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Aeschynanthus

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  • Indoor Plants
Aeschynanthus marmoratus
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Josée Bouthot)

Onglets

Botany

Origin and description

Aeschynanthus is an epiphytic plant native to the Asian tropics. Aeschynanthus radicans is a species with long, trailing stems and fleshy leaves that makes a good hanging plant. It is grown for its dark green foliage and its bright red tubular flowers with a green calyx that form all summer long.

Species, cultivars and related plants

Aeschynanthus lobbianus has trailing purple stems. Its leaves are grey-green, finely toothed and fringed with purple. The flowers are 5 cm long, dark red with burgundy streaks. Although often sold as A. lobbianus, this species is now considered a form of species Aeschynanthus radicans. Aeschynanthus marmoratus has lovely green leaves marbled with purple and with burgundy undersides. This species bears discreet green flowers, speckled with brown, singly or in pairs, at the tips of the new stems. Aeschynanthus pulcher is distinguished from Aeschynanthus lobbianus by the presence of a green calyx, tinged with purple, and a 6 cm long corolla. Aeschynanthus speciosus produces 6 to 20 orange-red to scarlet flowers with a yellow base that grow in clusters at the tips of the stems.

Common name

Aeschynanthus / Lipstick plant

Latin name (genus)

Aeschynanthus radicans

French common name

Botanical family

  • Gesneriaceae
Horticulture

Growing conditions

Aeschynanthus requires bright, indirect sunlight. It is best placed in a west- or east-facing window. It also needs warm, humid conditions. It does well with normal indoor temperatures (20 to 22ºC in daytime), but nighttime temperatures must not drop below 16 to 18ºC. Avoid sudden temperature changes. Keep relative humidity high. Avoid misting the leaves with cold water.

Easy to grow?

Aeschynanthus is fairly easy to grow. It is important to use an appropriate soil mix, however, water it properly and keep the relative humidity high. It will bloom regularly from year to year if given suitable lighting.

Watering and fertilizer

During the active growing period, from March to October, water regularly but not over-abundantly, with room-temperature water. Allow the soil surface to dry out slightly between waterings. Aeschynanthus must not be allowed to dry out when in bloom. In winter, cut back on watering and allow the soil to dry out to a depth of one-half before watering. Fertilize every other month during the growing period. For best results, use indoor plant food or an all-purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20, alternating with flowering plant food (high in phosphorous) like 15-30-15. Stop fertilizing in winter.

Pruning and maintenance

To keep the plant more compact and encourage the growth of new flowering stems, prune it in February before growth resumes. Cut stems back to an outward-growing bud. If the plant has lost a lot of leaves over the winter, prune it more sharply, cutting the stems back to 15 cm above their base. Avoid moving the plant once the flower buds have formed, to prevent them from dropping off.

Repotting

This plant does best in an acidic, porous, well-drained soil mixture, a blend of equal parts sphagnum moss and perlite, for instance. It may be repotted at any time of year, except when in bloom.

Propagation

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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