Monday, April 19, 2010

Can anyone grow a lipstick plant?

Floridagirl made a comment in my last post that she wondered whether a lipstick plant would grow in her part of the world.

From searching the internet I have discovered that my lipstick plant actually originates from Southeast Asia and is called
 "Aeschynanthus radicans 'Crispa'

Family: Gesneriaceae
this came from:
here is the content:

Aeschynanthus is a large genus of Old World tropical herbs. In many respects, they are analogous to the genus Columnea in Central and South America -- both are most often trailing epiphytes with fairly large and showy flowers that are frequently pollinated by birds. The appearance of the various Aeschynanthus species varies widely. The original 'Lipstick Plant' has hard-surfaced shiny leaves, with bright red flowers that emerge from a very dark red tubular calyx, in a fashion reminiscent of lipstick emerging from a tube. It is an epiphyte that grows in the angles of branches in the rain forest. As with all epiphytes, the lipstick plant does not live as a parasite on the tree, but takes its nourishment from fallen leaves and twigs that accumulate in the crevices of branches. Needs plenty of light, but not direct sunlight. They thrive in summer heat, and winter temperatures should not drop below 60 degrees. "

I have just had it in a hanging basket  -lots of coir mulch and loose potting soil mix, and then it occasionally has leaves that drop from whatever tree it has been hanging under.  In my last garden it was hanging under a tibouchina, and had a lot more sunlight.  It seems happy here under the lychee tree, and I am glad I looked it up as most sites say it is best to prune it back after flowering to make it branch out more.  They like to be potbound, and I had laid an extra crucifix orchid across the top of the pot during the rainy season when someone gifted me with a couple of spikes.  At that stage I had not seen any lipstick flowers for a while, and thought that it would add some extra colour if the orchid ever flowered.  Maybe that made the plant think it had better get a move on and show its colours.  

A lot of my gardening is like that - I obtain plants that have pretty flowers or foliage, then put them in somewhere and enjoy them.  If they thrive I am thrilled.  If not, I  might move them, or think about doing some research as to why they are unhappy.  I am just so lucky that I live in a very forgiving climate and seem to like  tropicals that grow so well without much human intervention.  They do get lots of love when they perform, but other than that they are on their own!

Thank you Floridagirl for making me do the research because I found out quite a bit about my own plant and it seems that yes, you just might be able to grow one in your area! (you might have to put it in a more protected place during the winter).
For anyone that has not seen Floridagirls lovely blog follow this link,


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog. I have just been browsing through yours and the pictures are lovely. The lipstick plant is very interesting and I know where to come for gardening tips. I'll be back later from my own computer. Diane on Bill's computer.

  2. Oh my gosh - I'm so glad you posted this. I've had this crazy plant as a houseplant for a few years. It was and inch long when I started it but now it overflows out of a hanging planter. Then it started getting flowers - and the flowers sent out a super long stem (about a foot long) which one day popped open and shed seeds all over my kicthen table. Amazing!

  3. Hi Diane, glad you enjoyed the visit, Stevie, that is interesting - there was no mention of how it is propogated. I would have imagined layering as that is the way many of the tropical plants are propogated.

  4. Thanks, AA, for the info! I will have to search this one out. It's such an unusual plant--great conversation piece! I think it would work under my live oak or in my Orchid Room. In either location, I'm pretty sure it would get some protection from frost. Thanks for the shout-out!

  5. AA, interesting post about this pretty bloom! I might check it out too, as I'm south and east of Florida Girl. If she's successful, I should be able to grow it too. Thanks for the research and sharing the info!

  6. Floridagirl, you are welcome, I always enjoy your photos. Kimberley, yes I think it is worth getting this plant if it grows in your area, as the flowers are so bright, and even when not flowering the leaves are a lovely green.

  7. AA, I have recently been gifted a lovely lipstick plant and will blog about it. I'll include a link to this post, if you don't mind!

  8. Kimberley,
    Lucky you! no of course I dont mind! funny, mine bloomed a little bit before christmas and then stopped, but lately it it is just covered in buds - I wonder if it likes more water than it normally gets as we have been getting an extraordinary amount of rain lately. enjoy your new plant!


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