Why Is My Hoya Turning Yellow?

Written by: April Mall
Last Update: April 10, 2024
Tagged:Plant Education

Why Is My Hoya Turning Yellow?

Table of Contents

Hoyas, also known as wax plants, are beloved for their lush foliage and beautiful blooms. But even the most devoted Hoya parent can face a disheartening sight: yellowing leaves. While they’re a common Hoya concern, they're rarely a death sentence.

So, what are the reasons behind yellowing Hoya leaves? Read our guide and learn about how to diagnose the issue and get your plant back on track.

Understanding Hoya Watering Needs

Watering is often the culprit behind yellowing Hoya leaves. Hoya plants are succulent vines, meaning they store water in their leaves. This makes them prone to overwatering as well as underwatering, both of which can manifest as yellowing.


This is the most common cause of yellowing. Overwatering suffocates the roots, hindering their ability to absorb water and nutrients. The telltale signs:

  • Several leaves turning yellow at once, often starting from the lower leaves.
  • The leaves may feel soft and mushy.
  • The soil may remain damp or smell foul.


While less frequent, underwatering can also cause yellowing. A thirsty Hoya will first deplete the water stored in its leaves, causing them to turn yellow and potentially wrinkled. Signs include:

  • Yellowing that starts with individual leaves, often the older ones.
  • The leaves may feel dry and crispy.
  • The soil will be completely dry to the touch.

How to Properly Water a Hoya?

The key to preventing yellowing lies in mastering the art of watering your Hoya. Here's a helpful approach:

  • The "soak and dry" method: This is the preferred method for most Hoya species. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. You can check by sticking your finger two inches into the soil. If it feels dry, it's watering time. When watering, soak the pot thoroughly until water runs out the drainage holes. This ensures all the roots receive moisture.
  • Frequency: Watering frequency depends on several factors like pot size, plant size, light conditions, and climate. Generally, you'll water more often in summer and less often in winter. Observe your plant and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Essential Factors for Hoya Health

Apart from appropriate watering, light and temperature also play a crucial role in Hoya's health.

Hoyas prefer bright, indirect sunlight. Too little light can hinder growth and lead to yellowing leaves. South-facing windows with strong afternoon sun can scorch the leaves, also causing yellowing. An east-facing window or a spot a few feet back from a south or west window will create perfect light conditions for your Hoya.

When it comes to temperature, Hoyas thrive in warm temperatures between 65°F and 80°F (18°C and 27°C). Avoid placing your Hoya near cold drafts or vents, as this can stress the plant and contribute to yellowing leaves.

Other Potential Causes of Yellowing Leaves

While watering, light, and temperature are the main culprits, there are other factors that may cause leaves to turn yellow:

  • Nutrient deficiency: A lack of essential nutrients can cause yellowing, often starting from the lower leaves. A balanced fertilizer formulated for houseplants, applied sparingly during the growing season, can help.
  • Pests and diseases: Mealybugs, scale insects, and fungal diseases can damage leaves and cause yellowing. Regularly inspect your Hoya and treat any pest infestations promptly.
  • Natural leaf loss: For mature Hoyas, it's natural for some older leaves to yellow and drop. This is not a cause for concern unless excessive leaf loss is occurring.

Diagnosis and Treatment: Restore Your Hoya to Health

Once you've identified the cause of your Hoya's yellowing leaves, take corrective action:

  • If you’ve overwatered your Hoya, stop watering immediately and allow the soil to dry out completely. In severe cases, repotting into fresh, well-draining soil may be necessary.
  • If you’ve underwatered your Hoya, water it thoroughly and adjust your watering schedule to prevent future underwatering.
  • If your Hoya isn’t getting enough light, move your Hoya to a location with brighter indirect light or consider supplementing with grow lights if necessary.
  • If your Hoya is nutrient-deficient, apply a balanced fertilizer according to the product's instructions.
  • If your Hoya is infected by pests, treat infestations with appropriate insecticides or fungicides. Isolate your Hoya to prevent the spread to other plants.

How to Keep Your Hoya Thriving?

By following these tips, you can prevent yellowing leaves and keep your Hoya healthy and vibrant:

  • Use a pot with drainage holes: This allows excess water to drain away, preventing root rot. Choose a pot size that's proportionate to your Hoya's root system. Repot every 1-2 years into a slightly larger pot with fresh potting mix.
  • Choose the right potting mix: A well-draining mix is crucial. A good option is a commercial succulent or cactus mix, or you can create your own using a combination of potting soil, coco husk, and orchid bark.
  • Maintain proper humidity: Hoyas prefer moderate to high humidity levels (around 50-70%). If your home is dry, consider using a pebble tray, humidifier, or grouping your Hoya with other humidity-loving plants.
  • Regularly clean your Hoya's leaves: Dust buildup can hinder photosynthesis and make the plant more susceptible to pests. Wipe the leaves gently with a damp cloth to remove dust and debris.

Bonus Tips for Hoya Happiness

  • Provide support for climbing varieties: Hoyas are naturally vining plants. Offering a moss pole or trellis will encourage them to climb and provide a more aesthetically pleasing structure.
  • Rotate your Hoya regularly: This ensures even growth and prevents the plant from leaning towards the light source.
  • Enjoy the blooms! With proper care, your Hoya will reward you with clusters of fragrant, star-shaped flowers.

The Bottom Line

With proper care, your Hoya can be a thriving addition to your indoor jungle for years to come. By understanding its watering needs, light preferences, and other factors that can impact its health, you can address yellowing leaves effectively and ensure your Hoya continues to flourish.

Remember, a little detective work, and TLC can go a long way in keeping your Hoya happy and producing those beautiful blooms you love.

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