How to Care for a Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus Radicans)

Lipstick Plant care

The lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus radicans) is a flowering houseplant with bright red flowers and shiny green leaves. These tropical plants are easy to care for because they grow well in indoor environments. Their long trailing stems make the plants excellent for hanging baskets or placing them on a shelf. Putting the plant in a bright location and regular watering is almost all you have to do to care for this popular houseplant.

Lipstick plants are also called lipstick vines. These evergreen plants are native to the humid tropics of Malaysia and Indonesia. They thrive in the warm, humid conditions in their native habitat. Fortunately, you don’t have to turn your home into a tropical rainforest to enjoy the beauty a lipstick plant provides. Regularly misting the leaves is enough to hydrate the leaves indoors to provide enough humidity.

In this article, you will learn all you need to know about caring for a lipstick plant. You will find out how to prune, feed, and propagate these beautiful tropical indoor plants.

How to Care for a Lipstick Plant

Lipstick plants need soil that is consistently moist but well-draining. Grow your lipstick plant in a bright location away from direct sunlight. Ideal temperatures are between 65 and 80°F (18 – 30°C) with high humidity. Feed your plant once a month with organic plant fertilizer.

That’s the basics of how to care for a lipstick plant.

Although lipstick plants are easy to grow at home, getting the care just right will make sure your plant regularly blooms and stays healthy.

Let’s look in more detail at tips and tricks to encourage healthy plant growth.

What is a Lipstick Plant?

Lipstick plant is the common name for flowering plants in the genus Aeschynanthus. Being a member of the family Gesneriaceae, the vine-like plants are related to African violets. Lipstick plants are also classed as an epiphyte plant. This means that they grow on the surface of other plants. Indoors, you can grow lipstick plants in hanging baskets with moist soil.

What do lipstick plants look like? Lipstick plants can grow up to 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall in the wild. As an indoor hanging basket plant, the lipstick plant can grow to between 2 and 3 ft. (60 – 90 cm) long. The stems are trailing, and regular pruning can help keep its size manageable and create a bushy appearance. Most species of Aeschynanthus have shiny green ovate-shaped leaves.

The name lipstick plant comes from the shape and color of its flowers. The flowers look like small sticks of lipstick emerging from dark red or burgundy tubes. When fully blooming, the tubular red flowers measure between 2” and 3” (5 – 7.5 cm) long.

Varieties of Lipstick Vine Plants

Before looking at how to care properly for a lipstick vine, let’s look at some of the most popular types of these elegant houseplants.

Red lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus radicans)

Lipstick Plant care

The classic lipstick plant is simply called red lipstick. This trailing leafy plant has shiny green leaves that are ovate or lanceolate shaped. Bright red tube-like flowers add contrasting colors against the green foliage.

Mona Lisa lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus radicans ‘Mona Lisa’)

The ‘Mona Lisa’ produces a lot of orange-red flowers when it blooms. This cultivar is perfect for growing hanging baskets as its delightful bright flowers dangle down at the end of long stems.

Curly lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus radicans ‘Curly’)

Curly thick green leaves are the feature of this lipstick plant. The shiny leaves curl and twist to give this hanging plant a unique and unusual look.

Variegated lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus radicans ‘Variegata’)

With its stunning cream and green variegated leaves, this variety will brighten up any room. Bright orangey-red flowers add a splash of color when they bloom in late summer and early fall.

Black Pagoda lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus longicaulis)

black pagoda lipastick plant

Another variegated variety of lipstick plant is the ‘Black Pagoda.’ The dull green leaves have dark purple-maroon, almost black patterning underside, giving them a blotchy, mottled look.

‘Rasta’ lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus radicans ‘Rasta’)

The twisted leaves of the ‘Rasta’ cultivar give this hanging basket plant a stunning appearance. The cascading stems with densely curled leaves and upturned red flowers gracefully brighten an indoor space. Choose this variety if you need a lipstick plant for low-light conditions.

Tangerine Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus radicans ‘Tangerine’)

lipstick plant tangerine

This variety of lipstick plant has orange-yellow flowers.

How to Water a Lipstick Flower Plant

Lipstick plants need regular watering to make sure the soil never completely dries out. To know how often to water a lipstick plant, gently press the soil. The top 1” (2.5 cm) of the earth should be dry. Water more frequently in summer when the weather is hot.

