Hoya Carnosa Care

Wax Plant

Hoyas are some of the easiest and most laid-back houseplants, and the carnosa is one of the most popular. A lot of plant people will say that plants like the Hoya carnosa do best with a degree of neglect, and that’s not entirely inaccurate. This Hoya needs a good location with plenty of sunlight, and you need to routinely check in to ensure everything is going well. Hoyas shouldn’t be ignored, but they’re not very hands-on. Here is everything you need to know about Hoya carnosa care to ensure your plant is happy and healthy.

Hoya Carnosa Details

All plants have botanical names that feature the plant’s family and genus, so in this instance, Hoya is the family, and carnosa is the genus. Most plants also have common names or nicknames that are more well-known than the botanical name. The Hoya carnosa is unique because it is perhaps just as known by its botanical name as by the common names wax plant, waxy leaf plant, and porcelain flower plant.

This Hoya initially hails from Eastern Asia and Australia. The ovate foliage is thick and has a medium-green hue with some white flecks. Leaves grow from thick but wiry stems that become somewhat woody with age and can reach up to four feet long when grown indoors. The carnosa can trail or climb, allowing for flexible plant styling options.

Hoya Carnosa

Other Varieties

Other notable members of the Hoya Carnosa genus include the Hoya carnosa variegata ‘Tricolor,’ Hoya carnosa Exotica, Hoya Krimson Queen, and Hoya Krimson Princess. All of these cultivars are variegated versions of the regular carnosa. The care is generally the same between these varieties, except the variegated plants need more consistent bright indirect sunlight. The non-variegated carnosa can handle varying amounts of sunlight.

Hoya Carnosa Light Requirements

Place the carnosa in a spot with low, medium, or bright, indirect sunlight. Plants that receive low or medium sunlight grow more slowly than those that receive bright, indirect sunlight. If you want a large, full plant, and if you want your plant to flower, then make sure it receives lots of light. 

Direct sunlight will burn the leaves, so avoid spots that receive direct light. Rotate the container every few weeks so the entire plant receives sunlight. Foliage will have a faded appearance if the light is too low.

Growth Rate

Young plants appear to grow more slowly, but they are often expanding their root system. Once the plant has an extensive and established root system, it will push out more vines and foliage. Don’t be discouraged if your plant is located in a sunny spot and growth appears to have stalled. Be patient, and the growth rate will increase with time.

Wax Plant Water Tips

Hoyas are a type of succulent, which means they are drought-tolerant. The carnosa stores water in its thick leaves, so it can get by for a bit without your help. Water your Hoya carnosa when the potting mix is dry. This plant is completely fine if you are a few days late with water, which is part of what makes it so easy to grow.

Saturate the soil when it is time to water and allow excess water to drain. Remove standing water from the cover pot or tray. Bottom watering is another option to keep the roots hydrated.

waxy leaf plant

Signs of Water Stress

Leaves turn yellow at the tips, with the discoloration moving back towards the stem when the plant is overwatered. Eventually, the leaves will drop off. Underwatered plants will have sagging, wrinkled foliage. You can save a plant just starting to experience drooping or shriveled foliage by giving it a deep drink. Leaves will completely wilt, turn yellow, then brown, and fall off when the plant is severely dehydrated.

Best Soil for Hoya Houseplants

Hoyas like moist but well-draining potting mix, and most ready-made potting mixes work well, but amend the soil with perlite or sand to improve the drainage. Well-draining soil and a container with drainage are vital to reduce the risk of overwatering and root rot.

Temperature for Wax Plant

Regular household temperatures are good for the carnosa. Temperatures around 65° F are best, but anything within 60° to 85° F is acceptable. Hoyas often do well in a covered, outdoor space during the summer, but get the plant back indoors before the temperature drops.

