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Hoya carnosa (Wax Plant)

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Scientific Name

Hoya carnosa (L.f.) R.Br.

Common Names

Wax Plant, Porcelain Flower

Synonyms

Asclepias carnosa, Cynanchum carnosum, Schollia carnosa

Scientific Classification

Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Tribe: Marsdenieae
Genus: Hoya

Description

Hoya carnosa is a common houseplant grown for its attractive, waxy foliage and sweetly scented flowers. It makes faintly succulent shoots with smooth, pale gray and bare surfaces that writhe and climb. The leaves are slightly succulent with a waxy glossy surface, ovate or elliptical, up to 5.2 inches (13 cm) long, up to 2 inches (5 cm) wide and with a petiole of 0.6 inch (1.5 cm). The plant blooms from spring to late summer. It can produce umbels of 10 to 30 small, star-shaped flowers that mature gradually (2 to 3 weeks) on the same peduncle. They are typically light pink, but may vary from near-white to dark pink. The surface of the flowers is covered in tiny hairs giving them a fuzzy sheen.

Photo via davesgarden.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Hoyas 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. Give them at least a half day of sunshine and bring them indoors when temperatures drop below 50 °F (10 °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. These plants 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.

Propagate Hoyas by cuttings of top growth or by leaf cuttings. The average cutting or leaf will produce a blooming plant in 2 years or less. The easiest method of propagation is by layering.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Hoya.

Origin

Hoya carnosa is native to Eastern Asia and Australia.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

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