Lipstick Plant

Beginner’s Guide to the Lipstick Plant

The lipstick plant is a plant that has tube shaped, bright red flowers that hang off of it.  The blooms will continue off and on all year long.  This plant is originally found in the damp forests of the West Indies and tropical parts of South America.  It is generally grown hanging in baskets because of the way that it tends to arch.  When you decide to buy one of these plants you want to look for new blooms that are usually a lighter red color and it the blooms may appear to look glossy.  Ask yourself if the flower is in blooming season?  If it is, then it should have lots of the new blooms just mentioned.

If you are considering growing a lipstick plant in your home there are a few things that you should know.  You will want to give the plant lots of sunlight but you also want to avoid direct afternoon sun.  The plant likes to have approximately 12 to 16 hours of sun a day.  If you do not have a place to put your lipstick plant that has a lot of sunlight you could use a growth-light bulb.  You only need one for your plant.  You could also use florescent lights.  If you are using these, make sure you have one cool white and one warm white and group them together.  Simply hang them above the plant.  Inadequate light will not help your plant bloom and grown to its fullest potential.  Make sure that you follow this, especially when the plant is young.  The sunlight will keep the plant healthy and productive.

Watering the flower also has many aspects to take into consideration.  You will want to begin by letting the water reach room temperature before you water it.  Keep in mind that the lipstick plant is found in moist, tropical areas.  Therefore, you do not want the plants soil to ever go dry.  You want it to remain moist but not soggy.  You may need to water it as often as every other day.  These plants also need a lot of humidity.  You can provide this by lightly spraying the leaves with a water bottle several times as week.  You may also want to consider getting a humidifier for the room.  You will know if it needs more moisture because the leaves will begin to turn brown if it is too dry.  You may notice that the flowers will also turn black if this is the problem.

Remember to feed the plant with a liquid fertilizer every two weeks in the spring and summer months.  Use a potting soil that is peat based and will hold moisture well.  You may also want to consider adding sand to help with drainage if needed.  As your plant is growing, you will want to repot it every spring so that the roots can continue to grow.  However, once the plant is completely matured you can leave it in the same pot and it will do fine.  If your plant is mature and is no longer blooming you should consider two things.  First, does your plant need food?  Second, is the pot that the plant is in too large? 

If the pot is too big for your fully mature plant it will not bloom because it will expend its energy on expanding its roots.  You will want to transplant your lipstick plant into a smaller pot.  Another thing you want to do with your plant to keep it healthy is pinch it back.  You want to do this when it has finished blooming for the year.  You will notice that it blooms heaviest in the fall.  Therefore, consider completing this task in the early spring.