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Need Help with Lipstick Plant

Posted by val1 z4 UT (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 2, 13 at 1:15

I purchased a lipstick plant last month and unfortunately I decided to repot it immediately while the weather was unseasonably warm. Anyway, it dropped any blooms it had and I am not upset with that because I figured it would. But now it has started dropping leaves and whole branches are dying. I believe the soil mixture might be holding too much water. It is African Violet mix with added pumice. Should I repot again? What mix should I use? The pot I used has a reservoir in it and a plug in the bottom. My other plants do well in these pots and I only water when the pot feels light. I can easily switch pots. I have included some photos of the plant.

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It does have a few new buds.

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

Maybe it's just me but some leaves look as though they need watering while some look as though when re-potted, some roots didn't get deep enough in the soil, and some leaves look pretty good as if nothing happened at all...

If you do re pot:
I would suggest what I use for this type of plant a basic custom mix of 3-1-1 :::: 3 parts sifted fir fines 1 rinsed and sifted part perlite and 1 part rinsed and sifted MVP truface. Keeping the listed items inside the sift that are 1/8 inch - 1/4 inch in size for the container.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

I was wondering if some stems got broken during repotting, similar idea...


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

I suspect the rootball has become hard & is repelling the water (hence the plant looks thirsty). Is the mix hard to the touch & pulling away from the sides of the pot?


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

Scrolled up to refresh my memory about when it was repotted and wonder about this,

"It is African Violet mix with added pumice. Should I repot again? What mix should I use? The pot I used has a reservoir in it and a plug in the bottom."

I'm not clear if you mean you're watering via the reservoir only, like bottom watering? If the mix is unable to allow water to travel up through it, maybe that's causing parts of the roots to never get moist.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

Why is it in such a dimly lit area?


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

  • Posted by val1 z4 UT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 2, 13 at 19:41

Thanks so much! I repotted this plant within a couple of days of purchasing it which was in mid December. It was beautiful and healthy when purchased. To repot it, I turned it upside down and wrapped the vines loosely in paper towel to make a cone shape. I could then keep the vines up and out of the way while I added the soil around the plant.

I just went inspected the plant closely and the branches that were dying had been damaged (bent or broken) and some had dirt that had sunk in and might have exposed some roots. So I added some more AV mix to the areas to fill them in and trimmed the damaged branches. I also gave it a drink (I water from the top). The mix was not hard to the touch or pulling away from the sides of the pot. I will take the broken branches that still have green tips, dip them in rooting hormone and start another plant. I have a couple already started in the window from when I repotted it.

I guess I have been reading so much about water retentive soils that I panicked. I used the same mix for the CC and TC and they are thriving. However, I will keep an eye on the soil because it still makes me nervous. I did find supplies for the 5:1:1 and the gritty mix which I may try in the future.

Here is a picture of a pot which is like the one in which it is planted. The inserts sit about an inch above the bottom of the pot. I like these pots because they are lightweight, sturdy and I like the color. I can pull the rubber plug in the bottom and release excess water. Most of my plants are in them.

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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

  • Posted by val1 z4 UT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 2, 13 at 20:05

Jean, I just went back and looked at the pictures again and they are rather dark. I took the pictures last night and only the overhead light in the kitchen was on (not a very bright light either). In the daytime, the room is flooded with light from two large south windows. The picture of the pot shows how light it is during the last part of the day with the blinds down but open. It is about 4 feet from the window right now, but will be moved directly in front of a south window when the Christmas tree is gone.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

We don't use any plugs in the bottom of our pots, likely to cause a problem. If it were me would remove all the plugs from all the pots, not a normal potting arrangement.

Plants need to be watered 'til some water runs out the bottom, can't do that w/ plugs & will like be a problem for the TC & CC. Just so you know.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

  • Posted by val1 z4 UT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 2, 13 at 21:28

Pirate girl, thanks for the advice. The plugs can be easily removed when watering to allow the water to run out of the bottom and then replaced. The TC and CC have been in these pots for over a year now and have done very well but I will watch them carefully.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but a single hole in the middle of the bottom is dangerous, IMO, (not regarding clay pots.) You can't tilt the pot toward a hole, which always surprises me how much more water drips out, even after the regular dripping has stopped for about 10 minutes. So if there is any worry of water dripping out (assuming that's why you'd replace the plug), the plug is not ready to go back. It's the kind of thing I would tire of quickly, replacing/removing that plug so I admire your stamina for keeping up with it so long.