You may have to water a lipstick plant weekly in spring and summer and less frequently in fall and winter. However, the frequency depends on the room conditions and type of pot. So, always check that the soil is slightly moist to dry before watering.

When caring for your lipstick plant, it is better to water less rather than more. Watering too often can result in wet, soggy soil that results in root rot. Waterlogged soil causes all sorts of fungal problems that can cause your houseplant to die.

To ensure proper drainage, make sure your container or hanging basket has holes in the bottom. Water the plant enough until water drains out the bottom. Wait until the top layer of soil is just dry before watering again.

At the end of the article, you can find out how to spot signs of watering issues with your lipstick plant.

Lipstick Plant Light Requirements

Lipstick plants need plenty of light to produce vibrant bright red or yellow flowers. Place in an indoor location where there is bright light but away from direct sunlight. A south- or west-facing room should have the ideal conditions to get enough sunlight.

If you have a lipstick plant near a window, make sure that the sun doesn’t shine on it all day. This can result in frizzled leaves that eventually die off.

Lipstick plants tend to get leggy and straggly if there’s not enough light. If you notice that your plant doesn’t bloom and the vines look unkempt, move to a brighter, sunnier location. You can prune off the leggy stems and use them as cuttings to propagate new plants.

During warm summers, you can hang your lipstick plant outdoors in a partially shady location.

Soil Requirements for a Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus)

Plants in the Aeschynanthus genus need well-draining soil to prevent moisture and fungal problems. Make the ideal soil for lipstick plants by combining one-part regular potting mix, one-part peat, and one-part perlite. This type of lighter soil helps prevent a buildup of moisture.

Your pot or container should have drainage holes in the bottom to ensure water drains properly from the soil. You can also create the perfect soil environment by adding a layer of clay pebbles at the bottom. The stones allow air to circulate freely and excess water to drain out.

Remember that soil will dry out quicker in a terracotta pot than in a plastic one.

Best Temperature for Lipstick Flower Plants

Average room temperature is excellent to grow lipstick plants and help them thrive. The ideal temperature range is between 65 and 85°F (18 – 30°C). You will find that warm temperatures, high humidity, and plenty of light encourage flowers to bloom.

If you have these flowering vine houseplants growing outside, bring them indoors if the temperature drops below 60°F (15°C). Low temperatures slow down growth, and if it gets too cold, your plant will die. Leaf drop is one sign that the cold is affecting your lipstick plant growth.

Also, try to avoid sharp, sudden rises in temperature. These plants are native to tropical countries where temperatures are consistently warm. So, don’t have your plant in drafty rooms or beside radiators.

Lipstick Plant: Humidity Requirements

Lipstick vine plants thrive in high humidity, similar to their native environment. The easiest way to hydrate your tropical indoor plant is to spritz the leaves daily with a fine mist. This is a growing requirement in addition to regular watering.

Humidity can become an issue for lipstick plants in winter. Household heating tends to dry out the air and dehydrate plants. This means you may have to water your plant less but mist if more frequently during winter.

If your lipstick plant grows in a regular container, you can place this on a pebble tray with water in it. Or, you could put the houseplant next to other plants in your room.

Depending on how bright your bathroom or kitchen is, you will find that lipstick plants grow well where there is plenty of steam.

Feeding Your Lipstick Vine Plant

Fertilize your lipstick plant every four weeks as part of your regular plant care. Use a regular houseplant fertilizer at half-strength to boost growth and prevent burning the roots. You can also use slow-release fertilizer if you want to feed your plant every 3 months.

One helpful lipstick plant care tip is to flush the soil 2 or 3 times a year. Run plenty of water through the soil to flush any leftover mineral salts. Allow the water to drain completely.

Brown leaves on a lipstick plant vine could be a sign of too much feeding. Don’t apply fertilizer in the fall and winter as the plant goes dormant during these months.

Where to Place a Lipstick Plant

Lipstick plants need to grow in bright, sunny locations to have healthy leaves and gorgeous, vibrant flowers. Don’t place your plant where it’s in direct sunshine or in full shade.

When does a Lipstick Plant Bloom?

