Aeschynanthus lobbianus Gesneriaceae LIPSTICK PLANT Tips Care and Propagation guide benefits
This epiphytic plant is closely related to, and resembles, columneas. It is ideal for use in a hanging basket, since its habit is to sprawl, and a simple flowerpot cannot always confine it adequately.
The plant originates in tropical rain forests, where it thrives in the high humidity. In the wild its woody stems follow the line of the often moss-covered tree branches, while the roots grow down into any suitable material.
The pale green, fleshy, elliptical leaves are up to 2in/5cm wide and 4in/10cm long. During the spring and summer, clusters of 6 to 20 flowers bloom on, or very near, the tips of the stems, which can extend to 2-3ft/60-90cm. The long, blood-red flowers, with yellowish throats, arise from deep purple “lipstick cases.”
Aeschynanthus speciosus, the basket plant, has yellow-orange flowers, marked with red; A. mannoratus is grown not for its flowers, which are greenish yellow, but for its attractive foliage—mottled shiny and dark green on the upper surface, and flushed with red below.
If the stems are pinned into the soil, they often branch and make side shoots. The more growing tips, the more flowers.
Aphids may attack the plant; check it regularly for signs of infestation.
ORIGIN Malaysia; Borneo; Java.
HEIGHT To 2ft/60cm.
POTTING MIX Coarse sphagnum moss, or a mixture of equal parts coarse peat, perlite, and leaf mold.
REPOTTING At any time; when the roots fill the pot, move the plant into a pot one size larger, or cut it back by one-third and repot it in the same pot.
Aeschynanthus lobbianus Gesneriaceae PROPAGATION Take 4-6-in/10-15-cm tip cuttings in summer.
KEEPING PLANTS If kept in humid conditions, this plant does not have a rest period, so it will need watering and attention all year-round.
Aeschynanthus lobbianus PLANT CARE
- Bright light, with up to 2-3 hours of direct sunlight in winter, filtered light in summer.
- Normal room temperature.
- Plenty of water when the plant is in flower, less at other times.
- Raise the level of humidity by standing the pot on a tray of damp pebbles and misting the foliage daily.
- Apply a weak liquid fertilizer at every watering.