Like some other fantastically flowering indoor plants we’ve featured, the lipstick plant is known for its odd-shaped blooms and expansive foliage.
This evergreen epiphyte, also known as Aeschynanthus Radicans, can offer an almost constant flow of flowers when grown in the right conditions.
Follow our grow and care guide to help you propagate, plant and grow beautifully blooming lipstick plants.
What is a Lipstick Plant?
Lipstick plants are native to tropical regions in Southeast Asia, usually growing along the branches of other trees or along rocks. As such, they’re quite well adapted to grow indoors, provided enough light and moisture.
Although not succulent, lipstick plants offer glossy, green foliage and vibrantly red, tubular flowers, which grow abundantly throughout the spring, summer and fall months.
It is entirely non-toxic and non-fragrant, making it suitable for anywhere in the house. It even purifies the air.
The biggest benefits of lipstick plants include:
- It’s year-round blooming, which can be achieved without a lot of work.
- It’s flowering ability, even when grown in smaller containers.
- Each cultivars individuality and different growing habits.
The Best Lipstick Plant Varieties
As they are popular, there are a number of cultivars to choose from. The most common choices include:
- The “Curly” or “Twister” Aeschynanthus Radicans. This variety has fantastically wavy, warping leaves making it quite the show-stopper.
- The “Mona Lisa” Aeschynanthus Radicans. This cultivar produces distinctively deep-orange blooms rather than red.
- Aeschynanthus Radicans “Variegata”. This cultivar differs from the others as it has a mix of green, yellow, white and cream leaves.
- “Cassiopeia” Aeschynanthus Radicans. This is a dramatic variety, with deep red flowers blooming from dark purple buds and deep emerald leaves.
- “Purple Star” Lipstick Plants. With lush green leaves, this cultivar boasts bright red blooms with a stunning tuft of purple in the center.
Whichever cultivar you choose, you’ll definitely have a gorgeously striking house plant for your hanging baskets or taller plant stands.
They are also wonderfully complementary when grown alongside Alsobias, who produce white flowers or Ivy for some added green foliage.
How to Grow Lipstick Plant
When growing lipstick, the most important factor to remember is that these plants are epiphytic. Natively, they don’t always grow in soil, so you’ll always want to ensure you have a well-aerated, well-draining soil mixture that will still retain moisture.
Experts recommend a slightly alkaline soil mix of sand and sphagnum moss.
How Much Light Do Lipstick Plants Need?
Lipstick plants grow best in bright, indirect or filtered light. Adequate lighting will be essential for the plentiful growth of flowers. Avoid keeping your lipstick in either full shade or full sun.
Around 6 hours of indirect light offers the ideal conditions for abundant flowering.
Propagating Lipstick Plants
Being a fast-grower, lipstick plants are easily and frequently propagated from stem cuttings. Be sure to remove a healthy stem when taking your cutting and ensure you use a sterilized and sharp pair of shears.
- Take a stem cutting, about 5-inches long.
- Remove the lower leaves and dip into rooting hormone.
- Place the cut end into a moistened potting mix and leave to root.
Rooting usually takes about 2 to 3 weeks; then, you can re-plant. Be sure to keep the soil moist as much as possible.
It is also possible to propagate lipstick plants from seed. It is important to ensure your seeds are sown indoors, where it’s warm and humid. Germination will also take about 2 weeks. Wait for the seedling to sprout significantly before re-planting.
Quick Growing Tips for Lipstick Plants
Here are a few extra tips to help you make the most of your Lipstick Plants:
- It’s an adaptable plant, so you can grow it in hanging baskets, on taller shelves or even along with pieces of wood. Just be sure to keep it moist.
- You can take cuttings regularly from your Lipstick plant without harming, so don’t be afraid to make plenty of little lipstick planters.
- In the springtime, your Lipstick plant will be able to tolerate a lighter. Consider moving it to a brighter spot to help promote blossom growth but keep an eye out for scorched leaves.
- Play around with all of the species. You can find trailing, upright and climbing varieties at local nurseries.
- If you notice a lack of flowering from your lipstick plant, double-check that your plant is receiving enough nutrients and light throughout the day. Light pruning should also stimulate growth.
Lipstick Plants Care Guide
Once propagated, this tropical houseplant should be easy to care for, provided with the right light and water conditions. Lipstick plants will also require a little extra humidity should they be kept in particularly dry conditions.
It’s important not to let your soil dry out too much in between. However, water-logged roots can quickly lead to fungal infections and kill off your plant. Try to let only the first inch dry out before watering again.
Lipstick plants do well with a little extra nutrient boost from time to time. Use a slow-release fertilizer, preferably with a 3-1-2 ratio, during the spring months to encourage blossoms and stem growth.
As they are tropical plants, you will need to support your lipstick plant with a little extra humidity from time to time. It enjoys a lot of moist, warm air, so keep it in the bathroom, near a humidifier or simply spritz the soil regularly with some additional water.
Should there be a sudden drop in temperature in humidity or temperature, it may cause a sudden and erratic leaf drop. Don’t panic. Just be sure to keep your lipstick plant in a warm, humid location.
As it’s often used in hanging baskets, pebble trays aren’t always ideal, so it’s better to use a mister. However, take care not to leave the leaves overly wet as it creates the ideal conditions for fungal growth.
You may need to prune back sparse or drooping stems after the flowering season. This will also help to keep it looking fuller and promote vigorous growth.
Again, be sure to do with a clean, sterilized pair of shears. Cut back as much as 3-inches above the soil and be sure to cut right above the leaf node.
Re-pot your lipstick plant only once it’s root has fully filled the pot. This will only be every 2 years or so.
Pest & Disease Problems
As it’s an indoor grower, it’s not particularly susceptible to pests or diseases. However, when there are underlying stressors such as too much water, it may develop fungal problems or leaf spots.
Regularly spray your lipstick plant with an organic pesticide like Neem Oil to prevent any potential pests like spider mites or aphids.
Should you notice a reddened mass, which looks much like a spider’s web, immediately treat it with a fungicide.
Wrapping Up Our Lipstick Plant Grow & Care Guide
As long as you ensure enough light, a little bit of moisture and well-draining soil, your lipstick plant should be good to go. When propagating, always use sterilized tools so as to avoid the spread of any bacteria or diseases between plants.
Should you notice a leaf drop, drooping or scorched leaves, be sure to adjust its growing conditions to keep it happy and healthy.
Follow these tips, and you’ll have a profusely flowering lipstick plant for most of the year.