The lipstick plant is the common name of Aeschynanthus radicans. People name it lipstick plant because of its red tubular lipstick like flowers. This is an evergreen tropical plant. It blooms 365 days a year. Before growing this plant, you need to know about lipstick plant care techniques.
Fertile soil, bright light, normal temperature range, and seasonal fertilization are required for the best care.
In this article, you’ll find every single detail about lipstick plant care, propagation, and maintenance.
About the lipstick plant
It is also called basket vine and lipstick vine in some parts of the country. Mainly this plant is native to Southeast Asian countries. There it is normally found on the hill in cracks of heavy rocks.
Because it is from the Gesneriaceae family. It is a cousin of African violet plants.
USDA hardiness zones 10 to 11 are perfect for growing it in an outdoor garden. This plant cannot survive in frost. In fact, it starts dying outside when the night temperature drops below 70 degrees F.
There is one solution to this problem and that is, grow it indoors. Lipstick plant care is possible in an indoor environment. It demands very little care as compare to its other family member plants.
Lipstick pant is perfect for hanging baskets. Because its vines grow long in size near about 2 feet. We all know long vine flower plants look amazingly beautiful in hanging baskets.
It produces beautiful colorful buds and glossy green leaves. Flowers of the plant grow in cluster form. Below is the best care guide for growing lipstick plants. If you too want this plant in your indoor collection then you need to follow the below guide carefully.
Quick Care Guide
Lipstick vine and basket vine plant
Non-toxic to animals and humans
10- 11 Zones
Above 50 %
60 degrees F to 75 Degrees F
Low bright filtered light
Liquid fertilizer in active season
Pest and Diseases
Aphids, Mealybugs, Spider mites, and Fungi
Lipstick plant light needs
Put the plant in a place where it can receive balanced filtered light. Because too low light can result in a smaller number of flowers. Whereas too bright light can burn the plant foliage.
The solution to this problem is to give the plant filtered sunlight light. For this purpose, you need to find a place in your home. Where the indirect light falls directly on the plant leaves. But the intensity of light should be low.
If you have a sunny window then you can put it near it. To protect it from direct falling sun rays, use a sheer curtain.
In case your lipstick plant is stretching towards the window. This means it is getting low light. Move the pot close to the window to increase the amount of light (indirect light) falling on the plant.
Regardless of the USDA zones, you can put it outside in the outdoor garden or on side of your front door entrance. But place it outside only in springtime and in a shady place.
The best soil for the Lipstick plant
For proper care, you need to choose lightweight, fast-draining, and well-aerated soil. Heavy clay-type soil does not allow the roots of the plant to expand easily. This blocks the absorption of many essential nutrients along with water. Once the plant becomes unhealthy it starts dying.
It is best if you do not use the normal garden soil. For best results use a commercial potting mix. Houseplant potting mixes are specifically designed for growing plants in containers or in plant pots. They are lightweight, well-draining, and well-aerated soils.
In case of accidental overwatering commercial potting mix can save your plant. By only absorbing the desired amount of water and draining every extra drop.
There are many types of potting mixes in the local market. You need to buy that is pre-fertilized. These mixes have slow-releasing organic fertilizers in them. This reduces the need for fertilization and reduces your work.
If you know how to make potting soil for plants at home then below is the formula.
1 part compost + 1 part peat + 1 part potting soil
1 part potting soil + 1 part peat + 1 part potting mix
How to water lipstick plants?
Lipstick plants need moist soil but not wet and soggy soil. This means you need to water it carefully. There is one method of watering by which you can promote the flower and also save your plant from over water problems.
That is, check the soil moisture in the morning time before watering the plant. The top 1 inch of the soil must be dry before watering. Otherwise, the watering application will result in over watering and cause root rot disease.
In its growing season which is spring to summer. You have to water it more, than during the winter season. Every living thing that is in growing stage needs more water and nutrients.
To check the soil condition use a soil moisture meter. You can easily get one from Amazon.
In case of overwatering your plant leaves lose their shine and become dark. In this condition do not stick to the regular watering routine. Cut the water supply for few days and don’t try to put it in direct sunlight to evaporate the extra water.
The bottom hole at the base of the plant pot is for draining the extra water. It will allow the excess water to drain out of the pot quickly.
Keep the humidity high mainly above 58% for good lipstick plant care. As the plant is native to tropical rain forests. It needs high humidity for its entire life like it gets in its native place. If the humidity in your house is low than the recommended range then you need to help your plant to survive. There are many ways that you can use to increase the humidity by 10 to 30 %.
For example, misting water on plant leaves on low humid days will increase the air moisture around the plant for a day. This method is good for plants that are growing in hanging baskets.
