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How to grow hoyas

Hoyas are an interesting and fascinating plant, having orientated in the 18th century they have fantastic history. It is a tropical indoor plant with many names, often called a “Wax plant” due to its thick waxy leaves, is a classic because it lives forever, grows to be enormous, and creates beautiful, porcelain-like fragrant flower clusters which is known by second common same the “Porcelain flower”.

Hoyas are quite picky and in this easy as guide we will show you how to get the best from your Hoya.

Where to grow:

Indoor plants lovers today find hoyas a slow to moderate grower with its waxy leaves and fragrant, low-maintenance tropical flowers perfect for indoor. But in the warmer parts of New Zealand, they can be planted outside in spring or early summer. Indoors they are tolerant of mid-levels of light, but are best planted with bright, but indirect light to thrive and flower well. They will be tolerant of the morning sun. They also enjoy heat and high humidity.

Appearance and characteristics of Hoyas:

Hoyas leaves are mid-green and quite thick with a lighter central vein. New growth appears as long, deep red tendrils, which should be twined around a sturdy plant trainer secured in the pot or against a wall or adjacent timber lattice. Stems do become woody on older plants.

The flower heads are circular and densely packed with waxy flowers, each on its own slender stem. They produce an abundance of clear, sticky nectar that is very attractive to bees. They are also delicately perfumed.

Hoyas will flower in spring and summer (September through to February). When the flowers fade and fall, they leave behind a spur or stub on the end of a short stem.

It’s hard to predict when these plants will flower, as it occurs when the plants reach maturity. Reaching maturity on the growing conditions.

Unlike most other plants, hoya likes being pot-bound! It does not like having its roots disturbed by repotting every two or three years and will display its displeasure by not flowering. But keeping your plant tightly root-bound (in a smaller than normal pot) will accelerate blossoming. Never down-pot your plant, though (take it from a big pot and place in a smaller pot) as that can shock your Hoya, a must not do in Hoya plant care. As you will be keeping in the same pot for years you must remember to fertilize throughout spring and summer. All Hoyas need to be potted in planters with drainage.

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How to grow:

When growing hoya, choose a pot that is just slightly larger than the existing root ball. Take the plant from its old pot and, without removing any soil or mix from its roots, transfer it to the new pot and backfill with premium-quality African violet mix or terracotta and tub mix. Make sure it is an open mix that will drain well.

Young plants can be twined up a small plant trainer inserted firmly into the pot. Larger plants may do better if they are trained up a trellis or mesh that is attached to a nearby pergola, tree trunk or fence.

Another tip when growing hoya is to limit its sunlight. Outdoor plants should be positioned so they are partially shaded from hot afternoon sun in summer, which can burn its leaves.

Indoors, hoya should be placed where it will receive good ambient light but not direct sun through glass, which will burn leaves. A light curtain is often enough to protect from sun scorch.

Best Growing conditions for Hoyas:

  • Light. Hoyas thrive best when they get bright, non-direct sunlight.
  • Soil. A well-draining, lightweight soil mix is what hoyas should be planted in. Too much moisture and the roots will rot.
  • Water. Hoyas should be watered weekly, and left to let dry completely between waterings.
  • Position: indoors - good light but not direct sun through glass; outdoors - some shade from hot sun in summer.
  • Temperature and Humidity. As a tropical plant, hoyas thrive in warm and moist, humid climates.
  • Fertilizer. Hoyas should be fertilized monthly with a liquid fertiliser or a six-month controlled-release fertiliser at the start of spring. Once in winter you are best to stick with a liquid fertiliser and don’t feed over winter.

Top Tips:

  • Hoya are unusual in the fact that they flower from the same point every. Do not cut the stem or the spur, because the next flowers will be produced from its tip. Over many years, the spurs themselves can grow to 3 or 4cm in length.
  • Never cut the long tendrils! Leaves and flower clusters develop from these.
  • Hoyas like to be quite tight in the pot and are quite at home in a small space. Repotting is not required for a few years
  • Keep the leaves clean by wiping with a damp cloth, when required.
  • Don’t put your plant close to air-conditioning or heating vents, and never put it in the bathroom!

How to Propagate a Hoya?

Hoya plants can be propgated from stem cuttings or by air layering.

Growing hoya from cuttings:

  • Step 1: In spring or summer, take two-year-old stem cuttings—mature but still flexible. Don’t use tendrils.
  • Step 2: Place in a glass of water or in a pot filled with cactus or succlent potting mix, mixed with a little perlite, and keep moist.
  • Step 3: Pot your cuttings once roots have developed.
  • Step 4: Feed monthly with a liquid organic fertiliser.
  • Step 5: Re-pot after two years.

Growing hoya from air layering:

