Create Your Garden

Hoya (Wax Plant)

Hoya plants are cherished evergreen houseplants, celebrated for their lush foliage and clusters of fragrant flowers that add a touch of tropical elegance to any indoor setting.

Hoya, Hoya Plant, Hoya carnosa, Honey Plant, Porcelainflower, Porcelain Flower, Wax Plant
Hoya carnosa, Honey Plant, Porcelainflower, Porcelain Flower, Wax Plant
Hoya carnosa, Honey Plant, Porcelainflower, Porcelain Flower, Wax Plant
Hoya kerrii, Lucky Heart Plant, Sweetheart Hoya, Sweetheart Plant, Sweetheart Valentine Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Wax Hearts
Hoya carnosa Krimson Princess, Hoya Krimson Princess, Wax Plant Krimson Princess

What is a Hoya?

Hoyas, commonly known as wax plants, are a diverse genus of over 200 species. They are prized for their striking, waxy leaves and clusters of star-shaped flowers, each surrounded by a crown of five-pointed petals, often producing a sweet fragrance. The flowers appear in umbels, ranging from white and pink to red and purple, with some species showcasing a captivating contrast between the flower and the coronal structure.

Native: The native habitat of hoyas spans across the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Australia, and the Pacific. These plants are typically found growing as epiphytes in rainforests, meaning they live on other plants (usually trees) but are not parasitic.

Hoya plants, along with plumeria, periwinkle, mandevilla, or oleander, belong to the dogbane family (Apocynaceae).

Notable species include Hoya carnosa, known for its waxy foliage and star-shaped flowers; Hoya kerrii, adored for its heart-shaped leaves; and Hoya bella, with its petite leaves and cascading growth.

Growth Habit: Hoya plants are evergreen perennials with a climbing or trailing habit, perfect for hanging baskets or trellises. Some species grow as shrubs, while others have a more compact, vine-like growth pattern.

Size: The size of hoya plants can vary significantly depending on the species. Some may reach only a few feet long, while others can grow extensive vines several feet long.

Flowers: Hoya flowers are known for their stunning appearance and delightful fragrance. They form in clusters (umbels) and can last several days to weeks. The waxy texture of the flowers gives the genus its common name, “wax plant.” The blooming season for hoyas typically occurs during the spring and summer months, although some species may flower at different times of the year when grown in optimal indoor conditions. After successful pollination, Hoyas can produce seed pods, though this is relatively rare in cultivated plants.

Foliage: Hoya leaves vary widely among species, from small and succulent-like to large and leathery. Some species feature variegated or textured leaves, adding to their ornamental appeal.

Hardiness: Most hoyas prefer warm, humid environments like their native habitats. They are generally not frost-tolerant and thrive best in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12 when planted outdoors.

Uses: Hoyas are primarily grown as ornamental houseplants for their attractive foliage and exquisite flowers. They are also used in landscaping in tropical and subtropical climates.

Drought: Many hoya species exhibit some degree of drought tolerance thanks to their succulent-like leaves, which store moisture. However, they perform best with regular watering.

Toxicity: Hoyas are generally considered non-toxic to humans and pets, making them safe home additions.

Hoya carnosa Krimson Princess, Hoya Krimson Princess, Wax Plant Krimson Princess

Hoya Carnosa and Hoya Pubicalyx

What is Special about a Hoya Plant?

Hoya plants, often celebrated for their unique charm and beauty, hold a special place in the hearts of plant enthusiasts for several reasons:

Exquisite Flowers: Hoya plants are renowned for their stunning, star-shaped flowers, which come in a variety of colors and often produce a delightful fragrance. The blooms’ waxy appearance, alongside their intricate details and sometimes striking color contrasts, make them a visual spectacle.

Variety of Species: With over 200 species, the Hoya genus offers a remarkable diversity of plants. This diversity allows collectors to find species that suit their taste and space.

Air Purifying: Hoyas are not just decorative; they also contribute to a healthier indoor environment. They’re known to purify the air by removing toxins, improving air quality in your home or office.

Ease of Care: Despite their exotic appearance, Hoyas are relatively easy to care for. They are adaptable and can thrive under a variety of indoor conditions, making them suitable for both novice and experienced plant enthusiasts.

Succulent-like Qualities: Many Hoya species have thick, waxy leaves that store water, allowing them to withstand periods of drought. This succulent-like feature makes them more forgiving of occasional neglect, particularly in terms of watering.

Versatile Growing Habits: Hoyas can be grown as trailing or climbing plants, offering flexibility in their display. They look equally stunning, cascading from hanging baskets or climbing up trellises, making them versatile additions to any interior design.

