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With its unusual growth habit, appealing foliage, and appealing “furry” blooms, it is without a doubt that this is the most attractive “ant-plant.”
Yes, we are talking about the Hoya imbricata! The plant is called as such because tiny creatures like to inhabit spaces beneath the leaves, which they use as nurseries. The enormous succulent plate-like leaves of the woody vines grasp the tree bark surface on which they emerge! Find out more about this beauty and learn how to take care of them.
Hoya Imbricata Plant Care Basics
The table below introduces the information on the Hoya imbricata care:
Now that you’ve learned the overview of this plant, it’s time to get down to business. We’ll explain each of the basics below with tips that you can use in growing your Hoya imbricata!
Best potting mix
The soil requirement of the Hoya imbricata is a well-draining potting mix. It’s vital to note that this epiphytic plant likely survives in soil with a pH level of slightly acidic to neutral.
You can add organic materials such as cocoa chips, wood, sphagnum moss, limestone, eggshells, and other amendments that provide aeration for the plant’s roots. These materials help to drain the excess water quickly, thereby, preventing root rot.
Pro tip: Stay away from heavy soils or any other type that may hold too much moisture.
How to water our Hoya imbricata
The importance of water in the care of your Hoya imbricata cannot be overstated. This is due to the plant’s epiphytic nature. This indicates that it has smaller roots that are less reliant on soil for survival. Instead, they acquire nutrients from the air and material from the larger plants they cling to in the forest.
Having that said, during the growing season, you should water thoroughly and frequently. While in the winter, water less frequently and sparingly. If you place your plant closer to the window and the air is dry, it will need to be watered more regularly. If you place your plant near an east or north-facing window, it will require less water. Every week, check to see if your plant needs watering.
Hoya imbricata is endemic to South Asia, in places where the sun shines through the gaps in the trees in between and within them. So, bright indirect light is the only recommended and suitable lighting condition for this plant.
The plant can survive in full sun, but it cannot tolerate such for too long. The plant can also withstand low light; however, exposure to such will only damage the leaf and its color in the long run. Place the plant where it will receive plenty of light while yet receiving some shade to protect it. An east-facing window is suitable for this. You can also choose a north or northeast position if you want to treat them as an indoor plant.
Temperature & Humidity
The temperature requirement of the Hoya imbricata is the same as that of the tropical temperature. The temperature should be above 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) in the summer and below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) in the winter.
The Hoya imbricata is best to be placed outdoors during the summer and spring seasons. During the winter and fall seasons, it’s preferable to keep it inside. However, it would be beneficial if you were particularly vigilant every season since a rapid spike or reduction in temperature could indicate when it is time to transfer the plant from its current location.
Pro tip: Exposure to extremely high or low temperatures can be stressful to the Hoya imbricata.
Very high humidity is required by most hoyas including Hoya imbricata. The higher the humidity, the better the condition you’re providing for your hoya. It performs best when the humidity level is at least 60%.
It can still survive when planted in a medium-humidity environment. However, there will be a significant difference compared to tropical plants that thrive in higher humidity. In addition, the low humidity level does not provide the ideal environment for the plant to survive and develop. So, avoid such a condition.
Pro tip: To ensure a consistent and higher humidity level, you may use a humidifier, a container with pebble filled with water, mist, and other techniques to elevate the humidity level.
Hoya imbricata isn’t particularly heavy feeders, but they do appreciate extra sources of nutrients. You can use a balanced synthetic fertilizer, diluting the amount to half the strength recommended. The added fertilizer can help the plant grow faster and complete its required nutrition. If using slow-release fertilizers, it may take time for the plant to absorb its nutrients fully.
During the active growing season, fertilizing should be done once a month. And never in the winter! In those colder months, they usually sleep or in other words, dormant.
Pro tip: Excessive fertilizer application to the Hoya imbricata can lead to salt build-up on the soil.
Kinds of Hoya imbricata are rare climbing Hoyas that can be difficult to master. However, propagation is relatively simple. Spring and summer are the most incredible periods to take cuttings. It’s when your plant is actively growing and light is most abundant to support growth.