  • Step 1: Prepare the Sphagnum Moss. Take a handful of sphagnum moss and soak it in water for at least a couple hours.
  • Step 2: Make an Incision. Take your sharp knife and carefully cut about halfway into your stem.
  • Step 3: Prop Open the Incision.
    • Take the tip of a toothpick, dip it in water, and then dip it in a rooting hormone. This will speed up the formation of roots.
    • Then take the toothpick and gently apply the rooting hormone to the incision that you’ve made. hen take the toothpick and gently insert the center of the toothpick horizontally into the incision so that it can hold open the cut while the roots are growing.
    • Then take your scissors and cut off both ends of the toothpick.  You’ll want to do this so that the points of the toothpick don’t pierce holes into the plastic wrap once you wrap it in Step 5
  • Step 4: Take your sphagnum moss that you have soaking in water and squeeze out all the excess moisture with your hands. You want it damp, but not dripping wet otherwise your plant may rot.  Then gently wrap the moss around where you cut the stem and gently squeeze it into a ball so that there is proper contact between the moss and the cut that you’ve made
  • Step 5: Wrap the Moss with glad wrap. After you have a nice ball of moss surrounding your cut, take some clear plastic wrap and wrap it around the moss a few times.
  • Step 6: Secure the Plastic Wrap. Finally, firmly tie both ends of the plastic wrap with garden twine.  I like to tie it like I’m tying my shoe laces.  This way, you can easily remove it when the cutting has rooted.
  • Step 7: Wait: It may be a few months before your cutting roots, so it’ll require a little patience on your part.
  • Step 8: After a few months, you should be able to see the roots growing through the moss inside of the plastic wrap.  At this point, you can cut the cutting off of the parent plant and pot it up.
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Watering guide:

These are very sensitive to too much water, so be sure to use a well-draining soil with plenty of pumice and/or perlite. It is best to keep moist but never wet. Remember, it doesn’t have a lot of potting mix around its roots, and what it does have will dry out quickly on a hot day. Reduce watering over the cooler winter months to about once a month.

While wax plants like a bit of humidity, but don’t leave the pot standing in a saucer of water. If the inside air is very dry, spray a light mist over the plant every day or so.

Pest and Disease guide:

Hoyas are susceptible to sap-sucking insects like aphids and mealybugs. They are attracted by the abundant nectar when flowers are present. Sometime ants may also drink the nectar.

So, treat early with a insecticide spray. But try not to spray the flowers as this can damage the flowers and spurs.

Varieties of Hoya:

There are many different types of Hoya, some of the top varieties are below:

NameDescription
Hoya CarnoasaDark green, large, almond-shaped leaves grow on long vines. Creamy pink, ball flower clusters that hang down resembling an umbrella. Blooms during warm months when mature. Grows fast and strong. One of the easiest Hoyas to grow. Can tolerate some frost for a short period of time. Flowers have a light fragrance at night, in our opinion smells like chocolate.
Hoya FungiiAttractive large dark green and fuzzy leaves. Laarger, light pink/almost white flowers with a red color in the center. Good bloomer and the flowers also have a sweet fragrance. Hoya fungii likes filtered light and good drainage. Easiest to grow and it can even take light frost.
Hoya KeysiiThose leaves! Spade-shaped, soft to touch and slightly furry (the technical term is pubescence), this Hoya also shoots out vines that grow in a more upright habit than the carnosas.
Hoya Krinkle KurlLeaves on this H. carnosa are more unusual, they have 8 "crinkles" or "dimples." Flowers are pink with reddish center. Highly fragrance thats smells like chocolate at night. Easy to grow. It looks very nice in a hanging basket outside in bright filtered light in frost free areas or indoors by a window.
Hoya LinearisPendent, epiphytic, succulent perennial with slender, soft, grayish green stems bearing linear, hairy, dark green leaves, long, deeply grooved beneath. Scented, pure white flowers with pink-tinged, yellowish white coronas. Flowers may be followed by long, cylindrical seeds with tufts of hair.
Hoya Mini BellLong skinny dark green leaves with flecks that are more prominent. Flowers that are flat which are innocent and soft pink which last up to two weeks. Easy to grow and root.
Hoya ObovataHoya has incredible dark green, round, lightly speckled leaves. Relatively fast to grow and sets flower earlier than most. Hoya obovata grows vigorously.Flowers are pinkish with a dark red center.
Hoya Pink SilverGreen leaves with splashes of silver. Silver marks on the leaves turn pinkish-silver when exposed with more light and sun. Flowers are fragrant and are similar to the H. carnosa, but more of a maroon color with a pink center. Grows very well and fast.
Hoya PolyneuraThe “fish-tail Hoya” produces narrow and thin leaves. They resemble a fish-tail, hence the nickname. But the leaves aren’t the only thing they produce. They also create gorgeous star-shaped flowers that blow your mind.
Hoya Power PuffHoya Powder Puff  offers thick chains of waxy leaves, this variety has perfumed heavenly scented while blooms.
Hoya Red ButtonsFlowers can be purple with red coronas, but in thhe same plant you might see clusters of flowers that are all pink. Some clusters even have a mix of pink and purple! Strong, sweet fragrance and last about two weeks. Blooms in the spring time.  Leaves get  speckled red spots when young and some are completely red.
Hoya SerpensHoya serpens is a small trailing vine with small round leaves that are 1.5 to 2 cm long. The leaves are dark green, hairy, and have grey spots intermittently dispersed.
Hoya ShepherdiiStringbean Hoya'. Thick dark green long and narrow leaves blooms with sweet intense fragrance. White flowers, easy to grow and bloom.
Hoya SnowballWonderful clone of Hoya carnosa with lush dark green leaves with a generous sprinkling of silver spots. Blooms with balls of white fragrant flowers with red centres.
Hoya Teddy BearThis compact hoya, has beautiful, small dark green leaves. Super fragrant white flowers once mature.
Hoya TricolourLeaves lined in white and pink, in addition to the green. Occasionally, this Hoya will have stems of bright pink and will shoot out solid white leaves. A stunner.
Hoya Hindu RopeThe ribbon-like foliage of the Hoya Hindu Rope resembles "living" fortune cookies filled with corny wisdom in each crevice. Growing slowly and deliberately, these "living ropes" will inch their way towards the light and bestow upon you panicles of delicate flowers under the right conditions.