Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus Radicans)

Nothing brightens a vivarium like a flowering plant. And the Lipstick Plant can be a great choice to consider. Although not always seen growing in terrariums, this vine can be a reasonable addition to many enclosures. Not only is it visually engaging to view, but it is also very easy to care for. If you’re fortunate enough to have one produce actual flowers, you will know exactly why it is called the Mona Lisa Lipstick Plant. This article will provide an in-depth care guide to properly care for and grow a healthy Aeschynanthus Radicans.

Quick Stats:

Scientific Name: Aeschynanthus Radicans

Family: Gesneriaceae

Common Names: Lipstick Plant, Twisted Lipstick Plant, Lipstick Vine, Rasta Lipstick Plant, Basketvine, Basket Vine

Habitat: Tropical

Height: 2ft

PH Range: 6.0 to 8.0

Temperature: 70°F to 80°F

What Is A Lipstick Plant?

The Lipstick Plant is an evergreen, vine-like plant. It is an epiphyte with vivid colored flowers that are pollinated by sunbirds. Part of the Gesneriaceae family, this greenery falls under the Aeschynanthus genus. The Aeschynanthus genus has about 150 species of subtropical and tropical plants. The genus name comes from the combination of Green term aischuno (to be ashamed) and anthos (flower).

There are quite a few varieties of Lipstick Plants, which are extremely similar in both appearance and care requirements. Their main differences are usually the coloration of the flowers, growth of leaves, and how often they bloom. Aeschynanthus ‘Rasta’, for example, is one of the many subspecies that falls under the Aeschynanthus Radicans category.

Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus Radicans) Care Guide

Lipstick Plant Facts

Lipstick Plant is botanically called Aeschynanthus Radicans. Common names also include Lipstick Plant, Twisted Lipstick Plant, Lipstick Vine, Rasta Lipstick Plant, and Basket Vine. It is mostly praised for its dazzling foliage and is classified as a vine plant. A vine can be defined as any plant with a growth habit of creeping or trailing stems. This particular species gets its name due to the flowers it produces and the pattern of its leaves.

Description

Most species within the Aeschynanthus genus are significantly similar in nature. The leaves are deep green, waxy, and oval-shaped. They slightly resemble those of a succulent and grow opposite to each other in a tanned and lanky stem. The Twisted Lipstick Plant, which is a subspecies within the Lipstick Plant group, produces leaves that will actually twist in on themselves, giving the vine a very dense and chunky look. Compared to other sister subspecies, the leaves of this type are much smaller, rounder, and clumped together.

Right before blooming, this plant has flower buds in dark burgundy calyxes that actually resemble a tube of lipstick emerging from its case. When inspected up close, the calyxes appear to be covered in tiny white hairs that resemble peach fuzz. Flowers are a bright, blood-red color with a yellow interior and will appear off and on throughout the year. The shoots often resemble a miniature tube of lipstick too many, which is why it is referred to as the Lipstick Plant.

Aeschynanthus Radicans is a medium-sized plant. Unlike many other vines that will continue to grow indefinitely, Basket Vine will usually only reach lengths of up to 2 feet. Lipstick Plants are epiphytic in nature. This means that the plant commonly grows on trees or in between rock cracks, without being parasitic. Instead of absorbing nutrients and water from the host plant like a parasite, it will get them from exterior sources such as moisture in the air and runoff rain from the trees.

Habitat

Lipstick plant is a species native to the humid tropics of Southeast Asia. Specifically in places like Java, the Malay Peninsula, and Borneo Island. They can be commonly found in nature growing on tree branches, rock crevices, the forest floor, and even on orchids. The natural habitats of this plant are known for their tropical temperatures, moisture, and bright yet shaded sunlight.

This vine is not frosted tolerant and likes to grow in a constantly warm temperature between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature for optimal growth and blooming falls anywhere between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid exposing the lipstick vine to temperatures below 55 degrees, as this can cause leaves to drop. In addition, this tropical native plant does not like sudden shifts in temperature. For this reason, make sure the vivarium is not too close to ac/heat vents or any doors/windows that may experience cold drafts.

PH Preference

Most Aeschynanthus species are not too picky when it comes to PH levels. They will prefer neutral PH levels. However, they can still endure slightly different ranges, as long as they are not too drastic. A PH of 7 is considered neutral. A PH below 7 is acidic and a PH above 7 is alkaline. With that in mind, the ideal PH for the Lipstick Plant should be kept between 6.0 and 8.0.

Vivarium Type

Aeschynanthus Radicans will do quite well in a few different vivarium types. Even though there is no one set enclosure that it must grow in, some will be better suited for the plant’s needs. The appropriate setup of the enclosure can make a big difference to the overall look and health of the plant. The best and easiest way to decide on the perfect enclosure will be to keep in mind the plant’s natural habitat. Be sure to go with setups that have tropical, but well-drained terrestrial areas. Here are recommended vivariums it will do well in:

  • Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain-based enclosure.
  • Terrariums – Fully terrain-based enclosure with little to no aquatic features.

