Botanical Name — Aeschynanthus radicans
Common Name — Lipstick Plant
Plant Family — Gesneriaceae
Aeschynanthus radicans, or Lipstick plant, is native to the Malay peninsula in Southeast Africa, where it grows as an epiphytic or lithophytic plant. At home it looks great in a hanging basket where it can trail, reaching up to 24 inches in length. Its common name ‘Lipstick Plant’ comes from the red flowers, their shape resembling a tube of lipstick.
- Lipstick plants love bright light. Morning or late afternoon sun from an East or West facing window is great. They can grow well in bright, dappled sun to partial shade.
- Grow this plant outdoors in a shady spot during spring and summer, or indoors year-round in a spot that gets bright, indirect light.
- These plants will do great under artificial light if not enough sunlight is available.
- Lipstick plants thrive in high humidity and warm temperatures, from 70-80°F.
- Tropical, lipstick plants are not frost tolerant so avoid temperatures below 50°F. This plant is less fussy about humidity and will do fine with average indoor moisture levels.
- Keep Lipstick plant soil evenly moist but not soggy, water lightly when the top quarter of the soil is dry.
- Give this plant a soil should that is moisture retentive and rich in organic matter. General potting soil should work fine. Soil can be amended with compost up to 25% for additional nutrients. Coco coir up to 25% can be added to improve moisture retention.
- Lipstick plants bloom during the spring and summer. Flowering is more likely with older, more mature plants.
- Blooms last two to three days and are scarlet-colored, with yellow throats.
- Keeping plants cooler and drier during the winter months will encourage flowering in the spring and summer. During the growing season this plant needs adequate light to flower.
- Fertilize once a month with a balanced fertilizer or one that is high in phosphorus to encourage blooming, only during the active growth season.
- Compost is also a great natural, balanced fertilizer.
- Lipstick plants are easily propagated by stem cuttings.
- These plants are not particularly prone to any pests. During the warmer seasons keep an eye out for common bugs such as mealies, aphids, and spider mites.
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
- Pruning your Lipstick plant is not necessary but doing so will encourage fullness.
- This plant prefers to be pot-bound. Younger plants can be re-potted once a year during the spring or summer. More mature plants should only be repotted once every three to four years.
- Lipstick plants are non-toxic to animals and humans, though if ingested it may cause some discomfort. Your pet will vomit it back up and may experience nausea or diarrhea.
- Aside from temporary discomfort, the plant will not cause serious harm to your pet.