The name derives from the Greek but the meaning is obscure; in this genre, we tend to include the genus Trichosporum today. They are suffrutic evergreens from Asia and Madagascar, mostly epiphytes, with declining branches, opposite leaves rather fleshy or leathery, showy flowers, rarely solitary, at the axil of the leaves or terminal, almost always with the corolla and corolla tubular. They are a hot greenhouse, and although it may be possible to keep some species in the apartment, it is very difficult for them to bloom, unless they enjoy exceptional luminosity combined with a lot of atmospheric humidity.
Cultivated species of Aeschynanthus:
A. javanicus, native of Java, with small ovate leaves, scarlet corolla with yellow throat, violet-red calyx; A. lobbianus, one of the most cultivated species, with small dark green elliptic leaves, scarlet bilobed corolla with cream throat, pubescent calyx along the middle of the corolla; Aeschynanthus marmoratus, native to Siam, leaves up to 8 cm long, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, mottled by a network of transparent yellowish lines below the epidermis that has an almost crystalline appearance; the same streaks appear in pale green on the lower red-brown page. The flowers are greenish, speckled with brown, inconspicuous; Aeschynanthus pulcher, small ovate leaves light green, green calyx, bilabed corolla three times longer than the chalice, bright vermilion with yellow throat; A. speciosus, from Java, strong plant but of disorderly growth, with branches up to 60 cm long, with large green and leathery leaves, with showy, tubular flowers, up to 20 together, in terminal bunches, with a 10 cm corolla approximately, red orange and yellow throat stained in brown red.
the Aeschynanthus, like all epiphytes, require a very humid substrate, capable of retaining moisture without however having the least stagnation of water; for this purpose, peat and sphagnum with coal fragments are normally used. They can also be grown on trunks or cork bark with roots covered with sphagnum and secured by ligatures, or in baskets pierced by orchids, but the cultivation in pots is the simplest. The minimum winter temperature should be around 16 ° C, and the atmosphere must be kept as humid as possible, with frequent spraying. During the winter the waterings will be thinned out, even if you do not have to allow the mixture to dry completely. Multiplication, by semi-hard wood cuttings in late winter, is easy at adequate temperature (around 22-26 ° C) and relatively rapid rooting.
Also read: Aeonium (Crassulaceae).