The remarkable tropical look of the lipstick vine makes it a distinctive plant, with easily recognizable flowers and foliage suitable for hanging planters Clusters of elongated, black-hooded pods open up to reveal bright red flower buds that resemble tubes of lipstick. When these bloom, the flowers are orchid-like, on long slender bases that may make them perfect for hummingbirds.
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Sunshine for a Lipstick Plant
A lipstick plant prefers shade and mottled sunlight, filtered through curtains or other trees. Direct sunlight can dry out the leaves, making them turn brown or fall off. If your lipstick plant is hanging in an area where it gets a lot of direct sunlight, just make sure that the leaves and the soil don't dry out. They can tolerate full sun, as long as you keep the surrounding air moist.
Watering a Lipstick Plant
Keep the soil of your lipstick plant moist, but not soggy. Periodically mist the leaves with water, especially in the summer or in very dry climates. Being a tropical vine, the lipstick plant grows best in a humid environment. If it's hanging outdoors, simply mist it with the hose or install a timed misting device just above the plant.
Bachman's Plant Guide states that " When the humidity is too low, Lipstick Plants develop brown, dried leaves that hang on the plant." Another symptom of low humidity is that the flowers turn black. A misting system that's installed to the water supply can be programmed, much like sprinklers, to periodically spray down the leaves. Indoors, a humidifier placed near the plant can help it maintain moisture better.
Potting a Lipstick Plant
Most people grow lipstick vines in hanging pots, to show off the long trailing stalks. They also look attractive in window boxes. If you live in an area where they can tolerate living outdoors, a terraced backyard planter is a suitable place to grow them.
Pruning the Lipstick Plant
If it goes through a period of dryness, the lipstick plant may lose some leaves and look spindly. You can trim them up, generally after its flowering period, and it will grow back, lush and vibrant. Other trimming is not necessary. Since the tips of each stalk are where the flowers grow, excessive trimming may result in lack of flowers.
Propagating a Lipstick Plant
To plant more lipstick plants, prepare several moist pots of peat moss and snip 3 to 5 inches from the tip of each stalk in early spring, when growth begins. Dip the cut end into a rooting compound and press into the soil. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Once the roots are established, take care to "harden" the plants before moving them outdoors.