Lipstick Plant Care – Tips For Growing Lipstick Plants


Updated: 23 Aug, 2023

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The Lipstick plant, a captivating tropical evergreen perennial, has garnered widespread popularity as an indoor ornamental. Its distinctive appellation arises from the striking red tubular blossoms it bears. Originating in tropical climes, this species thrives as an epiphyte, adorning tree branches and rocky crevices in its natural habitat. As an indoor adornment, it necessitates a well-structured, quick-draining potting mixture.

Provided with optimal conditions of warmth, humidity, and dappled sunlight, this plant rewards enthusiasts with an exuberant exhibition of blooms that grace much of the calendar year, with the zenith of their profusion occurring in the summer and autumn months.

Common NameLipstick plant, lipstick vine, basket vine
Botanical NameAeschynanthus radicans
FamilyGesneriaceae
Plant TypeEvergreen perennial
Mature Size3 ft. long
Sun ExposureBright filtered light
Soil TypeVery well-drained
Soil pHNeutral to alkaline
Bloom TimeSpring, Summer, Fall
Flower ColorRed
Hardiness Zones10a–11b (USDA), usually grown as a houseplant
Native AreaAsia

Lipstick Plant Care

he Lipstick plant, scientifically known as Aeschynanthus radicans, is a captivating tropical evergreen perennial that has gained popularity as a favored houseplant. With its vibrant red tubular flowers and lush foliage, the Lipstick plant adds a touch of exotic beauty to any indoor space. To ensure its thriving growth and abundant flowering, consider the following care guidelines:

1. Choosing the Right Location:

Select a spot with filtered sunlight, as direct sun can scorch the leaves. Indirect or dappled light mimics its natural habitat, providing the optimal amount of light without causing harm.

2. Potting Mix:

Use a well-draining potting mix that prevents water from accumulating around the roots. A mix containing peat, perlite, and orchid bark is ideal for mimicking the plant’s native epiphytic conditions.

3. Watering:

Allow the top inch of the soil to dry out before watering. The Lipstick plant prefers slightly moist soil but is susceptible to root rot if overwatered. Adjust watering frequency based on the humidity levels of your environment.

4. Humidity:

Maintain moderate to high humidity levels. Misting the plant regularly or placing a humidity tray nearby can help create a suitable microclimate.

5. Temperature:

Keep the Lipstick plant in a warm environment, ideally between 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C). Protect it from drafts and sudden temperature changes.

6. Pruning:

Regularly trim back leggy or straggly growth to encourage bushier growth. Pruning also helps maintain the plant’s compact and attractive appearance.

7. Fertilization:

Feed the Lipstick plant with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). Reduce or halt fertilization in fall and winter when growth slows down.

8. Support and Training:

As the plant grows, it may benefit from a support structure to keep its vining stems upright. Gently tie or wrap the stems around the support to encourage an attractive, cascading growth habit.

9. Flowering:

With proper care, the Lipstick plant can produce flowers throughout much of the year, with the highest blooming period occurring in the summer and fall. Adequate light and consistent care are essential for encouraging abundant and vibrant blossoms.

10. Propagation:

Propagate the Lipstick plant through stem cuttings. Take 3-4 inch cuttings with at least two nodes, remove the lower leaves, and place the cutting in moist soil or water until roots develop.

Propagating Lipstick Plants

Propagating Lipstick plants (Aeschynanthus radicans) can be a rewarding way to create new plants and share their beauty with others. One of the most common methods of propagating Lipstick plants is through stem cuttings. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to propagate Lipstick plants successfully:

Materials You’ll Need:

  1. Sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears.
  2. Small pots or containers.
  3. Well-draining potting mix (a mix of peat, perlite, and orchid bark works well).
  4. A clear plastic bag or plastic wrap (for creating a humid environment).

Steps:

  1. Select Healthy Stem Cuttings: Choose a healthy, non-flowering stem from the parent plant. Look for a stem that has a few nodes (the points where leaves emerge) and is free from any signs of disease or damage.

  2. Prepare the Cuttings: Using sharp scissors or pruning shears, cut the selected stem just below a node. Aim for a cutting that is around 3 to 4 inches long. Remove any leaves from the lower half of the cutting to expose the nodes.

  3. Allow the Cuttings to Callus: Place the cuttings in a dry, shaded spot for a day or two to allow the cut ends to callus. This helps prevent rot when the cuttings are planted.

