Hoyas are incredibly popular houseplants, and for just about every person who loves them, there is another who hates them. Hoyas can be finicky, but they really can be easy to grow. These are sought-after houseplants that are easy to collect. Like all plants, Hoyas require a certain level of care to thrive, but it’s easy to get the hang of caring for Hoyas. Hoya plant care is easy, and these beauties actually thrive with a small degree of neglect.
Types of Hoyas
There are over 500 types of Hoya. These slow-growing plants are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and the western Pacific, with some Hoya varieties found in Australia. Most Hoya plants grow epiphytically, meaning they grow on trees and other plants. Hoyas also go by the names wax plants and porcelain flowers.
Hoyas produce reaching stems dotted with thick, glossy foliage. Some cultivars have red stems for a bold pop of color, while others develop woody stems. The leaves are often oval-shaped, although some are heart-shaped, curled, or needle-like. Some varieties push out reaching vines, like the Hoya australis or the Hoya pubicalyx, which can be trained to climb a trellis. Other types have cascading stems, like the Hoya linearis. The leaves can be medium to dark green and have cream or pink variegation. Some of the more well-known Hoya varieties include:
- Hoya australis
- Hoya australis ‘Lisa’
- Hoya compacta
- Hoya carnosa
- Hoya carnosa ‘krimson princess’
- Hoya carnosa ‘krimson queen‘
- Hoya curtisii
- Hoya kentiana
- Hoya kerrii
- Hoya latifolia / Hoya macrophylla
- Hoya linearis
- Hoya pachyclada
- Hoya pubicalyx
- Hoya retusa
Hoya Light Requirements
Most Hoyas prefer bright indirect sunlight. Back from a south-facing window is typically a good location for Hoya plants. East- or west-facing windows also provide abundant light for Hoya plants. Leaf burn is a real threat for Hoyas, so avoid direct sunlight. Some Hoya plants can handle limited amounts of direct light, but it can be risky. When in doubt, find a spot that receives dappled light.
Rotate the plant periodically, so each side receives sunlight. Foliage on the dark side may wither if the plant is not routinely moved.
How Often to Water Hoya Plants
Many plant owners find watering Hoyas to be tricky. Allow the soil to dry out before watering Hoyas. These plants usually need water once per week, but the amount of sunlight and humidity in the space will determine when the plant needs water. These plants are semi-succulents, so they like to dry out between waterings.
Overwatering will lead to root rot, and Hoyas are not at all tolerant of damp conditions. The leaves will pucker if the plant is too dry. Give it a drink immediately if the foliage is wilting, but try to water it before the plant shows signs of distress.
Best Soil for Hoyas
Use a well-drained potting mix for Hoyas. These plants naturally grow on trees and other plants, so they are capable of growing without much if any, soil. For this reason, Hoyas do not like overly damp conditions, and soil that retains moisture is a serious problem. Drainage is, by far, the most critical trait of soil for proper Hoya plant care. Potting mixes formulated for orchids work well for Hoyas.
I recommend planting houseplants in a nursery pot and placing that pot in a cover pot, but if you intend to grow your Hoya directly in a pot, consider an unglazed or terra cotta pot that will let the soil and roots dry out.
Temperature for Hoya Plants
Hoya plant care is easy in terms of temperature. A comfortable room temperature is good for these plants, although they prefer a warmer climate. Temperatures between 60° and 85° F are ideal. Some Hoya plants like to stay on the cooler side of the temperature range, and temperature can play an important role in blooming, so research your specific cultivar if you want to enjoy flowers.
Increased humidity is a must for Hoya plant care—these tropical beauties like increased moisture in the air and tend to grow more quickly in humid environments. Humidity around 60% or higher is best. Hoya houseplants can live in average humidity, but below-average humidity is a deal breaker.
Check your Hoya for dry, dying leaves if you live in a dry climate or if dry winter air is an issue in your home. Increase humidity as needed to help your Hoya thrive.
