Aeschynanthus speciosus Hook.
Basket Plant, Lipstick Plant, Lipstick Vine
Aeschynanthus aucklandiae, Aeschynanthus splendens, Trichosporum speciosum
Color: Red with purple calyces
Bloom Time: Midsummer to early winter
Aeschynanthus speciosus is perhaps the most spectacular species within its genus. Its dark green leaves are carried along the stems in pairs or whorls of three, but there are 4 to 8 leaves at the stem tip, where they surround a cluster of 6 to 20 flowers. The leaves are up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) wide, and their tips are more sharply pointed than their bases. The green calyx sheathes only a portion of the flower, which may be up to 4 inches (10 cm) long. Both calyx and corolla are slightly hairy. The flowers are orange with the inside of the mouth orange-yellow and with a dark red bar across the lower lobes, which also have scarlet borders. It usually has a summertime flowering season indoors, and individual flowers last for only two or three days.
How to Grow and Care
Aeschynanthus are perfect as hanging or trailing plants. They require high humidity and warmth throughout the growing season, as well as strong (but not direct) light. After the season is over, cut the trailing stems back in preparation for another year—otherwise, it will tend toward legginess. Do not spray plants in bloom. These are perfect for a greenhouse, sunroom, or conservatory.
Repotting depends on your container choice. For hanging plants, you should repot at the beginning of every growing season. You can keep the plant in the same basket year after year, but you'll still need to refresh the soil and, if the plant has become too large, divide it. You can pot the division up separately. If you are growing in containers, repot annually, or every other year depending on the size of the plant.
Take cuttings in the spring, when the plant resumes normal growth. To successfully root cuttings, use a rooting hormone and provide bottom heat or use a covered rooting container. Take a cutting with several leaves and a length of the stem. Strip away the bottom one or two sets of leaves to expose one or two growing nodes. Dip these into rooting hormone (if you're using it), then bury the cutting and the exposed nodes into a clean potting mix. See more at How to Grow and Care for Aeschynanthus.
It is native primarily to Southeast Asia (the Malay peninsula, Java, and Borneo island).
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