, humidity, and temperature conditions. Here are some tips for growing this attractive plant.
Sunlight needs for lipstick plant
Aeschynanthus radicans plants thrive in bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, since this can scorch the leaves.
Place the plant near a window with filtered sunlight.
Soil type, pH and fertilizing
Use a well-draining potting mix, such as one designed for tropical plants. You can also add some perlite or orchid bark to help improve the drainage.
The ideal soil pH for a lipstick plant is slightly acidic to neutral, typically ranging from pH 6.0 to 7.0. This pH range is generally suitable for most indoor houseplants.
Feed your lipstick plant with a balanced, liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Stop fertilizing in the winter months.
How to water lipstick plant
Water your lipstick plant moderately. Allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering, and make sure the pot has good drainage.
Lipstick plants are susceptible to fungal problems, root rot and leaf drop if over-watered.
During the winter months, aeschynanthus radicans tends to slow down or stop growing altogether. Water the plant less often at this time.
Temperature and humidity needs
Keep Aeschynanthus radicans in a warm environment. They prefer temperatures between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C).
Avoid exposing them to temperatures below 50°F (10°C).
These plants like higher that normal humidity levels. If the air is dry in your home, consider using a humidity tray or a room humidifier to maintain the appropriate moisture level.
The plant will love being placed in a hanging basket in a bathroom. Placing lipstick plant with a group of other plants also raises the humidity level around all of them.
Foliage and flowers of lipstick plants
Aeschynanthus radicans produces vibrant, tubular flowers that are typically red or orange. However, there are also some cultivars that produce variations in flower color, including pink, yellow, or even purple.
The shape resembles a tube of lipstick – hence the popular common name.
The shape and color of the flowers also bears a resemblance to traditional Japanese or Chinese lanterns, giving rise to another common name “Red Lantern Vine.”
The leaves of aeschynanthus radicans are “opposite,” which means they grow in pairs directly across from each other on the stem. They are lance-shaped or elliptical and can grow to be around 2 to 4 inches long.
They have a glossy texture and a rich, deep green color. Trim the stems of your plant to encourage bushier growth and to remove leggy branches.
Lipstick plant is a vining or trailing plant, making it an excellent choice for hanging baskets or trailing along shelves. Repot as necessary, usually every 2-3 years.
Pests and diseases
Aeschynanthus radicans can be susceptible to a few common pests and diseases.
Keep an eye out for common houseplant pests like mealybugs and spider mites. If you notice any infestations, treat them promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Aphids and scale insects can also be a problem.
Most diseases on lipstick plants are due to watering problems. Overwatering or poorly draining soil can lead to root rot.
If you notice a white, powdery substance on the leaves, it is likely powdery mildew. Improve air circulation and avoid overwatering to prevent it.
If found, remove infected leaves and improve watering practices.
Where to buy lipstick plant
I have found lipstick plant at my local Farmer’s market. It is also available from many sources online:
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- 1 lipstick plant
- Potting soil for tropical plants
- Balanced liquid plant fertilizer
- Watering can
- Combine soil with perlite for best drainage.
- Place lipstick plant in bright, indirect sunlight.
- Water when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch. Water less in winter.
- Pinch growing tips to make the plant more bushy.
- Lipstick plant flowers all year except for during the winter.
- Group with other plants to increase humidity.
- The plant likes temperatures between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C).
- Propagate by taking stem cuttings.
- Does not over winter outdoors, and is normally grown as a houseplant.
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