The world inside our homes is a comforting sanctuary, shielding us from the perils that lie beyond our doors. In ancient times, people believed the winter solstice to be a time of danger, with evil lurking in the shadows. To counteract this, they would bring greenery indoors, not only to ward off malevolent spirits but also to ensure the eventual return of spring’s lush greenery.
Even today, we continue the tradition of adorning our homes with verdant foliage, and one of the most delightful ways to do so is by cultivating evergreen houseplants. Among these, the whimsical Twisted Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus Radicans Curly or Rasta) stands out, with its vibrant red flowers and year-round greenery. This captivating plant, with its dangling vines, is a perfect addition to any hanging basket.
Thriving in low light and the drier indoor air of winter, the Twisted Lipstick Plant possesses an intriguing charm that extends beyond its blooms. Its densely curled leaves elegantly cascade over the rim of the pot, creating a visually captivating display. But it’s the bright tubular flowers that truly steal the show, resembling tubes of crimson lipstick. Meanwhile, its corkscrew-shaped leaves add an element of fascination, gracefully curling inward.
Belonging to the family of epiphytes, or air plants, the Twisted Lipstick Plant forms a symbiotic relationship with trees in its natural habitat, deriving its nutrition from the air rather than acting as a parasite. This tropical plant feels at home in the warmth of our heated houses, thriving at a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
To encourage abundant flowering, position your hanging basket in a well-lit area but away from direct sunlight that could scorch the delicate leaves. While it’s important to keep the soil moist, avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. Allow the soil to dry out slightly before watering again. Additionally, maintain high humidity by misting the plant with water a few times a week using a spray bottle.
During the active growth months of spring and summer, you can apply a liquid fertilizer specifically formulated for blooming plants once a month. After the flowers fade, prune back the stems to stimulate new growth. If your Twisted Lipstick Plant becomes leggy, simply trim the stems to a length of four to five inches.
Every few years, consider repotting your lipstick plant. Choose a pot that is one-and-a-half times deeper and wider than its current one. Utilize a well-draining potting soil mixed with sand or peat moss for optimal results.
While these captivating plants bring joy, they can occasionally fall prey to aphids, mealybugs, and cyclamen mites. If you notice any of these pests, use an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil spray. Alternatively, place the entire plant in a bag with mothballs overnight to eliminate these intruders.
A few times a year, you can drench the potting soil with water to flush out any accumulated soluble salts, ensuring the plant’s continued vitality.
To acquire your own Twisted Lipstick Plant, visit local nurseries or explore reputable online greenhouses like Ames Farm Center. Their vast selection of plants will undoubtedly include this whimsical specimen, ready to infuse your winter abode with its playful, curly leaves and vibrant red trumpet flowers. Allow the Twisted Lipstick Plant to elevate your spirits during the colder months while simultaneously keeping unwanted ghosts and goblins at bay.