How to Grow and Care for Hoya Plants?

One of the most beautiful houseplants that has caught the attention of nature lovers is Hoya. This stylish plant elevates the overall decoration of a household. They look sturdy, but they can be such delicate creatures and need the proper treatment.

One of the most beautiful houseplants that has caught the attention of nature lovers is Hoya. This stylish plant elevates the overall decoration of a household. They look sturdy, but they can be delicate creatures and need the proper treatment.
In this article, we briefly review the nature of Hoya plants and how to care for them. This review includes instruction on growing, propagating, pruning, and repot them. There is also a summary of Hoya's common pests and diseases, and finally, we offer a safe and reliable purchase option for you.

What are Hoya Plants?

Hoya (Wax Plant) is an Asian/Australian native plant with a waxy look and thick, shiny foliage. Scottish Robert Brown was the first botanist who introduced them. He named the chic houseplant Hoya in honor of Thomas Hoy, a beloved 18th-century botanist.
These flowering houseplants are, in fact, part of the genus Hoya of the Asclepiadaceae family (AKA milkweed family). A recent taxonomy put the genus in the Apocynaceae (dogbane) family. Other common names for Hoya are the waxflower, wax plant, Indian rope plant, porcelain flower, and honey plant.
They are the hottest houseplants among gardeners nowadays. Easy to care for, these tropical flowering plants can be quite fragrant and exciting. Thus, they are perfect as a gift if you have a friend who appreciates greenery.

Common Species of Hoya

Hoya Carnosa

Hoya Carnosa with blooms
Countless Hoya Carnosa hybrids exist, and their basic form (simple green) is less customary. This specie of Hoya come with plain, variegated, crinkled, or otherwise textured foliage. They are hardy, versatile, and easily adaptable to moderate humidity and light much better than many other types of Hoyas. Their blooms are long-lasting, fuzzy clusters of fragrant stars. 
A cultivar of Hoya Carnosa, called ‘Hoya Hindu Rope’ or Hoya Carnosa 'Compacta'. Other famous varieties are 'Argentea Princess,' 'Chelsea,' 'Exotica,' 'Krimson Princess,' 'Krimson Queen,' 'Tri-Color,' 'Wilbur Graves,' and 'Grey Ghost.'

Hoya Krimson Queen

Hoya Krimson Queen in terracotta colored pot on a shelf
Image Source: iStock(polycarpus)
Hoya Krimson Queen (also known as Hoya Tricolor or Hoya Variegata) is a variegated variant of the Hoya carnosa. Its colorful leaves can be pink or white to creamy white around the leaf edges (more common). Hoya Krimson Queen is a moderate plant, so its care requires bright filtered light or indirect light in an east-facing window.

Hoya kerrii

Blog image
Image Source: iStock (emotionalsea)

Hoya kerrii is a cute-looking plant that mostly consists of a single, heart-shaped leaf planted in a small pot. Also called “Lucky Heart” or “Sweetheart Hoya," they come in rounded leaves with bright emerald green color, which makes them a very famous item for St. Valentine's Day gifts. 
Hoya kerrii likes sunlight more than many varieties (up to 70-90% of full sun). It also likes very fast-draining soil. Its charming leaves can grow up to two and a half inches wide and get thick and almost succulent. Also, it gets covered with climbing vines that can reach over twelve feet long in time. After acclimated, this darling is easy to maintain and grow fast.
Remember that they're usually sold as a leaf cutting and not an entire plant. Therefore, it takes time to develop, but it is bound to happen. Plus, as long as a stem node was included in the cutting, your leaf may grow into a plant.

Hoya Obovata

Hoya Obovata is yet another lovely variety of Hoya with large, distinctive saucer-shaped leaves. You may see pink or silver variegation flecks scattered over the dark green leaves in some varieties. Another of its features is vines like a bushy tangle of overlapping foliage. Their star-shaped blooms are unexpectedly adorable and colored white to pale purple with pink or red centers.
With careful consideration to watering and light, every newbie can have a bright and fresh Hoya Obovata in their house. It is widely available, prolific, and easy to propagate. Also, both professionals and novices can enjoy this gorgeous plant and appreciate its elegant features.

How to Care for Hoya Plants

Let’s go ahead and provide you with a care plan, more explosively for Hoya Plants:

Water

Like other succulents, Hoya Plants like their top soil to dry out completely between waterings. It is usually suggested to keep at least one or two inches of the soil to dry before watering. Some even let the plant’s potting medium dry completely. Many factors may affect how much water your plant needs, especially the type of Hoya you have. Some varieties need it every two weeks or even less. Soil, pot, and the conditions in your house are also in play. With thinner and less succulent leaves, more watering is needed. For more mature ones, watering the plant from the bottom is advised.

