Our Tips for Growing the Hoya Plant

Hoya plants are a semi-low maintenance tropical plant that is sensitive to over-watering. In fact, it is better not to pamper this plant. Change its care with the seasons for this plant to thrive. Hoya is more likely to flower if it were pot-bound and deprived of food during winter months. However, be sure that it gets at least 2-4 hours of direct sunlight daily. Place this houseplant in a hanging basket or train it to grow up a trellis for a lovely addition to your home.

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About the Hoya Plant

Hoya is part of the Apocynaceae family (Dogbane) and is native to Asia. Several species have been known to grow in Australia as well.

hoya plantPhoto by ekaterinvor under license CC0.

It’s sometimes called a ‘waxplant’ or ‘waxflower’ due to its waxy leaves and flowers. The star shaped cluster flowers will bloom when the plant is mature. Most range in shades of whites, pinks, and reds. However, several varietals feature orange or even green flowers. You’ll notice a sweet scent to this plant when in bloom.

In the wild Hoyas mostly grown epiphytically on trees or terrestrially in soil or rocky areas. In your home, they work best when in a hanging pot, but they can easily be trained to grow up a trellis also.

According to Pistils Nursery out of Portland Oregon, the more root-bound your Hoya is, the better chance you have of a flowering plant. They warn that downsizing your Hoya’s pot is a big no-no and can do your plant more harm than good.

How to Start a Hoya Plant

Before you get started, make sure you’ve got all the essential tools. You’ll need an aerated soil, perlite, a peat-based fertilizer and gardening gloves. If you don’t have filtered water available, you should age some water 24-48 hours before re-potting your Hoya.

Hoyas thrive when pot-bound so don’t go too big immediately. It’s best to choose a pot 1-2 sizes larger than the current pot to encourage bloom.

Hoya plants have very sensitive roots, so it’s important to be gentle when transferring your starter plant into a new pot. Turn the plant at a 45-degree angle and gently pull the plant by its base with your gloved hand.

Place the Hoya in its new pot, layer with a soil and perlite mixture leaving 1-2 inches for the fertilizer. Take care not to touch the plants with your bare hands as it can damage the spurs of the plant. Top of the plant with fertilizer and place your new plant in an east or west facing window.

Water the plant until the water seeps through and begins to drain. Doing this will help settle the soil and give your plant a good start to its new life.

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Caring for Your Hoya Plant

Most Hoya plants don’t need a lot of attention, so there’s no need to worry if you don’t have a green thumb. Follow these simple instructions when caring for your Hoya and you’ll have a happy, healthy Hoya plant in no time.

Water Needs

When watering your Hoya, it’s best to use room temperature water. Soak the plant in the morning to help it get through the hottest parts of the day. Morning watering will also ensure its leaves are dry for cool evenings. Water evenly throughout the soil until the water begins to drain.

According to SRO Hoya’s and other growers, it’s best to use either rainwater or filtered water. Tap water contains chlorine and fluorine which can be harmful to the plant. If you don’t have access to either of these, try ‘aging’ your water for 48 hours, so the chemicals drop to the bottom.

Your plant will need more water in the spring and summer as it’s actively growing. Hoya’s are less active in fall and winter and require less care.

Ensure the catch for your plant is always empty to prevent root rot.

Hoya’s are a tropical plant and thus benefit from humidity. It’s a good idea to mist your Hoya leaves often. However, the Sunday Gardener recommends avoiding misting the leaves of your Hoya plant while it’s in mid bloom or flowering.

In the above YouTube video, you’ll learn more about specific watering needs and care instructions for a variety of Hoya plants.

Lighting Needs

Most Hoya plants like bright indirect sunlight. Younger plants can get away with 2-4 hours of direct sunlight. However, older plants may need more sun. East or west facing windows suit Hoya’s the best.

Artificial light and drafty spaces are a no-no for your Hoya. Your Hoya plant will tell you it is not happy by the edges of its leaves. They will begin to lighten in color if the plant is not getting enough sun or a room is too drafty.

Soil Needs

Hoya plants hate to be over-watered. Because of this, you should always be sure to use a light soil that will be well drained. Adding perlite to your soil can also be beneficial to your Hoya plant as it promotes growth.

As you’ll see in the video above, Hoya has some pretty specific soil needs to keep in mind when potting and re-potting. When re-potting Hoya, never go up more than a size or two in planters.

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Feeding Needs

You should give your Hoya plant liquid food every 3-4 weeks during the spring and summer months when the plant is active. Some Hoya species require more feeding than others. If you notice the leaves becoming pale, try feeding it every 2 weeks instead. During the winter months, it’s best to withhold liquid food from your plant.

When feeding your plant, be sure to water beforehand. Otherwise, you can burn the roots of your plant and kill it from the inside out.

Pruning Needs

Hoya plants will need little to no pruning. When you do prune, never cut the tendrils because this is where the flower starts. Hoya should never be touched when in mid-bloom or flowering. Spurs of the plant should never be removed either as they act as a protective layer for your Hoya.

Maintain the Beauty of Your Bird of Paradise
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