The lipstick rasta plant (Aeschynanthus radicans or A. lobbianus), also called the lipstick plant or basket vine, is native to the Himalayas and rain forests of Malaysia. This plant blooms with red tubular flowers that resemble tubes of lipstick. The lipstick rasta plant also has interesting foliage that is comprised of curly, dense vines resembling dreadlocks. The lipstick rasta is most often grown indoors as a houseplant throughout most of the world, but it grows from tree branches in its native tropical habitat.
Position your lipstick rasta plant in a spot where it can receive at least four hours of indirect sunlight. The lipstick rasta cannot tolerate direct sun, but it won’t bloom if the light is too low.
Water your lipstick rasta plant deeply two or three times per week to thoroughly moisten the soil. In winter, reduce watering to once every one or two weeks, allowing the top 1 inch of soil to dry out slightly.
Feed your lipstick rasta plant once or twice each month with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. You can fertilize the plant year-round, reducing feeding frequency to once per month or every six weeks during winter.
Maintain air temperatures around the lipstick rasta plant of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, providing slightly cooler temperatures during winter. Keep humidity levels elevated around the plant by misting it using a water spray bottle three or four times per week.
Trim back the lipstick rasta’s stems after it finishes flowering. If the plant becomes “leggy,” you can cut back the stems to about 4 to 5 inches.
Things You Will Need
- All-purpose houseplant fertilizer
- Water spray bottle
- Pruning shears
- Planter pots
- Light, sandy potting mix
- Insecticidal soap, horticultural oil or insecticide (optional)
- Re-pot your lipstick rasta plant when it becomes severely pot bound, usually once every two to three years. Re-pot the plant into a container that's about 1 1/2 times deeper and wider, filling it with a light, sandy potting mixture containing peat moss and humus.
- Watch out for mealybugs, aphids and cyclamen mites infesting your lipstick rasta plant. If you detect any of these pests on your lipstick rasta, apply an insecticidal soap, horticultural oil or an appropriate insecticide, following the instructions on the label.
- Don't allow the soil to dry out completely. Also, drench the potting soil with water two to four times each year to leach out any buildup of soluble salts.
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