  4. Plant the Cuttings: Fill small pots or containers with the well-draining potting mix. Insert the cut end of each cutting into the potting mix, burying at least one node’s length into the soil. Gently press the soil around the cutting to provide stability.

  5. Create a Humid Environment: To encourage root development, create a humid environment around the cuttings. You can place a clear plastic bag or plastic wrap over the pots, ensuring that it doesn’t touch the leaves. This helps maintain high humidity levels around the cuttings.

  6. Place in Indirect Light: Put the potted cuttings in a location with bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can be too intense and cause stress to the cuttings.

  7. Monitor and Water Sparingly: Check the cuttings regularly for moisture. Mist the soil if it feels dry, but be cautious not to overwater. Overly wet conditions can lead to rot.

  8. Root Development: After a few weeks, you should start to see signs of root development. Gently tug on the cuttings to feel for resistance, which indicates that roots have formed.

  9. Transplanting: Once the cuttings have developed a good root system (usually within 6-8 weeks), they are ready to be transplanted into slightly larger pots with regular potting soil. Continue caring for them as you would with mature Lipstick plants.

  10. Growing Conditions: As the propagated plants grow, provide them with the same care as mature Lipstick plants, including proper light, humidity, and watering routines.

Types of Lipstick Plant

The Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus radicans) encompasses several captivating cultivars and variations, each boasting its unique features and characteristics. While the primary species is widely recognized for its striking red tubular flowers and lush foliage, the following are a few notable types that showcase distinct traits:

1. Aeschynanthus ‘Mona Lisa’: This cultivar stands out with its bright green leaves and vibrant red-orange flowers. The flowers resemble the classic form of lipstick, lending a pop of color to its surroundings. ‘Mona Lisa’ is a popular choice for its compact growth habit and prolific flowering.

2. Aeschynanthus ‘Black Pagoda’: With its dark green leaves and contrasting bright red flowers, ‘Black Pagoda’ is a visually striking variety. The deep coloration of the leaves adds an extra dimension of elegance to this Lipstick plant.

3. Aeschynanthus ‘Rasta’: ‘Rasta’ is known for its unique variegated foliage, featuring splashes of cream and light green on the leaves. Its flowers are typically a rich shade of red, creating an appealing contrast against the variegated backdrop.

4. Aeschynanthus ‘Twister’: ‘Twister’ earns its name from its twisted, curled leaves that give it a distinctive appearance. The leaves are usually dark green, and the red flowers add a bold splash of color to the overall arrangement.

5. Aeschynanthus ‘Curly Locks’: True to its name, ‘Curly Locks’ showcases leaves with intricate and attractive curls and ripples. This variety is prized for its ornamental foliage and the occasional appearance of its charming red blooms.

6. Aeschynanthus ‘Mystique’: ‘Mystique’ boasts leaves with a silver-green sheen, providing an ethereal touch to its overall look. The contrast between the silver tones of the leaves and the red flowers adds a captivating element.

7. Aeschynanthus ‘Tangerine’: As the name suggests, this variety features tangerine-colored flowers that add warmth and vibrancy. The flowers contrast beautifully with the dark green foliage.

8. Aeschynanthus ‘Yellow’: This unique cultivar is recognized for its yellow flowers, which deviate from the classic red hues of the species. The bright yellow blossoms create a cheerful and unusual display.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of Lipstick Plant cultivars available. Each type offers its distinct combination of foliage patterns, flower colors, and growth habits, allowing enthusiasts to select the perfect variety to complement their interior decor and personal preferences.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Lipstick plants (Aeschynanthus radicans) are generally quite resilient, but like any houseplant, they can still be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Here are some of the common pests and plant diseases that may affect Lipstick plants, along with ways to prevent and address them:

Common Pests:

  1. Spider Mites: These tiny arachnids can create fine webbing on plants and cause stippling or yellowing of leaves. Regularly misting the plant to maintain humidity and periodically wiping down the leaves can help prevent spider mite infestations. If detected, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat the affected plant.

  2. Mealybugs: Mealybugs are small, cottony insects that gather on stems and leaf nodes, sucking sap and excreting honeydew. Remove them manually using a soft brush or cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. You can also use insecticidal soap to control their population.

  3. Scale Insects: Scale insects appear as small, raised bumps on stems and leaves. They feed on plant sap and can weaken the plant over time. Gently scrubbing affected areas with a soft brush dipped in soapy water or neem oil can help control them.

