Aeschynanthus, blooming in a burst of fire

Aeschynanthus flowers blooming

Aeschynanthus decorates our homes thanks to its magnificent blooming from May to September.

List of Aeschynanthus facts

Name – Aeschynanthus
Family – Gesneriaceae
Type – perennial, indoor plant

Height – 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40 cm)
Exposure – well-lit
Soil – rather acidic

Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – May to September

Planting, care, watering and repotting, are parameters that influence and lead to successfully growing aeschynanthus.

Planting, repotting aeschynanthus

It is recommended to plant the rhizomes in spring in a blend of garden soil and heath soil.

  • The tubers must be flush with the surface to ensure they won’t rot.

Many species are epiphytes, meaning they usually grow on trees, like orchids. For these, prefer orchid potting mix.

Repot in spring, generally April does the trick.

  • Completely replace the soil with brand new soil mix.
    Use flower plant soil mix blended in with heath soil.

Favor a bright spot but without direct sunlight, especially during the hottest hours.

You can put saintpaulia in the immediate vicinity of this plant because they both share the same growing conditions.

Propagating aeschynanthus

Aeschynanthus propagationAeschynanthus is easily propagated, it’s a chance to make new plants and why not share the joy they bring with friends.

  • Divide its rhizomes in spring. Select those that are already bearing a few leaves.
  • Plant these rhizomes in pots filled in with soil mix.
  • Keep these cuttings near light, but not in direct sunlight.
  • Water regularly but not too much.

Pruning and caring for aeschynanthus

Aeschynanthus pruningRemove wilted flowers often to spur appearance of new buds.

If your plant is not blooming, it is probably because not all ideal growing conditions are brought together.

  • Ensure that it has enough light to grow well.
  • Aeschynanthus loves heat. It may be that the location it sits in is scoured by drafts of air, or that the temperature in the room isn’t warm enough: minimum 72°F (22°C) to bloom.

Place in bright light and don’t let it catch a cold in winter.

Watering indoor aeschynanthus

Aeschynanthus not bloomingEven though it is native to the Asian tropics, Aeschynanthus doesn’t need too much water.

It is most important to water more during the blooming which is from May to September, and have a rather drier period during the winter months.

That is how to best mirror the 2 major seasons in tropical areas: monsoon season and dry seasons.

So this means watering twice a week in summer, with liquid fertilizer added in every 10 or 15 days. Over the rest of the year, water sparingly, not more than once a week. This dry dormant state, while still receiving a lot of light, is what will guarantee reblooming.

  • Aeschynanthus wateringWater regularly but not too much between May and September-October.
    Also mist the leaves during this span of time, to recreate the proper moisture level.
  • At the end of the blooming season (October), slowly reduce watering and stop it completely when the leaves have died.
    Let the plant hibernate by placing it in a darker, cooler room (about 60°F (15°C).
  • Come February/March, start watering again and place your plant in a more luminous, warmer room, 65 to 72°F (18 to 22°C).
  • As early as May you can even bring it outdoors if you wish, still not in direct sun but all the while maintaining proper light.
  • Since Aeschynanthus is quite fragile, avoid moving it around too often.

Fertilizing aeschynanthus

Aeschynanthus need fertilizer during the entire vegetation phase, from May to September.

This will ensure you have a beautiful blooming during this entire period.

  • More or less every fortnight, provide liquid flower plant fertilizer.

Early September, slowly stop adding the fertilizer and stop it completely in October.

Aeschynanthus after flowering

Winter care for aeschynanthusOnce the flowers have died off, you must reduce the watering until the leaves as well have also withered and died.
Once there are no more leaves left, transfer your aeschynanthus to a cool, shaded and rather dry spot.

Ideal temperatures for this rest phase are around 57 to 60°F (13 to 15°C).

At the end of winter, repot the tuber in new soil mix and begin watering regularly again.

As soon as the first buds appear, water abundantly and there you go, your aeschynanthus is ready for a new cycle of blooming.

All there is to know about the aeschynanthus

Native to Asia and more specifically the tropical areas of China, India and Malaisia, Aeschynanthus thrives indoors particularly well in our temperate climates where it bears abundant flowers from May to September. Many varieties are trailing and hanging, making them perfect for an indoor suspension or to decorate a rock wall.

Although we would of course like its blooming to last longer, it’s already a great joy to see the beauty of its bright red or orange red flowers.

Caring for it is relatively easy if the guidelines mentioned above are properly followed.

  • Feel free to give it a lot of light while avoiding direct sun.

Smart tip about aeschynanthus

Quite vulnerable to aphids, one solution is to plant 1 or 2 cloves of garlic at the foot of your plant to repel them.

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY 2.0: Pedro Fernandes
CC BY 4.0: desertnaturalist, Siddarth Machado, National Taiwan Museum