A lipstick plant, Aeschynanthus radicans, is a gesneriad that has a mounding, and vining growth pattern. Learn how to grow healthy lipstick plants so you can enjoy their beautiful blooms. Lipstick plants bloom with bright tubular flowers nestled into rich green glossy foliage on softly vining stems, and are used widely in hanging baskets. They also do well with gloxinias. The name comes from the appearance of the tubular blooms which look like tubes of red lipstick. You can hang baskets together with others such as, fuchsia, aluminum plants, and asparagus ferns.
Growing Lipstick Plants
A lipstick plant requires bright light but not direct sun. It prefers average to warm temperatures (60-80 degrees) and high humidity (65 percent or higher). The pot-in-pot method is the most practical for raising humidity when this plant is grown in a hanging basket. It does well in an epiphyte soil mix.
You should allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings, but let it dry considerably during the winter rest. Feed every 2 weeks when blooming, and every 2 months in fall and winter. Lipstick plant blooms best when pot bound, so repot only when watering becomes difficult because of a large root mass. The lipstick plant must be mature to bloom well. The blossoms look like lipstick and will fall cleanly from the plant.
Its draping vines can reach 2-3’ long and will become straggly if not rejuvenated occasionally. Pinch back the tips to make it look better while blooming. When it has finished flowering, cut the plant stems back to 6 inches. Lipstick plant may shed leaves when it’s too cold, or have its leaves turn brown and dry when the humidity is too low.
Propagation of Lipstick Plants- The plants are propagated by taking softwood stem or tip cuttings in spring before blooming.
Pests and Diseases- Spider mites may appear if the humidity remains too low. The plant could also develop botrytis, a fungal disease that shows as black leaf spots. If this happens, simply pull off the affected leaves or cut back the stems and let the potting soil dry out somewhat.
Other Related Species to the Lipstick Plant
You will find ‘Black Pagoda’ that has mottled red and green foliage and brown-specked yellow and green flowers. A. Micranthus is smaller than A. Radicans, and A. Speciosus has orange-yellow flowers.