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How to Grow and Care for Hoya

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The Hoya plant is known for its thick leaves and a characteristic shape. They are climbing and clambering so they make a very interesting sight in any home. Hoyas are also known as The Hindu Rope or Wax Plant. They are wax-stemmed and produce beautiful flowers. Many people like to grow them in their home, balcony or garden.

These plants have been enjoyed for decades and they are very popular among many home gardeners. Hoyas plant has wheel-like clusters of porcelain or waxy flowers. The flowers typically have stars in their crowns. The flowers often produce unique, enjoyable fragrance.

This plant was named in honor of Thomas Hoym, who was a gardener for the Duke of Northumberland. Hoym was the first one who recognized the beauty and uniqueness of this plant and he brought it into prominence.

Hoyas are native to southern India. There, the Hoya plant is highly prized and it’s even a subject of legend. These plants are also commonly found throughout eastern Asia and Australia. There are many species, but it’s not clear how many of them are there exactly. According to the Bailey’s Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, there are around 100 species of these plant.

Photo via treekart.com

Growing Conditions

Light: A north window is a good location. Although the plants do not require direct light, they would not do well away from a window, unless you prefer to grow them under fluorescent grow lights. Supply all but the hottest sun.
Water: Keep the soil moist in spring and summer, dry but not to the point of shriveled foliage in winter. In dry climates more frequent watering may be necessary. Some like to mist the leaves frequently, to clean them and increase humidity…but NOT when the plant is budding or in flower.
Temperature: Give them medium (50 degrees F/10 degrees C) to warm temperatures during the growing season—spring and summer. The plants go semi-dormant in winter.
Soil: A moist, well-drained, light soil – African Violet soil with some added perlite – is a good growing medium.
Fertilizer: In spring Hoyas react favorably to feeding. A liquid food, about every four weeks, three or four times during the growing season will produce a vigorous growth. Withhold food during the winter.

Propagation

Propagate Hoyas by cuttings of top growth, or by leaf cuttings in the same manner as African Violets and Gloxinias. The average cutting or leaf will produce a blooming plant in two years or less. The easiest method of propagation is by layering. Layers mature faster and do not need as much patience. Pin down a stem, at the joint, in a moist rooting medium. Sever and pot the new plant when roots have formed.

Grower’s Tips

Hoya plants don’t ask for much, beyond the well-draining soil and the warm humid conditions that many tropical flowers crave. They don’t like wet feet or heavy soil, and as many grow as epiphytes in nature (similar to bromeliads and orchids). Give them at least a half day of sunshine, and bring them indoors when temperatures drop below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C).

When your Hoya finishes blooming, leave the flower stalk, as it may produce new flowers. Removing the stalk forces the plant to produce a new stalk, which delays blooming and wastes the plant’s energy. They are light feeders, and a monthly drink of compost tea or dilute fish emulsion provides all the nutrition these tropicals need. Hoyas like the security of a snug pot, and plants that are a bit root bound will flower more prolifically than those that are swimming around in a giant pot.

Design Tips

Place your Hoya plant in a hanging basket where you can admire it from your favorite seat on the deck or porch. Hoyas will cling to a small trellis, providing a vertical accent in your tropical container garden. A Hoya plant would appreciate the humid conditions alongside any pond, fountain, or other water feature in your landscape.

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