To the genus aeschynanthus belong some species of perennial climbing or prostrate, epiphytic plants, originating from Indonesia and Borneo; the genus includes many species, often very different from each other due to the color of the leaves and the shape of the flowers, which in most species are red or orange, and bloom in clusters at the bottom of the branches; these plants are very suitable for growing in hanging bowls. The foliage is dark green, often pubescent, evergreen, slightly leathery and rigid. A. marmoratus: climbing plant with red leaves on the lower side, light green, with yellow veins, on the upper side and green, tubular flowers with brown spots.
Aeschynanthus speciosus: light green leaves, red-orange tubular flowers gathered in racemes.
A. lobbianus: shiny green leaves, purple brown flowers and crimson corolla.
The Aeschynanthus speciosus prefer well-lit positions, but they fear the direct rays of the sun, which could cause burns on the foliage; they fear the cold very much, so they are cultivated in apartments or in temperate greenhouses. During the summer season they are plants that can be placed outdoors, avoiding exposure to direct sunlight.
The ideal temperature for the cultivation of the Eschinanthus is around 25 ° C in the warm period, while for the cold season the temperatures should never fall below 15 ° C. For this reason, these plants are grown as indoor plants.
From March to the end of August it is good to keep the soil in which the wet Eschinanthus are cultivated, remembering also to vaporize the foliage often, without exceeding; about twice a month, add universal fertilizer to the water used for watering. During the rest period water every 4-5 weeks, or wait for the soil to dry completely between one watering and another. Also during the cold months let's remember to spray the foliage with demineralized water.
The specimens of Aeschynanthus speciosus are buried in containers filled with a compound of three parts of fibrous peat and a part of dry moss. In this way we will obtain a soft and well aerated substrate; we can also use the ready-made soil for orchids.
As for the repotting it is not necessary to provide for an annual intervention, and when proceeding with the operation it is good to choose a container that is slightly larger than the previous one, but not too much because these plants do not like large containers.
The multiplication of Eschinanthus plants can occur by cuttings or by layering. To proceed with the cuttings technique, make cuttings of 10-12 cm in May-June from the non-floriferous branches, bury them in a compound rich in sand, to keep moist and at a temperature of 18-20 ° C until the roots appear ; then transfer the new plants to the pots.
It can also be multiplied by layering, to be carried out with damp soil at any time of the year.
Eschinanthus - Aeschynanthus speciosus: Pests and diseases
This plant can be attacked by aphids, red spider mites, and rarely by floury cochineal. To counter the attack of the red spider it is possible to intervene simply by increasing the humidity with the vaporization of water on the leaves; scale insects can be eliminated with a cloth with alcohol, or by washing the plant with water and neutral soap to rinse then with care. There are special products for aphids, or it is possible to use garlic-based or nettle-based macerates to be sprayed on the affected specimens.