On the other side, if you are growing lipstick plants in containers. Then you can use the pebble tray method. Fill the tray with pebbles and water. Then place the plant pot over it just make sure the water cannot reach the plant pot bottom hole. This will definitely work and add moisture in the air until the tray has water in it.
In case, your plant is suffering from low air moisture. Then you should move the plant pot or hanging basket to the bathroom. The condition is your bathroom should have enough bright light. Turn its light ON for the entire day and open the window for fresh air.
Humidifiers are fast solutions. Install one in the plant room and turn it ON. This machine will set the air moisture in few minutes.
Best Temperature for Lipstick plant care
In a normal house, we have an indoor temperature ranging between 70 to 85 Degrees F. This range is good for growing houseplants especially lipstick plants. In extreme conditions, your lipstick plant can tolerate the temperature down to 60 Degrees F. But once it starts dropping below 60 then the plant starts suffering. Low temperature damages the plant cells and plants start to drop leaves.
Therefore, you need to maintain the temperature of the grow room in the perfect range. Sudden changes in the temperature cause problems. So do not put the plant pot near the air conditions, airy window, and beside the doors.
How to fertilize the lipstick plant?
As I mentioned above that if you are using pre-fertilized soil. Then you do not need to fertilize your plants. The slow-releasing fertilizer in the soil is sufficient for growing lipstick plants.
In case you use the soil formula without organic compost. Then you need to mix fertilizers for the proper growth of plants. Houseplant fertilizers come in two types one is liquid and the other is powdered. Granular fertilizers are good for outdoor soil rooted plants not for container plants.
Choose the water-soluble fertilizer and dilute it as per the instructions on the bottle.
If you see the brown tips of plant leaves. Then you need to flush the soil to remove the salt build-up. Fertilizers have minerals in form of salts. They start getting collecting in the root area. If you give a higher dosage of nutrients to your plants.
Lipstick plants are non-toxic to cats, dogs, humans, and horses. Grow them with a free mind in your garden or indoors even if you have pets and children.
Lipstick plants look extra beautiful when they are bushy type. To make the growth bushy you need to cut the large vines. For best results prune the lipstick plants right after the end of the blooming season.
Cut above the leaf node for heavy bloom. For this purpose, take a sharp sterilizes pair of scissors. Use rubbing alcohol to sterilize garden tools.
Repotting of Lipstick plants
Spring to summer is the best time of repotting. You only need to repot it if the plant roots cover the entire bottom of the pot. Follow the below steps and repot your lipstick plant successfully.
Take the one size large container.
Fill it with same type of new potting soil.
Carefully take out the plant from its old pot and remove the old potting soil from roots.
Inspect the roots for any disease. Cut the dry and dead part of the roots.
Put the plant in the new pot and fill the remaining portion of the pot with potting mix.
Give some water to keep the new potting soil moist.
Place the plant in its place and let it grow a little bigger.
Propagation of lipstick plant
The cuttings you take at the time of pruning are good for propagating the plant. The size must be 4 to 6 inches long with few or more leaves on them.
Take a small pot and plant the cutting in it.
2 inches deep hole is good for plating plant cuttings.
Then water the potting mix with a spray bottle
Put the plant pot in a high humid and warm environment.
Within 50 days your cuttings get established in the pots.
Fungal diseases are common in tropical plants. Botrytis is a type of fungal infection that is the common enemy of lipstick plants. Black spots and lesions on plant leaves indicate the presence of this disease.
To heal your plant, move the pot to a warm location. Because the cool nights can worsen the problem.
Here you need to cut the water to the plant and also reduce the humidity in the grow room. immediately use the fungicide spray and spray it all over the plant.
Common pests and Solutions
There are many pests that infest the indoor growing houseplants. The only best way of tackling them is to identify and treat them at an early stage. This way you can save your other plant from infections.
Mealybugs, Aphids, and Spider mites are the common pests that attack every single houseplant. They commonly attack plants that are growing in dirty conditions. If you see them on your plant then the first step is to separate it from other healthy plants.
Use neem oil and rubbing alcohol are best to treat them. These insects do not have resistance power against rubbing alcohol and neem oil. Firstly, use cotton and alcohol to wipe them from the plant leaves. Then spray neem oil to heal the plant. It will also prevent their re-attacks.
Lipstick plant dropping leaves
Leaf dropping is caused by many plant problems. In many cases the problem is underwatering. Give some water to your plant and use clean drinkable water. The problem will be solved in few days.
The second reason for leaf dropping is too cold temperature. Check the room temperature if it is below 60 Degrees F. Then you need to raise the room temperature or move the plant pot to a warm location. The problem of a leaf dropping in lipstick plants will get solved in few days.