What is a Hoya Plant? A Beginners Guide

Written by: April Mall
Last Update: April 10, 2023
Tagged:Plant Education

What is a Hoya Plant? A Beginners Guide

Table of Contents

When discussing Hoyas with casual houseplant enthusiasts, we often refer to them as "the succulent of the tropical world". This is because of their relatively easy maintenance requirements compared to other tropical plants. However, this Genus should not be underestimated; within its variety of species there lies great potential for beauty and awe.

Hoya plants are native to tropical and subtropical Asia, Australia, and Polynesia, and are characterized by their beautiful and unique foliage, vining stems, and flowers, which are often fragrant and star-shaped. 

In this beginner's guide to Hoya, we'll dive into the world of Hoyas, covering everything from their origin and types of Hoya care requirements and propagation techniques. 

Hoyas: A Perfect Houseplant

Hoya plants are unique in a number of ways, which is why they have become so popular among indoor gardeners. I personally developed an affinity for Hoyas due to their low-maintenance care requirements, as well as the impressive diversity of species they offer.

If you're not a fan of flowers, some varieties feature captivating foliage that more than make up for the lack of blooms. The leaves can range widely in size and shape, and they come in a range of colors, from deep greens, to bright silver!

Adding to their natural beauty are hoya varieties with variegation - multi colored leaves with splashes or streaks of different colors.

Some varieties of hoya can even change color under bright light, much like a human getting a tan. For these plants, "sunstressing" can produce vivid reds, oranges, and pinks, depending on the variety, and makes growing them a delight. Each leaf of your plant is truly a unique work of art.

Another reason that Hoya plants are special is their flowers. Hoya flowers are often described as otherworldly, with a wax-like texture, and delicate and intricate structure that is unlike any other plant. They come in a variety of colors, from pure white to deep burgundy.

Additionally, many species boast deliciously fragrant flowers; a single pot of blooming Hoya lacunosa can fill even an entire room with aromas reminiscent of coconut, butterscotch, jasmine, bubblegum, chocolate and more!

Finally, it's easy to care for Hoya. Most varieties don't require a lot of special attention or maintenance, making them a great choice for beginners or anyone who wants a low-maintenance indoor plant.

First time Hoya owners usually begin with beginner-friendly varieties, and then experiment with rarer, harder to find varieties later on.

Key characteristics of Hoyas:

Hoyas are also known as wax plants, and are a type of flowering plant that is popular among gardeners for their unique and attractive appearance. Here are some of the characteristics of Hoyas:

Succulent leaves: Hoyas have thick, waxy leaves that can store water and help the plant survive in drier conditions.

Twining vines: Hoyas are known for their twining vines that can wrap around objects and climb up walls or trellises, or cascade from hanging baskets.

Fragrant flowers: Many Hoya varieties produce small, star-shaped flowers that have a sweet, pleasant fragrance.

Long-lived: Hoyas can live for many years with proper care, and some can even live for decades.

Low maintenance: Hoyas are relatively easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of light and soil conditions.

Variegated leaves: Some species of Hoyas you'll find have variegated leaves, which means that they have different colors or patterns on their leaves.

Epiphytic: Hoyas are epiphytic plants, which means that they grow on other plants or objects for support. In their natural habitat, they can be found growing on trees and rocks. This is why many of them thrive on a trellis. 

Propagation: Hoyas can be propagated through stem cuttings, making them easy to share with friends or expand your Hoya collection.

Diversity: There are over 300 species of Hoyas, each with their own unique characteristics and growing requirements.

Overall, Hoyas are a versatile and attractive plant that can make a great addition to any indoor or outdoor garden.

What are the different Hoya varieties?

There are over 300 different types of Hoyas, each with its own unique characteristics, but some of the most popular types include:

  • Hoya fungii: This is perhaps one of my favorite hoyas, and it is known for its glossy, dark green leaves and clusters of waxy, pink or white flowers.

  • Hoya lacunosa: A hoya with small, round, light green leaves and fragrant, white or pink flowers.

