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Aeschynanthus radicans [es-kee-NAN-thus, RAD-ee-kans] is also known as the Lipstick Plant because it’s bright red or coral colored blossoms resemble a tube of lipstick.
The lipstick plants genus name is derived from the Greek word for “shame,” aischune, and is in reference to the blushing color of the flowers.
The specific epithet, radicans, refers to the plant’s rooting stems.
The lipstick is a perennial indoor plant and a member of the Gesneriaceae family along with Episcia, African Violet, Columnea. Aeschynanthus hails from the Asian tropics such as Malaysia, India, and China.
The lipstick vine though related to African Violets yet is an epiphyte that grows on trees in the wild (similar to orchids).
Lipstick plants do well with lots of bright, indirect light, a carefully measured amount of water, and regular feeding.
Lipstick Plant Care
Size & Growth
The lipstick plant is a fast-growing, trailing houseplant producing long stems up to 16″ inches in length making a beautiful hanging basket plant.
If the lipstick is grown in the ground during warm weather, the lipstick plant will ramble and spread.
In this case, the lipstick plants overall height is only about 3″ – 4″ inches. The lipstick will spread 2′ – 3′ feet.
Evergreen foliage colors of the lipstick and its growth habits vary depending upon the variety.
Leaves of the lipstick may range in color from very pale green to dark green to even a deep burgundy.
Some lipstick plants are variegated, and others grow in a long, curling, donkey-tail-like formation.
Flowering & Fragrance
The lipstick has tube shaped flowers come in shades of red, orange, purple, pink, and variegated combinations.
Flowers appear in dense clusters at the ends of the long stems.
Lipstick plants flower throughout the growing season (typically May through September) if well cared for.
Overwatering will discourage the lipstick from flowering. This stresses lipstick plants slightly. By allowing the soil to become somewhat dry between waterings encourages bloom.
Light & Temperature
Grow Aeschynanthus in bright light but indirect light. Direct sunlight will burn your Lipstick Plant.
Too little sunlight will cause a lack of flowers. Providing lipstick plants with plenty of bright ambient lighting will produce ample blooms.
The hardy, epiphytic lipstick houseplant likes a warm temperature. 75° – 85° degrees Fahrenheit (24° – 29° C) is best during the growing season.
During the fall and winter months, temperatures ranging from 57° – 60° degrees Fahrenheit are best (14° – 15° C).
The lipstick plant is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11.
Watering & Feeding
When watering the lipstick plant allow the top quarter of the soil to dry before watering thoroughly.
Typically, you will water lipstick plants weekly during the growing season and every two weeks, or even once a month, during the cooler months.
Keep in mind your goal is to provide water in the way the lipstick would naturally receive it in its tropical homeland.
In the Asian tropics, there is typically a dry season and the monsoon season.
Although Lipstick plants can do pretty well with standard household humidity, it’s a good idea to place the plant’s pot on a pebble tray with water to raise the humidity around the plant.
Be sure not to allow the plant to sit in water as this will cause root rot.
You may also find it helpful to mist the plant regularly, but don’t overdo it.
Excessive water causes fungal growth.
Feed Lipstick Plant twice a month during the growing season (spring through summer).
During the autumn and winter months, feed monthly using houseplant fertilizer with a high phosphorus content.
It’s best to dilute fertilizer by half when feeding this plant.
Soil & Transplanting
Use a slightly acidic potting soil that is quick draining, balanced, and well aerated.
When planting, be sure the roots are right at the surface of the soil.
Being completely buried will encourage root rot.
The best time for repotting and transplanting is the springtime, just before the growing season begins.
Grooming & Maintenance
Pruning wayward stems of the vining lipstick plant on a regular basis will encourage a fuller and bushier hanging basket.
Deadhead spent flowers to encourage more buds.
When flowering has completed, prune the entire plant to a height of about 6″ inches. This will encourage fresh, new growth.
How To Propagate Aeschynanthus Radicans
To propagate the Lipstick Plant, divide the roots in the springtime when you repot.
Be sure to leave a few stems and leaves in place, and use fresh, light potting mix for best results.
Keep the freshly transplanted plants just as you would adult plants in an area with ample, bright indirect sunlight, warmth, and carefully measured watering.
It is also possible to grow this plant from stem cuttings.
Cuttings of about 6″ inches should be taken from the tips of healthy stems and placed in clean water in a setting suitable for mature plants (i.e., bright, indirect lighting, consistently warm temperatures, good air circulation).
Change the water every couple of days to prevent stagnation.
Roots should appear within a couple of weeks.
Aeschynanthus Radicans Pests and Diseases
Lipstick Plant is subject to infestation by all the normal household pests such as aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs.
Read more: Our Favorite Natural Pest Solution
Provide ample air circulation, good lighting and the right amount of water to help prevent weakened plants which attract these pests.
Excessive watering will also cause problems with root rot, stem rot, and other fungal infections.
Provide the right amount of air circulation, water and humidity to avoid these problems.
Is The Lipstick Plant Poisonous or Toxic?
The Lipstick Plant is a safe houseplant for households with pets and kids.
It is nonpoisonous.
Even so, this is an ornamental plant and should not be eaten by people or pets.
Are Lipstick Plants Invasive?
This sensitive tropical plant is not invasive in any part of the United States.
Suggested Uses For Aeschynanthus Lipstick Plant
Lipstick Plant makes an excellent hanging basket, but it also does well set in a wall sconce, as a tabletop plant or even attached to driftwood and grown like orchids and other epiphytes.