Native to several Asian countries like the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, and Bangladesh, the tropical hoya plant has established its status as one of the most popular houseplants.
Also known as the wax plant, the hoya is an evergreen perennial that grows creeping vines, creating a trail of attractive waxy leaves. However, some types also grow as shrubs, but these are less common.
People love to grow hoyas in indoor pots, but you can also grow your plant outside in a hanging basket or attached to a trellis for support. It’s not toxic to pets, so it will be an excellent addition to your indoor or outdoor garden.
So, how many types of hoya are there? Are some species easier to grow than others?
We’ll answer all your questions about the hoya plant, so keep reading.
According to the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, there are about 520 types of hoya.
All these plants are native to Asia, Australia, and adjacent islands and were brought to Europe in the 18th century, where they were named after the famous botanist Thomas Hoy.
The hoya plant is a flowering plant, and it’s considered a low-maintenance indoor houseplant that you can easily grow even if you’re a beginner gardener.
Due to its shape and origin, the plant is known as the Indian rope plant, porcelain flower, or honey plant. Hoyas belong to the milkweed family.
This plant grows to reach a maximum height between 12 and 20 feet, but it usually needs support, so it can grow on a trellis or any other similar structure.
The hoya plant usually grows as a vine, adding vertical beauty to your garden, or can be grown in a hanging basket.
Hoyas have woody stems and waxy green leaves and attach themselves to other structures for support.
The leaves can be smooth, velvety, hairy, or show some silvery speckles on the surface. They’re always bright green, so people sometimes associate this plant with immortal love.
Most hoyas bloom in spring and summer, although some varieties bloom in fall.
When in bloom, the plant grows flowers that come in different shades of pink, burgundy, yellow, orange, white, and dark red to near black. The flowers are slightly fragrant, and the plant is considered a slow to moderate grower.
The flowers grow in bell-shaped clusters of about 40 flowers tightly packed together. In most cases, the center of the flower is of a different color, and the flowers look like they’re molded of porcelain.
Hoyas are popular as outdoor and indoor plants because their foliage comes in all shapes and sizes.
Moreover, their flowers add the needed pop of color to your garden. The sweet fragrance of the flowers is another addition that you can enjoy when you plant hoyas.
Most hoya plants share the same characteristics, like having thick succulent leaves and growing clusters of small star-shaped flowers.
However, some types of hoya look different, so you might mistake them for other plants.
Here are the most famous types of hoya.
This is a naturally occurring variety of the hoya carnosa. The name means white-margined and refers to the heart-shaped leaves that feature a white border that surrounds them.
Other types like the hoya macrophylla albomarginata and hoya kerrii albomarginata also feature the white margin on the leaves. The main difference is that leaves of the macrophylla variety are tear-drop-like, while the kerrii type has heart-shaped leaves.
The plant grows pink-white clusters of small flowers. Some varieties have fuzzy flowers covered in tiny hairs.
Because of the white and pink spots on the leaves, this plant needs more light than other types of hoya. However, it can’t tolerate long hours of bright sunlight.
Hoya bella, or beautiful hoya, is native to India and Myanmar and has distinctive arrowhead-like leaves that don’t resemble the look of other hoyas.
Unlike other types of hoya that grow as a vine, this one grows as a miniature shrub, usually reaching a maximum height and width of 1.5 feet.
When it reaches maturity, this plant grows small white flowers with pink centers, and they drop after a while.
The hoya bella plant loves humidity, so adding a layer of compost is essential to keep the plant well-hydrated. In addition, you need to make sure that this plant is protected from strong sunlight because too much light will burn the foliage.
You can keep the plant near a south or west-facing window to provide it with filtered, indirect sunlight.
This hoya variety is native to the Philippines and grows to be a small to medium-sized plant. The leaves are succulent, elliptical, smooth, and grayish-green, with a light-colored vein that passes through the center of each leaf.
The hoya bilobata is one of the smallest hoya vines, reaching a maximum height of two feet.
Just like all other types of hoya, you must grow this plant in bright indirect sunlight and never allow the soil to dry completely.
The hoya bilobata grows dusty pink flowers with yellow centers in the right growing conditions.
This plant is highly resistant to pests and diseases but is quite sensitive to overwatering, which can kill the plant.
In general, hoyas are considered low-maintenance plants, especially when grown as indoor plants. Yet, some types are definitely easier to grow than others.
The following types of hoya are easy to find, care for, and grow, and they’re rather hardy. This means that they’re more tolerant of the mistakes you’re bound to make as a rookie gardener.
Here are the easiest hoyas to grow.
This is probably one of the most common hoyas to find. So, if you’re shopping for plants at a local nursery, and you see a plant labeled as wax plant or hoya, it will probably be a carnosa jade.