Fertilizing is an essential part of Hoya plant care. These low-maintenance plants do not like to be repotted often, so any nutritional value in the soil will be gone well before it’s time to repot with fresh potting mix. Fortunately, Hoyas are not heavy feeders, but routinely feeding your plant will provide the nutrients they need to continue to push out glossy leaves and even bloom. Fertilize Hoyas monthly using a balanced fertilizer.
Hoyas benefit from being fed year-round, although some home gardeners apply a half-dose of fertilizer during the fall and winter.
Do Hoyas Bloom?
Hoya plants produce rounded clusters of dainty flowers. The star-shaped flowers are often white, with a dark eye or color near the bloom’s center. Many cultivars produce flowers with a sweet fragrance. The scent can range from vanilla to cinnamon and is often more pronounced during the evening. Plants usually bloom during the spring and summer, but some cultivars push out flowers in the fall.
How Do I Get My Hoya to Bloom?
Mature Hoya plants bloom when they are happy and healthy. Proper Hoya plant care is necessary for a plant to set blooms. Get back to basics and ensure your plant receives plenty of light, water, and fertilizer if you want your Hoya to bloom. Encouraging a houseplant to bloom is a long game, and it may take months or years of excellent Hoya plant care to get your wax plant to bloom.
Pruning Hoya Plants
Remove Hoya flowers when the blooms fade. Use clean, sharp shears to trim the stalks, which may promote another flower flush. Removing the fading flowers will redirect energy into the plant and keep it lush and growing. The flowers grow from tiny stalks that, in turn, grow from stems. Do not remove the Hoya’s stem, known as a peduncle, because this will prevent future flowers.
Remove dead or damaged growth as needed. The occasional leaf will wilt and can be plucked from the plant. Trim lopsided growth to maintain an even and consistent look; otherwise, just let your Hoya do its thing.
When to Repot Hoya Plants
Hoyas are perfectly content to spend long periods in the same pot. This is a genus of plants that likes to be cozy, and Hoyas that are rootbound are more prolific bloomers. Repot Hoya plants every 3 to 5 years, although it is common to wait ten years or more before repotting Hoyas.
Repot Hoyas in the spring or summer when they are actively growing. Select a container with drainage that is one or two inches larger so the plant has room to grow but is not swimming in an excessively big container. All plants have delicate roots, so you should always take care when repotting, but Hoyas have particularly tender roots.
One of the characteristics that make Hoyas so popular is that they are easy to propagate. An avid plant owner can easily share the wealth and give cuttings to friends, making Hoyas very shareable. Hoya plants can be propagated via stem cuttings and even a single leaf. Typically, stem cuttings need growth nodes and a couple of leaves to be successful, but Hoya cuttings just need growth nodes. A cutting with leaves is more likely to succeed, but don’t toss a cutting simply because it does not have foliage.
Propagate Hoyas by removing a section of a stem with multiple nodes. The nodes are the areas where the leaves attach to the branch. Remove the lower couple of leaves, exposing the nodes. Place the stem in water, submerging the nodes. The leaves can also be placed in water with the end of the leaf stem submerged. Roots should form in a couple of weeks. Once the roots are several inches long, the cuttings can be moved to a container with well-drained soil.
Are Hoyas Pet Friendly?
Hoyas are safe for homes with pets. The plants, including foliage and flowers, are not toxic to cats or dogs. Be aware that the plant does produce a white sap when cut. The sap may cause minor skin irritation, but it is not toxic. Feel free to bring Hoyas into your home or give them as gifts to friends and family with furry companions, but consider placing them out of reach just to be safe.
Hoya Plant Styling Tips
How you style your Hoya depends on the type of plant you have. Trailing varieties, like the Hoya linearis and the Hoya retusa, look best in a hanging basket. A mature Hoya australis or other vining types like Hoya krimson queen will dazzle in a hanging planter or a high perch so the foliage can be on display. Small Hoya plants, like single-leaf Hoya kerrii, look darling in a compact, decorative pot.
Hoya Plant Care Tips
Warm temperatures, humidity, and well-draining soil are the conditions that Hoyas crave. Most Hoyas can easily live with the same type of care, although some cultivars have more specific preferences regarding sunlight and temperate. Adjust your care as needed, and your Hoyas will look amazing and thrive.