It might be better to let it finish dripping longer, then kind of poke a paper towel into the hole to wick away any moisture that still has the potential to drip (excess for sure.) That liner probably does help a lot with actually draining water from the entire bottom surface quickly, but if it fills with soil/grit/roots, the plant would grow no better than in any other plastic pot with 1 hole in the middle.

Compared to what a lot of people have done and continue to do, you're doing a great job for your plants. Just splitting hairs at this point really. The one pictured here is absolutely beautiful and no way I could repot it w/o breaking some, bet nobody could. If you continue as you have been, no reason not to expect your plants to continue to look as great!


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

  • Posted by val1 z4 UT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 3, 13 at 0:44

Purple and Pirate Girl, I do not always take my plants to the sink and water until the water runs out. They mostly just get watered where they are. In that way, I am not as dedicated as many here. I am also just getting into keeping houseplants and am learning along the way. Although from experience with outside plants, I do know that it is best to flush the pot. So far the plants I have are doing well in these pots, but I may decide to drill some more holes in them later. I will be buying one and drilling more holes in it for my new sanserveria. I looked all over town for a pot that I liked and thought I might be able to move with the sans in it. The clay ones are so heavy.

Purple, I think the lipstick plant is beautiful too, but it is brand new from the nursery. I hope it will look as good in a years time.

Thanks again everyone for all of your help and information.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

Hi,

I thought I would put in my 2 cents on this. When I see wilted leaves I think one of two things. It's either being under watered or over watered. You said that you added some pumice to the African violet mix. How much pumice did you add? That kind of pot you are using demands that you use a very porous soil. If the soil is not porous enough the pot will drown the roots. In that case it would have been good to have mixed equal parts of African violet soil and pumice to give the roots enough air to breathe.

To know whether the root ball is getting too little soil or too much soil you really need to take the plant out of the pot and check the root ball. If the root ball is dry then obviously you need to get more water to it. However if it is wet you need to dry out that root ball and soon as possible by taking it out of the pot and putting it on a stack of newspapers to blot of extra moisture. If you don't then root rot may become a problem. Root rot develops very quickly and once it starts your plant will be in big trouble.

Again I don't know which is happening, too wet were too dry. I just thought I would mention the other possibility.

Good luck.

Larry


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

You need to keep in mind that Lipstick Plants, Aeschynanthus sp., are mainly epiphytic so they don't normally grow in soil. In habitat they are used to a highly organic medium with plenty of air getting through. They have a very warm and humid summer period with a drier cooler winter period. Grown in a pot you need to give them more of an epiphytic orchid medium, keep them well watered in summer. In winter less water.

A photo of flowers on mine, Aeschynanthus evrardii.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

  • Posted by val1 z4 UT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 3, 13 at 8:35

My turface comes in on Friday. I think I will repot into a different pot and mix just to be on the safe side.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

Oh crap now I want one. Tropic's pics always do that to me!


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

  • Posted by val1 z4 UT (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 4, 13 at 10:48

Purple, if my cuttings root (and my mother plant makes it) I can send you a start in the spring. Mine is suppose to bloom slightly different than Tropicbreezent's because the base of the bloom is not green but rather a reddish brown. The blooms are still bright red.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

What a nice offer, thanks!

Took this pic to show how crazy I am about holes, I always make more if possible. (Hey there's a good movie called Holes too.) After this plant (any plant) stops dripping, I tilt it so one of the corners is low and gently yank (yes that's possible) it up & down a few times. A LOT more water comes out, even from this tiny pot. The holes in the middle of the sides were there, but I cut the corners and there is a large difference in how much water it's possible to now drain. This summer I'm firing up the drill to fix the few plastic pots I have left with just 1 hole in the middle. No mix or watering regime can completely negate this design flaw, IMHO, just more holes or at least one at the edge, and it will be years until I get shifted to clay pots. I have 2 so far...


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

Val,
given what Tropic wrote, I would say that a bark-based mix, lightly amended
with some Turface and a pinch of African Violet or Orchid Mix, will work very well.
I responded to your questions in Mike's Thread, and am carrying my thoughts over here :-)

However, you must remember that a fast-draining mix needs to be watered thoroughly and copiously -
no watering in sips.


