Expert Tips for Hoya Plant Care

Hoyas are beautiful houseplants with waxy leaves and attractive flowers. Gardeners also call them porcelain flowers. This plant is low maintenance, one that you can easily care for.
Today, we will provide you with general tips on caring for hoya plants as they have similar needs. So, if you haven’t added this to your collection, be ready and make sure to take notes.

The Hoya Species

Hoyas have waxy flowers, while some have waxy leaves that vary in size, color, and shape.  Many folks love the wax plants’ flower buds that can be found in various colors. Sometimes the blooms have an array of scents making them more appealing.

The fact is, there are times when you find it hard to identify one hoya plant from the other unless they produce blooms. Still, there is a slight variation in the leaves between species that you’ll notice if you have a trained eye.

Apart from being easy to maintain, this plant is like fashion which never goes out of style. It is a classic indoor plant that turns heads every time with its attractive flowers and leaves. The Hoya also makes great hanging plants with their trailing vines and woody stems.

One more exciting thing is that you have more than 300 species of hoya worldwide. It belongs to the Apocynaceae family. You can find most of the Hoya plants come from Asia in subtropics and tropical parts.

Growth Habit of Hoya Plant

hoya flower

Hoyas grow differently from one species to another. Thus, it helps to classify them into different growth structures. The first is your climbing/vining plants like the Hoya australis.

Then, you have your hanging plants with pendant shapes like the Hoya bella. Other plants in the genus like Hoya multiflora are more erect, shrublike, and bushy.

Considering the growth structure of Hoya plants helps you to provide them with the right space and orientation for growth. Thus, you might need to plant them in hanging baskets or provide them with a trellis.

Wax Plants Leaves

You can find Hoyas species and varieties with thick leaves or thin leaves. Some are semi or very succulent, except the Hoya imbricata. This plant only grows one leaf per node while the others produce opposite leaves.

The leaves are not serrated, making it challenging to tell one apart from the other when not flowering. But you can adapt the requirements for wax plant care by looking at their leaves. For example, if your plant has thin, dark, huge leaves, it thrives in shade and wet environments.

With thick light-colored succulent leaves, your plant needs more sun and can withstand some drought. On the other hand, Hoyas with semi-succulent foliage need short dry periods to bloom.

Stem Structure

The plant has lactiferous wiry stems with a sticky substance of clear, white, yellowish, or other colors. Still, the Hoya wax plant varies as some branches have roots, making them easy to propagate. In high humidity, these roots grow outwards, clinging to surfaces.

Other stems have chlorophyll and do not need leaves to root. A common thing with Hoya stems is that they send out tendrils with smaller leaves. You can leave them on the plant to grow. Once they find a location with sunlight, they start sprouting leaves.

Hoya Flowers

The plant flower forms mostly star-shaped flowers but it can vary. There are three main parts known as the calyx, corona, and corolla.

You find it arranged on umbels, a cluster terminating from the middle forming a convex or flat-topped surface. It is the petals of the flower, and you have six types that include:

  • Bell-shaped
  • Claw-shaped
  • Urn-shaped
  • Spreading
  • Reflexed
  • Revolute

The flower color varies, and in the species, you can find one plant with different cultivars.

Hoya Roots

Hoya thrives with adventurous roots found along the stems. The plant absorbs moisture through its root and increasing humidity helps form more roots. As a result, the plant is epiphytic, growing on surfaces that dry out and always looking for water.

But if you give your porcelain flower too much water, it will harm and kill it.

Hoya Care Guide


The Hoya plant varies in its growth habit. You can find them growing epiphytically in treetops hosting on other plants. Here is a list of the basic needs for Hoya’s care.

Species: Hoya spp.

Common Name: Wax plants and porcelain flowers

Plant Type: Vining, climbing, shrublike

Habitat: Asia

Maximum Size: Varies in height and width

Watering Requirements: Water your plant based on the intensity of light

Light Requirements: Dappled or diffused light

Preferred Humidity: Medium

Preferred Temperature: Warm

Potting Medium: Well-draining soil mix

Fertilizer: Organic fertilizer

Propagation Method: Cuttings

Vulnerability: Mealybugs and aphids

Toxicity: Non-toxic houseplants

Best Soil Mix for Hoya Plant

orchid mix

An epiphytic Hoya plant grows in its native habitat on a bit of substrate. So you can mount your plant on wood wrapped with some sphagnum. But you will need to water them more.

