Caring For Your Lipstick Plant: Tips for Thriving Indoor Blooms

Lipstick plants, scientifically known as Aeschynanthus radicans, are undoubtedly a favorite among indoor plant enthusiasts. With their vibrant glossy leaves and exotic flowers that resemble lipstick tubes, they make for stunning hanging baskets or trailing plants on shelves. Whether you’re nursing a wilting plant back to health or hoping to coax your healthy plant into blooming, this guide has got you covered with everything you need to know about caring for lipstick plants.

Lighting: A Key Ingredient for Blooming Success

To encourage flowering, it’s crucial to position your lipstick plant directly in front of a window where it can receive optimal light. While I’ve had success growing these plants in various locations, let me describe a few options that have worked well for me. Indoors, placing the plant in front of a bright window (be cautious of all-day direct sunlight) is ideal. In the Northern Hemisphere, a well-lit Northern exposure window is the minimum recommendation, while in the Southern Hemisphere, a Southern facing window is equivalent.

Even better, if you have access to an Eastern facing window (providing morning sun) or Western facing windows (affording afternoon sun), your lipstick plant will thrive. Another favorable option is positioning it beneath a skylight, receiving bright indirect light for most of the day while benefiting from a few hours of direct sun on select days. To mitigate excessive light exposure, sheer curtains or blinds can be used to diffuse sunlight. In my personal experience, I successfully grew a stunning lipstick plant in a sunny southern window by diffusing the light to prevent prolonged sun exposure.

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Watering: Strike the Right Balance

Lipstick plants prefer consistently moist potting soil. Avoid allowing the plant to completely dry out, as this is highly unfavorable. As a general rule, I recommend letting the top inch of the potting mix dry out before thoroughly watering the plant. Ensure that excess water drains through the holes at the bottom of the pot and remove any accumulated water from the saucer or cache pot promptly to prevent root rot. Proper watering should not be confused with overwatering. If light conditions and pot size are appropriate, overwatering should not be a concern. In fact, many people inadvertently dehydrate their plants by underestimating their watering needs due to the fear of overwatering. As long as the other care conditions are met, watering according to the plant’s requirements is safe and beneficial.

Temperature and Humidity: Warm and Cozy

These tropical plants thrive in warm and humid environments. While both factors contribute to optimal growth, maintaining warmth is more crucial than increasing humidity. In my experience, warm and toasty conditions promote faster growth and prevent leaf drop. For instance, my basement-grown plant, under grow lights, thrives at a consistent 75°F (24°C). Aim for a temperature range of 65-85°F (18-30°C). Cooler temperatures, especially during wintertime, can lead to leaf drop. During winter, using a humidifier in rooms with cooler conditions can help create a more favorable environment. I highly recommend the Levoit 6L humidifier or the Miro humidifier (use code OHIOTROPICS for a 10% discount) for maintaining optimal humidity levels while caring for your lipstick plant.

Soil and Repotting: Finding the Perfect Mix

Lipstick plants prefer light, well-draining soil mixes. A combination of all-purpose potting mix or African Violet mix (2-3 parts) with added perlite (1 part) works well. When selecting a pot, consider avoiding terra cotta pots, as they tend to dry out quickly. Repotting is usually required when the plant outgrows its current pot, making it difficult to maintain adequate water levels. When repotting, select a pot only one size larger than the current one (e.g., moving from a 6-inch pot to an 8-inch pot). Using a larger pot may prolong drying time, potentially causing issues. Before repotting, always loosen the root ball. For a visual guide on repotting, check out my blog post on proper repotting techniques, which also showcases a fantastic hanging planter suitable for trailing plants.

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Fertilizing: Nourishing Growth and Flowering

For luxurious growth and abundant flowering, I highly recommend using Dyna-Gro Grow fertilizer. This fertilizer contains essential macro and micro-nutrients necessary for optimal plant health. Dilute the fertilizer and apply it during watering sessions, using 1/4-1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water.

Flowering: Unlock the Beauty of Blooms

Adequate lighting is key to encouraging blooming in your lipstick plant. If your plant is not blooming, revisit the Lighting section of this guide and consider relocating your plant to a brighter spot. Flowering is the ultimate goal when growing these plants, so ensuring that your plant receives sufficient light is crucial. The progression of lipstick plant flowers is a sight to behold. The flowers on the standard Aeschynanthus radicans start as dark purple or maroon lipstick tubes, gradually revealing the red portion as they mature. To add a unique touch to your collection, explore the various lipstick plant varieties available, offering leaves and flowers in red, yellow, orange, and even pink hues.

Propagation: Expand Your Collection with Ease

Stem cuttings are the easiest method for propagating lipstick plants. These cuttings readily root either in water or directly in potting mix. Trim 4-6 inch cuttings, removing the bottom leaves. You can either root them in water or plant them directly in soil. For water propagation, wait until the roots are 1/2 to 1 inch long before transferring them to a pot. If you prefer soil propagation, dip the cuttings’ ends in rooting hormone, then plant them in a small pot with potting mix. Maintain the soil’s moisture to encourage root development, and consider using a clear plastic bag to increase humidity while the cuttings root. Both water and soil propagation methods have been successful, so choose the technique you feel most comfortable with. For a detailed step-by-step guide with photos, refer to my lipstick plant propagation blog post.

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Varieties of Lipstick Plants: Embrace the Diversity

Lipstick plants boast an array of breathtaking varieties, each displaying unique leaf and flower shapes and colors. Alongside the standard Aeschynanthus radicans, consider exploring these other lovely alternatives:

  • Variegated Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus radicans ‘Variegata’)
  • Orange Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus speciosus)
  • Yellow Lipstick Plant
  • Pink Lipstick Plant
  • Curly Q Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus radicans ‘Curly’)

Frequently Asked Questions: Your Guide to Lipstick Plant Care

Do you have burning questions about caring for your lipstick plant? Browse the FAQ section below for answers and additional insights:

Looking to purchase a special type of Lipstick Plant? Visit the Lipstick Plant selection on Ames Farm Center today!

Do you currently own a lipstick plant? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Please help me spread the word about Ohio Tropics’ valuable houseplant care tips by sharing this post on social media. Also, check out my plant care store on Amazon, your one-stop-shop for all your houseplant care needs.

Remember, successfully caring for your lipstick plant will reward you with an abundance of stunning flowers throughout the year. So, get started and watch your beautiful plant flourish!