Scientific name: Hoya sp.
Synonym: Wax Plant, Wax Vine, Porcelain Flower
Hoya Plants have been popular houseplants for decades, renowned for their easy care and fast growth habits. This trend continues with the continuous introduction of new hybrid varieties.
Their foliage can be beautifully red-tinted, silver-spattered, or have unique patterns. Most Hoya plants are vine-like, making them great for hanging displays. In time, these can be looped around a wire hoop or small trellis and secured loosely with a florist’s wire. This can help with keeping your prized plant from becoming unwieldy and can create a more stylized appearance.
Hoya plants are found throughout Eastern Asia, where they grow in warm, humid rain forests and jungles, cascading and clambering through the canopies and undergrowth.
They are often called Wax Plants due to their foliage and flowers having a wax-like feel to them. When given enough bright filtered light, the Hoya plant will produce lovely delicate flowers that are enchantingly fragrant. In fact, it is often known as Porcelain Flower due to these very blooms! The waxy foliage has another benefit in that it can store water, making this a plant that can tolerate some neglect.
Once your Hoya has begun to bloom, try not to move it around too much as changes in light levels and temperature can cause the flowers to shrivel up and fall off.
Many Hoyas don’t mind being root-bound so you can keep them in the same pot for years just as long as you don’t forget to fertilize during the warmer months. All Hoya plants need to be potted in planters that have drainage. This is important as these plants are very sensitive to overwatering, so be sure to use a well-draining potting mix as well.
Note: Hoya is not considered toxic and is safe around pets and children.
Common Hoya Symptoms
- Yellowing leaves: This can be due to the plant being too cold or overwatered. Keep your plant out of cold areas or drafts. If you have recently moved your plant to a new environment, it may be that it is simply adjusting. Check your watering schedule to ensure that you are not over-watering.
- No blooms: Some species of Hoya do not bloom, so keep that in mind. However, for the fully mature flowering types (5-7 years old), the biggest cause is conditional. It may need more light, less or more water or a bloom boosting fertilizer. You will need to assess its situation and adjust accordingly. Keep in mind that the Hoya will take some time to adjust to its new conditions, as well.
- Dropped flower buds are often caused by soil that is too dry or too wet. Otherwise, it may be caused by sudden temperature fluctuations. Also, remember not to move your Hoya while it is blooming as that may be the cause of your dropped flower buds due to changes in temperature or lighting conditions.
- No leaves on growth tips: There is nothing wrong with your plant, Hoya tend to grow their tendrils long and vining before they develop their leaves. If you find that leaves tend to grow far apart, this is often a sign of insufficient light. Give your Hoya a hard trim back and relocate to a brighter position.
- Pests: Aphids enjoy the sweet juices of the Hoya plant, but most common house plant insecticide sprays, Neem Oil or Insecticidal soap will easily keep them under control should you find them on your plant. Deal with any Mealybugs in the same manner. Spider mites may also be a problem, but if you mist your plant regularly you should be free from a spider mite invasion. Overall, keep your Wax Plant in its optimal conditions, and few pest infestations should occur. Read up more on Pest Identification and Control here.
Hoya Care Instructions
- Origin: India and East Asia
- Height: Trailing stems can grow to 3m, depending on variety.
- Light: Bright indirect light all year round. A little direct soft sun can be fine, as long as you protect it from harsh midday to mid-afternoon summer sun, which can scorch the plant. Hoyas will live in medium light, but will not bloom.
- Water: Water thoroughly spring through autumn, allow the potting mix to dry out between watering. Don’t let the plant sit in soggy soil. Reduce watering in winter. A top tip to know when to water is to note if the leaves are stiff and firm, if so, no need to water.
- Humidity: The Hoya plant prefers relative humidity. You can mist the plants to clean them and raise humidity BUT do not mist when the plant is in bloom. Alternatives to misting, include a pebble tray.
- Temperature: Keep your Hoya warm all year round. Temperatures of 18-24°C are ideal with a minimum of 16°C.
- Soil: Use a well-draining, light soil with some orchid mix or chunk bark incorporated.
- Fertilizer: Feed the Hoya monthly during spring through Summer with a balanced fertilizer diluted by half. In Autumn you can feed with a high-potassium feed until winter, to encourage blooms to develop in Spring. Withhold the feed during winter.
- Repotting: As Hoyas don’t mind being root–bound you may only need to re-pot your plant every 2-3 years or when it really outgrows its pot. When you do re-pot, do so in early spring and choose a new pot that is a little bit larger. Keep in mind that the Hoya blooms best when it is pot bound. Never re-pot your Hoya while it is in bloom.
- Pruning: The vine-like Hoyas can be pruned back if you want to keep your plant compact. The best time to prune is early spring, before Hoyas start their most vigorous growth period. Don’t prune off the leaf-less spurs (where flowers have been produced previously) as the flowers will bloom on the same spurs year after year.
- Propagation: Take 7cm stem tip cuttings in spring. The cuttings should include at least one pair of leaves. They will easily root in a moist potting mix.
If in stock, shop for Wax Plant here.