The Hoya plant is a classic and forever-living plant that is grown to be enormous and create an elegant, porcelain-like fragrant flower, which is sometimes called porcelain flowers. It is sometimes called a porcelain flower due to the fact that it has waxy, and porcelain-like flower clusters that have a nice scent.
The origination of the Hoya plant was from the tropical and the sub-tropical parts of Asia. The Hoya plant can grow from 4 inches up to 10 feet. Although it is non-toxic to both humans and pets, it helps in removing all the 5 VOCs from the air, which makes it an ideal air purifying indoor plant.
Hoya plant description and summary
- Botanical name: Hoya carnosa
- Common names: Indian rope plant, wax plant, honey plant, porcelain flower, waxflower.
- Size of plant: Hoya plant grows from around 4 inches up to 10 feet.
- Hoya plant types: Hoya Carnosa, Hoya kerrii Variegated, Hoya Archboldiana, Hoya Compacta “Indian Rope,” Honey Plant, Hoya Cumingiata, and Hoya Onychoides.
- Watering: The plant should be watered only when the soil is completely dry.
- Sunlight: Hoya plant grows best in bright, indirect sunlight.
- Humidity: The plant loves humidity that is higher than 60%.
- Temperature: The favorable temperature is between 60 to 85OF
- Feeding: An all-purpose fertilizer that is properly diluted by half can be used to feed the plant, once a month, during the summer and spring.
- Toxicity: Hoya plant is not toxic to both humans and pets.
- Pest and diseases: The major pest of Hoya plant is sap suckers like mealy bugs, aphids, spider mites, and scale insects. These pests can be killed by using warm water, insecticidal soap, and neem oil.
- Care tip: Due to its sensitivity to overwatering, Hoya plant should be placed in a planter that has good drainage so as to prevent plant rot.
Hoya plant types and how to grow them
- Hoya carnosa: This dark-green, almond-shaped leaves plant grows on long vines, that produce creamy flower clusters. It grows under medium to bright indirect light. It requires little watering, and should only be watered when the leaves pucker a little. It may not grow best under artificial or grow lights.
- Hoya carnosa variegata Tricolor: It has some features like the Hoya carnosa, but has leaves that is lined in white and pink, plus green. This plant sometimes has bright pink stems and will produce solid white leaves. This type of Hoya plant is very choosy as it loves indirect bright light to grow. It also loves heat and high humidity. It can be watered like a normal Hoya plant. This plant is also very sensitive to overwatering and dislikes low-medium humidity. In order to keep this plant happy, you need to place it in a bright spot.
- Hoya Carnosa Rubra or Crimson princess: This type of Hoya plant has variegated leaves that have a cream, pink, yellow and green color. It is also sometimes referred to as krimson queen. This plant loves bright indirect light to thrive very well. Watering can be done as with other carnosa.
- Hoya obovata: This cultivar of Hoya plant has incredibly round, dark green, and lightly speckled leaves. This type grows very fast, more than most types of Hoya plants, and also flowers much earlier than them. Although it can tolerate medium light, it thrives best under bright indirect light. Overwatering is a major problem as its big leaves tend to hold lots of water. The leaves should be allowed to pucker a little before watering.
- Hoya keysii: It has spade-shaped leaves that are soft to touch and looks slightly furry. It also has vines that grow more uprightly. Like other succulents, it can tolerate drought for a long time, and grow perfectly in bright light and high humidity. It is very sensitive to overwatering and will not thrive in dark corners.
Propagating Hoya: Growth requirements
Most Hoya plants get leaf burn when exposed to direct, intense light. The fact is that most of them grow in the gaps of forests under dappled or diffuse light. This condition should be recreated for them at home in order to grow very well.
For perfect growth, Hoya plant should be grown under 50-80% shade cloth so as to protect it from direct sunlight.
Some of them may also begin to redden their leaves in full sunlight, a good example is the Hoya vitellina, but care must be taken so as not to fully burn and destroy the chlorophyll in the process.
Since most of the Hoya plants grow epiphytically, they don’t mind putting them in a small root bound, so they don’t need to be repotted often. So instead of repotting, their substrate can be refreshed every 2 to 3 years.
Since they like to dry out more, it is best to use terracotta pots in growing them because the pots are porous, and easily drain water from the soil substrate, ensure proper watering is done so that the entire soil can be wet before allowing it to dry.
