Hoya Retusa Care

Hoya retusa

The Hoya retusa may look like a jumble of foliage, but this lesser-known and under-appreciated Hoya has a lot going on. The unique stems are entirely different from the streamlined, classic good looks of most Hoyas, yet this plant is still stunning. While the retusa is radically different in appearance, it thrives the same Hoya care that other varieties appreciate.

Retusa Basics

The Hoya retusa is native to India and the eastern Himalayas, growing as an epiphyte. Long, narrow leaves grow in clusters. The leaves are thin by Hoya standards, yet this plant is still succulent. The retusa is somewhat rare. This plant is unlikely to show up at a big box store, and you’ll have to visit a specialty plant store to pick one up.

The vines can reach 10 feet long when proper Hoya retusa care is administered. Hoyas are slow to moderate growers, so if you find a spot that works well for your plant, consider making that location its permanent home. New growth can sometimes appear wrinkled, so don’t be alarmed and let the plant do its thing.

Hoya plant care

Hoya Retusa Light Needs

Give this Hoya lots of bright, indirect sunlight. The retusa prefers at least 6 hours of sunlight daily, so near an east- or west-facing window is often a good spot. Set a few feet away from a south-facing window is also a good choice, but ensure the plant is not exposed to direct sunlight. Direct light will singe the foliage. Rotate the container every few weeks to ensure all sides of the plant receive sunlight.

How Often to Water Hoya Retusa

Wait until the potting mix is dry before giving the retusa a drink. Like most Hoyas, this plant likes to dry out. Drench the soil when it is time to water and wait until excess water has drained through the container. Dormant plants need less water, so still check the soil, but plan to wait a couple of weeks longer before watering your retusa during the winter.

Move the plant to a sink or tub to water, if not every time, maybe every second or third time, so that you can give the plant a rinse. Cleaning the leaves keeps the plant thriving and looking good.

Best Soil for Hoyas

The retusa needs loose soil that promotes drainage. Hoyas naturally climb trees, so their roots are not acclimated to heavy or wet soil. Potting mixes intended for succulents or orchids are good picks.

Temperature for Retusa

The ideal temperature for Hoya retusa care will range from 65° to 85° F. The retusa likes to be warm. Keep the plant clear of heating or cooling vents, and check the temperature before moving it to an outdoor area in the summer.

Hoya retusa care

Retusa Humidity Needs

Hoyas can handle average humidity, but increased humidity is ideal. Humidity at 60% or more is best for Hoya retusa care. The foliage will dry out and become crispy if the air is too dry. Use a humidifier if the air moisture dips too low.

Hoya Retusa Fertilizer

Fertilize your Hoya retusa every two to four weeks during the spring and summer to encourage this vining beauty to thrive. A fertilizer high in nitrogen is best for young plants because this will promote leaf growth. If you want to encourage flowers or notice buds, use a high-phosphorus plant food. When in doubt, you can use a balanced fertilizer. Always use a water-soluble fertilizer and water before feeding to protect the roots.

Does Hoya Retusa Bloom?

The Hoya retusa does bloom, but it does so in a way, unlike every other Hoya out there. Most Hoya plants bloom in clusters, but the retusa features individual flowers. The white, star-shaped flowers are fragrant and feature a pinkish-red corona.

Hoyas only bloom when mature, and they receive near-perfect care. Don’t be disappointed if your retusa doesn’t bloom, but you can always help it along.

Hoya retusa bloom

Hoya Pruning Tips

Hoyas do not need much pruning but shape the plant if necessary in the early spring. Keep the offcuts to propagate. Remove dead or damaged growth at any time.

When to Repot Retusa 

The Hoya retusa is completely content to spend a long time in the same container. Hoyas are not fast growers, so it takes a long time for them to outgrow their pot, and it’s normal for Hoya houseplants to spend years in the same container. Slightly rootbound plants are more likely to bloom, so if your retusa has bloomed a few times, it may be time for a new container. Slowed growth or roots poking through the drainage holes also indicate the plant needs a new pot.

Hoya Retusa Propagation

Easily create new retusa plants to enjoy a full plant or share with friends and family through propagation.  A Hoya retusa cutting will need a node to be successful. A node can be found where leaves emerge from a stem. Remove leaves to expose the node and place the cut end in water or damp sphagnum moss. Roots will appear in several weeks, and the new retusa can be transplanted into potting mix when the roots measure a couple of inches long.

Hoya care

Is Hoya Retusa Pet Safe?

The Hoya retusa is pet-friendly, which is excellent news since the trailing foliage will likely entice a curious cat. It’s undoubtedly upsetting if your cat or dog were to chew on the plant, but you can rest easy because your furry friend will be safe.

Hoya Retusa Styling Tips

The Hoya retusa is a versatile plant that can trail or climb. Give the retusa a hanger or a high shelf, and allow the thin, segmented stems to cascade. Give the retusa a trellis or moss pole to create a vertical display. The retusa will need help getting the hang of climbing a support, so gently secure the vines to start.

Hoya Retusa Care Tips

The Hoya retusa has an unwieldy look that is slightly reminiscent of the Weird Barbie character. The unstructured chaos of the retusa is part of its charm. The retusa is an easy-care houseplant that thrives with lots of light and limited water.