I have had my Lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus longicaulis) for at least a year and a half now. Over the long holiday weekend I was picking out some of the dead leaves that had collected in the dense stems arching out of its hanging basket when I noticed a couple of small buds.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="New buds on Aeschynanthus longicaulis (lipstick plant) 'Black Pagoda'. Also, notice the foliage on top and bottom of leaves."][/caption]
I was pretty excited, not having seen my plant flower before. I knew that some species of Lipstick plant have bright red blooms (see some here), hence the common name. My particular species of Aeschynanthus is A. longicaulis 'Black Pagoda.' It has beautiful foliage - dark and light green stripes on the top of the leaves and purply-red and green on the undersides.
I searched the plant for more of the inconspicuous buds and found that the plant is covered in them. Looking around on the Dave's Garden website, I discovered a variety of lipstick plant that looks much like mine with a nice orange inflorescence. You can see it here. There are over 185 species of Aeschynanthus in the wild. I read a comment by someone else saying that their 'Black Pagoda' has green blooms.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Large buds on Aeschynanthus longicaulis (lipstick plant) 'Black Pagoda'."][/caption]
When I did a google image search for "Aeschynanthus longicaulis" all of the inflorescence pictures were green. With my largest buds about to open and still no sign of color, I resigned myself to the fact that my blooms would stay green, not the colorful red or orange I had seen from some other species of Aeschynanthus. I believe the lipstick plant with orange blooms is actually Aeschynanthus parasiticus.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Open inflorescence on Aeschynanthus longicaulis (lipstick plant) 'Black Pagoda'. Notice the stamens extruding from the tubular calyx on the lower bloom."][/caption]
Even if the blooms are not very colorful on my plant, you just can't beat the mottled foliage of this species.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="495" caption="Aeschynanthus longicaulis 'Black Pagoda' (lipstick plant)"][/caption]
Maybe it will win me a prize in the houseplant picture contest from the Life on the Balcony blog! :) We'll see.
My plant has sent out a runner from one of the drainage holes on the bottom of the hanging pot. I hope that I will be able to repot this plant in the spring and pull the runner back through the hole and pot it separately. I might just have to do the repotting soon though, to avoid damaging the plant or having to cut into the pot.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Aeschynanthus longicaulis runner from pot drainage hole"][/caption]
The Aeschynanthus genus contains about 150 species, most of which are considered epiphytes. Some are actually considered lithophytic, though. There is more information and some good pictures of the Aeschynanthus genus here and here.