How to Care for a Hoya Plant (Wax Plant)


Hoya plants are perhaps the frontrunners among indoor plants having been in most kitchens, lounges, and verandas for years. Their wax-like leaves have caused them to be referred to as ‘wax-plants’ while the ease and grace with which they grow on porcelain pots have earned them the name ‘porcelain flowers.’

Here are the basic rules to observe when caring for the hoya plant:

  • Watering: these plants require a moderate amount of water once a week during its robust growing season.
  • Light: it will thrive in brilliant light, but avoid direct sunlight.
  • Temperature: they prefer tropical-like temperatures between 50oF (10oC) and 90oF (32oC).
  • Soil: provide fertile soil with organic fertilizer and good drainage.

As a tropical species, the hoya plant will grow into a vibrant bush throughout the year. However, it is also a very selective plant with particular preferences that must be provided for its vines to thrive.

hanging hoya plant

The fast-growing vines can, and will, quickly overwhelm the space you have set aside for the indoor plant. Luckily, the wax plant allows you to train the vines in their preferred design, giving them the liberty to create a unique green space indoors.

Fortunately, we have tricks that you can use to control the plant’s growth and guarantee a brilliant bloom in whichever corner of your house or office.

Let’s now dig deep into the care for this great climbing or flowing vine variety and see how to bring the best out of a simple shoot.

Basic Care Guidelines For Hoya Plant

The Hoya plant is a tropical vine based plant originating from Australia, Indo-china, and Indonesia. This evergreen climbing plant is preferred because of its robust growth habit and safety when it comes into contact with pets or people. The plant is also available in a variety of species, giving a lot of leeway to homeowners in picking out their kind.

Even with the existence of a wide variety of species, the caring procedures are usually similar. This species is among the most comfortable indoor plants you can adopt. However, you must pay special attention to its likes and dislikes if you plan to produce a spectacular indoor garden.

Below are detailed guidelines on how to care for this plant. We’ll go into watering first, then humidity, followed by soil, lighting, temperature and then some advanced care guides.  Let’s jump right in.

Watering

The lush and evergreen leaves usually crave for water throughout the year. Therefore, a wax plant requires constant watering each week, especially during summer, the most robust growth season.

You can reduce the amount of water during the dormant winter season. Decrease watering the plant if the hola plant is growing at a secluded area away from the sun or wind.

Remember, too much water will cause sogginess that results in root rot and stunted growth. Use soil that drains sufficiently yet holds sufficient moisture to last until the next watering session.

Hoya Carnosa

Also, keep the few inches below the surface of the soil moist. You can use your finger to check before adding any more water.

Humidity

The tropical region where the plant originates is always humid. Hence, ensure that the plant is at a corner where you can maintain high humidity levels. Though the leaves appear succulent, the area around the plant should not be too misty.

A humidifier can help you raise the level of humidity to a sufficient degree. You may also place a tray from where water can evaporate to aid in humidity levels.

Hoya Serpens

However, while misting is recommended, do not do it during the flowering season.

Soil Requirement for Hoya Plant

Wax plants love a vibrant mix of well-drained soil. They prefer natural fertilizers like compost because it contains high-quality and diverse ingredients that support robust growth. Proper aeration will also aid the plant to experience healthy growth.

Hoya plants also prefer soil stability, unlike others that will benefit from repotting. Repotting, in some cases, can cause more harm than good. Therefore, take care of your soil by avoiding sogging and damaging chemical nutrients that alter the composition of your soil.

Lighting

The porcelain flower is a semi-dormant plant thus will thrive in brilliant light. Nevertheless, avoid direct sunshine because it burns the leaves.

Do not also place the flower at the window facing the sun directly. The leaves will become dull as the sun sucks all the water from your plant.

In case natural lighting is not available, the plant will still take fluorescent lighting. You may allow the sun to take a bit of morning sun but not during the day when it gets hot.

Remember, lack of sufficient light will result in stunted growth and failure to bloom.

Temperature

Tropical plants do not like icy environments. For the wax plant, the temperature should not go below 50oF or 10oC. Room temperature is already sufficient for the plant and will result in a beautiful bloom between the four seasons.