You can display your plant in the bathroom, where it can receive a lot of moisture. Or, you can grow Hoya plants in potting soil with good drainage.

In Asia, they grow the plant in pure coco chips. You can make potting soil of ⅓ orchid bark, ⅓ peat, and ⅓ perlite. The soil is airy, and it keeps the roots moist.

You’ll also find some Hoya plants growing in limestone areas as they need more alkaline soil. You can use crushed oyster shells or eggshells to incorporate within the soil or layer them on top.

Indirect Light For Hoyas

The majority of the Hoya species grow in the forest in gaps in trees or treetops. This is because the plant prefers bright indirect light to prevent leaf burn.

Many nurseries grow the plant under shade cloths protecting them from direct light. However, there are also some species like Hoya crassicaulis, Hoya kerriii, and Hoya diversifolia that can withstand bright light.

If you place it indoors, the best place is at least four feet away from a window.

Watering Needs

Watering your plant well is not a problem if you have a well-draining soil mix. But if the soil is heavy like a peaty mixture, the substrate can hold back a lot of water. It’s best to water your plant based on the intensity of light you give them.

If your plant stands in more light, it will need more watering in the summer months. Conversely, plants standing in not so much direct light need less watering. Also, depending on the species, you can hold back on the water at specific times of the year.

For example, you can hold back watering your Hoya carnosa for up to five weeks in spring to help with flowering. Another note is that when you water your plants well, remove any excess to prevent root rot.

Temperature & Humidity Needs

moist hoya

You find specific Hoya species at high altitudes needing a cool temperature at night. But the majority of Hoya plants do not enjoy cold temperatures.

Providing your plants with temperatures above 50°F (10°C) prevents chill damage. If you’re living in the Northern Hemisphere, the best time to order your Hoya is in spring.

Many Hoya does not like direct sunlight, as well as standing close to heating and cooling vents. In addition, sudden temperature drops will cause stress in your plants.

You also find some of these plants love the monsoon season with heavy rains and need high humidity to thrive. For plants needing more moisture, you can place them near a humidifier. Alternatively, you can create a humidity dome by placing your plant in a plastic bag to trap moisture.

Fertilizer Needs

The wax vine is not a heavy feeder but can benefit from added nutrients. You can feed them biweekly or monthly with balanced synthetic fertilizer or organic fertilizer.

It helps to dilute the feed to half its original concentration by adding water. Then, if you see one of your plants forming flower buds, you can use a bloom booster, providing them with higher phosphorus.

Hoya Propagation

We mentioned that you could propagate your wax plant through cuttings. But actually, there are four methods you can use.


You can replicate your wax plant through seeds, but it is hard to find and difficult to germinate. Furthermore, it is time-consuming from start to finish.

Leaf Cuttings

You can also do leaf-cutting, and it works great if the leaves drop off the plant. The leaves root after six weeks but are not always successful. The important thing is to keep the petiole attached to the leaf.

Stem Cuttings

A method that works well is stem cuttings, and you root them in water or soil mix. You will need to take a cutting with one node, and the roots appear in about four weeks when placed in a glass of water.

Also, make sure to take a cutting from the softwood about four inches long, or you can take up to 12 inches long as well.

Place the cutting in water with the bottom node below the waterline. Or, you can dip the cut end in a rooting hormone and place it in a succulent mix.

When you root in the soil, it helps to take shorter cuttings with up to three nodes attached. Then remove all the leaves except for the tones at the top.


The last method is using layering, but it is not air layering.

  1. Take a softwood stem from the mother plant and pin it into a container with a light soil mix.
  2. Moisten the soil as you notice the roots forming on the stems on top of the soil mix.
  3. You can use up to 12 inches of stems. Place up to five in the container by laying them over the pot. Make sure the branches are held in place.

Growth Zone

If you live in the USDA hardiness zones nine to eleven, you can grow your Hoya plant outdoors. But also check the species you have. Some species enjoy the direct sun while others like dappled natural light.

