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Simple Hoya Plant Care Tips for Beginners

Simple Hoya Plant Care Tips for Beginners

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The hoya plant is native to Asia and Australia, but it traveled to Europe in the 18th century, where it was immediately celebrated as a popular household plant.

With beautiful succulent leaves, the plant’s foliage adds the desired beauty to any outdoor or indoor setup year after year.

There are more than 500 types of hoyas, but some are more popular than others. Most of these plants grow as trailing plants or vines, while very few varieties grow as shrubs.

In this article, we’ll share the best hoya plant care tips and the most common mistakes that people make while growing hoyas.

We’ll also talk about the plant’s light requirements and how to maintain the look of your leaves and flowers. So, if you’re interested in growing hoyas as indoor or outdoor plants, keep reading to learn more about them.

Are Hoyas Easy to Care For?


In the right growing conditions, hoyas can be easy to care for.

These plants have particular requirements in which they thrive and reach maximum height, but these requirements are few and quite easy to achieve. So, as long as you manage to keep them in their optimum growing conditions, they’ll grow and look their best for years.

In general, hoya plants have thick succulent leaves, so they can tolerate being watered less frequently. The thick leaves hold some water, so you can water your plant once every seven to ten days.

In winter, you can wait for up to two weeks before you water your hoya plant.

This is one of the reasons why people consider the hoyas easy to care for, especially if you tend to forget about watering your plants.

So, if you’re looking for a long-lasting attractive plant that grows beautiful flowers, then you can definitely think about planting a hoya.

Luckily, various varieties thrive as outdoor or indoor plants, so you can find a suitable plant for your setup.

Some types of hoya plants are easier to grow than others, so they’re suitable for beginners or those who don’t want to spend much time caring for their plants.

Some notable types of hoya plants include:

  • Hoya carnosa is a type of hoya that includes several attractive-looking cultivars. Some of these plants feature solid green leaves, while several variegated cultivars show patterns of light green, white, yellow, or pink on the leaves.
  • Hoya compacta is actually a variety of hoya carnosa, growing in a compact form for those who don’t want a plant that occupies much space. Unlike other hoyas, this type has small leaves that curl around the stem to create the look of a knotted rope.
  • Hoya carnosa Chelsea is another variety of the hoya carnosa. It has thick succulent leaves that have a distinctive rounded shape and is an excellent choice for your outdoor garden if you want to grow your plant on a trellis.
  • Hoya australis is a popular variety of hoyas that grows green leaves surrounded by a white margin, so you need to provide this plant with more light to help with the photosynthesis process. Moreover, the leaves of this variety aren’t as thick as other types of hoyas, so you need to water your hoya australis more often.
  • Hoya curtisii, or the striped wax plant, is a little bit harder to find than other types of hoyas, but it’s an excellent choice for those who don’t have much space to support the growth of a big plant because the leaves grow in a compact form. When you care for this plant, it grows red flowers with yellow centers.
  • Hoya kerrii has heart-shaped leaves, which explains why this plant is also known as Valentine’s hoya or sweetheart hoya. This type is a slow grower compared to other hoyas, and the variegated types grow more slowly.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Hoya Plant Care

Indoor and outdoor hoya plants share some growing requirements.

Regardless of where you plant your hoya plant, hoya doesn’t need to be exposed to too much sunlight.

The plant thrives in bright indirect sunlight but needs more direct sunlight in the blooming season.

Hoyas have thick succulent leaves, although some types have thinner leaves. Their foliage comes in different shapes, from rounded to heart-shaped and arrowhead-like.

The leaves are usually bright green with a glossy look, although several variegated cultivars show shades of white, cream, light gray, light green, yellow, or pink.

Some types of hoyas have totally white or pink leaves, and these plants need more access to the sun to be able to perform photosynthesis.

Indoor and outdoor hoya plants are slow growers, so they can survive for years. However, these plants will only bloom after two or three years of being planted.

Hoya plants grow porcelain-like clusters of flowers that come in various shades.

Most of these flowers are fragrant and will emit a honey-like smell or a citrusy smell that attracts different pollinators to your garden. Inside the house, the fragrant flowers will improve the ambiance of your indoor space.

Why Are Hoyas Popular?

Hoya plants originally grow in tropical regions and bring the beauty of the tropical rainforests to your home.

Here are some reasons why this plant is quite popular:

  • Hoyas have bright green leaves, although some varieties have speckled or even pink or white leaves. The leaves stay green all year long, adding the needed beauty to your garden.
  • The waxy leaves of hoya give this plant an attractive look, so it will be a good starting plant if you’re still adding plants to your indoor or outdoor garden.
  • The plant grows attractive flowers that add a pop of color to your space. These flowers come in different shades, and some of them have a citrus smell, while others smell like honey.
  • Most types of hoya flowers emit their fragrance at night when the other flowers are dormant.
  • Some types of hoyas bloom multiple times every year.
  • Hoyas thrive in bright indirect sunlight, and most varieties can tolerate the shade. So, this plant will be a good choice if you don’t have access to much sunlight in your home.

