Struggling lipstick plant!

plumeriasJanuary 5, 2013

Hello! This is my first post on this forum and I am so excited to find such a huge gardening community! Anyway, to my plant.

I bought an overgrown, shaggy looking lipstick plant figuring I could just trim it up in the spring when I'm bored. I've had it for a few weeks now and there's a couple things I've noticed.
1. Some of the very long vines are leafless or only have leaves in the bottom, leaving an unappealing twiggy look.
2. There are a few vines that just fall off, maybe because of bad handling on the ride back and breaking?
3.The tips of some of the vines seem to be drying out and dying. (I have the same thing going on with my hoya, but my hoya got super dried out so I think that's why.)
4. Some vine's leaves are shriveling while vines around it look completely fine.

I'm not sure what's happening! I keep the soil pretty moist because that's what I've read and it's near a sunny window but far enough that it isn't direct (so I think). That's another thing, I've never had a plant this big so it's hard for me to know when/how to water it; usually I can look and poke the dirt to decide to water or not, but I think I just forget about my vined friends.

I will post pictures tomorrow so hopefully we can make this guy look a little better! Thanks everyone!

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I'll answer your questions by numbering my replies to go with your questions above.

1)If the vines have leaves at the bottom, the vine may branch out from the areas where leaves were previously attached. Vines may lose leaves due to underwatering, or root rot resulting in the inability to get enough water. Also, if the vines have no leaves and are stiff/hard, just trim them off. Those are dead and will not grow anything.

2)When vines fall off it's generally because they've been broken off. I've never had one just fall off, but I've broken many during repotting and such.

3)Drying/dying tips may be from low humidity. These are tropical SE Asian plants that love humidity. During the dry winter you might want to use a humidifier or other means of raising the humidity near the plant. This should help.

4)This is the hardest one to answer. Leaves can shrivel because the plant isn't receiving enough water. Remember, winter can dry plants out quickly. Unfortunately, if you water too much this will rot the roots, and then they are unable to bring the water to the plant, resulting in the same symptoms. Without actually seeing your plant in person it's hard to say which is happening.

I hope you enjoy your Aeschynanthus sp. (lipstick vine!)

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 12:59AM
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Thank you Mark!! All those totally make sense. Should I take a look a the root system? I'm not sure how I would do that since it's so heavy.. The plant is so unruly right now, I'm considering just taking a jillion cuttings from it in the spring and starting a few new plants.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 2:03PM
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When my Aeschynanthus got too dry one winter, with leaves only at the bottom, I took short cuttings of the vine including the leaves and put 5-10 in a pot. I also put bare vines with no leaves in pots. In a short time I had pots and pots of nice looking plants. almost every cutting rooted and produced leaves.
Don't wait for spring. Especially if something is wrong with the roots.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 5:01PM
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As Carol suggested, I would do the following.

1. First, taking cuttings to start. This is a insurance policy just in case.

2. Take the plant out of the pot. Inspect the roots. If the roots look healthy, is the plant so rootbound the pot is full of roots and there is little soil left? I would personally cut the rootball back 1/3rd. No more than that though or the plant will go into severe shock. Remove as much soil as possible from the remaining roots then repot into fresh mix. The symptoms could possibly be no remaining nutrients, salt build up, or an acidic or alkaline soil depriving the plant and causing its decline. This is another possibility to those Mark suggested.

3. Trim all unsightly vines and dried tips. As Mark has stated they will no longer grow but will send out shoots from the cut ends in time. Another cause of dried tips could be chlorinated or fluorinated water. Allow water to sit for 24 hrs. In a milk jug to help let the chlorine dissipate or use drops for Aquariums to remove the chlorine.

4. Keep the plant in indirectly light for a few days after to allow it to recover from it's recent "surgery." These plants are very hardy and should recover just fine but just in case....remember step 1!


    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 2:41PM
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Awesome! Thank you all for your knowledge! I will take your advice and see where it takes me. =)

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 12:43AM
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