Indoor temperatures, however, affect other elements like humidity and soil moisture. Find a perfect balance so that watering can be accurate.

Keep your plant away from cold windows as well as cooling and heating vents.

Advanced Care for Hoya Plant

Hoya plant is a hardy vine plant that will still survive despite some neglect. However, getting the best out of different varieties will require special attention to delicate care points and procedures.

In this segment, we are going to look at apparently- issues like:

  • flowering
  • fertilization
  • pruning
  • repotting
  • propagating
  • pest prevention
  • flowering

Controlling such matters can aid in cultivating the most beautiful bloom. Let’s dig in.

Flowering

Hoya plant produces one of the most sweet-scented and beautiful flowers in the tropical forest. The flowers are star-shaped and waxy, appearing in different colors and sizes. Some hoya plant varieties flower each year while others are sporadic. However, most types take several years before they begin to bloom.

Hoya Carnosa

Though the flowers may be unpredictable, they will be worth the wait because of their delightful bloom. To encourage your plant to flower, ensure that it has enough light, phosphorus fertilizer, and minimal pruning.

Fertilization

Wax plants prefer natural compost because it enhances aeration, drainage, and has a diverse variety of nutrients. The manure will also preserve soil composition, helping to minimize the need for constant repotting. Compost also takes time to decompose, releasing nutrients gradually into the soil.

In case you need to add fertilizer, the composition should change based on the growing season. Use fertilizer rich in nitrogen between spring and summer. Just before or during flowering, a generous serving of phosphorus fertilizer will be required.

Fortunately, fertilizer application is not necessary during the dormant period between fall and winter.

Pruning

Pruning should only be carried out to eliminate dead, damaged, or diseased leaves. Further pruning could cause your flower to wilt. Since flowers will appear on the old stems, removing them means that your plant will not bloom. Pruning causes a delay in flowering, causing the plant to miss the flowering season in some cases.

Repotting

Do not rush to repot your flower if it is doing fine. The plant can go for years without repotting as long as you take care of the chemical composition of your fertilizer and water. Repotting might mean the death of the entire plant due to its sensitivity.

Leave your wax-plant until it becomes root-bound if you are looking forward to a beautiful bloom. Repotting is only recommended when the bush has outgrown its current pot. Thus, the best time to repot is during spring with a container that is two inches wider and a little deeper.

Prepare for delayed and even skipped flowering right after repotting because of the disturbance caused in the process.

Propagation

Stem cutting or layering is the most successful method of propagating the wax plant. Cut the softwood stem from the main plant using a sharp object. Make sure that the stem is about four inches long with some leaves and sufficient slanting angle for roots to grow.

Dip the cut stem in water or use a rooting mix. You may add some root enhancement hormones to speed up the process of root growth.

Within a few weeks, new roots should emerge, and after, the vine will be ready for transplant. Afterward, you can care for them like an ordinary hoya plant.

Pest Prevention

Mealybugs are the most common pests you will encounter when your hoya plant is growing indoors. You will see the pests hanging below the leaves or at the nodes. Aphids and scales could also attack your plant under certain conditions.

Quick action is required when dealing with pests because they multiply so fast. Clean the plant using a hose, an exercise that also helps to remove dust and promote photosynthesis. Also, watch out for root-knot nematodes if you live in warm areas. The only way to deal with this pest is propagation using a different soil mixture.

Companion Plants

The Hoya is a nice plant to grow by itself, but it can also be grown near other species. It pairs well with the more delicate Ferns that need protection from direct sunlight or even Aglaonema for its company which likes moist soil and has large leaves for shading purposes.

Top 5 Hoya Plant Varieties

Hoya plants exist in hundreds of varieties, providing an opportunity for you to choose the most pleasing one to you. You can identify these varieties based on their leaf colors, flower design, and the geographically predominant area, among other minor characteristics.

