Hoyas, also known as wax plants, are gorgeous vining plants that produce fragrant flower clusters!
Many of you may have seen or heard of this plant. There are so many different types of Hoyas and for the most part their care is similar. They are easy to maintain and care for and they have beautiful fragrant flowers.
My love for them started about 2 years ago. On a whim I bought my first Hoya, a carnosa tri-color, and I’ve been hooked ever since. The foliage of many types of Hoyas are so striking! Some have beautiful splashes of white and pink, some have specks of white, and some are heart shaped! My collection has grown a bit since then and I wanted to share a little bit of what I’ve learned about these plants.
Hoyas are a genus of tropical plants within the Apocynaceae family, like dogbane and similar to milkweed. There are some 200-300 different species of Hoyas today! Probably even more, but since the plant grows epiphytically, they are not easy to get to and classify. Most Hoyas are native to Asia. Countries like China, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines all have great diversity of these plants, and they can be found vining and growing on other trees or rocks. Some grow terrestrially, or growing in soil.
Growing Hoya Indoors
Growing Hoyas indoors has not been too much of a challenge for me. I tend to keep most of mine on my north east facing window, in macrame hanging planters. I want to note that a lot of Hoyas are vining plants and can get pretty long. Depending on the type of Hoya you have, you will need to be mindful of the space you have available for them. Aside from hanging baskets, you can provide a trellis for your plant to vine up on, or you can mount your Hoya.
I think a lot of people get into Hoyas for their fragrant flowers! I have not had the pleasure of seeing my Hoyas in bloom yet, but I hear it’s amazing. For this reason they are also called “Porcelain Flowers”. The plant creates these tiny clusters of flowers throughout the plant off of peduncles. These peduncles are stalks that produce flowers. At the end of the peduncles are what is called a spur. This spur will create flowers every year from the same spot, so it is important not to cut them off. I will also note that a lot of hoyas look similar and you won’t actually know what specific type you may have until it blooms.
Like most tropical plants, they love bright indirect light. They can stand some hours of direct morning sun on my window sill, but I wouldn’t suggest full afternoon sun for them. They will burn. Most Hoyas are found growing in the nooks and crannies of trees. They don’t usually get full sun but more dappled light and shade. I keep mine on a northeast facing window. I’ve noticed that they love the morning sun that comes in, and towards the afternoon, they don’t get intense light. In the afternoon, my Hoyas get bright indirect light that comes in from my south facing windows. If you don’t have tons of bright indirect light, I always suggest using a grow light to supplement with. They can tolerate low light settings but they won’t grow as well.
Soil and Potting
I’ve noticed that my Hoyas have really benefitted from being root bound. They don’t seem to mind not having some extra room for their roots. Most of them grow epiphytically, or on trees, so they naturally wouldn’t have a lot of root space. It also helps with having their roots dry out quickly. Hoyas do NOT appreciate soggy roots. I like to mount mine for this reason, or keep them in small planters so it doesn’t sit in wet soil.
When I keep mine in planters, I make sure to use a lot of pumice or perlite, to ensure that the soil will dry out quicker between watering. Using gardening charcoal also helps in preventing any bacterial growth within the soil. I will usually make my own Hoya soil by mixing 1/3 each of soil, perlite, and charcoal.
Mounting Hoyas is another beautiful option, since this mimics their natural growth habit. I usually mount my plants by using cork bark, sphagnum, and green moss. It gives them the right amount of water and dries out quicker than the soil would. Because of this, you will have to water mounted Hoyas a bit more frequently.
I tend to water mine once every two weeks. A lot of my Hoyas are in macrame plant hangers, in pots without drainage holes. So, to ensure I’m not overwatering them, I water much less frequently. If you have Hoyas in planters with holes, having them in airy soil, you can water more frequently. As long as the plant has adequate lighting, and is drying out between watering, you can water as often as needed. Hoyas require a drying out period between watering, much like succulents and cacti do. They root rot pretty easily. On the other hand, if you don’t water enough, the roots tend to shrivel and die back. Finding a happy medium is key, but to be safe, less is more.
Temperature and Humidity
Most Hoyas come from tropical regions where humidity may be high. Some are not too picky about the humidity levels being raised but will thrive if given more humidity. Some Hoyas with thinner leaves absolutely need it. Growing these types in terrariums or giving it a humidifier will be a good way to mimic the humidity required for it to flourish.
There are many different types of Hoyas that live in many different regions and elevations, but most that you will come across will need temperatures above 50 F or 10 C. A lot of the varieties in plant shops come from more tropical regions where it’s mostly 80 F (26 C) in the day and about 70 F ( 21 C) in the evening. They can’t tolerate cold below 50 F.
Hoyas are surprisingly easy to propagate. I would make sure that the stalk you would like to propagate has at least two nodes. Nodes are the areas where the leaves grow from. I make sure that my cuttings have at least two nodes and that the leaves from those nodes are mature. If you were to make a cutting with leaves that are not yet developed, the cutting may die. The cutting needs to spend its energy making new roots, and it doesn’t seem to do that well enough if the leaves are not that developed.
Humidity is key when making new roots as well. You can plant a new cutting into soil or sphagnum moss, either one is fine. After placing in either soil or moss and watering it, I would cover it with a plastic bag to keep humidity in. Some even create a humidity box from clear plastic bins. You place the potted cuttings in the bin, water it, and put the lid on, ensuring the humidity will stay in. This is a good option cause you can place many cuttings in at the same time, and it’s easier to keep an eye on it.
I hope everyone got a lot out of this post. If you ever have questions don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Hoyas are really great no fuss plants, and if you’re curious about them, I encourage you to go out and get one!
Hope you all have a good one:)