Lipstick plants are not as well-known as other flowering houseplants. But, you’ll probably remember its name easily once you see it.
Their unique, colorful appearance makes them very memorable. And, while they’re not always available in your local nurseries or garden centers, you’ll be rewarded if you look around for them.
Here’s how to care for these lovely red plants.
About Lipstick Plants
The lipstick plant is a beautiful flowering vine. But what makes it stand out is its unique look, which incidentally is also how it got its name.
If you look closely, you’ll notice that its flowers come out of dark red colored funnels that look like lipstick.
And, they come in a variety of colors as well, including red, purple, orange, pink, and variegated ones.
They generally bloom during the summer and early autumn. But, they can do so all year round.
Like most houseplants, lipstick plants are tropical in nature. Thus, they adapt fairly well to indoor conditions as long as you give them the few things they need.
This makes it easy to grow indoors.
As a bonus, they also purify the air, which makes them a good choice for areas in your home where you and your family tend to hang out most.
Lipstick Plant Care
Lipstick Plant Light Requirements
When it comes to light, lipstick plants don’t like extremes. As such, putting them in locations where they get full sun or full shade is not ideal. Instead, you want to keep it somewhere it received bright, indirect light.
That said, it does like a lot of light. In fact, it needs an abundance of bright light for more blooms. So, if the plant doesn’t produce enough flowers as expected, you may want to move it somewhere there’s more illumination.
This makes an east-facing window a good choice. You can likewise place your lipstick plant in a south-facing window provided that there’s a curtain that filters the light. Or, keep it a few feet from the window so the sun’s rays don’t directly hit it.
You want to take these measures because too much direct or intense light for long periods of time can burn its leaves.
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Lipstick Plant Temperature & Humidity
When it comes to temperature, lipstick plants don’t like the cold. So, keeping the air and soil temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit allows it to flower optimally.
More importantly, you want to watch the thermostat and keep it from dropping too far down. Once the temperature hits 60 degrees, you’ll notice its growth slow down.
And, by the time it reaches 50 degrees or below, it will start experiencing tissue damage. You’ll likewise see the plant’s leaves drop.
As with other tropical plants, it enjoys high humidity. Thus, it’s a good idea to keep the air around it moist especially indoors where the air can get very dry.
Misting is a good option. You can likewise keep its container on top of rocks on a pebble tray to increase the relative humidity around it.
Lipstick plants like it when the soil is lightly moist. As such, it’s a good idea to water it enough to keep the soil moist. But, above all, don’t overwater it.
These tropical plants don’t tolerate waterlogged soil wet. And, if you let them sit on water for long, they’ll suffer root rot and fungal disease.
That said, they’re more tolerant of dry soil. But, never allow the soil to completely dry out. If you do for prolonged periods of time, the leaves will start to turn brown and drop off.
The one thing lipstick plants are not fussy about is soil. Here, you can use general potting soil and they’ll be happy.
However, if you find that you tend to water with a heavier hand, then it may be a good idea to place them in fast-draining potting soil. Two good options are those for succulents and African violets. Both of which work really well with lipstick plants.
Similarly, you can amend the soil you’re already using by adding perlite to improve drainage.
And, always make sure that the pot you’re using for these plants has drainage holes at the bottom.
Fertilizer plays an important role in lipstick plants because it helps them produce more flowers.
For optimal results, feed them once a month during their growing period (spring and summer). You can use a general-purpose liquid fertilizer for this.
Similarly, you have a few other options if you wish. Compost fertilizer works really well as it helps them bloom. If you prefer granules, go with time-released ones that are made for flowering tropical plants.
You can also use African violet fertilizer if you already have that on hand.
All of these work very well with lipstick plants.
Lipstick plants don’t need a lot of pruning. In fact, you can leave them be.
However, there are some occasions where you’ll want to trim them back.
Pruning helps them grow fuller instead of becoming more viney. Similarly, if they start to become unkempt, you can cut them back to make them look neat and tidy as well.
The best time to do so is during the spring and summer. And, as always you want to use a clean pair of pruners or shears to prevent any contamination from happening.
Lipstick Plant Propagation
You can expect your lipstick plants to live for about 3 to 5 years. But, you can likewise propagate them so you can always have one around at home.
The easiest way to do so is by stem cuttings.
Pick out a stem or stems (if you want to grow more than one) that aren’t flowering or contain any buds.
Cut it so that you have a little more than 4 inches in length.
Dip the cut end into rooting hormone. This will increase the chances of success. And, it will also speed up the rooting process.
Plant the cutting into a container with moist potting soil.
Keep the pot in a warm place that’s about 70 degrees. Also, make sure to place it somewhere it receives a good amount of light.
Like pruning, lipstick plants don’t need to be repotted often. It’s also worth noting that they flower better when they’re rootbound. So, it’s actually a good idea to keep them in their current containers until it’s necessary to move them.
That said, the only time you’ll need to repot them is when they’ve outgrown their current container. To do so, gently take them out of their pot and place them into a pot that’s one size larger.
Do this during the spring and summer for the best results.