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The lipstick vine certainly lives up to its name, thanks to the beautiful red tubular blooms it produces. It's a gorgeous hanging plant, as it vines hang gracefully from planters and the blooms trail along the plant's stem.
It's native to Malaysia, where it lives in trees and climbs branches to receive light. That being said, the plant can thrive in lower light conditions, as it's used to being under tree cover. The waxy leaves help it hold water, and the plant is known to flower year-round as long as it has all the right nutrients. It does prefer a warm climate, making it a good indoor plant, but it can survive cooler temperatures and dryer conditions. Just remember to water it often!
If you're new to plant parenthood, this is a gorgeous plant to add to your collection. Not only does it give you some gorgeous blooms, but it's relatively low-maintenance. Read on for a complete care guide.
- Botanical Name: Aeschynanthus radicans
- Common Name: Lipstick plant, lipstick vine
- Plant Type: Perennial vine
- Mature Size: 3 feet tall
- Sun Exposure: Part shade or full shade
- Soil Type: Well-drained potting mix
- Soil pH: 6.0-8.0
Lipstick Plant Care
Thankfully, you don't have to do a ton to ensure you have a happy lipstick plant. To start, make sure you have well-draining soil for your plant. Chances are it's already in a proper soil mix if you picked it up from a plant store or nursery, and there isn't a need to repot it immediately. In fact, it can be better for your plants if you give them a couple of weeks to adjust to their new home.
This will also give you a chance to keep an eye on your new plant baby in case you brought home a pest or two from the plant store.
When it comes to watering, they like a regular drink, but they do not like sitting in wet soil. Give them a good soak when the top inch or more of the soil is dry. If they're left sitting in sopping wet soil, their roots will likely rot, which can kill a plant pretty quickly. Keep an eye out for yellowing, mushy leaves, as that can be a sign of root rot.
This plant doesn't require a ton of light, either. It's not as low light tolerant as something like a snake plant, but it will be fine in an east-facing window or somewhere where it only gets a couple of hours of bright indirect light a day. Keeping it in direct light will cause it to burn, so if you have a south-facing window, keep it a few feet away to keep it happy.
When it blooms, flowers will come out of dark burgundy-colored tubes, not unlike lipstick. If your plant is happy, it should bloom year-round, although don't fret if it goes a while without producing flowers. That's totally normal, especially during colder months.
Best Growing Conditions for Lipstick Plants
Warm, somewhat humid places are best for lipstick plants. They're native to Malaysia, where the temperature doesn't often dip below 70 degrees. Keeping your plant inside will pretty much keep it a constant temperature, so you honestly don't have to worry about that too much. If you place it near other plants, that will also help with humidity levels.
Water it when the top inch or so of soil feels dry, but be careful of overwatering. This one can go a bit without water, and you'll know if it's too dry if your plant begins to drop leaves. If you choose to mist your plant to add some humidity, do it early in the day so the water can evaporate, otherwise you could be inviting fungus issues.
Bright indirect light is best for lipstick plants. They live in trees in their native habitat, so they're used to having some shade. Bright light can actually burn the leaves of the plant, so keep it a few feet from a window that gets strong afternoon sun.
How to Propagate Your Lipstick Plant
Lipstick plants are extremely easy to propagate via stem cuttings, similarly to pothos and philodendron plants. Simply snip off a portion of vine that has a couple of nodes, place it in soil, and watch it grow.
What You Need
- Well-draining soil mix
- Sharp scissors
- Rooting hormone (optional)
Instructions for Stem Cuttings:
- Cut a piece of the lipstick plant with a few leaves and nodes on it.
- Dip in rooting hormone.
- Stick the stem in the soil.
- Keep it out of direct sunlight and water when the top inch of soil feels dry. It should root within a couple of weeks.
Creating a "greenhouse" out of a plastic bag can help your cutting root. Simply place your pot and cutting in a bag, seal it up, and water it when it feels dry.
Common Growing Problems
Like many other plants, lipstick plants are susceptible to root rot from overwatering. To prevent this, only water when the top inch or more of the soil feels dry. You also want to make sure you have a well-draining soil that doesn't hold on to too much water. Using something like an African violet soil mixture is a good choice.
You may also find that fungus grows on the plant leaves if they stay wet. Decrease the chances of fungus by making sure the leaves are most always dry, and prop vines up if they are laying on wet soil.
Lipstick vines are susceptible to the typical pests (aphids, spider mites, and mealy bugs) which hide out under leaves. Keep a close eye on the undersides of leaves for tiny white bugs or web-like gunk, which is a sign of pests.
You can remove mites and other small pests with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Dab the pests with the swab and get a new one as needed to continue removing them from your plant.
Potting and Repotting
The only time you need to repot your lipstick plant is when roots start coming out of the drainage hole or top of the pot. It maybe only needs it every couple of years, and it'll be perfectly happy slightly root bound.
- My Nice Garden. "Aeschynanthus parvifolius - The Lipstick Plant."
- Gardening Know How. "Lipstick Plant Care – Tips For Growing Lipstick Plants."
Missouri Botanical Garden. "Aeschynanthus radicans."