Vivarium Placement

Lipstick Plants can be placed almost anywhere in a vivarium. However, most hobbyists will opt for placing it up high in the enclosure so that it is able to cascade down. This way the foliage will be better showcased and have ample room to grow freely. This vine will also need to be placed somewhere with moderate humidity levels and bright lighting.

Placing the plant towards the bottom of an enclosure can deprive it of the amount of light it needs to prosper. If doing so, make sure that the tank is designed and arranged in such a way that the plant won’t be negatively affected. Last but not least, this vine is a terrestrial-based plant. For this reason, it should always be grown above water.

Substrate

There are a couple of guidelines that should be followed when choosing the right type of substrate. Lipstick Plant is a species of vine that prefers evenly moist, fertile, and well-drained soil for healthy growth. Most hobbyists will recommend using a light sandy soil mix with some added humus or peat moss. The peat moss will ensure that the mix maintains an adequate level of humidity. Meanwhile, the sand will provide the proper drainage to avoid root rot.

If the Lipstick plant is growing epiphytically, it will not need any substrate. Instead, make sure that the surface the plant is attached to has a neutral PH and is able to provide support.

Lighting

Lipstick Plant is a fan of bright, dappled lighting. The Aeschynanthus lipstick vine will not bloom without the proper amount of light. The plant should not be placed in full shade or full sun. The ideal lighting scenario for the vine will be somewhere with bright light, with max 2 to 3 hours of direct sunlight. Those short intervals of sunlight will help the plant produce more flowers, while also avoiding the scorching of its foliage.

Inside of a vivarium, artificial lighting can be used to replicate the plant’s natural environment. Fluorescent lights, as well as LEDs, work just fine. Aim for cooler colors that resemble a bright, yet shaded day. This will assure the plant is receiving all the light it needs, without being harmed. You might also want to add a small UVB light that is set on a timer daily. This way the Aeschynanthus Radicans will receive the amount of sunlight it needs to bloom even inside of the tank. Again, make sure not to leave the UVB light on for any longer than 3 hours.

Buy Lipstick Plant

It might not always be an easy task to find a Lipstick Plant for sale at a local garden center. They are not overly common plants, and for that reason, some generic stores may not carry them. Either way, there are a few key indicators you should be on the lookout for. This will assure you are buying the best quality plant.

The plant should be insect free along with any other types of pest. In addition, the purchased plant should be green, vibrant, and healthy-looking. Try to avoid any yellowing or wilting leaves. Those are usually signs of poor health and could make it harder for the plant to survive. Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info of this plant:

Lipstick Plant Care and Propagation

The care and propagation of the Lipstick Plant will be pretty much the same for all subspecies that are found within this category. They are plants that will not be too demanding when it comes to their maintenance. Nonetheless, there are still a few key needs that should always be considered. As long as this vine is receiving an adequate amount of light, humidity, and it is not overwatered, it will thrive. This will guarantee that it’s foliage remains healthy and flowers continue to bloom.

How to grow

Lipstick Plant can be propagated through the use of stem cuttings or seeds. However, the easiest and most efficient way will be through cuttings. This is especially true when growing the vine inside a vivarium. Simply take a healthy adult plant and cut 4-6 inches off the top of the stem. The new pieces should then be re-planted somewhere moist and warm in order to grow. The new plants should begin to root in three to four weeks. Try to keep the temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit to promote growth.

Watering

Aeschynanthus Radicans is somewhat sensitive to water routines. The plant prefers to be watered moderately. Even though their substrate should not be allowed to dry out completely, the vine should not be watered until the top 1/4th of it has dried. An easy way to know whether or not the Lipstick Plant should be watered is by dipping your finder in the topsoil and feeling for moisture. Waterlogged or soggy soil can be fatal for this plant.

Too much water will quickly lead to root rot and eventually the plant’s death. Lipstick plants are also particularly susceptible to fungal diseases, which thrive in moist conditions. Always make sure to look for signs of overwatering. If the leaves turn yellow or they begin to fall off excessively, reduce the amount or frequency of water.

Plants Similar To Lipstick Plant

When adding different types of plants to a vivarium, it is important to make sure that they can all co-exist. There is no use in finding all these beautiful vegetation if they all have different care requirements. Sooner than later, some of the plants will end up dying if placed in the same enclosure. One way to avoid this would be by finding similar plants to the Lipstick Plant.

As mentioned before, there are a few different varieties of Lipstick Plants. Although they will all be slightly different in appearance, their requirements will be almost identical. Choosing to incorporate some of those variations will help provide diversity to the tank, while also making sure that all plants will easily coexist… Here are some other vine plants you might find may do well with or in the place of Aeschynanthus Radicans:

Trailing Jade (Peperomia Rotundifolia)
Wandering Jew (Tradescantia Zebrina)
Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron Scandesens)

Conclusion

Aeschynanthus Radicans are fun indoor flowering plants that are quite forgiving and easy to grow. In order to be successful with Lipstick Plant care in a vivarium, be sure to give your plant the right amount of water, light, and moisture. I would recommend this vine for tropical tanks that need a little extra splash of color. The deep contrast between the plant’s red flowers and green foliage will catch the attention of any spectator. Now that this guide has gone into detail about the many characteristics of such a distinctive vine… What are your thoughts about its use as a vivarium plant?