  • Hoya kerrii: This Hoya species is known for its heart-shaped leaves also known as the sweetheart hoya, make it a popular gift for Valentine's Day or Mother's Day. It produces small clusters of pink or white flowers.

  • Hoya obovata: This Hoya species is prized for its large, round leaves and clusters of white or pale pink flowers.

  • Hoya globulosa: is a species of Hoya native to the Philippines. It is a climbing plant with elongated, narrow leaves that can reach up to 12 inches (30 cm) in length. The leaves are deep green in color and have a glossy surface.
  • Hoya latifolia: this is a good one! It has so many different clones, grows massive leaves, and some can sunstress to deep purple color! Also, the clusters of flowers are something else!

Hoya plant care - Perfect for beginners

Now that we know what makes Hoya plants so special, let's talk about plant care for beginners. As we mentioned, Hoya plants are generally low-maintenance, but there are a few care tips you need to keep in mind to keep your Hoya thriving.

  • Light: Hoyas prefer medium to bright indirect light, so place them near a window that receives plenty of sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.

  • Watering: Hoyas are drought-tolerant and can go for several weeks without water. However, it's important to make sure that you let the soil dry out completely before watering your Hoya again. Overwatering can cause root rot.

  • Soil: Hoyas prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. You can use a potting soil or mix that is specifically formulated for Hoyas, or make your own mix by combining equal parts peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. In the greenhouse, we actually prefer coco husk and coco coir best. 

  • Humidity: While a lot of Hoyas can tolerate drier climates, most still love high humidity levels, so consider placing a humidifier near your plant, grouping it with other houseplants, or misting it regularly. You can also place a tray of water near your Hoya to increase humidity levels.

  • Fertilizer: Hoyas don't need a lot of fertilizer, but you can feed them with a balanced, liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season (spring and summer).

How to propagate Hoya Plants

One of the great things about Hoyas is that they are easy to propagate, which means you can share them with your friends and family or create new plants for yourself.

Propagating in the greenhouse is one of my most rewarding activities, as it entails selecting the ideal cuttings and carefully nurturing them until fully grown. It serves as a reminder for me that patience and hard work can lead to a truly fruitful outcome when done with care and love!

Here are some propagation techniques you can try:

  • Stem cuttings: Take a stem cutting that is at least 4 inches long and has at least one node (where the leaves attach to the stem). Remove the bottom leaves and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in a pot filled with well-draining soil and keep it in a bright, warm spot. In a few weeks, roots should begin to form, and you can transplant the new plant into its own pot.

  • Leaf cuttings: Take a healthy, mature leaf and cut it in half along the veins. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone and plant it.

  • Air layering: Select a healthy, mature stem, and make a small cut in the bark of the stem. Apply rooting hormone to the wound, and wrap it with damp sphagnum moss. Cover the moss with plastic wrap, and secure it with twine or tape. Keep the moss damp, and wait for roots to form. Once roots have formed, you can cut the stem below the new roots and pot it up.

  • Division: If your hoya has multiple stems, you can divide it by carefully removing the plant from its pot and separating the stems. Each stem should have its own set of roots. Pot up each stem in a well-draining soil mix, and water thoroughly.

 In conclusion

Hoyas are fascinating and beautiful plants that have captured the hearts of many plant enthusiasts, including me! Throughout this discussion, we have highlighted some of the key points about hoyas, including their characteristics, care requirements, and propagation techniques.

For those who have not yet experienced the joys of growing hoyas, I encourage you to give it a try. With a little bit of patience and dedication, you can cultivate these succulent plants and enjoy their stunning flowers and foliage. It's been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I'm grateful to be able to share it with all of you through this business.

Finally, we recommend exploring our additional resources to learn more about hoyas and connect with other hoya enthusiasts. So don't hesitate to dive in and start exploring the world of hoyas!

April Mall

Founder of UPT, fell in love with Hoyas right after acquiring her first Hoya 'Sunrise'. Sharing her love for plants with the world through high quality houseplants

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