Josh


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

  • Posted by val1 z4 UT (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 4, 13 at 16:03

Purple, I plan to have my husband drill holes in the bottom (and probably at least one side now) of some of my pots. I also plan to look for some new pots over the weekend since I have a couple of new TCs and jades. I just really need to protect the furniture where I set the plants and I don't love drip trays.

Josh, I am just going to pick up the Turface I ordered. I understand that with the fast draining mix, I will need to water differently than I have been. Thanks.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

I hear ya. That's the main reason my Mom won't have plants inside anymore, the drip situation. There's always one last drip that makes a ring at some point. You might find some pretty plates at a thrift store that would be a good alternative to the ugly traditional drip tray. If I didn't have such an ugly collection of cheap nursery pots, I'd make efforts like that to make at least one room's plants look more "finished" and nice. You might also like tile squares. Put 4 of those sticky felt things on the back they sell for chair legs/cabinets & it won't scratch stuff.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

I took another pic to show more about what I mean. This pot has 7-8 nice-sized holes in the bottom. When it stops dripping and I tilt it, water flows out of the lowest hole in a trickle. If I leave it tilted for a while (a square bowl is infinitely helpful for this,) as much as an ounce of water can drip out over the next 5-10 minutes.

Outside in the sun and heat it doesn't seem to matter, but when I water inside, I do the bowl-tilt step. Some pots will sit at a tilt in the hole in the sink, but not the bigger ones. I encourage everyone to try this and see how much more water comes out after you thought the pot was finished dripping while flat.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

Here's another view from the side, how tilted it is. I only have a few pot with a really gritty mix of mostly small gravel, but even that stuff releases a LOT more water when tilted for a few minutes.

This post was edited by purpleinopp on Mon, Jan 7, 13 at 12:00


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

  • Posted by val1 z4 UT (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 7, 13 at 17:29

Purple, I repotted the lipstick plant into a glazed clay pot with a large whole in the bottom. I had to put drywall tape in the bottom to keep the soil in the pot. I know what you mean about tilting the pot to the side. A lot of extra water does drain out. Oh, I solved my problem about the drip trays. I found some clear glass candle plates at Walmart for $3.50 and they look great (and are the right size for most of my plants). For the bigger ones, I am looking for some pretty glass pie plates.

Here is a photo of the candle plate under one of my new pots. The Peace Lily followed me home while I was looking for pots and soil supplies.

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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

Looks nice in that shot, no wonder the blooms look so fresh, you say the plant is new!

You can just trace the bottom of the pot onto a couple of sheets of newspaper, cut along the lines & use the cut paper rounds to line your pots. The soil stays put 'til the next repot, one can even fit a wick through the paper if using one.


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That looks infinitely better than one of those plastic trays. Kudos!!


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

  • Posted by val1 z4 UT (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 8, 13 at 2:27

Pirate Girl, weekend before last I saw lots of Peace Lilies at Lowes which were obviously new. They were all very beautiful and I almost bought one then. When I went with my husband on Saturday to get filters for the furnance and some perlite, many of the lilies were wilting from lack of water. This one was not wilting yet but was very dry. The hoya I found there had just the opposite problem. It was in a metal pot with no drainage and, when I picked it up to read the tag, water sloshed out of the pot. I dumped the water into a thirsty plant and brought the hoya home too. Luckily my husband is very kind and just rolls his eyes when a plant ends up in the cart. They had some beautiful sansevieria that were in pebbles and water. I loved the variegation on the leaves but hey were already starting to die and were expensive. I was so sad. As far as using newspaper, I bet coffee filters might also work.

Purple, I was excited to find the plates. I picked up a couple more today while they were on clearance.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

  • Posted by val1 z4 UT (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 16:27

I just wanted to give an update on the lipstick plant. After repotting into a 5:1:1 mix, the lipstick is doing great. It is putting out new growth and looks very healthy.

Purple, the cuttings I took also are doing great and putting on new growth. So I can send you a start in the spring if you want one. We still have at least foot of snow here.


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RE: Need Help with Lipstick Plant

Hey this is a cheery entry! And a kind offer. Hope I remember it when it's warmer at your end. Now that you bring it up again, I know it's been winter, but I haven't seen anything like that in a store. Trading rocks and your plant is cool.


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