Relax, mon – Rasta Lipstick Plant needs little care

December 21, 2022

While we associate dreadlocks with Jamaica, some of the earliest Middle Eastern Christians wore this hairstyle. The very first bishop of Jerusalem, James the Just, had dreadlocks down to his ankles!

Dreadlocks adorn many Rastafarians, with the coiffure representing a biblical hairstyle showing devotion by the Nazirites.

Whether your hair is smooth or kinky, long or short, you can indeed grow dreadlocks with the Curly Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus Radicans Curly or Rasta).

It features fascinating curly leaves along dense vines, resembling dreadlocks. Rasta Lipstick is a perfect winter plant, with bright-red flowers and dark-green foliage.

Known for their elegant cascading foliage and the tubular flowers that look very much like red lipstick, these natives of the Himalayas and Malaysian rain forests are easy to grow indoors.

The cultivar Rasta, sometimes called Curly, has leaves that are twisted like corkscrews curling back in on themselves.

Rasta Lipstick plants are natural epiphytes, or air plants, that perform best in hanging baskets where their curly vines will drape gracefully. Although they bloom heaviest in summer and fall, they do sport flowers well into winter. Even when not in bloom, these are spectacular foliage plants.

This is a tropical plant that loves warm, humid conditions. It thrives indoors where temperatures are near 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It needs bright light, but not direct sun, which can burn the leaves.

The ideal place for this fun houseplant will get just four hours a day of bright, indirect sunlight. They do well under grow lights. Keep the plants away from heating or cooling vents that dry out the air.

You can grow Rasta Lipstick Plant in your bathroom if there is good outdoor light. The higher humidity of the bathroom is ideal for them..

Plants are often available from local nurseries or by mail from specialty greenhouses such as Logee's (, phone 860-774-8038.)

Because this tropical plant is an epiphyte in its native range, it gets its nutrients from the air rather than the soil. Just like orchids, Rasta Lipstick Plant needs very well-draining soil. Many gardeners add sand and sphagnum moss to their potting mix to ensure good drainage.

Even though the Rasta Lipstick Plant likes consistent moisture, especially during summer when it is actively growing, be careful not to overwater it. Too much water will lead to root rot and leaves dropping off. Excess water will also cause fungal issues. Let the soil dry out completely and water when the top few inches are dry.

Because flowers form at the leaf tips, pruning will result in more blooms. Make sure to do the cut just above a leaf node. Your Rasta lipstick plant will value being fed once or twice a month with a slow-release fertilizer during the summer. You can move plants outdoors under a patio or in the shade of a tree out of direct light for the summer months. Bring them indoors when temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Get a Rasta Curly Lipstick Plant and relax. Don't worry; be happy.


  • Paul Barbano writes about gardening from his home in Rehoboth Beach. Contact him by writing to P. O. Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958.

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