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How to care for Hoya in the home - TNK Green

How to care for Hoya in the home

How to care for Hoya in the home

Hoya, also known as the wax plant or porcelain flower, is a climbing evergreen tropical perennial plant in the Apocynaceae family, with over 5,000 accepted species. They are mostly found in Asia and Australia, growing in warm, humid jungles where they thrive in the underbrush of the rainforest.


The botanist Robert Brown (1773-1858) first named Hoya in honour of his friend Thomas Hoy. Since its introduction to Europe, it quickly became an indoor must-have due to its easy care, hardiness, and fast-growing nature.


Growth habit

Hoya plants are vining plants that send out long training tendrils. In the wild, they can grow up to 15 meters long but can grow even longer. In the home, they are often grown in hanging baskets to create a bold statement or trained up a trellis to encourage maximum leaf growth.


The leaves grow in opposing pairs and come in all different shapes and sizes, from the dainty fuzzy needle-like leaves of Hoya Liniaris to the large round waxy leaves of Hoya Latifolia and anything in between. They also come in a variety of colours and variegations, often found with splashes of silver.


The flowers grow in axillary umbellate clusters from the tip of the peduncle, and they are perennial and never shed. The individual flower forms are typically star-shaped with five thick, waxy, triangular petals, topped with another star-shaped structure named the corona. The flowers are generally in variations of whites, pinks, and dark reds but are more rarely found in yellows, oranges, greens, or even nearly black.


There are 5,000 species of Hoya to choose from, so there is a Hoya out there to suit every plant lover’s taste.



As a tropical plant, you would assume Hoya would require a lot of water, but since they grow mostly epiphytically on trees, they prefer to dry out between watering and therefore can handle a bit of neglect.


A loose, free-draining soil is best for Hoya, so use a mixture of orchid bark, cactus mix, perlite, and some peat-based soil. Most Hoya prefer to be root-bound, so plant yours in a pot that is just slightly bigger than the existing root ball and allow it to dry out properly before watering.


Place your plant in a well-lit spot to encourage flowers, but avoid direct sun or deep shade as they prefer to grow in the dappled shade of trees in their natural habitat. Avoid moving them around once they start to form blooms because the plant can drop their flowers very easily due to fluctuations in light, temperature, or irregular watering.


Never remove the peduncle after your Hoya flowered since new blooms will form in the same place during its next flowering season. The blooms generally have a sweet smell and are full of nectar. There is still a debate regarding what insects pollinate Hoya, but some species have developed a symbiotic relationship with ants.


Hoyas can grow from seeds, but they are most often grown from cuttings that will root readily in a loose soil mixture or even water without the use of root hormones. If you want to propagate your Hoya, make a cut close to a node on the tendril and ensure that they are secure. Once you start to see new growth, you can pot them up into a larger container.


Although Hoya is generally easy to care for, some pests might infest your plant. Due to their fleshy, succulent leaves, they are loved by aphids and mealybugs. A simple application of neem oil or insecticide spray should keep the pest pressure under control and bring your plant back to its optimum health.


Hoyas are considered non-toxic and are therefore pet-friendly houseplants.



With their wide selection of varieties, these vining succulent species offer something for every indoor plant enthusiast or collector. Once considered a bit old-fashioned, they have made a major comeback in recent years, especially among millennials.

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