Ornamental Plants

How to Take Care of the Hoya

More commonly known as ‘wax flower’, Hoya plants are climbers that can be grown as indoor plants and have a very fragrant bloom. Did you know that there is a variety that smells like chocolate? Add them to your indoor plant collection, follow the tips in this guide on how to care for Hoya.

How to grow Hoya

Although there are a good number of Hoya varieties, their basic needs in terms of light, substrate, irrigation, and fertilizer are very similar. Below we will see them in detail and you will find some suggestions based on my personal experience that may be useful to you.

The new leaves of the Hoya are usually quite dark. Growing up, they will change color.

Light

The Hoya grows well in very bright places, preferably without direct sun. For this reason, they are usually grown as houseplants. In hot areas, they adapt well to outdoor cultivation, being able to withstand any low temperatures. At home, I have one in the courtyard, in a corner where it receives all the light of the day but not directly from the sun. It resists the low temperatures of winter in the Mediterranean areas, although it is recommended to keep it at a temperature not lower than 10ºC.

Light is very important for flowering. If it doesn’t get enough, it won’t bloom. If you have owned the plant for more than a year and have not returned the flowers, try moving it.

The color of its leaves can indicate if it is comfortable in the house: if they change from dark green to a lighter shade, it may be that it is receiving too much light. Observe it carefully when you take it home to detect these changes in color and move it if necessary.

Hoya leaves appreciate being cleaned occasionally to breathe better. If you see that dust has accumulated, wipe it with a soft cloth moistened with water.

Soil and transplant

Hoyas grow well in light, well-drained substrates, as they do not like to keep their roots in potting soils that retain a lot of humidity. After all, these are fleshy plants that accumulate water reserves such as cacti and succulents.

I usually prepare a mixture of universal potting soil with clay, or I mix peat and orchid potting soil for those found outdoors. If you notice that over time the soil will crush or become too compact, try the trick of the fork to aerate it a bit. It will only be necessary to insert the tips slightly into the soil, being careful not to break any roots.

It is not necessary to transplant them immediately, as they bloom better if the roots are rather narrow. If in doubt, check if the roots come out of the drainage hole or carefully extract the plant from the pot to see better.

If you need to transplant it, use a slightly larger diameter pot, a couple or three centimeters will be enough.

Hoya is climbing plants that can also be grown in hanging pots. If you decide to grow it vertically, use thin braces to create a structure to which it can attach itself. It will do it on its own, even if there is always some creeping stem: carefully approach it to the brace and support it with a fixing clip or with a tie and a loose knot, so as not to tighten the new stem.

Irrigation

Hoyas are plants with fleshy leaves, which act as water reserves. The waterings will be more frequent in spring and summer, trying to let the soil dry between the waterings. In autumn and winter, you can further distance them, letting the soil dry out completely.

Avoid at all costs that the substrate accumulates too much water, as the plant could die. If you use the saucer, eliminate any remaining drainage water and, if the plant is outside, protect it from excess rainwater. My first Hoya plant risked dying after a week of continuous rain. Since then, I put it away when the forecast heralds rain.

Not all Hoyas have white flowers, they can also be pink in color and with a scent of chocolate (like the fleshy Hoya Krimson Princess, with variegated leaf)

Fertilizer

I usually use a universal liquid fertilizer from the end of winter to the arrival of the first flowers. I apply a slightly lower dose than recommended, twice a month. When the flowers are formed, I use one rich in phosphorus and potassium (for flowering) with the same cadence.

The Hoya bloom usually in spring and summer even if it is not uncommon to have two blooms in the same year (in the autumn if conditions are favorable).

In late autumn and all winter, I stop fertilizing them, or at most I add it a couple of times during the winter break.

Hoya kerrii with heart-shaped leaves

If you have a Hoya kerrii and you want to make cuttings, cut a branch with three or four knots and leave only one leaf. It will grow faster than when using a single leaf-like the one in the image.

You are probably reading this article after purchasing a beautiful heart-shaped leaf like this. Hoya kerrii is a very surprising variety due to the shape of its leaves, which behaves as a climber and requires the same care as described above.

Single leaf cuttings are easily found in Valentine’s Day and, despite being beautiful, they take a long time to form new leaves. What you see in the picture I bought it about a year ago and, although I often check the pot and see that it is forming new roots, still, no new leaves have appeared.

I am growing it as if it were a cactus or a succulent plant: little water and monthly fertilization.

  • In the spring I will transplant it with new soil to a larger pot, add fertilizer and see if it will start growing. You have to be patient!

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