Hoya Carnosa Humidity Needs

The Hoya carnosa loves humidity, so choose a spot with extra moisture in the air. Humidity of 60% or more is best. Average humidity may work out, but low humidity will not go well. Help your Hoya by grouping several plants to create a damp microclimate or bring out a humidity tray or humidifier to increase the dampness. Humidity changes throughout the year, so your plant may be alright during the summer but need help during the winter. Routinely check in on the plant, especially around the change of seasons, to ensure appropriate humidity levels.

Hoya Carnosa Fertilizer Tips

Hoya houseplants are not heavy feeders, but they do benefit from a nutritional boost. Fertilize your Hoya carnosa using a balanced plant food. Water-soluble fertilizers are a quick, easy, and effective option that can be included in a normal watering session. Use a diluted liquid fertilizer or water before applying any other fertilizer product to protect the roots.

Fertilize Hoya houseplants monthly during the spring and summer. Do not feed dormant plants during the fall and winter.

porcelain flower plant

Does Hoya Carnosa Bloom?

The Hoya carnosa blooms and features lovely star-shaped pink flowers with white accents. The dainty flowers have a glossy look, inspiring the common name porcelain flower plant. Hoyas often bloom during the spring and summer, but houseplants sometimes get on their own schedule since the conditions inside a home are so consistent.

There are a few requirements for a plant to bloom. Young plants put all of their energy into growing, and once the plant reaches maturity, often at a few years old, they are finally ready to bloom. Your Hoya carnosa care needs to be on point if you want your plant to bloom.

Pruning Tips

Trim long stems if the Hoya is outgrowing your space, but generally, this plant doesn’t require much pruning. Keep any offcuts to propagate.

You can provide excellent care, and the occasional leaf will die, so don’t worry and remove it. One or maybe two dead leaves every few months is not a problem, but multiple dead leaves at once or continued dead foliage is an issue. If you notice routine dead growth, then investigate what is happening. Focus on the sunlight, humidity, temperature, and watering routine in place and make adjustments as needed.

When to Repot Hoya Carnosa 

Hoyas like to be pot-bound or root-bound, so wait to repot your plant. Most Hoyas can wait several years before being repotted. Hoyas only bloom when they fit nice and snug in their containers, so the odds of the plant flowering increase the longer you wait to repot. Eventually, a too-small pot will become an issue, so your Hoya will need a larger container.

When you repot your plant, freshen up the soil and select a new container one to two inches larger than the previous pot. Don’t go any bigger, or foliage growth will slow down, and flowering will be put on hold because the plant will put all of its energy into growing roots to fill the new container. Excessively large containers also increase the risk of root rot.

Hoya Carnosa Propagation

Increase your Hoya carnosa collection through propagation. You can easily propagate Hoyas via stem cuttings. Each cutting should have a couple of leaves and growth nodes. Like all things Hoya-related, propagation is easy, but it’s also time-consuming. It can take several weeks for roots to appear and longer for those roots to grow. Be patient, and you’ll be rewarded with new plants.

Hoya Carnosa Wax Plant

Is Hoya Carnosa Pet Safe?

All Hoyas, including the Hoya carnosa, are pet-safe. Hoyas are non-toxic, so it’s not ideal if your cat or dog eats or chews on the plant, but your furry companion will be safe. The cascading vines may be tempting to a curious pet, but otherwise, you have nothing to worry about when bringing this plant into a space shared with pets.

Hoya Carnosa Styling Tips

The Hoya carnosa is one of those plants that can do it all and look amazing while doing it. Let the leafy stems hang down from a table, shelf, or hanging planter. Give this beauty a trellis, and it will climb. You may need to train the stems to climb, but the Hoya will get the hang of it with time.

Hoya Carnosa Care Tips

Hoya carnosa care is easy, but that’s to be expected from this popular and well-loved plant family. Sunlight, water, and humidity are the primary points to manage when growing this easy-care houseplant. Make it a point to routinely check on the plant to ensure it’s living its best life and admire the thick, waxy leaves.