How to Care for a Lipstick Plant

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Lipstick plants are very beautiful plants. Usually found in hanging planters they create gorgeous hanging plants and are also great in wall planters. They can grow in a variety of different households and grow in a variety of conditions. They also have the most gorgeous blooms after which they’re named. Additionally, they’re very easy to care for. It can be a little bit intimidating because flowers indoors is not a very common thing. However, it’s pretty easy with these plants and we’re going to give you all the care tips today.

Origin

The first thing we always like to do with our care guides is to talk about the origin of the plant. The lipstick plant is actually from Malaysia. It grows in the forests and the woody understories. Commonly found growing on the trees there. It’s a beautiful epiphytic plant, and it does not need a lot of light because of that. It is an epiphytic plant, which also means that it does not need a lot of care, it doesn’t have a lot of care requirements, and the maintenance for it is very easy. It also means that it can be a very fun and interesting plant to grow.

Lighting for Lipstick Plant

Because they are understory plants, and they grow on trees, they do not need that much light. Bright, indirect light works best for these plants, but they work well in just about any type of light you can give them. As long as they’re getting some light, they will adjust and adapt to still grow. For you to get the fastest amount of growth from them, though, you want to give them bright, indirect light. This means that you just want to stick them in a window where they can get as much light as possible and just pull a sheer curtain or keep them a couple of feet back from the bright window. Itt also means that they’ll grow slowly if they’re in dark corners of your home. So, light accordingly.

Watering for Lipstick plant

 Lipstick plants love their water. They do not like to dry out too much because they grow on forest trees with moss all around them.  They’re constantly in a very moist and humid environment naturally. Because they’re in hanging baskets, they tend to be allowed to dry out just a little bit too much, or they dry out more quickly than other plants. They use their water quite a bit as well because they have very thick, chunky leaves. Don’t forget to water them while taking care of them, especially if you have them in hanging baskets. Heat rises and hanging plants dry out a lot faster than any other plants. When watering,  keep that in mind and then adjust your soil accordingly.

Soil mix

Speaking of soil mix for these plants, these plants love a heavy African violet mix. Generally, it’s going to have a lot of peat moss. It’s going to be very water retentive and have a lot of moisture. If you cannot get a hold of an African violet mix, then you can do something that’s like bark and sphagnum moss, with a little bit of charcoal. Just something to help filter and have moisture retention as well. This is a great standard epiphytic mix. Keep in mind that if you do something like this and you have them in a hanging basket, they will dry out a little bit more quickly. You will have to adjust whatever mix, depending on how you’re growing your plants.

Fertilizer

Another thing that the African violet mix is known for is having a balanced PH, and not having a lot of fertilizers and chemicals in the mix. Because these plants are epiphytic, they’re a little bit more sensitive and they prefer water retentive without all of the extras. They still prefer to be fertilized occasionally, but with very light fertilizer, just a small bit. You don’t even have to fertilize them that often. Use the minimal diluted amount on the packaging.

Humidity

We already talked about it a little bit but just to clarify, these plants do not need higher humidity. They just grow more quickly in higher humidity. Because they naturally grow in a forest with a lot of moisture-retentive properties, (they’re growing upon trees with the rain falling,  growing with moss and lichen and all kinds of other native plants that are epiphytic) there is a lot of humidity there.  These plants grow really quickly and very well with that, but they can still grow pretty well in less. If the humidity gets too low, you’ll notice that some of their foliage starts to dry off and fall off, with new growth drying out.  Just increase humidity a little bit. Generally, anything that’s above 35-40% humidity is going to be perfectly fine for these plants. If you need them to grow quicker, give them a higher humidity and that’s true for most houseplants.

Propagate

Speaking of higher humidity, that’s also what you’re going to need if you want to propagate this plant. To propagate this plant, you would just take a cutting. You want to make sure it does have a node on it and then you can go from there. You can place it in water or a prop box. Those are the two fastest ways that you are going to end up getting it to root. Then from there, you can place it in your soil media of choice. When you are pruning these plants and propagating them, you are going to be promoting new growth on them as well. They will proceed to branch out from there. So, every time you take a cutting from a plant, it’ll grow one or more extra vines from it. That’s also how you can get a very full basket. You can replant those rooted cuttings up top for the same effect.

Blooming

The iconic lipstick flowers where they’re bright red and beautiful. They look like lips from the right angle. Everybody wants to know how to get their lipstick plants to bloom. It’s a very interesting technique. You’ve got to give the plant less light and cooler temperatures, especially at night. If you can give them cooler temperatures around 65-70°f that will be perfect. It’s not that cold to us, but it does make a huge difference for the plant. In Malaysia, that would be a little bit chilly than average, and that’s where this plant is from originally. So, it takes that as a sign that it needs to produce flowers to save itself, and that’s exactly what it does.

Another fun fact about this plant is that the flowers will grow into a fruit when they’re pollinated. Most people only grow it for flowers because they’re so beautiful. If you continue on that natural cycle, you hand pollinate, or you have little pollinators in your home or out on your porch, then they’ll produce fruit, which is incredible.

Overall, lipstick plants are very easy, care plants, and very fun to grow. They make for great hanging baskets and trailing plants. They have beautiful foliage. You can get a Black Pagoda lipstick plant, especially for beautiful foliage. There are quite a few varieties out there. The Black Pagoda lipstick plant version produces yellow flowers, which is interesting as well. It’s worth checking out all the different varieties and growing these very interesting, very fun, beautiful plants.

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