Hoya Plant: The Ultimate Guide to Care and Maintenance for the Wax Plant

If you are looking for an indoor plant that suits your busy urban lifestyle, then check out the Hoya Plant. These are one of the easiest to care for and between us – you can even get away with a little neglect when it comes to watering them daily.

They are also eye catching and make a beautiful addition to any indoor jungle with their display of thick waxy leaves and geometrically perfect clusters of star-shaped flowers. In fact, a full-bloomed Hoya is often mistaken for an artificial arrangement since it’s so glossy and well proportioned.

But yes, their subtle smell can give them away. Especially in the evenings during there flowering phase.

Above all, these plants are long-lived and can be passed from one to another. All they require is patience, along with some knowledge on how to best care for a Hoya. And you can enjoy the exotic beauties for many years – even generations.

An Overview of Hoya Plant

Overview of Hoya Plant

The Hoya, also known as the wax plant and the porcelain flower is an Asian native plant introduced by Scotland-based botanist Robert Brown. It was named in honor of his colleague friend Thomas Hoy who was also employed as the gardener for Duke of Northumberland.

The Hoyas belong to the Apocynaceae family or the Dogbane. These are characterized by their milky saps with leaves positioned opposite each node. In tropical and subtropical rainforests, you can find the Hoyas growing up in trees – with their roots clinging to the tree surface.

However, in an indoor environment, gardeners prefer growing them in hanging baskets with their stems trailing over the side. You can also train the plant to grow like a vine. Just supply them with a trellis or totem and watch the lush greenery enhance the walls of your home and office.

Types of Hoya Plants

Types of Hoya Plants

As of April 2020, there were over 520 accepted types of Hoya plants. One of my favorite species of this type of plant is the Hoya Carnosa. It is also the most common type with dark almond-shaped leaves and creamy-pink flowers.

These are also one of the most heavily scented of all Hoyas and may produce excessive nectar. It thrives well in medium indirect light and light watering.

Another Hoya that is unique in appearance and one of the hardest I have encountered is the Hoya Variegated. Also called the ‘Krimson Princess,’ the plant can be distinguished by the cream colored splashes on the leaves and reddish purple stems.

The Variegated Hoya are perfect as hanging plants.  I keep a few of them on my windowsills and let the vines trail downwards. It also doesn’t need daily watering as this specific type of Hoya likes to dry out in bright indirect light.

I got the Hoya Kerri or the ‘Heart Hoya’ for Valentine’s Day last year. As the name implies, this plant produces spade-shaped bright green foliage but no flowers. It is super easy to care for – just give it a good watering once a month and watch it grow at super-fast speed.

Besides these, there are many other varieties of Hoya with their distinctive coloring and shape, making Hoya Plant identification a challenge for beginner gardeners. They also require different water and light conditions, so make sure to study the Hoya thoroughly in order to provide them with the right environment.

Related article: How to Grow Primroses 

Hoya Plant Care – Preparing for the Best Condition

Hoya Plant Care

Generally, the plants of Hoya are kept indoors – in bright but indirect light. You can also keep them outdoors if you live in areas with a warmer climate but avoid places that are directly at the sun’s ray.

Experts also recommend 10 to 12 USDA growing zone ideal for the wax plants with the indoor temperature between 60 degrees F to 80 degrees F. Check the map here to find out if Hoyas are suitable for the climate you live in.

The plant is a tropical plant and does not actively grow in winter months. It cannot tolerate cold so remember to keep the plants during the colder months in a cool area free of drafts.

When it comes to humidity, the plant thrives well in high-humid scenarios. Some varieties – especially those with thinner leaves, I have found, are not happy until they are given a level of at least 60% humid condition. They immediately start exhibiting withered leaves when the humidity levels are not sufficient.

To maintain a constant level of humidity, I place a few sensitive Hoyas around humidifiers. Pebbles in a water tray under the pots also gives a good boost to humid levels.

The Condition of a Hoya Pot

The worst treatment you can give your Hoya is overwatering. Hoyas don’t like wet feet or heavy soil. Sitting in the water for too long can also lead to root decay-causing your Hoya to wilt. This is why it is important that you keep your plant in a pot that has a drainage hole in the bottom.

Adding a layer of pebbles will also help increase drainage and airflow.

Typically, these plants thrive in lighter, less dense soil mixtures that have good draining capabilities. For my collection of Hoya Plant, I prefer a mix of one-part peat, one-part perlite, and one-part orchid mix. The combination of these soils gives the plant plenty of room to breathe and keeps the root healthy.

You can also use a cactus mix for the plant.

How to Water the Hoya Indoor Plant

As mentioned above, watering the wax plant is not a problem. You can easily get away with watering it once a week in summers and every second week in colder months.

Test the top of the soil to check the water requirements of your plant. If the soil feels damp, wait for a few days before giving it water again. But if the soil is completely dry, give the plant a light touch of water – just enough to dampen the soil.

A tell-tale sign of overwatering a Hoya is wilting or yellowed leaves. If this happens, hold off watering until the soil dries out fully. You can also repot the plant to avoid decay.

Repotting the Hoya

Hoyas are the non-fussy type of plants and don’t require repotting as much as others. In fact, they do well on their own when left in the same pot for 2 -3 years.

However, you may need to change the pot if you notice signs of root bound due to drainage issues. Change the pot if the plant stops growing as well.

To repot, select a pot slightly wider than the previous one. Clay pots work best due to their porous nature.

Gently remove the plant from the existing pot. Check the root system for any dead or soggy roots and prune if necessary.

Repot the plant in a new container. Add fresh potting medium. Water sparingly to make sure the roots settle well in their new home.

Do they Need Fertilizers?

