Skip to Content

Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant Care Guide

When the shiny green leaves are covered in purple striped variegations, it’s easy to see why the Aeschynanthus longicaulis is also known as the Zebra Basket Vine.

Hanging planters and baskets are a great way to display this easy-to-care houseplant, which will thrive in the right conditions.

To get the most out of your black pagoda lipstick plant, I’ve given all the information you need to know about its care.

Putting your black pagoda lipstick plant in a pot with loose, well-draining soil and watering it when the top few inches of soil are dry will do well. Maintain a comfortable interior temperature of 60-85°F (15-29°C) in a location with plenty of indirect light and high humidity.

What Does a Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant Look Like?

The lipstick plant appears to be a Hoya, but it is a variety of Aeschynanthus lipstick vine.

It looks delicate but is a low-maintenance lipstick plant relative (Aeschynanthus radicans).

The tube-like and vibrant orange-red flowers of these plants emerge from a burgundy bud, making them look like lipstick tubes.

Epiphytic evergreen plant Aeschynanthus longicaulis is native to Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and other tropical Southeast Asian regions.

It is a medium-sized evergreen plant. Lipstick plants produce cascading vines that spread on planters and windowsills, making them ideal for tall containers or hanging baskets.

The glossy, lance-shaped foliage features a combination of solid dark green and creamy white variegation on the tops.

Alternatively, the undersides of the leaves can be either solid pale green, maroon, or purple. Zebra Basket Vine gets its name from how the leaves sometimes look like zebra stripes.

The stems of a black pagoda lipstick plant can trail, climb, or overhang. Compared to other Aeschynanthus species, they are small, ranging in length from 1.6 to 3.3 ft (0.5 to 1 m).

However, in the summer and fall, they produce a stunning display of 2 inches (5 cm) long flowers that are awe-inspiring.

Your lipstick plant will take 5 to 10 years to reach maturity. However, they are compact and blend well with other houseplants, making them ideal for apartments, patios, and offices.

In addition, they’re an excellent way for people with a black thumb to appreciate the splendor of tropical beauty.

Let’s find out how to care for this epiphyte for optimal growth and ornamental value.

Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant Care in Brief

Watering NeedsWhen the first 2-inch layer of the growing medium is dry, water thoroughly.
Light RequirementsIt prefers indirect light but can tolerate lower light in summer or morning sun.
HumidityDoes well in high humidity but needs air circulation
Temperatures60-85 °F (15-29 °C) are ideal. Below 50°F (10°C), cold-damaged leaves drop.
SoilLight, well-drained, evenly moist medium. Using a premixed potting mix (check Amazon’s price) is ideal.
FertilizerWell-balanced houseplant fertilizer bi-monthly during the growing season
PropagationIn the summer, propagate with 5-inch semi-hard stem cuttings.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone10 to 11, including 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a

First Steps after Purchase

Here’s what you need to do to ensure optimal chances of survival after purchase:

Have The Right Tools & Supplies Handy

If you don’t already have them, I recommend purchasing the following items: pruning shears, a mister, a watering can, and a good houseplant moisture meter.

Quarantine from Other House Plants

You may be tempted to add your new purchase to your collection now that it has arrived—a big mistake. Instead, keep it isolated for at least 30 days.

Your new plant may be infested with pests or diseases. Likewise, your other house plants may be infested with pests or diseases.

In any case, keep them separate until you’re sure there are no pests or diseases present.

Check for Pests 

Some plants purchased from greenhouses or nurseries may be infested with pests. Look for jagged edges, holes, or discoloration in the foliage.

Don’t forget to check the entire plant for problems, especially the leaf undersides.

Check Soil Moisture

Overwatering and excessively damp conditions are harmful to your transplanted plant. You may overwater if you water it right away.

However, this will cause leaf shedding, fungal problems, and, worst of all, root rot.

Until it acclimates, your Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant will likely use less water. So, wait until the top 2 inches of soil are dry before watering.

Find a Sweep Spot

A curtained south-facing window is an excellent location for your newly purchased black pagoda lipstick plant. It should be a few feet away from the window, so that bright, indirect light falls on the leaves.

Avoid direct sunlight and drafty areas at all costs. Too much humidity is also not advisable during the first few days of acclimation.

Don’t Apply Fertilizer Right Away

Fertilizer is generally beneficial to lipstick plants. However, feeding your plant immediately after bringing it home can be a curse in disguise.

If your plant appears stressed due to the transfer, fertilizer will most likely burn the roots. After all, it could have been fed by the nursery or greenhouse.

Instead, concentrate your efforts on providing it with adequate humidity, temperature, watering, and sunlight.

Provide Optimal Growing Conditions

To help your plant acclimate more quickly and effectively, maintain a three-way balance of nutrients, water, and sunlight. Watering and light conditions can take precedence over humidity.

Hold off Repotting

You might be in a hurry to get your plant into your preferred container. However, repotting can be stressful for your already stressed plant.

The last thing you want to do is harm the roots. But unfortunately, it may also provide entry points for pathogens.

I strongly advise waiting until there are signs of new growth. Remember that your black pagoda lipstick plant may take days or even weeks to adjust to its new surroundings.

How to Care for Your Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant 

Here are some great ways to keep your black pagoda lipstick plant healthy while it retains its glossy green foliage:

How to Water Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant

When it comes to caring for your lipstick plant, overwatering should be your number one priority.

