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Mona Lisa Lipstick Plant | Pucker Up Baby! | Care Difficulty – Easy

If you have a bright spot in your home and want a graceful, draping plant that blooms off and on all year, lipstick plants are a great choice. The leaves are light and dark green, waxy, and somewhat succulent, which set a beautiful backdrop for the numerous red or orange small, tubular flowers that are reminiscent of miniature tubes of lipstick. The flowers have a pungent fragrance and are attractive to sunbirds and hummingbirds (if outdoors). We have this plant hanging above a small bistro table in our sunroom. Every day when we eat, we have the chance to admire it.

lipstick plant

This particular beauty came into my life as a surprise. In Hood River, we have a lovely flower shop called Tammy’s Floral. It’s not uncommon for us to pop in when we drive past . In the back corner of the shop, they have a little jungle seating area where Bob typically hangs out. Well, he tries, and I say tries because no sooner does he sit down than I call him to come to check out a plant. Bless his heart. He is always so patient and kind toward my excitement.

One day while visiting the store I spied this lipstick plant hanging in the front window. I oohed and ahhed as I admired its beauty. Bob encouraged me to get it, but I resisted. It was just too pretty, and I was afraid of caring for it. Sometimes plants just shouldn’t be disturbed… even if for sale.

The next day Bob ran to town to scratch some errands off our to-do list and when he arrived home, he called me into the kitchen. He asked for a hug and during that extended hug, he kept turning us around and around — until I finally spotted the lipstick plant on the counter. I was overwhelmed by his embrace that it took me some time to even notice the plant. I believe that giving is often more of a blessing than receiving, but I have to tell you, on this day, I felt that we were equally blessed. The lipstick plant has now been in our sunroom for a year, and every day we enjoy its character. So here are some of the things I do to care for our plant…

Water Requirements

Light Requirements

  • To promote the best production of blooms, it’s imperative to place the lipstick plant in an indoor location receiving bright indirect light but NOT direct sunlight as it can cause the foliage to burn. Further down in this post I have some troubleshooting suggestions for issues that may be caused by incorrect lighting.

Optimum Temperature

Fertilizer – Plant Food

Soil

I grow mine in a fertile, well-draining,  airy soil that is rich in cocopeat. Cocopeat is a multi-purpose growing medium made of coconut husk. The fibrous coconut husk is pre-washed, machine dried, sieved, and made free from sand and other contaminants, such as animal and plant residue.

It is a great alternative to traditional peat moss, which I am not fond of due to its impact on the environment–during harvesting and use it releases carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas driving climate change.  Peat moss is a fibrous material that consists of decomposed organic materials, usually sphagnum moss, which has been submerged underwater. It takes many years to develop: each inch takes about 15 to 25 years to form.

lipstick plant

 

Plant Characteristics to Watch For

Diagnosing what is going wrong with your plant is going to take a little detective work, but even more patience! First of all, don’t panic and don’t throw a plant out prematurely. Take a few deep breaths and work down the list of possible issues. Below, I am going to share some typical symptoms that can arise. When I start to spot troubling signs on a plant, I take the plant into a room with good lighting, pull out my magnifiers, and begin by thoroughly inspecting the plant.
My plant isn’t producing the lipstick flowers.

The flowers/buds are dropping off.

The leaves are turning yellowing and dropping.

The leaves are turning brown.

My plant has black spots and lesions on the foliage and stems.

My plant is getting too “leggy.”

lipstick plant

Common Bugs to Watch For

If you want to have healthy house plants, you MUST inspect them regularly. Every time I water a plant, I give it a quick look-over.  Bugs/insects feeding on your plants reduces the plant sap and redirects nutrients from leaves. They can quickly get out of hand and spread to your other plants. IF you see ONE bug, trust me, there are more. So, take action right away. Some are brave enough to show their “faces” by hanging out on stems in plan site.

 

Lipstick plants are not especially popular with pests, but they can fall victim to many of the common houseplant pests, such as thrips, mealy bugs, spider mites, and aphids. You can proactively treat your lipstick plant with neem oil, which is a natural insecticide. You can dilute neem oil according to the directions and spray it on your plant, as well as adding it to the soil when you water the plant. Neem oil can also be used to curb pest infestations, though heavy infestations can often require a toxic insecticide to completely rid your plant of the pests. Click (here) to read how I make my neem oil solution.

 

Toxicity

07/27/20 Update

I transplanted my lipstick plant to one of my all-time favorite pots – The WallyEco pot (you can read about it here). Not long after the transplant, the remaining 4 lipstick flowers fell off (as they normally do). But then I wasn’t seeing any growth and I questioned my transplant. But today, while watering it, I noticed that little buds are forming all over the plant. Shew. I thought I would share a photo of what they look like as they start to form.

08/01/20 Update

I LOVE witnessing the growth of my plants… so I thought you might too, especially if you have or wish to bring a Lipstick plant into your home. Eventually, a red flower will spring forth from these flower bases… I will be patiently waiting.

2 thoughts on “Mona Lisa Lipstick Plant | Pucker Up Baby! | Care Difficulty – Easy

  1. Debbie Oldfather says:

    This is going to be my “go To” section ! Wonderful information, and you’ve made it so easy to learn about each plant and it’s care.

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