Light

Hoya plants are naturally adapted to indirect light; thus, the indoor habitat shouldn't be very bright. They can still handle medium indirect light but at the cost of losing their delightful blooming stage. On the other hand, being put in darker spots than expected may cause variegated hoyas to lose their variegation. A one to two hours of direct sun is enough to keep most Hoya plants refreshed but too much sun exposure can scorch the leaves turning them yellow. There is always the option of using grow lights.

Temperature

As tropical/subtropical species, they thrive in heated and air-conditioning places, ideally around 70°F. They’re not very cold or frost resilient (below 45°F.), and coldness causes their leaves to turn yellow. Beware, cold drafts and hotspots damage Hoya plants as well. Another reason to consider keeping them indoors and away from exterior doors and open windows. Avoid moving them around so often after finding a comfortable location for your precious Hoya. They like their peace!

Humidity

Being tropical plants, Hoyas like the air to be humid, while they prefer soil to dry out. 30-40% humidity is a must-do for Hoya plants care. A nice and easy way to keep their humidity at the right level is to grow them close to each other. You can increase humidity by placing a pebble tray under your pot and its saucer or use a small humidifier in your space.

Soil

Hoya houseplants are epiphytes, which means they’re fond of soft and light soil. First of all, they require excellent drainage, with plenty of airflow. Although every Hoya species require specific conditions, normally a potting medium, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline, around 6.1 to 7.3 suffices. You can make your own by mixing potting soil, pumice or perlite, orchid bark, or coconut husks with equal shares to encourage proper drainage. You can place pebbles at the bottom of your pot to further drain excess water.

Fertilizer

During the active growing and blooming season in the spring and summer, use a general houseplant fertilizer biweekly or monthly to make them stronger and livelier. Hold off fertilizing during Hoya's dormant season in the winter. There are examples like Dr. Earth's Pump and Grow liquid houseplant food. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
Pro Tip: If you see your Hoya is about to flower, you can use a bloom booster fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus to induce flowers.

Cutting and Pruning

As an established rule, less pruning and cutting is needed for Hoya plants. If you want to have pretty bushes, pruning can be helpful. While they are of low-maintenance type, hoyas still need some care to allow them to thrive. Also, getting rid of rotten parts is never a bad decision. In order to prune your Hoya, follow these steps:
  • Step 1: Using sterilized sheers or gardening scissors, trim away any dead and wilted branches and leaves. If you see any yellow or brown hues, trim those too.
  • Step 2: If your Hoya plant has gotten out of control and grown into unwanted spaces, trim away any leggy, stringy growth to maintain the aesthetics of your hoya. Avoid pruning more than two-thirds of your plant.
  • Step 3: Make sure to avoid pruning away your wax plant's blooming nodes. Your plant will blossom in the same areas every year. To get bushier growth and density, prune the main stem above node and leaf growth.
Pro Tip: Ground cinnamon is the perfect natural remedy against bacterial infection while cutting the stem. Stir some cinnamon into warm water and allow it to steep overnight. Strain the liquid through a coffee filter and pour the results into a spray bottle. Spray pruned areas.

How to Propagate Hoya Plants

Propagate by Stem Cuttings or Leaf Cuttings

While stem cutting is mostly easy and successful, leaf-cutting (the petiole has to be attached) gets less credit. Here's how you can propagate from stem cuttings:
  • Step 1: Using sterilized gardening shears, cut a stem with two to three leaf nodes. Remove the leaves from lower node.
  • Step 2: Dip the end into rooting hormone powder and bury in well-draining potting mix with perlite, pumice, or peat moss.
  • Step 3: Water your soil and allow to drain. A cut with one node is needed, and its roots appear in about a month. Make sure to use clean and sharp prunes and cut from softwood. Don’t submerge the whole stem in water and when the roots appear, keep them covered.
Leaf cutting tends to produce less healthy plants. For leaf cutting, you can trim a leaf at a 45 degree angle. Dip in rooting hormone and repot.

Propagate By Layering

To propagate a Hoya by layering, follow these steps:
  • Step 1: Have a pot of fresh, well-draining soil on standby near your mother Hoya plant.
  • Step 2: Bend over a softwood stem that's still sttached to the main plant and pin it into your new pot without detaching the stem from the mother plant.
  • Step 3: Anchor the stem into your soil and keep the soil moist.
  • Step 4: Once roots develop, you can trim the new plant from the mother plant.