Longevity: With proper care, Hoya plants can be long-lived companions, offering years of beauty and enjoyment. Their durability and tendency to bloom year after year add to the long-term satisfaction of growing them.

Non-Toxicity: Most Hoya species are non-toxic to pets and humans, making them a safe choice for households with animals and children.

Guide Information

Hardiness 10 - 12
Plant Type Houseplants, Climbers, Perennials
Plant Family Apocynaceae
Genus Hoya
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 30'
(30cm - 9.1m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Landscaping Ideas Hanging Baskets, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

Popular Hoya Types

Hoya Plant Care

Caring for hoya plants involves a balance of light, water, and environmental conditions to mimic their natural tropical habitat. .

Light: Hoyas prefer bright, indirect light. A spot near a window with filtered sunlight is ideal. Direct sun can scorch their leaves, whereas too little light might hinder blooming.

Soil: Use a well-draining potting mix. A mixture of potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark or coconut coir works well to ensure adequate drainage and aeration.

Water: Water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Hoyas like well-draining soil and should never sit in waterlogged conditions. Reduce watering in winter when the plant’s growth slows.

Temperature and Humidity: Hoyas thrive in warm environments, preferring temperatures between 60-85°F (15-29°C). Protect them from drafts and sudden temperature changes. These tropical plants enjoy high humidity. A room humidifier, a pebble tray with water, or regular misting can help meet their humidity needs.

Fertilization: Feed hoyas with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring through fall). In winter, reduce feeding as growth slows down.

Pruning: Prune to maintain shape or control size. However, be cautious not to remove the spurs (peduncles) from which flowers bloom, as they produce flowers year after year.

Repotting: Repot your hoya when it becomes root-bound or the potting mix breaks down, typically every 2-3 years. Choose a pot only slightly larger than the current one to avoid overwatering.

Blooming: To encourage blooming, provide sufficient light, slightly cooler temperatures at night, and avoid moving the plant frequently. Patience is key, as hoyas may take a few years to bloom, especially when grown indoors.

Hoya kerrii, Lucky Heart Plant, Sweetheart Hoya, Sweetheart Plant, Sweetheart Valentine Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Wax Hearts

Hoya kerrii (Sweetheart Hoya)

How to Propagate Hoya – A Step-By-Step Guide

Propagating hoya plants is a rewarding way to create new plants from your existing hoya. The most common method is stem cuttings, which is relatively straightforward.

Select a Stem: Choose a healthy stem with at least 2-3 leaves and several nodes (the points where leaves attach to the stem). A node is where roots will grow from.

Make the Cut: Using your clean pruning shears or scissors, cut the selected stem just below a node. A 4-6 inch cutting is usually ideal.

Prepare the Cutting: Remove the leaves from the bottom node(s) to expose the area where you want roots to form. This prevents the leaves from rotting when submerged in soil.

Apply Rooting Hormone (Optional): Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone powder or gel. This step is optional but can help stimulate root growth.

Pot the Cutting: Fill your pot with the well-draining potting mix and make a hole in the center. Place the cutting in the hole, ensuring at least one node (the area you removed the leaves from) is buried in the soil. Gently firm the soil around the cutting.

Create Humidity: To maintain high humidity around the cutting, which helps encourage root growth, you can cover the pot with a clear plastic bag or place it under a propagation dome. Ensure there’s enough space so the leaves don’t touch the plastic.

Place in Indirect Light: Situate the pot in a location with bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can be too intense for the cutting.

Wait for Roots to Develop: Keep the soil lightly moist but not waterlogged. Roots typically start forming in a few weeks to a few months, depending on the species and conditions.

Transplant if Necessary: Once the cutting has developed a robust root system and begins to outgrow its pot, you can transplant it into a larger pot.

Care for Your New Hoya: Treat your newly propagated hoya as you would a mature plant. With proper care, it will grow and eventually flower, bringing the same joy as the parent plant.

Hoya compacta, Hoya carnosa Compacta, Hindu Rope Plant, Houseplant

Hoya compacta, commonly known as the Hindu Rope Plant

Hoya: Pests and Diseases

Dracaena is relatively resistant to major problems, but like all indoor plants, it can encounter some pests, diseases, and common issues.

Pests

Spider Mites: Tiny spider-like pests that cause yellow or bronze spots on leaves and fine webbing. Increase humidity around the plant and wash off the mites with water. Neem oil can also be effective.

Mealybugs: These pests appear as small, white, cottony masses on the stems and undersides of leaves. They suck the sap from the plant, weakening it. Treat by wiping them off with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or applying neem oil.