Potting and Pruning

Most wax plants do not mind being root-bound as they grow epiphytically. So, you need not place your plant in a new pot often.

All you can do is refresh the substrate every third year. We also prefer using a terracotta pot as it dries out faster, helping to remove excess water more simpler.

Another thing is that the wax vine can grow huge and needs pruning to keep them in shape. You can remove the dead stems by cutting them back. Or you can thread the stems around a trellis or trim it back to the nod.

Another important note is not to cut the peduncle as this is where are flowers yearly.

10 Famous Hoya or Wax Plant

hoya australis

Hoya australis

The plant is the easiest Hoya to grow with low maintenance. During the active growing season, it needs lots of sunlight. When placed outdoors, it attracts butterflies. It has showy, fragrant white flowers and goes by names such as honey plant, porcelain flow, or wax vine.

Hoya albomarginata

Hoya albomarginata

The wax plant has soft green leaves with striking white bands. You will see the bloom from July to August but this species is not loved for the flowers but the leaves. It helps to plant it in full shade with moist, well-draining soil.

hoya kerrii

Hoya kerrii

Who does not know the famous sweetheart plant or Valentine Hoya? The heart-shaped leaves are a standout for this plant more than the flowers.

hoya bella

Hoya bella

This is another low-maintenance plant that rewards you with a display of white-pink star-shaped flowers. It makes for an ideal plant to place in hanging baskets.

hoya kentiana @gennasplants

Hoya kentiana

These tropical plants are perennial and grown for their foliage. The fascinating thing is the finger creeping leaves, and it has no visible veins, only a dark red margin.

hoya linearis

Hoya linearis

The rare plant has long fuzzy stems that look amazing when it hangs. But it has a weak root system and needs the right environment to thrive.

hoya obovata

Hoya obovata

The houseplant is excellent for novice gardeners. The Hoya thrives in well-lit spots and only needs little watering. It is perfect if you are a busy person as it has a reasonable drought tolerance.

Hoya retusa

Hoya retusa

This wax vining plant has a uniqueness of its own. The foliage does not even look like leaves and the flowers are in singles and not in clusters. Instead, it has the same star-shaped flowers in cream and pink and smells like lemon.

Hoya rubra

Hoya rubra

The plant needs bright indirect light with a warm growing environment to sport its dark pink flowers. Then, the flowers have plum-centered white corona.

Hoya carnosa

Hoya carnosa

The Indian Rope Plant is another claiming trailing plant with deep green almond-shaped leaves. The Hoya produces flowers in cream growing in bunches.

Hoya Diseases & Pests

The plant is not bothered by many pests except for aphids and mealybugs. You’re most likely to find the insects around the flowers, especially those that produce much nectar. You can remove them using a strong water spray or neem spray.

Hoya Troubleshooting

Here you can see some signs to show what is causing problems with your plant:

  • Leave turn red or look burned – it can be that your plant is getting too much sun, and best to move it to a shaded spot.
  • Shriveling leaves can happen with underwatering or a loss of humidity. There can also be a concern with the roots or mealybugs that are bugging your plant.
  • Your plant looks limb – the roots might have died due to overwatering or even the lack of it. The best is to check the roots and remove a healthy cutting simultaneously.
  • There is no flowering and can result from too little light or stress in temperature changes.
  • The buds fall off, which means there is not enough moisture in the soil or standing in excess water resulting in root rot.
  • Leaves falling off means it could be standing too close to cooling vents getting a cold draft.
  • If you notice sticky sap on the leaves, if not flowering, check for aphids, spider mites, or mealybugs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Growing Hoya plants is relatively easy, providing good air circulation and a perfect blend of orchid mix with perlite. The plants thrive being pot-bound and crowded in the container.

It depends on the type of hoya that you have as some prefer medium light while others enjoy bright indirect light.

The plant grows unique flower buds with star-shaped flowers in different colors. Some of them have gorgeous-smelling flowers.

Porcelain flowers are not difficult to find, and you can get them at your local garden center. But while you are here, check out Plantly for a vast selection of Hoya plants to start your tropical plant collection.

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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