Lipstick Plant

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.

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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 vine 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.

You'll find several species of Aeschynanthus labeled Lipstick Plant or Lipstick VineA. 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. 'Mona Lisa' is a prolific bloomer with clusters of red flowers.

Caring for Lipstick Plant Year-Round

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.

Pruning Tip

Always prune after 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.

Lipstick Plant Care Tips

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Origin: Southeast Asia

Height: Trailing stems up to 2 ft (60 cm) long.

Light: Bright light with some direct sun in winter. 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.

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. Yellow leaves usually indicate too much water.

Humidity: Moderate to high room humidity. Try to keep relative humidity around 50% or higher. Discover easy ways to increase humidity for your tropical houseplants.

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 water-soluble fertilizer, diluted by half. Use a fertilizer that is high-phosphorous to help it bloom (such as N-P-K 15-30-15). Do not feed in winter.

Propagation: Take 4-6 in (10-15 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring or summer.

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