The hoya carnosa jade has thick deep green leaves and thrives in medium to bright indirect or filtered sunlight. It doesn’t need regular watering, so it’s an excellent choice for a busy household.
Some variegated types can show leaves with shades of yellow, pink, white, and light green.
Just like other hoyas, this plant likes humidity, but it can thrive in normal household temperature and humidity levels, so you won’t have to use a humidifier unless it’s pretty dry.
Since it appreciates humidity, this will be a good plant to grow in your bathroom, where it can add a pop of color and benefit from the increased humidity.
This plant grows in beautiful trails, so you can grow it in a hanging basket or put the pot on a shelf.
If you’re planting this hoya outside, you need to make sure that it’s not getting too much sunlight, as too much sun exposure can scorch the leaves.
In perfect conditions, the hoya carnosa jade will flower after a couple of years. However, once the star-shaped white and pink flower buds start to appear, you shouldn’t move the plant because the slightest change can affect the blooming process.
This is another cultivar of the hoya carnosa, but the leaves are rounder and thicker. The plant is well-known for its deep green foliage and sweet scent, which make it an excellent addition to any indoor garden.
When grown outside, the carnosa Chelsea can grow to be almost 12 feet long, but it will creep as a vine on a trellis or any other similar structure. This plant won’t be able to achieve these growth rates when grown as an indoor plant.
The hoya carnosa Chelsea is a slow grower, and the leaves usually appear to be too small when they first grow. They remain lighter in color until they’re strong enough to grow to their full size and color.
If you’re planting your carnosa Chelsea outside, you need to make sure that it’s receiving enough shade, as too much sunlight can burn the leaves.
In spring, the plant will grow flesh-colored porcelain-like flowers that take about two to three weeks to mature. The hoya carnosa Chelsea is a hardy plant and isn’t prone to pest infestations.
Hoya australis is native to Australia and is known for its sweet-scented white wax-like flowers. It’s an excellent choice for beginners because it grows pretty fast compared to other types of hoyas.
Botanists noticed the hoya australis for the first time in 1770, and there are currently more than 200 varieties of this cultivar. The Latin name doesn’t relate to Australia but actually means coming from the south.
This plant is also known as the New South Wales wax flower.
The leaves are dark green with a waxy look, but they’re not as thick as other types of hoya.
This plant can grow as a vine, reaching a maximum height of 6.5 feet high. However, it needs access to bright indirect sunlight and can tolerate less frequent watering.
In case of a lack of natural indirect sunlight, you can invest in some grow lights which will help with the blooming.
However, this plant thrives in warm temperatures, so if it gets cold outside at night, it’s best to bring your hoya pot inside.
Also known as hoya carnosa compacta, this plant is usually known as the krinkle kurl plant or Hindu rope plant.
This plant gets its name from the distinctive shape of the tiny leaves as they twist and curl on the stem, creating the look of a knotted rope.
Because of its fascinating look, this plant is an excellent choice for any indoor setup. In addition, it’s a very slow grower, so it will work for you if you don’t have much space for a big pot.
The hoya carnosa compacta plant grows as an interesting trailing plant to be about 1.5 feet long. When the plant is young, it has a bushy look, but then the leaves drape to be an interestingly-looking hanging plant.
Some types of hoya compacta grow solid leaves, while others are variegated, with different shades of yellow, green, and cream.
Once it reaches maturity, this plant grows white flowers. You can encourage flowering by making sure that the plant isn’t receiving too much light or water.
Despite being a little bit harder to find than the hoya carnosa varieties, the hoya curtisii is one of the most impressive plants to add to your household.
It’s a miniature trailing hoya with tiny spade-shaped leaves. The leaves grow to be densely packed, making it an excellent choice if you don’t have a lot of room for your growing plants.
The heart-shaped leaves grow in a string, usually reaching a size of one inch. The white, gray, or light green splashes make this plant look pretty distinctive, giving it another name; the striped wax plant.
The hoya curtisii can tolerate more light than other hoyas, but it still prefers to grow in bright indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight isn’t good for this plant.
You need to water it once a week in summer and once every two weeks in winter, so it requires more care than other types of hoya.
In perfect growing conditions, the hoya curtisii grows unusually shaped red flowers with yellow centers.
Add some compost in the springtime and fertilize your hoya once a month in spring and summer to encourage flowering.
The hoya Kerrii is commonly known as the lucky heart plant, Valentine’s hoya, sweetheart hoya, or sweetheart vine. It has attractive heart-shaped leaves that are usually plain bright green, although there are some variegated varieties.
All types of hoya kerrii are slow growers, but the variegated types grow even more slowly.