Common Plant Diseases:

  1. Root Rot: Root rot occurs when the roots are consistently in overly wet soil. Ensure that your Lipstick plant is potted in well-draining soil and that excess water is allowed to drain away. Water the plant only when the top inch of soil feels dry.

  2. Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew presents as a white, powdery substance on the leaves. It’s caused by fungal growth favored by high humidity and poor air circulation. Ensure good ventilation around the plant and avoid wetting the foliage when watering.

  3. Leaf Spot Diseases: Various fungal and bacterial pathogens can cause leaf spots, leading to discoloration and sometimes death of affected leaves. To prevent these diseases, avoid overhead watering and ensure proper spacing between plants to allow air circulation.

  4. Botrytis (Gray Mold): Botrytis can cause grayish mold to develop on the leaves and flowers. It’s often a result of high humidity and poor air circulation. Maintain good air circulation, avoid over-watering, and promptly remove any infected plant parts.

Preventive Measures:

  1. Quarantine New Plants: Before introducing a new plant to your collection, isolate it for a few weeks to ensure it doesn’t bring any pests or diseases with it.

  2. Regular Inspection: Regularly inspect your Lipstick plants for signs of pests or diseases. Early detection makes control easier.

  3. Proper Watering: Avoid over-watering and ensure good drainage to prevent root rot and fungal issues.

  4. Proper Ventilation: Provide adequate air circulation around your plants to reduce the risk of fungal diseases.

  5. Cleanliness: Keep your plant’s environment clean by removing fallen leaves and debris that could harbor pests or pathogens.

  6. Natural Remedies: Neem oil, insecticidal soap, and horticultural oils can be effective against pests while being gentle on plants.

Can Lipstick plants tolerate low light conditions?

While Lipstick plants prefer bright, indirect light, they can tolerate lower light conditions, but they may not bloom as prolifically.

How often should I water my Lipstick plant?

Water when the top inch of soil feels dry. This might be around once a week, but the frequency can vary based on factors like humidity and temperature.

Why is my Lipstick plant not flowering?

Insufficient light, improper fertilization, or stress from changes in environment can hinder flowering. Ensure it receives adequate light and proper care.

Are Lipstick plants toxic to pets?

Lipstick plants are generally considered non-toxic to pets, but it’s still best to keep them out of reach to prevent accidental ingestion.

How do I propagate Lipstick plants?

Propagate through stem cuttings. Take 3-4 inch cuttings with a few nodes, remove lower leaves, and root them in well-draining soil or water.

Why are the leaves of my Lipstick plant turning yellow?

Yellow leaves can indicate overwatering, poor drainage, or nutrient deficiencies. Ensure proper watering and check the plant’s drainage.

Can I place my Lipstick plant outdoors in the summer?

Yes, you can move your Lipstick plant outdoors during the warmer months, but gradually acclimate it to outdoor conditions to prevent shock.

How can I increase humidity for my Lipstick plant?

Mist the plant regularly, use a humidity tray filled with water and pebbles, or place a small humidifier nearby to raise humidity levels.

Conclusion

Nurturing a Lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus radicans) can be a rewarding endeavor that adds beauty and life to your indoor surroundings. By following the guidelines provided for its care, you can create an environment where these captivating tropical houseplants can flourish.

Remember to provide the appropriate amount of filtered sunlight, maintain proper humidity levels, and water your Lipstick plant thoughtfully to avoid overwatering. Regularly inspect your plant for signs of pests and diseases, and take proactive measures to address any issues that may arise.

Pruning and supporting your Lipstick plant’s growth will help it maintain an attractive and bushy appearance. The joy of propagating new plants from stem cuttings can also enhance your gardening experience and allow you to share the beauty of Lipstick plants with others.


Mary Lloyster

Mary Lloyster

Mary, the ultimate oracle of indoor gardening! With years of experience and a flourishing indoor expo, Mary has become our go-to expert for all things related to house plants and indoor gardening. Despite her background in Political Science, Mary has discovered a delightful way to blend her full-time job with a touch of relaxation through indoor gardening. Now, she eagerly shares her wisdom and experiences with our readers on a daily basis. If you have any inquiries about house plants, indoor gardening techniques, or caring tips, don't hesitate to leave a comment for Mary in the designated section below!

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