Are you looking for a captivating addition to your home? Look no further than the Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus radicans). This easy-care botanical wonder is perfect for a hanging basket, allowing you to showcase its thickly leaved trailing vines adorned with stunning flowers.
Get to Know Lipstick Plant
Imagine lush evergreen plants thriving in their natural rainforest habitat, perched on trees as epiphytes. These tropical wonders with their long vines sprawling along moss-covered branches can be easily grown indoors with just the right amount of dappled sunlight and humidity.
Feast your eyes on their thick, glossy leaves that measure 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) in length, gracefully covering the trailing stems. They create a vibrant tropical accent that brings life to any space. However, the real allure lies in the tubular flowers emerging from a calyx, resembling lipstick in a tube. While red is the most common color, rare varieties also boast dark red, orange, yellow, and coral blooms.
Unleashing its full potential, this exotic tropical plant is a prolific bloomer. During spring and summer, expect clusters of 6 to 20 flowers to grace the tips of its stems, delighting you with their enchanting beauty.
Discover the Aeschynanthus Varieties
Within the realm of Aeschynanthus, you’ll find several species labeled as Lipstick Plants or Lipstick Vines. Aeschynanthus radicans stands out as a popular choice for indoor cultivation. Additionally, numerous named cultivars offer a range of unique characteristics.
For instance, ‘Variegated’ showcases creamy white leaf variegation coupled with bright red blooms. If you desire a fiery display, ‘Fireworks’, ‘Frostfire’, and ‘Flash’ are exceptional hybrid cultivars to consider. Their red flowers are simply mesmerizing. On the other hand, ‘Mona Lisa’ is a prolific bloomer, boasting clusters of bright red flowers that will capture your heart.
Caring for Lipstick Plant Year-Round
To ensure your Lipstick Plant thrives all year long, these care tips will guide you.
To repot…or not. Lipstick plants don’t mind being repotted; however, only do so when the roots fill the pot, and then move it to a slightly larger one, 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter. By keeping the plant slightly pot-bound, you’ll encourage it to bloom more abundantly.
Prune it back. After flowering, feel free to prune back the stems as needed. Cutting up to one-third of the plant will prevent it from becoming leggy and promote branching. Remember, flowers bloom near the tips of new stems, leading to an abundance of blooms.
Raise the humidity. If the relative humidity drops below 50%, consider using a pebble tray or cool-mist room humidifier to increase the moisture in the air. Regular misting of the foliage is also beneficial. Bear in mind that hanging plants are exposed to warmer air near the ceiling, which can result in faster drying out.
Watch for pests. Lipstick plants can fall victim to common houseplant pests. During your regular watering routine, take the opportunity to inspect the stems and undersides of the leaves for any signs of damage or pests such as aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, or thrips. Swiftly address any infestations to protect your other beloved indoor plants.
Give it a winter rest. Providing your Lipstick Plant with a slightly cooler and drier resting period during winter will pave the way for more abundant blooms in the following spring and summer. Cease fertilizing during this time and ensure the plant receives bright light. Protect it from heat vents and cold drafts from doors and windows.
Lipstick Plant Care Tips
Here are some key tips to keep your Lipstick Plant flourishing:
- Origin: Southeast Asia
- Height: Trailing stems reaching up to 2 to 3 feet (60-90 cm) in length
- Light: Bright light with some direct sun in winter. Place your plant in a bright location to guarantee spring and summer blossoms.
- Water: Thoroughly water during spring through fall, allowing the soil to slightly dry out between waterings. Reduce watering in winter when growth slows down. Wrinkled leaves indicate dry soil, while yellow leaves suggest overwatering.
- Humidity: Aiming for a relative humidity of around 50% or higher is ideal. As indoor air tends to become dry during winter, it’s wise to use a humidity monitor near the plant. There are various ways to increase humidity for your tropical houseplants.
- Temperature: Maintain average room temperatures between 65-75°F/18-24°C. Lipstick Plants prefer stable temperatures and should be kept away from heat or AC vents and cold drafts.
- Soil: Opt for a peat moss-based potting mix. Adding perlite improves root aeration and drainage, preventing waterlogged soil. African violet potting mix suits Lipstick Plants perfectly.
- Fertilizer: Feed with a water-soluble fertilizer, diluted by half, every 2 weeks from spring through fall. Choose a high-phosphorus fertilizer to enhance blooming (such as N-P-K 15-30-15). Refrain from fertilizing in winter.
- Propagation: Take 4-6 inch (10-15 cm) stem tip cuttings during spring or summer.
Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge to care for these vibrant wonders, why not introduce the Lipstick Plant into your home? Its beauty will transform your space into a tropical paradise.
For more information and to explore a variety of Lipstick Plant options, visit the Ames Farm Center.
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