Discussing Lipstick, Prayer, Snake, and Zebra Houseplants

Lipstick Plant

When given proper care, a Lipstick plant rewards its master with blooms that are unique in each stage of its development. Its flowers, hanging off its stems are bright red and tubular.

The blooms are a constant feat of the plant all year long. The name of the plant was derived from the way its flowers look—open tubes resembling a lipstick.

Aeschynanthus, the genus where lipstick plant belongs to, is also known as the Basket vine because of its trailing stems which are best suited for hanging baskets.

hanging lipstick plant

Native to the damp forest of Asia, the Aeschynanthus has more than 170 species. Many of them are epiphytic—growing from branches of trees. Its genus has varying appearance.

It can be planted as indoor plants in hanging baskets or trailing a structure or tree. A famous variant of the plant, Aeschynanthus lobbianus has sleek leaves and hard surfaces. Its flower, red in color, emerges from the tube-like calyx which is dark red.

The Aeschynanthus radicans species have leathery foliage and its flowers are scarlet with yellow throats. Variants such as Aeschynanthus speciosus are huge, while Aeschynanthus micranthus are smaller and trailing kind. The Aeschynanthus hildebrandii has softer leaves and bright orange flowers.

Humidity Needs

The plant is relatives with African violets and Cape primrose. They all need higher humidity levels. To care for its humidity level, misting the plant will prove helpful.

One indication that it is not given the right humidity is when flower turn black or the leaves turn brown.

When provided with bright and indirect sunlight, the plants grow best. If cultivated as indoor plant, it should not be exposed to direct sunlight as it could burn the leaves.

Water Needs

For its water requirements, the plant should be moist at all times. But it should not be soggy.

If the leaves start falling off from their stems, it is a sign that the plant is not given the right amount of water. In winter though, the water requirement is lower than in summer. In summer, the leaves should be moistened as well.

Fertilizer Needs

To enhance the flowering capacity of the plant, feeding it with fertilizer will prove effective. Apply nitrogen-free fertilizer at half the recommended strength every other week in spring and summer seasons.

During fall and winter, fertilizer should be reduced for the plant to get a resting period. Trimming the plants after every flowering season will ensure next batch of blooms.

Climate Needs

The temperature requirement of a lipstick plant is 75 degrees in daytime and between 65 and 70 degrees at night. If the plant is potted, the soil must be loose and well-drained. Also, it should be high in potassium for healthy and strong root growth.

Growing a lipstick plant is very rewarding. It can grace the garden or the indoor atmosphere with its phenomenal blooms. Its blooms can also lure butterflies to frequent their visits in the garden.

Prayer Plant

Also known as the Ten Commandments, a Prayer plant is among the houseplants that is capable of exuding beauty preceding and succeeding its blooms.

Hailed from Africa, Asia and Brazil, the plant’s foliage, marked with dark patches between veins, fold up resembling hands clasped in prayer, when evening unfolds.

a small prayer plant

The dark patches on its veins become darker as the leaf advances in growth. The underside of its leaves is shaded grayish green with bits of purple. In its native lands, the plants are seen as ground cover as they are disseminated across the forest floor.

The plants can grow as tall as a foot in height, while their intricately-patterned leaves can reach 6 inches in length. The plant’s scientific name is Maranta Leuconeura Kerchoveana and it belongs to Marantaceae family, which composes of 30 genera and 400 species.

Among its hundreds species, 23 belong to Maranta genera. Of 23 species, only three—namely Maranta Leuconeura, Maranta Leuconeura Kerchoveana and Maranta Leuconeura Erythroneura—are ideal for houseplants.

The trio prayer plants produce petite white or blue flowers that accumulate at the end of their long stems. However, such feat is rarely captured in an indoor prayer plant. Besides the Ten Commandments, Maranta Leuconeura Kerchoveana is also known for its other monikers like Rabbit’s foot or Rabbit’s tracks and Green Maranta.

While it is adaptable to indoor atmosphere, it grows best in bright indirect sunlight. The rich color combination only unique to the Ten Commandments is dependent upon appropriate sunlight supplication.

Too much sunlight will burn its leaves, while insufficient of it will turn its leaves to curl and turn brown. Starting spring to fall, the plants should be watered with warm water.

They appreciate pots with drainage because they cannot tolerate being waterlogged. They thrive in moist but un-soggy soil. This plant also requires high humidity to flourish, and to encourage blooming flowers.

When it comes to temperature changes, the Rabbit’s foots can be temperamental!

Their ideal temperature is between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. During winter, the soil must be kept drier. They should also be placed among other houseplants to help create more humid conditions.

Misting daily with warm water can help prayer plants to thrive in freezing season. Also, putting its pot on top of a shallow dish of pebbles and water is a helpful recourse. But, it is imperative to avoid the plant from being immersed in water.

