Colours and shapes
The first thing you notice about Aeschynanthus (pronounced Eskinántus) is the quirky, uniquely layered profusion of foliage which tumbles down lavishly over all sides. As if that’s not impressive enough, this hanging plant also produces dark red flowers which are concealed in tubes that are almost purple. Unusual, a little mysterious and with a touch of drama, the shape of this beauty is best shown off in a high position so that the tendrils can dangle. The plant combines well with Columnea; they look slightly similar, yet are still very different.
The name Aeschynanthus is derived from the Greek word 'aischyne', which means shame or disgrace, and refers to the scarlet colour. 'Anthos' means flower. Aeschynanthus is also called the lipstick plant because of its eye-catching red flowers.
The plant grows wild in the humid forests of Asia, from the Himalayas to Indonesia, where the vines can reach a length of up to three metres. By nature it’s an epiphyte, i.e. a plant that lives on trees and other plants without drawing nutrients from them. Some 185 species are known, all of them hanging plants that can also climb. Accustomed to warmth and a somewhat humid atmosphere, Aeschynanthus thrives indoors in the kitchen and bathroom.