Lipstick plants bloom when they get enough bright light. Flowers on the vine plant generally appear in spring and summer. If you achieve the right growing conditions indoors, your lipstick plant may reward you with flowers periodically throughout the whole year.

The most important care tips to ensure lipstick plants bloom are: getting enough light and letting the soil dry out slightly between watering.

How to Prune a Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus)

Prune a lipstick plant by cutting about one-third from the length of the stems. Do this after the vine plant has finished blooming. Use pruning scissors and cut the stem just above the leaf node. You can also prune the plant in spring or summer without harming it.

Pruning should be an essential part of your lipstick plant care routine. Trimming a lipstick vine gets rid of long, straggly stems and promotes bushy growth.

Another benefit of pruning is that it encourages more flowers to bloom. Because the flowers appear at the leaf tips, you will have a beautiful flowering hanging basket plant with red flowers cascading over the edge.

How to Propagate a Lipstick Plant

Lipstick plant propagation is easy in water. Trimming back your plant will give you several cuttings that you can use to propagate new plants. Just place the 4” to 6” (10 – 15 cm) cuttings in a jar of water. When roots appear, plant them in a pot containing a suitable potting mix.

Another quick and easy way to propagate your lipstick plant is to put the cuttings directly into the soil. Dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone. Place the cutting about 2” (5 cm) deep in a pot that contains moist potting soil. Firm up the soil around the new, cutting, water it thoroughly, and place in a bright, warm location.

It will take four to six weeks for roots to appear.

Repotting a Lipstick Flower Plant

The time to repot a lipstick vine plant is when it becomes rooted in its current container. Signs that you need to repot your plant are when it stops growing, or you notice roots poking out the drainage holes. It is best to repot your houseplants in spring or summer.

You will need to get a suitable hanging basket or container that is around 2” (5 cm) wider than the current one. Gently coax the plant from the container and shake excess soil from the roots. Then, carefully untangle any wrapped roots and prune any damaged ones. After that, half fill the new pot with a suitable potting mix for lipstick plants. Put in your plant and fill the rest of the space with soil.

When repotting a lipstick plant, it’s essential to ensure it grows at the same height as it did in the previous pot. So, you may need to adjust the soil quantities as required.

Are Lipstick Plants Toxic?

No, lipstick vine plants are not poisonous for humans, cats, dogs, or other animals.

Lipstick Plant Care: Pests and Diseases

Pests can affect your Aeschynanthus plants. The most common ones are mealybugs, aphids, or spider mites. Fungal problems caused by too much moisture also affect lipstick plant growth. What can you do to care for a dying or sick-looking lipstick flower plant?

Signs of pests are cotton masses on stems (mealybugs), small pear-shaped bugs (aphids), or tiny webs under the leaves (spider mites). All of these pests can kill off your plant if left untreated. Use an insecticidal soap or neem oil solution to wipe the leaves and stems to remove the pests. Continue using once a week until all signs of the bugs are gone.

It would be a good idea to check other houseplants for infestations to make sure the pests haven’t spread.

Black spots on leaves are one sign that a fungal infection is affecting your plant. If you notice these blotches, reduce watering and misting to a minimum. Don’t water until the top layer of soil has dried out. To help prevent fungal infections, always water and mist your plant in the morning. This care tip helps to make sure that the foliage dries by evening time.

Common Problems Affecting Lipstick Plants

Although lipstick plants are generally easy to care for, there are a few common problems that can affect them.

Here are answers to some questions about lipstick plant care.

Why are the leaves falling off my lipstick plant?

Leaf drop can be a sign of a few lipstick plant problems. One common reason for leaves falling off is a lack of water or moisture. If the soil is dry, water the plant thoroughly. Pour in enough water until it drains out the bottom.

In the future, check the plant’s soil weekly to know how frequently to water it.

Why are leaves turning yellow on my lipstick plant?

The reason why a lipstick plant leaves turn yellow is usually due to not enough water or light. If the soil is moist, try moving your plant to a sunnier location or increase artificial light indoors.

Why doesn’t my lipstick plant bloom?

Lipstick plants need plenty of light to bloom regularly. So, check that the location isn’t too shady and that it gets enough sun. The plant can withstand some direct sunlight, but not all day.

Another reason why your plant isn’t flowering is a lack of nutrients. Try increasing the frequency of feeding from every four weeks to every two weeks.

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