Hoya plants come in a wide range of colors and varieties. Hoya Carolina is one of the most popular due to its well-developed, 3/4″ flowers which grow on 12″-long stems and are pleasantly fragrant. Hoya carnosa has large 2″ flowers that can grow up to 5″ long with silk texture accents in the intricate petal patterns that emit an exotic aroma as sweet as jasmine.

The Hoya Elegans grows pendant 8″-long leaves, 1″ star-shaped flowers with pronounced ‘eye.’ The Hoya Kerrii is a native from China that features gray-green foliage and pastel pink blooms with prominent white streaks. Also, the Hoya Pubescens also has emerging dark green leaves

Here is a snapshot of the top five hoya plant varieties.

Hoya Carnosa

The plant is native to eastern Asia and Australia. It is also the most common variety distinguished with its star-shaped leaves and flowers of different colors. It gives a delightful fragrance in the evening and is easy to care for.

Hoya carnosa

Hoya Serpens

The variety is recognized for its unusual-looking flower that appears to be a blend between nettle and a flower. The flower is dull with a faint cream or white flower in the middle. It compensates for the underwhelming flowering with lush and abundant foliage made of green round-shaped leaves that grow along with the extending vines.

Hoya Serpens

Hoya Australis

The variety is in a class of its own because it can tolerate direct sun all year round. Because of its beautiful bloom, it is known to attract butterflies. It also comes with vibrantly growing juicy-succulent foliage.

Hoya Kerrii

It’s a native of South East Asia and is identifiable by the thick, heart-shaped, and lush leaves. It is sometimes referred to as the lucky-heart plant and will form part of Valentine’s day gift packs in some parts of Europe. It requires delicate care; else, it will result in stunted growth.

Hoya Cinnamomifolia

The name comes from its resemblance to the leaves of the Ceylon Cinnamon plant. As a native of Indonesia, it loves to grow outside and gives one of the most spectacular blooms. The flower comes with an outer part that is either pale green or yellow, while the inner part is the rich and deep red of pink or red.

So, which is your favorite variety?

Frequently Asked Questions about Hoya Plants

Do Hoyas Like Coffee Grounds?

Hoya plants exist in varieties, some of which love acidic environments while others do not. The hoya varieties that love acidic environments will appreciate a few coffee grounds.

If you are dealing with an alkaline soil loving hoya plant-like hoya cumingiana and hoya Bella, coffee grounds should not feature anywhere in your feeding schedule.

How can I make my hoya grow faster?

Hoya is a robust, growing plant that you might have no problem with its pace of growth. However, you can stimulate growth by following some of the following suggestions:

  • Add nitrogen-rich fertilizer during spring and summer to promote robust growth
  • Provide sufficient light if your hoya plant is the light-loving variety
  • Avoid repotting for 3-4 years or until the roots have exerted enough pressure on the wall of the pot. Repotting disturbs the roots and may even cause the plant to die.
  • Control the amount of water and avoid soggy soil. Such soil will cause the plant to die.
  • Add phosphorus-rich fertilizer during the flowering season to enhance the quality, quantity, and size of flowers.

Understand the unique needs of each hoya plant variety so that you can stimulate its growth in a specific manner that would work for it.

What time of the year do hoya plants flower?

Wax plants are unpredictable when it comes to flowering. The ordinary flowering time is between spring and summer. However, several factors may affect flowering, including lack of light, inappropriate pruning, and age of the plant. Other hoya varieties can flower several times in a year. However, once the plant begins flowering, and with proper care, you can expect sweetly-scented flowers each season, especially around spring and summer.

How do I get my Hoya plant to bloom?

This may sound like a challenging task, but it’s not. All you need to do is adjust some of the plant’s conditions and see if this produces any changes! Start by moving your Hoya Plant to an area that has more light, exposing it to as much natural daylight possible in order for these plants flowers will grow stronger.

We recommend trying out is misting your plant with distilled or bottled water regularly until humidity levels reach 40% which should provide better flowering opportunities

We hope you’ve found this guide on how to care for a Hoya Plant helpful. If your plant needs more attention than what we’ve covered, or if it has any other issues that need addressing, don’t hesitate to contact us! And while you’re here, be sure to check out our blog about the benefits of plants in your home.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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