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6 Reasons for Stunted Hoya Growth and Solutions to Make It Thrive

6 Reasons for Stunted Hoya Growth and Solutions to Make It Thrive

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Hoya, commonly known as wax plant or porcelain flower, is a native Asian plant known for its vibrant green, succulent leaves and porcelain-like blossoms.

There are hundreds of different Hoya species. Although some are pickier than others, their basic care needs are generally similar.

These guys are super easy, low-maintenance plants as long as their conditions are right and you’re giving them exactly what they need.

One of life’s simplest pleasures is watching your plant grow. So, it can be aggravating when your Hoya has been looking pretty much the same since the day you bought it. However, it’s nothing some good old tips and tricks can’t fix!

We’ve listed six possible reasons for a Hoya not growing as well as solutions to help it thrive!

Where Do Hoyas Originate From?

Hoyas are members of the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. The majority of Hoya species are native to several countries in Asia, such as the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and many others.

You can also find a wide range of Hoya species in the tropical parts of Australia.

Where Do Hoyas Get Their Name From?

These marvelous plants go all the way back to the 18th century!

Thanks to Scottish botanist Robert Brown, who discovered the captivating plant, Hoyas went on to become one of the most popular houseplants in the world!

They were named after Brown’s dear friend and fellow botanist Thomas Hoy.

What Are the Most Common Types of Hoya?

This charming plant has over 500 distinct species and varieties. As much as we love Hoya plants, we can’t possibly list all of them in this article!

Instead, we’ll the two most commonly grown species of Hoya.

1 – Hoya carnosa

From the wide variety of Hoya species, Hoya carnosa is the most popular. It’s also considered the easiest to maintain!

In fact, you’ll typically find that it’s the most recommended Hoya species for beginners.

This type of Hoya has long, thin vines and waxy, dark green succulent leaves. During the summer and fall seasons, the Carnosa blooms into white, porcelain-like flowers with a ruby crown. Not only do these flowers look flat-out unreal, but they also smell out of this world!

As far as Hoya goes, this species is the easiest one you can get your hands on; you can find it in almost any plant shop or garden center.

2 – Hoya australis

From the scientific name, you might assume this Hoya species is from Australia. Well, you’re absolutely correct. However, it also extends its range to Fiji and other places throughout Asia.

Hoya australis really stands out among the many different Hoya species. These guys are climbing vines that can grow up to 33 feet!

Their lengthy narrow stems as well as their thick, glossy, succulent leaves give them a distinct appearance. They also produce sweetly fragrant, star-shaped, porcelain-like white and red flowers.

6 Possible Reasons Why Your Hoya Isn’t Growing

When it comes to Hoya maintenance, it’s tricky to know where you’re going wrong. If your Hoya isn’t growing, there’s a chance it could be because of one of these six reasons.

1 – Improper Lighting

As with most plants, a critical factor in maintaining a Hoya’s health is the lighting it receives. The most common reason Hoyas aren’t growing is too much or too little lighting.

Considering there are a ton of different species of Hoya, it’s impossible to establish one general method for maintaining them. Instead, we’ll tell you this:

Because so many Hoyas have thick, succulent leaves, most plant lovers believe they like bright, direct light. This, however, is not the case here. In actuality, Hoyas thrive in medium to bright, indirect light.

If your Hoya loses a leaf every once in a while, don’t be alarmed; it’s perfectly normal. However, if you notice that it’s rapidly shedding leaves, it means it’s probably too cold!

What You Should Do

For starters, never leave your Hoya in direct sunlight. This is because too much direct light can burn it, stop its growth, and even decrease its chance of flowering.

There are five things you can do to provide adequate lighting for your Hoya.

1 – Pick the Right Window

Place your Hoya near a west or south-facing window. This is because they provide the ideal amount of sunlight for your plant.

Still, if you place your Hoya near a south-facing window, use a sheer curtain to create a filter for the light.

2 – Utilize the Help of Other Plants

Hoyas naturally attach themselves to other plants, and those can filter the sunlight the Hoyas get. You can mimic their natural habitat by surrounding your Hoya with other plants, such as succulents or cacti.

It will ultimately attach itself to them, where it will receive the optimal amount of sunlight.

3 – Use Grow Lights

Many plant growers use grow lights for their Hoyas and other indoor plants.

If your house doesn’t receive a lot of natural light, you can use a full-spectrum grow light for your Hoya.

4 – Clean Your Hoya

Because of the waxy texture of their leaves, Hoyas are prone to dust accumulation. Not only can too much dust prevent them from getting enough light, but it can also make them more prone to pests. Not to mention, it makes them look duller and less healthy-looking.

Every couple of weeks, give your Hoya a gentle wipe-over using a microfiber cloth or a damp sponge.

5 – Rotate Your Hoya

Many Hoya species, particularly those that vine and tendril, have a strong tendency to chase the light.

If you keep them in one place for a long time, they will receive an inconsistent amount of sunlight. This will result in uneven growth. That said, it’s best to rotate their pots regularly.

2 – Improper Watering

The second most common reason why your Hoya isn’t growing is improper watering. Although most Hoyas are drought-tolerant, there are a few that are quite sensitive. These particular types will wilt pretty fast if you either water them too much or not enough.

For example, overwatering your Hoya can cause problems, such as root rot. Not only can this stunt their growth, but it can also kill them.

