Lipstick plants (Aeschynanthus radicans) or are house plants that develop vibrant red, tubular blooms at the ends of trailing sets of small, dark green leaves. They are tropical plants that are easy to grow, but will do best if the air is humid. New plants can be easily propagated by taking stem cuttings from healthy lipstick plants.
Water the plant the day before you take the cuttings. This will ensure that the plant is well-hydrated. Counting from a stem tip, cut a stem below the fourth set of leaves. Pinch off the two lower sets of leaves, and leave the upper two sets.
Fill a small planting container with a mixture of half peat moss and half perlite or vermiculite. Poke a hole in the middle of the potting soil with a pencil. Dip the tip of the cutting in rooting hormone, and plant it in the soil with the bare stem under the soil. It’s fine to plant more than one cutting in each pot.
Mist the soil thoroughly, and put the planting container in a plastic bag. Put enough stakes in the pot to keep the plastic from touching the cuttings. Tie the top of the bag and put the container in a warm spot in indirect sun. Don’t put the container on a window sill, which will be too hot and will cook the cutting in the plastic.
Check the moisture in the plastic often. It the soil appears dry, remove the plastic, mist the soil and replace the plastic. If you notice condensation forming on the inside of the plastic, poke a few holes to provide ventilation, or the cutting may develop root rot from excess moisture.
Test the cuttings to see if they’ve taken root by tugging lightly on the stems. If you feel resistance, the cuttings have rooted and are ready to be re-potted. Re-pot each cutting in its own 3-inch pot.
Keep the soil evenly moist, but don’t drown it. Mist the leaves once or twice a week. Feed the lipstick plant every other week during spring and summer, and once a month during fall and winter using a good quality houseplant food.
Things You Will Need
- Healthy lipstick plant
- Rooting hormone
- Small planting container
- Peat moss and perlite or vermiculite
- Plastic bag
- 3-inch pots
- Houseplant fertilizer