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Plant of the week: Aeschynanthus ‘Rasta’ AKA the curly lipstick plant

There aren’t too many houseplants that are talked about that can bloom continuously while growing in your home. And as plant enthusiasts, it can be an excellent change of pace to invest in a plant that’s going to provide you with some beautiful flowers to enjoy. If this is something you’re interested in, we recommend trying the Aeschynanthus. Here we’ll talk about all the things you need to know to grow this stunning, flowering plant successfully.

Aeschynanthus or lipstick plant

What is the Aeschynanthus?

The Aeschynanthus, otherwise known as the lipstick plant, is an evergreen houseplant that blooms all year-round. Native to Southeast Asia, this plant gets its nickname from the shape of its red flowers that come blooming out of a maroon bud that resembles a tube of lipstick.

While they aren’t a vine, they grow similarly, with the flowers clustering around the waxy and pointy leaves. This growth pattern makes them ideal for hanging baskets or draping down the side of furniture. And although you’ll be able to enjoy flowers from this plant nearly all year round, you won’t get much in the way of fragrance. These plants don’t have a strong scent, which is probably a good thing since the flowers don’t smell all that great anyway!

When cared for properly, they can grow up to three feet tall. And even though they’re native to tropical environments, they aren’t hard to care for and are even considered beginner-friendly.

Aeschynanthus flower

Care tips for an Aeschynanthus

Since these are beginner-friendly plants, their care isn’t complicated. However, it’s always nice to have a clear idea of what a plant needs so you can be sure it lives a long and happy life in your home.

Water

This is a tropical native plant, so it prefers its soil to stay moist and doesn’t want it to dry out between waterings completely. To ensure you’re watering at the correct times, we recommend purchasing a moisture meter so you can measure the soil’s moisture level accurately. However, you can use your finger too by sticking it into the soil. When the top two to three inches are dry, it’s time to water.

When you water the plant, do so thoroughly. First, soak the whole pot and ensure all of the soil is saturated with water. Then let the water drain out the bottom and put it back in its tray or hanging basket. It wants to be moist, but you don’t want it to sit in water, or else you’ll risk root rot.

Light

Lipstick plants like bright light, but too much direct light can cause them to burn and maybe even die. It’s best to set them in front of a window with a thin curtain so they can get the bright indirect light they love without the risk of scorching. However, you don’t want them not to get enough sun either; the extra sun will encourage them to produce more flowers. Not enough sun, and you’ll notice a drop in flower production.

Food

Monthly feedings with a balanced fertilizer are all this plant needs. These feedings can taper off as the growing season ends.

Temperature

The average temperature of a home is perfect for the Aeschynanthus. As long as your house stays somewhere between 65 and 75 degrees, your lipstick plant will be happy. However, if the temperatures drop below 50, you’ll notice leaf drop and maybe even damage that your plant won’t be able to recover from.

You’ll also want to avoid placing this plant in locations where dramatic changes in temperatures might occur. This means drafty doors and windows and air vents are danger zones for a plant like this.

Humidity

While your home’s normal humidity levels will keep this plant happy, if you have an area in your home where you use a humidifier, you might want to consider placing this plant close to that. You’ll also want to give this plant a nice shower about once a month to provide it with a boost of humidity and clean its leaves of dust.

Toxicity

This plant is not toxic to cats, dogs, or humans, so you can bring this beauty into your home, knowing it won’t harm any curious creatures living in your home.

Additional care

Since this plant has a vine-like growing habit, it can sometimes start to look a bit leggy. To encourage a more full and bushy growth, you can prune the vines back now and then. If a vine seems to be getting dramatically longer than the other, give it a little trim.

The lipstick plant is a stunning draping plant that will look great in any collection. We love the pop of red it brings to a space, and its easy care makes it even more appealing. Use these tips to grow an Aeschynanthus in your home successfully!

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