Lipstick plants come in a wide range of varieties, most of which produce beautiful flowers year-round. Be careful to keep them warm though, as these plants can’t tolerate even moderate temperatures.
Lipstick Plant Overview
Lipstick Plant Quick Facts
|Scientific Name:||Aeschynanthus spp.|
|Common Names||Lipstick plant, blushing rose, basket vine|
|Type||Evergreen subtropical vine|
|Watering||Maintain moderately moist soil|
|Light||Bright, indirect light|
|Humidity||Average to high humidity|
|Pests||Aphids, spider mites, mealy bugs, thrips|
Varieties of Lipstick Plant
Around 150 species of Aeschynanthus exist. Some of the most popular varieties include the following.
Aeschynanthus radicans 'Mona Lisa'
This variety of lipstick plant is a prolific bloomer, so if you want the best chances of a plant that blooms in abundance all year round, then this could be the one for you. Its flowers are a bright red.
Aeschynanthus radicans 'Variegata'
This lipstick plant has intense red flowers set against green foliage with a creamy variegation.
The flowers of this variety emerge from dark purple buds, giving it a theatrical air.
Aeschynanthus radicans 'Curly'
This is an especially unusual-looking variety of lipstick plant, grown for its vines which curl around in a whimsical manner. The leaves on this twirling vine are dark green.
Aeschynanthus 'Purple Star'
The flowers of this plant are red with splashes of purple.
Aeschynanthus radicans 'Rasta'
The leaves of this lipstick plant twist in on themselves, giving the vines a very chunky and full look when admired from a distance.
Aeschynanthus radicans 'Tangerine'
This variety of lipstick plant features flowers in an orange-yellow color.
Aeschynanthus radicans 'Krakau'
The leaves of this plant are especially shiny, and the flowers are red.
Aeschynanthus longicaulis ‘Black Pagoda’
The flowers on this lipstick plant are less remarkable than its relatives, as they are small and green. This plant is more commonly grown for its foliage, which has a mottled effect in mid and paler shades of green.
Lipstick Plant Care Tips
Lipstick plants should be watered moderately. While their soil should not be allowed to dry out completely, you should wait until the top quarter of the pot's soil has dried before watering the plant again. You can check this by simply dipping your finger into the soil and feeling for moisture.
Overwatering this plant can be fatal, as it can lead to root rot, but lipstick plants are also particularly susceptible to fungal diseases. which thrive in moist conditions, so take extra care not to water the plant too heavily or too often. Using a well-draining soil will help to give you a buffer so that any overwatering mistakes will be remedied by the excess water draining through the soil and out of the pot’s drainage holes.
This plant needs bright, indirect light. It should not be placed in a position of full sun as this will scorch the leaves, but if it does not get enough light, it will struggle to have the energy to produce flowers. Aim for around six hours of indirect light each day.
As a subtropical plant in its native environment, the lipstick plant likes to be kept warm. Ideally, it should be in a temperature range of 70-85° F. At around 65° F. the plant will survive, but it will not thrive, and you will see this from the lack of flowers it produces at this temperature. If the plant is subjected to temperatures of 50° F or lower, then it will likely suffer, and as a result of this, all of the bright green foliage will turn a dull shade of red.
It is easy to keep the lipstick plant happy as a houseplant as it is comfortable in temperatures the same as people typically like to have their homes. Remember to keep your plant in a room that is heated throughout the winter, but away from any vents which may dry it out. As the plant can suffer injury in low temperatures, it is best to keep it in a position protected from cold drafts, ideally away from open windows or entryways (University of Florida).
The lipstick plant enjoys high humidity, as it would be subject to in its natural environment in the tropics. It usually does just fine in regular household humidity, so this isn’t a care element you need to worry too much about, but the plant will benefit from an occasional water misting spray if you happen to be spraying other humidity loving plants at the same time. Most people keep this vine in hanging baskets, which means that pebble trays are not a practical option, but if you wish to increase humidity in other ways, you can group plants together or use a humidifier.
The lipstick plant can be easily propagated with stem cuttings. Choose a stem of new growth and cut it at around four inches in length. Make sure that the stem is not flowering and does not have any buds on it. Dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone, and then plant it in a moist growing medium in a small pot. Keep it in a warm position away from direct sunlight, and wait for the stem to root.
To increase the speed of rooting and chances of success, create a mini greenhouse environment by putting a clear plastic bag over your cutting and pot, which will create humidity. After four to six weeks, the stem should have rooted. You can check for this by noting new growth or gently tugging at the stem to see if it easily slides out of the soil. If it holds onto the soil, then it has rooted. Wait a further few more weeks for the roots to gain strength, and then transplant the cutting to a larger pot and offer it regular care conditions.
This plant doesn’t require pruning, but if you would like it to have a fuller look, then pinching off the ends of the vines will encourage denser growth. Otherwise, you only need to prune to remove any dead or damaged stems or to control the size if it becomes bigger than you would like. Always prune after the plant has flowered so that you don’t damage any of the flowering stems.
The lipstick plant is able to bloom most of the year-round but will bloom most prolifically in late summer and fall. If you’re looking for an easy-to-care flowering houseplant to bring some color into your home during the winter months, then this would be a great option. The flowers resemble lipstick as they bloom, with the small orange or red flower growing out of a cylindrical shaped bud (Royal Horticultural Society).
Common Pests and Diseases
Lipstick plants are not especially popular with pests, but they can fall victim to many of the common houseplant pests, such as thrips, mealy bugs, spider mites, and aphids. You can preventatively treat your lipstick plant with neem oil, which is a natural insecticide which is not harmful to children, pets, or the environment. You can dilute neem oil according to the directions and spray it on your plant, as well as adding it to the soil when you water the plant. Neem oil can also be used to curb pest infestations, though heavy infestations can often require a toxic insecticide to completely rid your plant of the pests.
Which varieties of lipstick plant have you grown? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to share this page with other interested growers!