Hoyas aren’t particularly heavy feeders. But to stimulate growth, I fertilize using an organic product every 2 – 3 weeks. Switching to a phosphorus-rich fertilizer during the blooming period is also recommended for vibrant and healthy flowers.

To avoid root burn, I make sure to flush the soil between fertilizers. To do this, all you have to do is water the plant thoroughly, so the extra water drains out. This eliminates the salt buildup in the soil, which can hinder plant growth.

But remember to stop the fertilization during the winter and fall months as the plant becomes completely dormant during this period.

Pruning the Plant

To keep your plant looking sharp at all times, remove any dead or damaged leaves you see. Trim stems that look brown but be careful as pruning too much or removing vital parts can have a negative impact on the plant.

DON’T remove any part of the Hoya Plant when it’s in the blooming stage. Yes, it is very tempting to cut out the beautiful bunch of flowers and display them in a vase. But doing so will prevent the plant from blooming again in the future.

In addition, don’t change the location of the Hoya pot when buds begin to appear. The Hoyas are sensitive plants and can easily be stressed if relocated in their flowering condition – and might drop the buds before they bloom.

Hoya Plant Propagation

Hoya Plant Propagation

One of the things that makes Hoya an enjoyable plant for the ‘green thumbers’ is their ease of propagation through water or soil.

The Hoyas give out seeds occasionally as well. However, the seeds are not very reliable and often don’t stay true to their parent plant. Instead, try one of the methods below to successfully increase your Hoya collection or use them for gifts.

Hoya Plant Propagation in Water

To propagate in water, cut out a plant cutting of around 6 – 8 inches. The stem should ideally have a few leaves on the top along with one set of node.

Place the stem in a glass or jar of water. Make sure only half of the stem is submerged.

Keep it in area that gets bright and indirect light. Change the water when it appears cloudy or every 2 – 3 days.

New roots will start appearing within 2 -4 weeks. At this point, you can transfer the plant to a pot. Provide it with adequate care to encourage growth.

Propagating in Soil

To propagate the plant in soil, you will need a mix specifically formulated for this purpose. I prefer to use a succulent mix for the Hoyas as it is the most lightweight and well-draining.

Fill a small pot or container with the soil and make a hole in the center. Place the stem upright in the potting medium.

Keep the plant in a bright and warm environment with indirect light. Water at regular intervals.

Check the plant to see if it’s ready for a new home by gently tugging on the stem. If it comes right out, it needs more time to propagate. But there will be some resistance if enough roots have grown for a new home.

Common Hoya Plant Problems

The houseplant is usually easy going and adaptable to the busy lifestyles of working families. However, there are some problems that can potentially affect all varieties of the Hoya. These include:

Leaves turning a different color

The foliage of the plant remains lush green – unless you have a variety that exhibits unique colorings of a leaf, such as tricolor Hoya and the variegated type.

If the leaves of your plant appear red or brown, this is a sign that it is getting a little too much sun. Relocate the plant, preferably in a shaded area or away from direct sunlight.

Yellow leaves is an indicator of a dying plant. It could also be a result of overwatering and repotting may be necessary to save the Hoya.

A Limp Plant

If the plant is drooping, you may be overwatering – or under watering the Hoya.  In both the case, there is not much you can do to save the plant. But you can take some cuttings if there are healthy stems to propagate new plants of the Hoya.

The Hoya is not flowering

The Hoya indoor plant needs to be fully matured to bloom. This typically means you have to wait patiently at least 2 – 3 years before seeing the first flower.

The time also varies amongst the different types of plant.

However, if the flowers fail to appear in the designated time period, there is a good chance you have kept them in area that is too dark. Some Hoyas also need a period of stress – such as cold period or dry spell to flower at its fullest.

You can also determine the blooming period for the specific plant by researching on Hoya Plant identification through reliable nurseries and internet resources.

Extended Hoya Internodes

This means that the plant is in search of light. Moving it closer to a light source will solve the issue.

Buds fall before blooming

The potting medium has been overwatered or underwatered. Check the soil and address accordingly.

Falling Leaves

A case of a draft. Typically happens during the winter months, especially if you keep the plant in an unoccupied room. To rectify, move the plant to a warm and humid area.

Pests

The Porcelain plant is fairly resistant to pests. But occasionally, it may experience a case of pests such as mealybugs and aphids near the flowers.

Hoyas that produce a lot of nectars – such as the heart-shaped Hoya will see more pest attacks than others.

In any case, spray the buggers sharply with water. Occasionally spraying need oil to the Hoya is also a good form of defence.

Basic tips to avoid Hoya Plant Problems

Here is a quick overview of some basic tips that will help the Hoya houseplant thrive effectively.

  • avoid placing the plant in extremely cold conditions
  • Try keeping the plant in sunlight for a few hours a day – but avoid direct sunlight.
  • Use ceramic or clay pots. I also experiment with plastic, transparent containers during propagation with water to see what is going on with the roots.
  • Make holes at the bottom of the pot you are using for proper drainage.
  • Keep pets and children away from the plant.
  • Do not overwater the plant. With Hoya, it is best to underwater as the plant can capture most of the moisture and nutrient they require from the air.
  • Carefully follow the instructions for the specific variety of Hoya you purchase.
  • Most plants of Hoya produce a milky sap laden with latex. This is considered toxic so avoid eating the leaves and flowers of the plant.

Conclusion

As you can see, the Hoya Plant does not need much pampering from its caregivers. Adequate living conditions and basic care are enough for the non-fussy plants. And with the tips provided in this article, I am sure your plant will thrive successfully – giving you the motivation to become an avid Hoya collector.

Just like me!

Sharing is Caring

Hoya Plan - Pinterest

Do you have any amazing ideas for this interesting houseplant? Do share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

Leave a Comment