Common Name: Lipstick Plant, Lipstick Vine
Botanical Name: Aeschynanthus radicans spp.
The Lipstick Plant proves you really can have it all - this easy-care houseplant boasts lots of lush greenery and beautiful blooms. The vines feature broad, waxy leaves that come to a point and brightly colored flowers that grow in clusters.
The tubular flowers gently peek out from the bud almost like lipstick emerging from a tube which inspires the common name, Lipstick Plant. These plants normally bloom in the spring, summer, and fall, however, when grown as a houseplant they may not keep to their natural schedule. Lipstick Plants really need ideal conditions to thrive and bloom and as long as those conditions are continuously provided, you can expect your plant to flower at any time of the year.
Lipstick Plants are native to Southeast Asia, which means they like warm and humid conditions. In nature, Aeschynanthus are epiphytic, and the plant attaches itself to trees or cracks in rocks and the vines gently trail downward. As a vining plant, Aeschynanthus species really shine when hung in a basket or placed up high, so the vines and flowers can cascade.
Aeschynanthus Radicans can handle medium to bright indirect light. Medium indirect light is enough to support the plant, but it is not always enough to encourage blooming. If you want to promote flowers, then this houseplant requires plenty of bright indirect light. If you place your Lipstick Plant outdoors in the warmer months, make sure to place it in a shady spot. Avoid direct sunlight as this can be damaging.
Lipstick Plants prefer soil that is consistently damp, but still be careful not to over-water. Wait until the top few inches of the soil dry out before watering. Aeschynanthus may need more frequent watering when the plant is blooming and less water while dormant.
Potting soil that is rich in nutrients and organic matter, but still has the ability to drain well is the perfect growing medium for all Lipstick Plants. Most coco coir or peat-based potting soil mixes will be adequate but make sure that they do not contain water-retentive crystals as they can cause the soil to continually stay moist causing root rot. If you are feeling adventurous, try creating your own potting soil!
Normal room temperatures are fine for a Lipstick Plant. As a plant that hails from a tropical climate, it prefers warmer temperatures, so anything between 65-75 degrees is ideal. If you want to promote flowering, then make sure to provide warmer temperatures. As is the case for most houseplants, drafts can be problematic. Avoid placement near drafty windows, exterior doors, and heating and cooling vents as temperature fluctuations can prevent flowering and possibly result in leaf loss. Lipstick Plants love to be outside for the summer as the warm temperatures encourage new growth. Learn how to accliamate your indoor plants to the outdoors!
Aeschynanthus like high humidity, so place these houseplants in a spot that has a lot of moisture in the air. Keep in mind that in many areas, winter air can be dry, so the plant may need a helpful boost from a humidifier or a pebble tray with water to help increase the dampness and offset a dry environment. Learn how to increase the humidity in the air around your indoor plants!
Fertilize your Lipstick Plants when the houseplant is actively growing to help promote new growth and blooming. A diluted complete liquid fertilizer, a fish/seaweed emulsion, or a slow-release fertilizer can all work very well for Lipstick Plants. You can take a break from fertilizing when the plant is dormant or when the last of the blooms are spent.
Lipstick Plants are fast growers once they are established. Their vines can grow well past 18-20"
Pet Friend or Foe
These plants are non-toxic to pets! Friend
- Cutting back your houseplant can seem counterintuitive if you want a large and lush plant, but routinely prune your Lipstick Plant to maintain a full look. Trimming the vines can prevent the plant from becoming leggy while also promoting new growth on the top of the plant.
- Propagate your Lipstick Plant through cuttings. Take a cutting about 4-5 inches long or use a section that was removed while pruning, and remove the leaves towards the bottom. Place the cut end in soil and keep the soil damp for the first couple of weeks. (Please note that some plants are patented and propagation is prohibited! Check the patent status of all houseplants before you propagate.)
- Promote blooms by providing the ideal conditions. This means lots of bright indirect light, warm temperatures, and high humidity. This easy-care houseplant can survive in more diverse conditions, but the tradeoff is the plant may not bloom.
- Sometimes Lipstick Plants can be visited by pests, especially when the temperatures rise! Learn how to use neem oil to organically deal with indoor plant pests!