Aphids:  Small, soft-bodied insects that can be green, yellow, brown, red, or black. They cluster on new growth and undersides of leaves, feeding on sap. Rinse them off with water or use insecticidal soap.

Scale insects: Hard or soft-bodied insects that attach to stems and leaves, feeding on plant sap. They can be scraped off manually or treated with neem oil.

Diseases

Root rot: Caused by overwatering or poor drainage, leading to decayed roots. Prevent by ensuring well-draining soil and potting mix, and water only when the top inch of soil is dry.

Botrytis Blight (Gray Mold): A fungal disease that appears as gray, fuzzy spots on leaves and stems, especially in humid conditions. Improve air circulation, reduce humidity, and remove affected parts.

Powdery Mildew: Shows as white, powdery spots on leaves and stems, thriving in dry, warm conditions with poor air circulation. Treat with fungicidal sprays and increase air flow around the plant.

Hoya carnosa Krimson Queen, Hoya Krimson Queen, Hoya Tricolor, Wax Plant Krimson Queen, Was Plant 'Tricolor, Hoya carnosa 'Tricolor'

Hoya carnosa Krimson Queen

Hoya: Common Problems

Yellowing Leaves

  • Cause: Overwatering, poor drainage, or nutrient deficiencies can lead to yellow leaves. Underwatering can also be a culprit.
  • Solution: Check the moisture level of the soil and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Ensure your potting mix is well-draining, and consider repotting if drainage is poor. A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer applied during the growing season can address nutrient deficiencies.

Leaf Drop

  • Cause: Sudden changes in temperature, drafts, or incorrect watering can cause hoya leaves to drop.
  • Solution: Keep your hoya in a stable environment away from drafts and sudden temperature fluctuations. Water only when the top inch of soil is dry.

Lack of Flowering

  • Cause: Insufficient light is a common reason for hoyas not blooming. Hoyas require bright, indirect light to produce flowers.
  • Solution: Move your hoya to a brighter location where it can receive ample indirect sunlight. Avoid direct sun, which can scorch the leaves.

Leggy Growth

  • Cause: Not enough light can lead to stretched, leggy growth as the plant reaches towards the nearest light source.
  • Solution: Provide more indirect light to encourage compact growth. Pruning back leggy stems can also promote bushier growth.

Wrinkled Leaves

  • Cause: Underwatering can cause leaves to become wrinkled or puckered as the plant uses its internal water reserves.
  • Solution: Increase watering frequency, ensuring the soil is allowed to dry slightly between waterings. Consider a more regular watering schedule.

Stunted Growth

  • Cause: Poor lighting, incorrect pot size, or lack of nutrients can result in stunted growth.
  • Solution: Ensure your hoya receives enough indirect light, repot into a slightly larger pot if it’s become root-bound, and use a balanced fertilizer during the growing season to encourage growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do hoyas prefer to climb or hang?

Hoyas display versatile growth habits, making them adaptable as both climbers and hangers. When provided with a support structure, such as a trellis or a moss pole, they can beautifully climb, showcasing their lush foliage and stunning flowers. Alternatively, when grown in hanging baskets, their trailing vines can gracefully drape, adding a touch of elegance to your living space. This flexibility allows you to choose how to display your Hoya based on your decor preferences and available space.

Are hoya plants easy to care for?

Hoya plants are relatively easy to care for, making them popular among both novice and experienced gardeners. They thrive on neglect rather than fuss, requiring bright, indirect light, well-draining soil, and moderate watering. Overwatering is a common issue, so allowing the soil to dry out partially between waterings is crucial.

Where is the best place to put a Hoya plant?

The best place to put a Hoya plant is near a window where it can receive plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. East or west-facing windows are ideal, as they provide the morning or afternoon sun without the intense heat of direct midday sun, which can scorch their leaves.

How many times a year do hoyas bloom?

The blooming frequency of Hoyas varies by species, age of the plant, and growing conditions. With proper care, mature Hoyas can bloom multiple times a year, especially during the spring and summer. Some factors that influence blooming include the amount of light received, the plant’s overall health, and whether it has been allowed to become slightly root-bound, which can encourage flowering.

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 10 - 12
Plant Type Houseplants, Climbers, Perennials
Plant Family Apocynaceae
Genus Hoya
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' - 30'
(30cm - 9.1m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen
Landscaping Ideas Hanging Baskets, Patio And Containers
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden
Compare All Hoya (Wax Plant)
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Guides with
Hoya (Wax Plant)

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