How to Repot Hoya Plants

Although you can repot at anytime, always consider repotting when the plant is actively growing (in spring or summer) so it can recover quickly. A container with drainage holes and potting medium is enough; no deep pots necessary.Choose one size up from your current pot.
  • Step 1: First, remove the plant and carefully shake the soil around the roots.  
  • Step 2: Put it in a pot you have already prepared. With very rootbound plants, rub the sides of the roots to loosen them up so they adapt easier to their new house.
  • Step 3: For easier transition and better watering conditions, always combine some of the old soil with the new potting mix.
  • Step 4: With the plant in the center, backfill with potting mix.

Common Hoya Pests and Diseases

Always monitor your Hoyas for possible pests and disorders to stay ahead of time to deal with any issue fast. To care for your Hoya plants, notice the symptoms and go for the solution:

Yellowing Leaves or Leaf Drop

If you're seeing leaf drop, Hoya's soil is most likely too dry. At times, dropping leaves can also be a sign of root rot. Mushy or yellow leaves mean you've been overwatering your Hoya which can lead to root rot as well. To address dropping leaves, make sure you're watering your Hoya consistently after the top 2-3 inches of the soil dry. To address yellow or mush leaves, make sure you're waiting until the topsoil is dry to water. Ensure your soil is well-draining by adding perlite, orchid bark, or peat moss to wick away excess moisture.

Botrytis

Botrytis is a fungal disease that shows up as large, gray-colored patches at the center or margins of infected plants. Botrytis thrives in cool, humid weather and can be a sign of too much moisture. Sometimes, gray fungal spores are visible with a magnifying glass. Later, leaves become mushy and begin to collapse. Fungicides containing chlorothalonil, sulfur, copper, captan, mancozeb, and Thiophanate methyl will help control botrytis. For preventive maintenance, apply neem oil to reduce chances of botrytis outbreak.

Root Rot

One of the most obvious signs of root rot, is when your Hoya plant starts dropping leaves. If your leaves are yellow or brown and are turning mushy, this almost always means the roots are dying. Symptoms: By checking the roots directly, you can confirm your suspicion of root rot.
To treat root rot, you must gently take your Hoya out of its pot. Softly loosen up the soil around the roots. If you observe any brown, black and mushy roots, that is a sign of root rot. You will want to use sterilized garden scissors or shears to trim away rotted roots. Use a highly diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to disinfect your roots. Mix one part 3% hydrogen peroxide with two parts water and carefully pour over the root system with a watering can or a spray bottle. Repot in fresh potting mix.

Pests

  • Spider mites: They take advantage of poor care and dusty leaves and mostly gather near the veins. They pierce and penetrate the leaf tissue and suck out the sap from inside. You can use neem oil or insecticidal soap to treat spider mites.
  • Mealybugs: disguised as bits of hair or fur, they suck nutrients out of your houseplants. If spray water doesn't work, use nontoxic insecticide, fungicide, and neem oil.
  • Aphids: They are the same as mealybugs, suckings nutrients from the leaves. Quarantine your plant so the Aphids don't spread and use cotton swabs with rubbing alcohol to remove Aphids. Repeat until infestation is gone. You can also use neem oil or insecticidal soap.
  • Fungus gnats: Such as Sooty mold that appears on the leaves as a black growth. They are the result of aphids, mealybugs, and other sap-sucking pests. You can use sticky traps, flying insect spray, fly bait, or apple cider vinegar to get rid of fungus gnats.
  • Scale: Related to mealybugs, small insects look like dirt, usually hang out on leaf veins, and feed on your plant. The effective nontoxic treatment is Neem oil.

Five Plant Care Tips for Hoyas

  • Hoyas are a wide range of chic and lovable houseplants with various hybrids. Thus, knowing how to care for Hoya plants is a must for many plant lovers.
  • They're easy to care for and don’t need much special attention. 
  • They prefer dry soil and warm/humid air, as they hail from tropical regions.
  • Using indirect light for Hoya plant care is advised.
  • There are best propagated using stem cuttings and layering.

Where to buy Hoya Plants?

Tropical Hoya plants with waxy and shiny leaves and clusters of star-shaped flowers create a warm atmosphere at your house. Don’t miss the opportunity for such delight.
For more tips and useful resources, visit Neverland. Plants bring a lot of joy, so we strive to help you have the best plants growing experience possible!

FAQs for Hoya Plants

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