Hoya plants generally grow in the little substrate due to their epiphytic nature, so they are commonly seen wrapped in Sphagnum for display at home. More frequent watering will need to be done in the display due to a lack of substrate. I also have this kind of display in my bathroom, using the Hoya pachyclada, and I spray the roots every few days, giving the plant the same treatment I give my Tillandsia also called air plant.
Although giving Tillandsia the treatment has helped me a lot, it is easier to grow and care for hoya in the substrate. Hoya is grown, in Asia, in pure coco chips.
The best soil mix for growing Hoya plant is ⅓ perlite, ⅓ peat, and ⅓ orchid mix. This is the perfect combination due to the fact that Hoya plants don’t like too much water. When watered, they should be allowed to dry out before watering again.
Some species of hoya plant grow in limestone areas, it will be best to grow this kind of species in a bit more alkaline soil. Eggshells can be crushed and used. An oyster shell can also be used within the soil mixture or on top. This will allow the substrate to get more alkaline slowly as watering is done.
If there is well-draining soil, then hoya plant can be watered very well, but if your soil mix is too heavy, the substrate can hold water which will be detrimental to the growth of your plant. Proper watering will help your plant to bloom quickly. Take hoya carnosa for instance, the plant undergoes a short period of drought when in it native habitat, so not watering the plant for 4 to 5 weeks in spring won’t affect it badly but help the plant in flowering.
Most Hoya plant prefers warm temperatures and can’t withstand chilly temperature that is less than 50OF or 10OC. The only exception to this condition is the Hoya carnosa which is cold hardy and can tolerate cooler temperatures very well.
Hoya plants require medium to high humidity. Some that require around 60 to 80% humidity can be placed very close to humidifiers or in plastic bags (sometimes called “the poor man’s humidifier)” in some cases.
Hoya plants can be fed with little micro and macronutrients too. Balanced synthetic fertilizers can be added to them once every 2 weeks. During flowering, a “bloom booster” fertilizer that contains a higher phosphorus percentage can be used.
When should I prune my Hoya plants?
Pruning a hoya plant involves cutting back the dead, brown stems. The best time to prune hoya plant is during spring and summer times. Those times are also the best time to propagate hoya plants.
Care should be taken when cutting back the stems in order not to cut the peduncle since this is where the flower will be grown every year.
Hoya plant care mistakes
- Overwatering: A fast-draining soil mix is advised so as to drain water quickly.
- Not providing a well-draining potting medium.
- Thinking all hoya plants need the same care needs.
- Not providing adequate humidity and air-flow
- Not growing them under bright light.
Hoya plant problems
Common signs that can be seen when your hoya plant is in trouble and how to care for them are:
- Hoya leaves turning red/burning: This may be due to too much direct sunlight, it is advised to place the plant in another corner of the room where it gets medium light.
- Hoya leaves are shriveling: The plant may not be getting adequate humidity or water, or perhaps there may be an issue with the roots or mealybugs’ infestation. Check the plant very well to really detect what the issue is.
- Hoya plant looks limp: Overwatering or underwatering may have caused the roots to die back completely. If that’s the issue, a healthy cut should be taken and propagate again.
- Hoya hasn’t flowered: This can mean a lack of required light conditions. Certain hoya plants may also require a ‘stress condition” (either cold or dry period) to flower.
- Buds are fallen off before flowering: This may mean the potting medium is too dry or too wet, and for a long time.
- Internodes extending too much: This may be due to lack of light and searching for it. The hoya plant should be moved closer to where there is enough light for the plant.
- Leaves falling off abruptly: This may mean the hoya is getting too much cold draft or chill. It is advised to place the plant in a warm spot.
- Sticky sac on the leave of the plant: Check for the presence of sap-sucking pests like aphids or mealybugs if the plant is not flowering.
Why do people hate Hoyas?
Hoya plant can be the worst houseplant due to this 5 reasons:
- They can be really expensive to buy.
- They have a watering schedule that can be a big challenge to face
- They have annoying long tendrils
- They require the right habitat to grow perfectly which could be a challenge also to research a perfect habitat for them.
- They can easily be covered in black spots
Tips for growing a perfect hoya plant
- Hoya plant should be propagated from stem cuttings or air layering.
- The long tendrils should never be cut since this is where the leaves and flower clusters develop from.
- When keeping in the same year for some year, as they don’t mind being there anyways, remember to add fertilizer to the substrate throughout the summer and spring.
- Because they are too sensitive to overwatering, a well-draining soil mix that has plenty of pumice and/or perlite should be used.