However, in very low-light conditions, the plant will grow more leaves and won’t bloom easily. Still, the look of the green leaves is enough to add beauty to your space.

  • This plant prefers warm and humid environments, but it thrives in normal household temperature and humidity levels. So, you don’t have to make any special arrangements to grow your hoyas.
  • Because hoya plants are slow growers, your plant will stay healthy and attractive for several years.
  • Most hoya varieties grow as epiphytic plants, so they’re light feeders, and you don’t need to worry about fertilizing the plant.
  • Hoyas are quite easy to grow from cuttings. All you need is a node or two with a leaf to grow a new root system.

However, if you’re not that experienced, you might accidentally buy a rooted leaf instead of a new cutting. This is why you need to check the soil surface to make sure that there’s a node available, or your hoya won’t be able to grow.

Can Hoya Grow Outside?

Outdoor Hoya

All types of hoya can grow inside and outside.

When grown outside, you need to grow your hoya plant in an area where it can receive some morning light but gets sheltered from the strong midday sun.

The perfect spot to grow your hoya is under the shade of a big tree, where the branches can filter some of the sunlight.

Too much sunlight can scorch the leaves, turn them yellow or brown, and eventually kill your plant.

Here are the right conditions to grow your hoya outside:

  • You can plant your hoya plant outside if you live in hardiness zones 8 to 11. Other than that, this plant should be planted as an indoor plant.
  • Hoya plants can grow in different types of soils, but they prefer that soil that is not too acidic or too alkaline.
  • The soil has to be slightly fertile and should provide good draining.
  • If the soil is too compact, you can add perlite to improve the soil drainage.
  • Outdoor hoya plants should have access to bright indirect sunlight, so you can plant them in the shade of taller trees.
  • The plant needs to attach to a trellis or a similar structure to provide support to the trailing stem.
  • You can plant your hoya plant in a hanging basket or a flower bed. You can also plant it in a pot that you can bring inside whenever needed.
  • You should water your hoya plants once a week in the spring and summer and less often in winter to prevent root rot.
  • If the temperature drops significantly in winter, you can keep your outdoor hoya pot inside.

Where to Plant Hoya?

Potted Hoya Plant

Whether you’re planting your hoya inside or outside, you need to protect this plant from direct bright sunlight.

Hoya plants need bright indirect sunlight to grow and some direct sunlight in the growing season will encourage blooming. However, too much sun can dry and burn the leaves until they eventually turn brown and fall off your plant.

There are several tips to follow while picking the right location for your hoya.

Indoor Hoya

  • When grown indoors, you can put your hoya plant pot near a south or west-facing window. Place your pot about five feet away to provide some protection from the strong morning light.

In this location, this plant will receive some indirect sunlight to help it thrive without getting burned.

  • Rotate the pot every several weeks, so the plant grows evenly.
  • Place your hoya plant pot with other plants, as the transpiration will increase the level of humidity in your house.
  • Make sure that your hoya pot isn’t placed near cold or warm drafts that make the plant too dry.
  • Avoid placing your hoya next to fireplaces, radiators, or air vents.
  • Set up a hanging basket for your hoya in the bathroom or any other similar location where it can benefit from the extra humidity.

Outdoor Hoya

  • When grown outside, you need to pick a spot where the hoya can enjoy exposure to filtered sunlight without getting scorched. This way, the plant will get the needed light for photosynthesis, and the leaves will stay in perfect condition.
  • Plant your hoya in a flower bed or a hanging basket in your garden where the leaves can grow as a trailing plant.
  • If you’re growing your hoya as a vine, make sure that you’re providing the plant with the needed support.
  • Plant your hoya as a vine on your pergola. This structure will provide the needed support and shade to help your hoya thrive. At the same time, the sweet scent and attractive look of the hoya flowers will make your pergola look fascinating.
  • Set up a pavilion if you have a bigger garden, and use your hoya plant for decoration inside and outside.
  • Let your hoya plant grow on the sides of your gazebo, as it can benefit from the shade, so the leaves stay hydrated and protected from the strong light.
  • You can grow your hoya near a water source like a pond or fountain because this plant appreciates the extra humidity.

How Cold Can Hoyas Tolerate?

Hoyas thrive in warm and humid conditions. In its native habitat, the hoya plant grows in tropical areas, so it can tolerate high temperatures as long as it receives enough humidity.

If the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, this plant won’t be able to survive. So if you’re planting an outdoor hoya and you experience colder winters, you should bring your plant inside to protect it from the cold.

Hoyas will thrive in temperatures between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which are normal household temperatures. Typically, you don’t have to make any adjustments to encourage your hoya plant to grow inside.

However, you should protect the plant from cold and hot drafts and place it away from air vents and radiators, which can affect the plant’s growth.

