Lipstick plants (Aeschynanthus radicans) are beautiful trailing plants that are sure to brighten up any indoor space! They get their name from their unusually shaped tubular flowers that resemble lipstick tubes and they are a bright vibrant red, with hints of orange and sometimes flashes of yellow in their centre.
If you can nail the environmental conditions for these plants, then they will reward you with beautiful flowers most of the year-round, making them such a popular plant. They are also pet-friendly plants and non-toxic to humans so they are perfect if you have an abundance of furry friends living in your home!
Here, we cover how to care for a lipstick plant, which thankfully is actually quite easy, and then we will look at some frequently asked questions about lipstick plant care.
Lipstick plants are native to tropical parts of Southeast Asia. They are commonly found in the humid rainforests of Java, where you can find them growing out of cracks in rocks and trailing alongside trees.
This means that creating a sort of tropical-esque environment indoors is the best way to keep these darling plants happy and blossoming throughout the year. We’ve done all the hard work for you by putting together some essential lipstick plant care advice, to keep your plant in tip-top condition!
Along with watering, giving your lipstick plant the right amount of light is the most important aspect of its environmental conditions.
Lipstick plants like lots of bright indirect sunlight, so try to find a nice spot indoors that benefits from the sun for most of the day. It’s important not to put your plant under the direct rays of the sun because this will cause its leaves to burn and prevent it from producing as many flowers. The best location for lipstick plants is somewhere near a south-facing window so that they get filtered sunlight all day long.
If your plant isn’t flowering then there is a good chance that this is down to inadequate light conditions.
Lipstick plant care top tip: Lipstick plants that are looking a bit leggy and straggly are probably in need of some more light, so try moving them to a brighter area!
One of the trickiest things about caring for indoor plants is getting your watering schedule right! Every plant is different and it can be very tempting to love them to death by watering them too much!
In terms of lipstick plant care, you should allow the top layer of soil to completely dry out before you water your plant again. Lipstick plants are most likely to bloom when you let the top quarter of the soil dry out, but if the leaves start to turn brown then this is a sign that you’ve left your plant to dry out for a bit too long!
Your watering schedule should also be dictated by the season, so in the growing season i.e., spring and summer months, you should water your plant roughly once a week. In the cooler months of autumn and winter, it’s best to water every 2-3 weeks to avoid overwatering.
Lipstick plant care top tip: Lipstick plants are much better at tolerating underwatering than they are overwatering so it's always better to stay on the side of caution.
3. Temperature & Humidity
So as we know pretty little lipstick plants are native to the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, which means they are happiest in warm humid environments.
This means that creating a warm environment is another important aspect of lipstick plant care, because if the temperature reaches below 10°C your lipstick plant will start to die. The optimum temperature range for growth and flowering is between 24°C to 29°C, the lower the temperature falls below this level the more that growth will slow.
It’s important that lipstick plants are kept away from things that dry out the air, such as artificial heating because they need some humidity to survive. Bathrooms and kitchens make great environments for lipstick plants, provided that they get enough natural light.
Lipstick plant care top tip: An easy way of increasing the humidity around your plant is to keep a spray bottle nearby and use it to mist your plant with water several times per week.
Ensuring that you use d soil will make your life much easier in terms of lipstick plant care, as this helps prevent overwatering.
It’s best to use potting soil designed for indoor houseplants, but you will likely find that this is still a bit too heavy for your lipstick plant.
To improve the consistency of your soil, mix it like:
- One part potting soil, one part potting mix, one part peat
- One part potting soil, one part peat, one part perlite
- One part compost, one part peat, one part potting soil
Lipstick plants don’t require any fertilising during the colder autumn and winter months, but during the spring and summer it’s a good idea to apply a slow release fertiliser every couple of weeks. Another option is to use a water-soluble houseplant fertiliser but diluted to half strength, and this should be applied once every 2 weeks during the spring and summer.
Lipstick plant top tip:
If your plant starts to get brown tips on the ends of her leaves, this could means that there might be too much salt in the soil from the fertiliser. When this happens, flush the soil by running water through the soil for 5 minutes and then drain it. Repeat this every 3-4 months to ensure the excess fertiliser has been rinsed off. Make sure to do this with care so not too much of the soil is lost. Using a diluted fertiliser will also help avoid this issue of flushing your plant.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can lipstick plants be kept outdoors?
It’s unlikely that you will be able to maintain the environmental conditions necessary for a lipstick plant to thrive outdoors. They do not tolerate frost well at all, so it’s only possible if you live somewhere that is continually warm or you can keep it outside during the spring and summer months. If you do choose to keep your lipstick plant outdoors then it’s essential that you choose a nice shady spot so that the leaves don’t get fried in the sun.
How do I check my lipstick plant’s soil to see if she needs watering?
The easiest way to check whether you need to water your plant or not is to stick your finger into the soil, and if the top quarter is dry, then give it some water. If you don’t trust your own judgement then you can also buy soil moisture monitors, and these will indicate when your plant needs watering.
How often should I repot my lipstick plant?
Lipstick plants actually fare better when their roots are tightly packed together, you only need to repot your plant if it has noticeably outgrown its pot.
And there we have it!
Hopefully you now feel like an expert on how to care for a lipstick plant. These gorgeous plants are so striking and unique that they will be the perfect addition to any room in your house. Lipstick plants are fairly easy children to raise and they’re certainly worth your while, as they bless you with gorgeous flowers all year round!