The genus name, Aeschynanthus, (es-kin-ANTH-us) is derived from Greek. Aeschyo means shame and anthus means flower. The genus was named Shame Flower because of the dark red flowers of many of the species. The most widely know Aeschynanthus is the Lipstick Vine, A. Lobbianus. The stems are tipped with clusters of two inch crimson red flowers sticking out of a long, nearly black calyx tube. Aeschynanthus, with 170 species, ranges from the Himalayas to Borneo and New Guinea.
Aeschynanthus are epiphytic vines living on trunks of trees (roots attach to the tree but do not take nourishment from the host tree). Plants bloom from the tips of the stems usually in clusters or several flowers together along the stems in the nodes of the leaves.
Aeschynanthus are best suited to hanging baskets. They are slow growers. It takes at least a year to get a plant up to a respectable size from root cuttings. Aeschynanthus only bloom seasonally. Aeschynanthus prefer warmth (70-80 degrees F) and high humidity. They receive frequent rain showers that quickly run off the roots. Since the roots of epiphytic plants are not growing in much soil (if any) in nature, they do not require the lime that AV growers usually add to AV soil mixes.
Use a well-draining mix. Allow to dry out between waterings. The soil mix can be long fiber sphagnum moss or lean mix (1 part perlite, 1 part vermiculite and 1 part peat moss). Aeschynanthus like their soil slightly acidic and do not need any lime added to the soil. The Aeschynanthus need plenty of filtered sunlight but never put them in direct sunlight. In a light garden place them close to the lights. They like temperature greater than 65º at all times for bloom. They will not thrive at temperatures below 55ºF. Humidity levels of 75% with misting promote good growth and bloom. Fertilize with every watering with 1/4 strength fertilizer such as Rapid Gro or use a fish emulsion fertilizer. The fish emulsion fertilizer will give the plants darker green leaves.
Stem cuttings root easily if kept in a humid atmosphere (in a plastic bag).