Hoyas tend to be fairly big drinkers. No, this doesn’t mean they need to be watered five times a day. This actually means that they absorb water very quickly. This leads so many people, even experts, to believe their Hoyas are thirsty.

I mean, we get it. You walk past your Hoya, do the soil finger test and think “Oh! The top of the soil feels dry, it must be thirsty!”

Although that sounds like a fairly logical statement, watering these guys can be tricky.

What You Should Do

Everyone’s home environment is unique, and the rate at which the soil dries out differs. This is because it depends on lighting, humidity, and temperature. So, just because one person is getting away with watering their Hoya every week, doesn’t mean it’ll work for everybody.

There are some general things you can do to ensure that your Hoya is well hydrated.

1 – Let the Soil Dry Out

Less is more when it comes to watering your Hoya. We can’t recommend setting specific watering times. Instead, we suggest you monitor the soil.

For example, if you see that your soil has entirely dried up, it’s time to water your Hoya. This way, you’re giving the plant what it needs rather than what you think it needs.

2 – Consider the Time of Year

It goes without saying, different times of year require different amounts of water. For example, you shouldn’t water your Hoya in the winter at the same rate you’d water it in the summer. That’s because humidity levels get higher in winter.

So again, this is why we recommend monitoring the soil.

3 – Soak Your Hoya

When it’s time to water your Hoya, give it a thorough soak until the water pours out of the bottom of the pot. This ensures that the water is dispersed evenly throughout the root system and everywhere else.

When you’re finished, make sure to completely drain it before putting your Hoya back.

3 – Unstable Temperature

Hoyas are tropical plants. Even Hoya species that tolerate somewhat cooler temperatures might stop growing if the temperature falls below their recommended range.

These guys thrive best in temperatures ranging from 64 to 82ºF. They can survive somewhat lower temperatures at night, but not below 59ºF.

This is why low temperature could be another reason your Hoya isn’t growing or blooming.

What You Should Do

Most plants, including Hoyas, require a consistent temperature that doesn’t fluctuate up and down. Therefore, we recommend keeping the temperature as stable as possible.

Before you give us any confused looks, we obviously know you can’t control the weather. You can, however, control where you place your Hoya!

For example, avoid placing your Hoya in any drafty areas. This includes windows, air vents, air conditioners, and so on.

4 – Low Humidity

Tropical plants love humidity. It helps them develop stronger roots and blossom quicker.

Even plants that tolerate lower humidity levels will thrive in increased humidity. But anyway, having your humidity too low or too high can be one of the reasons why your Hoya isn’t growing.

What You Should Do

Hoya plants will always benefit from higher humidity. The optimal humidity range for Hoyas is 50-80%.

To guarantee that all of your plants are satisfied, we recommend keeping the humidity at a balanced rate of 65%.

5 – Over-fertilizing

A common misconception is that the more fertilizer you put in your plant, the faster it’ll grow and blossom. Well, it’s actually the complete opposite. Overfertilization can be incredibly toxic to your plant and can be one of the reasons it isn’t growing.

Hoyas aren’t heavy feeders, but they require some nutrients from time to time in order to grow properly. Think of supplements, such as vitamins for people. They aren’t strictly necessary, but they can supplement whatever nutrients your body is lacking.

What You Should Do

During the spring and summer months, fertilize your Hoya plant regularly. A good idea is to fertilize them every time you water them.

In the wintertime, it’s best not to fertilize your plant. This is because feeding your plant too many nutrients in winter can cause the leaves to become softer and more susceptible to disease.

However, there’s always an exception to the rule!

If you’ve recently repotted your plant in healthy soil, you probably won’t need to fertilize it for at least a few months.

6 – Wrong Soil Mix

Soil quality is vital for a Hoya’s growth and blooming. Hoyas are the perfect mixture of a houseplant and a tropical plant. This suggests they like soil with high aeration.

Their soil should also be well-draining, as too much water might induce root rot. In addition to that, the soil should include the nutrients that Hoyas require to flourish.

What You Should Do

Most Hoya growers recommend a mixture of cactus soil, orchid bark, perlite, and sphagnum moss.

These elements will provide a very airy, well-draining soil mix for your Hoya.

Tips to Make Your Hoya Bloom

To produce their gorgeous wax flowers, Hoya plants need to be fully mature. We’re not trying to burst your bubble, but this could mean waiting 6-7 years before seeing the first flower.

However, as we said before, there are tons of Hoya species. Each one of them develops at its own pace and under its own set of circumstances.

Whether you’ll wait two days or seven years, it’s always good to be prepared. Here are five simple tips to get your Hoya to bloom.

  1. Avoid frequently cutting your Hoya
  2. Learn your Hoya type
  3. Put your Hoya in a warm place
  4. Feed your Hoya phosphorus to boost its growth
  5. Place your Hoya near a bright window

Final Thoughts

Hoyas are captivating plants that make you want to watch them grow and expand. Although they’re low-maintenance, they have a set of requirements if you want to get the most out of them.

A Hoya not growing issue could be a result of many things, including too much or too little light, more-than-enough water, the wrong soil mix, and more.

Hopefully, now you know how to solve each problem that we’ve addressed in this article. So, good luck helping your Hoya return to its former glory!

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Monday 26th of September 2022

It's annoying when advisors say 'put facing a south window' - here in the southern hemisphere that is the cold side. Please try and say 'or in the north facing if in southern areas'. I have to always double think when the wrong area.