While it can grow to be a large plant, the plant is best kept compact in a short-half pot as it has a shallow root system. During its growth, its long-leafed stem may fall over the pot’s side. While it is a natural feat, it however, renders the plant scanty.

In such circumstance, it is best to trim the plant. In fact, pruning the plant promotes healthy new growth.

Early spring or summer is the best time for repotting and propagating a prayer plant. Division should be done in spring, and stem cutting must be in early summer.

To cut a stem, it must be done from below the nodes nearest to the bottom of a plant’s stem. The cut stem is then placed in a mixture of moist peat and perlite covered with plastic to sustain its moisture level. Air holes are made for the stem to breathe. Position the cutting in a sunny location.

Snake Plant

Considered as an architectural houseplant, snake plant is slow growing with stiff, upright leaves that resemble a sword. Its shape, color and variety are many.

There are some that produce irregular and horizontal bands of dark green and grayish green, with small and yellow outline on its foliage. Other plants do not have the outline, while few have a large visible yellow outline with hardly any traces of green.

Still some plants have striped leaves and bear fragrant flowers like the Laurentii variant. The Snake plants’ thick and pointed leaves can grow to 4 feet from a basal rosette.

the distinctively elegant snake plant

It got its name from the hue design, and structure and shape of its leaves. When mature, they become dark green with cross-banding, and are between 5 and 6 centimeters in width.

Descending from tropical West Africa, from Nigeria East to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the plant with its scientific name Sanseviera Trifasciata is part of Sansevieria species, evergreen herbaceous perennial plant that forms dense stands.

The plant is known for its extreme adaptability. Although it can survive almost the worst of soil conditions, it grows best in sandier soils.

The potting soil should be loose and well-drained mixture. In growing snake plants in your care, bright light is required.

They so adore light that direct sun exposure is truly appreciated. The plant tolerates low light, but it rarely survives a temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Water is another elixir Sanseviera trifasciata needs.

Watering is done once in every 7 to 10 days. However, it should be accorded time for its soil to dry in between watering.

The only way to kill the plant is to over water or to never water at all. During winter, the frequency of watering is less, which can be once a month or whenever the soil is dry to touch.

For its propagation, the snake can be divided with equal root allocation, although their rhizomes can also stimulate new sprouts.

Spring is the best time for repotting the plants. Sanseviera trifasciata is a rapid grower plant. At times, it can grow healthily that it breaks its pot and exposes its mass of underground shoots, which need immediate repotting.

These plants are the best houseplant for new gardeners because they require little attention. They make a striking display for tabletops and floors.

Depending on its variations, a snake plant can be called by its other monikers like Mother-in-law’s Tongue, Bowstring Hemp, Devil’s Tongue, Good Luck or Lucky plant.

Zebra Plant

Zebra plant is a woody perennial shrub native to Brazil, where it is grown up to six foot. In the United States, however, it is cultivated as a houseplant, and can grow up to one foot.

It is named as such because of the white stripes that are visible on its dark green oval leaves that resemble those of the stripes on zebra animals.

a recently purchased zebra houseplant

Belonging to the family Acanthaceae, this plant consists of more than 2,500 species, and has ‘saffron spike’ for a moniker.

While a zebra plant is capable of producing pretty flowers that are bright yellow in color, the attributes that make them appealing to most gardeners are its colorful spikes as well as its eye-catching foliage.

Its stem is purple-tinged, while its oval leaves are pointed on their tips. The leaves are marked with midrib veins in cream color, and are borne in pairs.

At the end of the plant are four-sided yellow spikes, from which flowers bloom. These spikes have overlapping bracts. The flowers, which are two-lipped, have a short life span. However, the bracts can last up to eight months.

Zebra plants can be planted as an outdoor hedge, in which the plants are cultivated between 4 and 6 feet apart in areas such as in South Florida, Southern California and the Hawaiian Islands. In other areas, these plants should be planted indoors.

If such is the case, they should be kept in a room with a night time temperature between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. At daytime, the temperature should be from 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although it has good tolerance to frost, the plant will be at its weakest state when the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When this happens, the leaves will start to fall off.

In Brazil, these plants are seen proliferating in areas with indirect sunlight, hence, it will likewise thrive well when they are placed near a window where the plants get indirect sunlight.

Providing an artificial light will also stimulate a zebra plant to bloom its yellow to orange flowers. Other factors that are essential to growing these plants healthily include good airflow, high humidity and consistent moisture.

These plants favor moderate watering—neither too much nor too little. To maintain their humidity requirement, they are best placed on a tray of wet pebbles or keep them in a bathroom.

The plants also favor well-drained potting soil. For optimal results, applying fertilizer once a month is advised. One thing that should be remembered about a zebra plant is its poisonous characteristic.

Some parts of it are poisonous even to touch. Thus, in its handling, one should wear gloves, otherwise, skin irritation and some allergic reactions will occur. Also, it is best to keep them away from children or pet’s reach.

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