However, when the plant is flowering, avoid taking cuttings.
Here’s the step by step procedures on how to propagate Hoya imbricata:
- To begin, use alcohol to sanitize your shears or knife.
- Remove the parent plant’s stems, which can have up to three nodes and is 6 inches long. On the cutting, there should be no buds or blooms.
- Third, the stem needs additional moisture because it no longer obtains moisture from the parent plant. Fill a jar halfway with water, cover it with a plastic bag and place the cutting in it. You can use sphagnum moss for the same purpose.
- Repot the cuttings to a soil mix and plant it directly to the soil after the roots have developed.
USDA Zones 9 to 11 are suitable for growing Hoya imbricata. This plant is native to Asia, and it cannot survive in colder temperatures when planted outside.
Potting our Imbricata
Repot the plant once every 3 to 4 years and be sure to replace its soil mix. Use another container, that is slightly bigger than the previous one. Terracotta pots are recommended for the plant because Hoya is naturally drying out efficiently compared to other houseplants.
Other Hoya Species
The Hoya genus is a diverse group. It’s consists of hundreds of species that are equally attractive. And even if we love to have them all, the time just limits us. However! We’ve provided some of Hoya species that have a bit of similarity to the Hoya imbricata:
The primary (green) form of Hoya carnosa is less common than many of its excellent hybrids. The foliage can be plain, variegated, crinkled, or otherwise textured. The blooms are long-lasting, fuzzy clusters of fragrant stars.
Pubicalyx is a hardy twining vine that can trail or climb, but it’s a little unruly: you may spend time unwinding the plant from its neighbors. It’s one of the fastest-growing Hoyas and very easy to propagate.
This plant, otherwise known as a Sweetheart Hoya or Lucky Heart, is commonly sold as a single, heart-shaped leaf planted in a small pot. The bright emerald green color of the cute, rounded leaves makes them popular St. Valentine’s Day gifts.
Hoya imbricata Diseases & Pests
Even the best plants might succumb to pests and illnesses at any time. Take good care of the plant and keep your growth area clean to avoid any problems.
The most common problems with Hoya imbricata are:
- Mealybugs, which produce white wax on the undersides of leaves and around the roots.
- Aphids, sap-sucking insects that feed on weak new growth.
When these insects have finished feeding on your plant, they will leave a honey-like fluid that attracts ants and other insects.
To avoid them, avoid overwatering and fertilizing, and when you do, use organic fertilizers. Remove any leaves that have been heavily diseased if they appear. To treat other leaves, soak a cotton swab in alcohol and wipe the foliage clean. A soap-based spray, such as Castille soap, is an alternative.
Spraying mealybugs and aphids with insecticidal soap or using an insecticide pin is the best way to get rid of them.
Frequently Asked Questions
The milkweed family (Apocynaceae) contains the genus Dischidia and is strongly related to Hoya. Hoya flowers typically lack inner guide rails, but Dischidia guide rails are more developed and frequently have inner rails.
Hoya nectar is produced by a tube in the guide rails and secondary nectaries within another skirt. Dischidia Pollinia contain crested caudicles, which are thought to serve the same purpose as Hoya’s pellucid edges due to structural similarities.
Hoya imbricata develops modified stems forming hollow interior chambers. Beneath that chambers, the ant colonies start to find shelter. In return, the ants assist the plants by shielding them from insect pests and delivering nutrients from the ant colony’s decomposing waste.
This unique Hoya is best planted on a mount because of its peculiar growth behavior. However, it can also be cultivated as crawling or hanging houseplants. If grown on a mount, sphagnum should be used to wrap the roots around the mount. To do so:
- Make a hole in the wood’s center and create a hanging hook with craft wire.
- Wipe away any excess soil after removing the plant from the pot.
- Coat the plant’s roots in moss, ensuring that all of the roots/soil is covered.
- Search around your house for a decent spot for the plant to lay on the wood.
- Take your fishing line and wrap it once around the mount. Make a double knot at the end.
- Continue wrapping the fishing line around the mount until the moss-wrapped plant is completely secured to the wood. Cut off any surplus fishing line and finish the tie with a double knot.
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