Botanical Name: Aeschynanthus lobbianus
Easy-care Lipstick Plant is ideal for a hanging basket. Putting it at eye-level will show off its thickly leaved trailing vines with spectacular flowers.
In their native rain forest habitat, these evergreen plants grow as epiphytes, perched on trees, where their long vines sprawl along moss-covered branches. Give these tropical flowering house plants the same dappled sunlight and humidity and they're extremely easy to grow.
The thick, glossy leaves are 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long and cover the trailing stems, making this plant a lush, tropical accent for your home.
The real attraction, though, is its tubular flowers that emerge from a calyx in bright colors that look like lipstick in a tube. Most often, you'll find them in red, but some varieties have dark red, orange, yellow or coral blooms.
To repot...or not. Lipstick plants don't mind being repotted. Repot in spring or summer when the roots fill the pot, moving it up only 1 pot size. Keeping the plant slightly pot-bound will help it to bloom.
Always prune above a leaf node (the place where a leaf is attached to the stem). Use sharp, clean pruning shears -- to avoid jagged tears and disease.
Prune it back. Prune back stems after flowering as needed. You can cut up to 1/3 of the plant to prevent it from getting leggy and to encourage branching. Flowers grow near the tips of new stems, so you'll get more blooms this way.
Raise the humidity. If the relative humidity drops below 50%, use a pebble tray or room humidifier to increase the moisture in the air. Regular misting helps, too. Remember that hanging plants are exposed to warmer air near the ceiling that can dry them out faster.
Give it a rest. Giving this plant a slightly cooler, drier rest in winter will promote more blooms in spring and summer. Stop fertilizing during this time and keep the plant in bright light. Keep it away from heat vents.
Origin: Southeast Asia
Height: Trailing stems up to 2 ft (60 cm) long.
Light: Bright light with some direct sun in winter.
Water: Water thoroughly spring through fall, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Keep the soil slightly drier in winter. Wrinkled leaves are a sign of dry soil.
Humidity: Moderate to high room humidity.
Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C.
Soil: Peat moss based potting mix. Added perlite will help to aerate the roots and speed up drainage, preventing waterlogged soil.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Do not feed in winter.
Propagation: Take 4-6 in (10-15 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring or summer.
Plants that don't bloom aren't getting enough light.
Place your plant in a bright location and you can expect flowers all spring and summer.
You'll find several species of Aeschynanthus labeled Lipstick Plant or Lipstick Vine.
A. lobbianus, featuring red flowers, is sometimes sold as A. radicans. 'Variegated' has creamy white leaf variegation and bright red blooms.
'Fireworks', 'Frostfire' and 'Flash' are all showy hybrids with fiery red flowers.
A. speciosus is a larger species with clusters of coral flowers.