Aeschynanthus Mona Lisa (Lipstick Plant)
Commonly called the lipstick plant because of the tubular scarlet flowers, which are held near the tips of the trailing stems by a darker sheath-like calyx, this eye-catching plant looks great cascading over the edges of the pot - even when not in bloom. The thick, glossy leaves are 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long and cover the trailing stems, making this vine a lush, tropical accent for your home.
The real attraction, though, is its tubular flowers that emerge from a calyx in bright colors that look like lipstick in a tube. In their native rain forest habitat, these evergreen plants grow as epiphytes, perched on trees, where their long vines sprawl along moss-covered branches. Give these tropical flowering house plants the same dappled sunlight and humidity and they're extremely easy to grow.
Origin: Southeast Asia
Height: Trailing stems up to 2 ft (60 cm) long.
Light: Bright light with some direct sun in winter. Plants that don't bloom aren't getting enough light. Place your plant in a bright location and you can expect flowers all spring and summer.
Water: Water thoroughly spring through fall, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Keep the soil slightly drier in winter when growth is slower. Wrinkled leaves are a sign of dry soil. Yellow leaves usually indicate too much water.
Humidity: Try to keep relative humidity around 50% or higher.
Temperature: Average room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C. This tropical native doesn't like temperature swings. Keep it away from heat/AC vents and cold drafts from doors and windows.
Soil: Peat moss based potting mix. Added perlite will help to aerate the roots and speed up drainage, preventing waterlogged soil. African violet potting mix is ideal for Lipstick Plant.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a water-soluble fertilizer, diluted by half. Use a fertilizer that is high-phosphorus to help it bloom (such as N-P-K 15-30-15). Do not feed in winter.
Propagation: Take 4-6 in (10-15 cm) stem tip cuttings in spring or summer.