Plant Sheet: Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus radicans)

Stunning scarlet flowers will brighten up your living space if you get a Lipstick Plant. Don’t miss out on the beautiful effect this plant will have on your home!

Short Sum-Up: Aeschynanthus radicans, known as Lipstick Plant, showcases red tubular flowers akin to lipsticks, and is native to Malaysia. As an epiphyte, it thrives on trees or rocks, with evergreen vines. Its flowering is not season-bound and reflects tropical adaptability.

Join the Lipstick Plant party in our indoor gardens! Discover why this plant is the VIP guest you didn’t know you needed!

Origin and Natural Habitat of the Lipstick Plant

The plant specimen Aeschynanthus radicans is commonly called Lipstick Plant or Lipstick Vine after its tubular bright red flowers that, with their dark tubes, resemble lipsticks.

A lot of studies have found that the color red is often associated with shame, which explains the botanical genus that derives from the Greek word ‘aischyne’ (shame) and ‘anthos’ (flower).

The Lipstick Plant is native to Malaysia where it grows as an epiphyte on trees or rocks, its long leathery vines hanging down like a leaf carpet. Being native to tropical areas, it doesn’t have a specific flowering period but rather produces flowers year-round whenever conditions suit it.

The epiphytical lifestyle also explains the slightly succulent, fleshy leaves. The striking red flowers produce a lovely contrast with the dark green hue of the foliage.

Good to know: The Aeschynanthus radicans are related to Hoya (Wax) Plants. As members of the same family, they have similarly fleshy leaves and flowering patterns. Read more about Hoya Plants and what their flowers look like through this link!

As it grows long vines, the Lipstick Plant is perfect for hanging baskets or to be placed on an upper shelf. Aeschynanthus radicans as well as other specimens of its family have long been valued as beautiful houseplants.

Brighten Up Lipstick Plant’s Day: Light and Water Requirements

Aeschynanthus specimens are used to high humidity and moist soil from their natural tropical habitat. Water this plant about every week, always checking first whether the top inches of soil feel dry to the touch. If the soil is still soggy, wait another day or two. Don’t let the soil dry out completely.

Make sure to pour the water directly on the soil and not on the leaves. The leaves have a layer of fine hair on them and watering the leaves might destroy that protection layer.

As these plants love high humidity, I recommend using a humidifier in winter during the heating period. Keeping the humidity level at 60% year-round is good for your plants as well as for your body.

Reading recommendation: There are more ways to increase humidity at home than using a humidifier! Click through to my post about how to increase humidity in your home to find out!

As for the light requirements, medium to bright spots with mainly indirect light suit it best. In medium light, it will grow new vines but produce fewer flowers. If you want the Lipstick Plant to bloom regularly, give it the brightest indirect light you have in your home.

Even morning and later afternoon sun are fine with it. Just avoid exposing it to harsh midday sun as this will burn its leaves.

Tip: The Lipstick Plant is known to do pretty well under artificial light. Artificial lighting is a good alternative if your home as a lot of darker corners. Getting the right lights is not that complicated – even LEDs work well. Read more about what type of LED lights you need for houseplants in my post linked here.

A Lipstick Vine’s Guide to Happiness: Care Tips

Apart from giving it the brightest spot with indirect light, there are other tips to have more of these beautiful lipstick flowers throughout the year. In winter, keep the plant a bit cooler and drier to encourage flowering. Temperatures between 60-70 °F (15-20 °C) are best.

The soil still shouldn’t be left to dry out completely but try giving it just a bit less water. If you check the moisture of the upper inches of soil, you will know when to water it. The top inches of soil should always be dry before watering.

Also, do not expose the plants to strong drafts, this might cause them to lose some of the lower leaves and discourage them from flowering.

Another tip to generally encourage the growth of new vines is to prune the vines regularly. Once the vines become too long and leggy, cut about two-thirds of their length. This will also give your plant a bushier and lusher look.

Tip: The cuttings taken from pruning don’t need to be discarded. Instead, you can use them for propagation. Read more about the propagation of the Lipstick Plant in the next section!

Some reviews of Lipstick Plants mention a pungent smell that emanates from the flowers. From my experience with the Aeschynanthus radicans, it has never produced any strong or unpleasant smell as an indoor plant.

How To Propagate Aeschynanthus radicans

Aeschynanthus radicans plants are quite productive plants. When pruning your plant, use the occasion to propagate it by placing the cuttings in water. Make sure to cut off the lower leaves on the vines (no leaf should be submerged in water) and let them root in water for about 2-3 weeks.

By using a transparent glass jar for the rooting process, you can watch the new roots grow and know exactly when it is time to plant them into a pot with soil. As soon as a small root ball has formed, they are ready to be planted.

If you prefer, you can also let the cuttings root directly in the soil. Cut off the lower leaves and place the ends of the cutting a couple of inches deep in the soil. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. After about 3-4 weeks you will see if the rooting has been successful by new leaves growing on the vines.

Lipstick Plant Superpowers

According to Feng Shui, the Lipstick Plant stands for abundance, love, and prosperity. Giving it a bright and prominent spot in your home deliberately emphasizes this meaning.

In indigenous medicine, Aeschynanthus radicans has long been used to treat several pains, such as headaches, sore throats, or digestive issues.

Another superpower this plant brings along, although less evident when kept indoors, is its contribution to biodiversity: With its sweet smell and abundant nectar, it attracts lots of pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds, and other insects and hence contributes to a healthy natural environment.

It is also completely non-toxic and won’t harm any of your pets or your kids.

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