Different hoya types will grow rapidly when the humidity levels are above 60%. So, in winter, they’ll hardly grow.

You can either use a humidifier to increase the humidity level or keep the pot in the bathroom where it can enjoy higher humidity levels.

How Much Light Do Hoyas Need?

In general, hoya plants thrive in medium to bright indirect or filtered sunlight. This plant can be placed near a west or south-facing window, where it can get about two hours of direct bright sunlight.

However, when kept in the sun for too long, the leaves become dehydrated, and they wilt. Unless you do something about the growing conditions, your hoya plant will die.

Some types of hoya plants are more tolerant of bright sunlight. As a matter of fact, providing the plant with more sunlight can encourage blooming.

At the same time, too little light will affect the look of your plant and make it look unhealthy.

Nevertheless, hoyas are more tolerant of low light conditions than too much light. Therefore, the plant will be able to survive in low light conditions, but it will die if you keep it in the sun for too long.

Hoyas show different symptoms in inadequate lighting conditions.

In Too Much Sunlight

  • The soil will dry too fast, so the plant will be dehydrated.
  • The leaves will wilt and turn yellow.
  • After turning yellow, the leaves will die and fall off the plant.

In Too Little Sunlight

  • The soil won’t dry, and the plant will be subject to root rot.
  • The plant will experience stunted growth.
  • The leaves will look droopy and unhealthy.
  • The plant won’t be able to grow flowers.

Can Hoyas Take Full Sun?

Hoyas don’t prefer extended exposure to full sun, but they can thrive in bright indirect sunlight.

This plant needs to grow in warm conditions, so the bright sunlight will create the needed growing conditions.

However, providing the plant with some bright sunlight can help dry the soil, so the plant doesn’t suffer from root rot.

During the blooming season, providing the hoya plant with some extra bright full sun exposure will help the blooms grow.

If the plant isn’t receiving too much sunlight, it won’t be able to grow properly, and the new leaves won’t sprout. The plant will also focus its energy on maintaining its health, so it won’t bloom.

Once the plant has started blooming, you shouldn’t rotate the basket or pot as any change can affect the blooming process, and the flowers might not be able to grow.

What Mistakes Do People Make While Planting Hoya Plants?

Hoya or wax plants are suitable for beginner and advanced gardeners and don’t have a lot of growing requirements.

However, some people make some mistakes while planting their hoya plants, and these mistakes can affect the plants’ growth and blooming season.

  • Not providing the hoya plant with enough support can send the tendrils in several directions. The growing stems can be out of control, and they might injure someone or affect the décor in your house.
  • Some types of hoyas are slow growers in nature. So, you might think about providing them with more light or more fertilizer to encourage growth.

However, this will actually harm the plant, which thrives in stable conditions. In addition, overfertilizing will increase the salts in the soil, affecting the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients.

At the same time, exposing the plant to too much sunlight will scorch the leaves, and the plant will eventually die.

  • Irregular watering can affect the look of the leaves, leading to the formation of black spots. However, with some care and attention, the hoya plant will restore the glossy green look of its succulent leaves.
  • Some people water their hoya plant according to a schedule, without considering the soil’s condition. It’s best to test the soil and only water your plant when the first two inches of the soil feel dry.

Different types of hoya plants have different requirements. For example, some hoyas have thinner leaves, so they’re less tolerant of drought periods and need to be watered more often.

  • Once the plant starts blooming, some people will try to change the location of the pot. This can greatly affect the blooming process because this plant is too sensitive to any change in the growing conditions.
  • After the blooms die, some people will remove the dead buds. This can prevent the flowers from growing one more time, as some types of hoyas can bloom multiple times in the same season.

Can a Hoya Plant Be Cut Back?

In perfect conditions, a hoya plant can grow out of control, so pruning it will be necessary.

You need to start with the dead brown stems to reserve the plant’s energy to support new growth. Any vigorous green stems can be left on the plant.

You can either use a trellis to provide these stems with support or cut the stem to propagate the plant.

However, when the plant finishes blooming, you shouldn’t cut the flower stalk. The flower stalk will grow new blooms in the same season.

Removing the stalk will delay blooming. To overcome this problem, you can provide your hoya plant with some fish emulsion or compost tea to provide the plant with the needed nutrients.

Repotting the hoya shouldn’t be a big concern because these plants flourish and bloom when they’re slightly root bound.

Just make sure that you pick a node or two with the leaves to be able to grow a new plant from your cuttings. A single rooted leaf won’t be able to grow into a full-sized plant, even if you provide it with all the necessary growing conditions.

Final Thoughts

There are various types of hoya plants, and whether you grow them inside or outside, these plants have very specific growing requirements.

Hoyas are slow growers and can handle less frequent watering because most types have succulent leaves that hold moisture. However, some varieties have thinner leaves, so they won’t tolerate drought periods.

These plants thrive in bright indirect sunlight, and too much sun will burn the leaves.

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