First, of course, the soil must be well-aerated and evenly moist. But never soggy or drenched!

Leaf drop, yellowing, and fungal problems are signs that your plant has been overwatered.

When watering your black pagoda lipstick plant, the top 2-inch layer of soil should dry out between waterings.

Use a moisture meter, the finger test, or feel the pot’s weight. Reduce irrigation frequency during the colder months to mimic your plant’s dormancy period.

If you’re lucky enough to have one blooming, never use cold water to water it.

Black pagoda lipstick plants prefer bottom-watering. So, after draining, empty the cachepot.

Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant Light Requirements

This tropical plant thrives in bright, indirect light. You should get the best variations if you give it filtered sunlight from an east- or south-facing window.

North-facing exposure is acceptable but not ideal. While it is low-light tolerant, your plant will drop leaves and bloom poorly in extreme darkness.

Because your plant is susceptible to sunburn, avoid locations that receive more than 2 hours of direct sunlight.

Artificial lighting is also beneficial to lipstick plants. Use grow lights that provide 500 to 1,000 FC of light.

Black Pagoda Plant Temperature Requirements

Another friendly quality of black pagoda lipstick plants is that they can thrive at room temperature.

They thrive in a wide temperature range but prefer temperatures ranging from 60 to 85°F (15 to 29°C).

In USDA Hardiness Zones 10 through 11, Aeschynanthus longicaulis can be grown outside all year.

It is, however, frost-sensitive and will suffer if temperatures fall below 50 °F (10 °C). If you suspect cold or frost stress, a leaf drop is the first sign to look for.

Furthermore, it dislikes drafts and sudden temperature changes. As a result, avoid placing your plant near air conditioning, drafty windows, or entryways.

Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant Humidity Requirements

Thanks to its low-maintenance nature, Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant can tolerate dry air indoor conditions. However, like most tropical plants, it’ll appreciate higher humidity levels (around 60-70% RH). 

It’ll produce larger, glossier foliage and grow faster with this moisture level in its surrounding air.

Running central heating during winter can result in low humidity issues. Leaf tip browning, lackluster growth, and crunchy leaves are some symptoms. 

I use the following tactics to increase humidity around my lipstick plants:

  • I group my houseplants to generate humid microclimates
  • I use a humidifier
  • I set up a humidity tray, complete with wet pebbles
  • Misting regularly 
  • I temporarily transfer my plants to the kitchen or bathroom

Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant Soil Requirements

The black pagoda lipstick vine can survive without using a traditional soil medium as an epiphyte.

It thrives in a well-drained, loose potting medium with good moisture retention. Most soilless mediums, such as coco noir or sphagnum peat, will suffice.

Incorporate 50% vermiculite, perlite, or sand into a regular potting mix if you’re planning on using that instead. Add a little compost or organic matter as possible.

Fertilizing Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant

Black Pagoda Lipstick plants tend to grow rapidly during the warm spring and summer months.

During this time, you can apply a well-balanced houseplant fertilizer once every 1-2 months.

If you apply the product monthly, dilute it to half the recommended strength. When watering your plant, use fertilizer. Winter fertilization should be avoided.

Propagating Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant

Black pagoda lipstick plants can easily be propagated in soil from stem cuttings. Here’s how:

  1. Cut 5-inch cutting from healthy cuttings without blooms.
  2. Remove almost all leaves except a few near the tip.
  3. Dip cut end in rooting hormone.
  4. Plant into a moist, well-drained growing medium.
  5. Give ample light and moisture – it should start rooting after two weeks.

How to Repot Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant

These tropicals don’t require frequent repotting. However, you should do so every couple of years or when it’s root-bound. Here’s how to repot your plant:

  • Snip any roots that are protruding or overgrowing from the pot.
  • Unpot your black pagoda lipstick plant gently.
  • Untangle the roots and wash away any excess soil.
  • Using a sterile cutting tool, snip off any rotten or dead roots.
  • Fill your new pot halfway with potting soil and transplant your plant. Allow the roots to grow no more profound than one-third of the way into the ground.
  • Provide ideal growing conditions, remarkably light and moisture.

Pruning and Trimming

Trim and prune your black pagoda lipstick plant to keep it from looking straggly. Make use of a clean pair of pruners. This promotes a fuller appearance and new growth.

Common Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant Problems 


Black pagodas are generally non-susceptible to pests. But watch out for green aphids, thrips, mealybugs, whiteflies, spider mites, and scale insects.

If present, I suggest using the following treatments:

  • Wipe down using alcohol-dipped cotton swabs
  • Apply insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil sprays
  • Wash your plant with a strong stream of water outside
  • Use natural predators


Root rot, powdery mildew, botrytis blight, and leaf spot diseases commonly affect these tropical plants.

Identity and treat or prevent them by

  • Avoiding wetting foliage
  • Avoiding overhead irrigation and overwatering
  • Using a fungicide spray, preferably copper-based or sulfur-based products

Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant leaves turning yellow and Brown

Nutrient imbalances, improper lighting, and poor watering habits can result in these symptoms. Correct them accordingly.

Black Pagoda Lipstick Plant Leaves Curling

Pests, lighting, and watering problems are usually the culprits for foliage curling in black pagoda lipstick pants. However, frost damage, fertilizer burn, and nutrient deficiencies could result in the same.

Are Lipstick Plants Toxic To Pets?

No. Black pagoda lipstick plants are non-toxic to humans and pests.

Sharing is caring!