A single-leafed hoya kerrii will always remain as a single heart leaf because this is a rooted leaf. Unless you get a node, your plant won’t be able to grow.
As a beginner, you might not be able to tell the difference between a rooted leaf and a real cutting that can grow to become an adult plant.
You can either inspect the soil to check for the node or avoid these single-leafed plants in the first place. You can also pick a plant that is already vining out to avoid ending up with a single-leafed plant that won’t grow.
The hoya kerrii grows new bare vines that stay bare for a while before new leaves start sprouting.
After two or three years, and if you’ve been taking good care of your hoya kerrii, the blooms will start to appear.
This plant usually blooms in summer, growing a cluster of white-pink flowers when the weather is warmer. To encourage blooming, you need to make sure that this plant is receiving enough sunlight and that it’s not growing in a pot that is too big.
Hoya multiflora is a little different from other types of hoya plants.
Unlike other hoyas that have thick succulent leaves, the hoya multiflora has thinner leaves, and the flowers look like shooting stars and don’t grow in clusters. As a result, this plant is also known as the shooting star hoya.
The hoya multiflora blooms several times a year, unlike other hoyas. Moreover, it can start blooming very young, which is something that most hoyas take a couple or few years to achieve.
Once the old flowers dry, don’t remove the flowering spurs because new blooms will appear from those in the future. The plant usually grows flowers that come in shades of white, green, and yellow.
It can tolerate being in the shade more than other types of hoya, and if there’s no access to sunlight, it can still bloom with grow lights.
Because it has thinner leaves, this plant doesn’t store water the same way other hoyas do. This is why you shouldn’t let the soil dry out between watering sessions.
You can keep this plant healthy by providing a monthly fertilizer in the growing season.
With the same texture as the leaves of the hoya kerrii, the hoya obovata grows succulent leaves that are rather round.
The leaves of this plant are incredibly thick, so it can tolerate extended periods of drought. The leaves are solid green, but in most cases, they show off pink or white flecks.
This plant is an excellent household plant because it can thrive in normal household temperatures, needs less frequent watering, and requires moderate access to sunlight.
Compared to other types, this one needs more light for blooming, but it also grows faster than most types of hoya. Placing this plant near a south-facing window will provide it with the needed light to grow and bloom.
This plant can also tolerate more light when grown outside, but providing it with some canopy shade is recommended.
The flowers are usually white with pink centers, and when you leave the stalk, this plant can bloom again.
The hoya linearis has special leaves that are usually one inch long. The leaves are pretty thin, soft, fuzzy, and not succulent-like, so this plant needs more watering than other types of hoya.
In their native habitat in the Himalayan region, this plant grows as an epiphyte on taller trees that grow at high altitudes.
Once full and mature, the hoya linearis grows a dense curtain of leaves that drape from the stem.
This plant thrives in bright indirect sunlight. However, it needs regular watering because the leaves are unable to hold the moisture like other types of hoya.
This plant thrives in high humidity, so it can be a good plant for the bathroom where the levels of humidity are high.
In the late summer, this plant will grow white clusters of star-shaped flowers that smell like lemons.
Hoya curtisii used to be rare in the past, but not anymore. While it’s not the easiest to find at your local nursery, you can definitely find this plant online.
This trailing hoya is known as hoya aloha or tiny-leaf porcelain flower, thanks to the shape of the tiny leaves.
It’s an easy-to-grow plant, but some people assume it’s challenging to grow because the plant is a slow grower.
Hoya curtisii needs access to bright indirect sunlight, but some bright light will encourage blooming.
It needs to grow in a well-aerated and well-draining potting mix or soil to prevent root rot. You should also water your hoya when the soil feels dry to touch, as the leaves hold some water to help the plant survive in drought periods.
When grown in optimum conditions, the plant will grow clusters of citrus-smelling flowers.
Also known as hoya carnosa krimson queen, this type of hoya isn’t the most common type to find on the market. However, it’s not considered a rare type of hoya.
This plant has recently increased in popularity because it’s quite easy to grow and due to the spectacular look of the variegated leaves that show speckles of white, pink, and yellowish green.
This variety became popular around the 1950s and was originally known as the hoya tricolor.
The hoya krimson queen is a slow grower, growing more slowly than different types of hoya.
This plant grows succulent oval leaves that usually have a white border. However, some of the leaves can be entirely white or pink.
The more the variegation on the leaves, the more light you need to provide this plant with. The white parts don’t engage in photosynthesis, so this plant needs more light to be able to create food.
When blooming, this plant will grow clusters of pink red-centered flowers. The flowers have a sweet fragrance that resembles vanilla or honey.
You should water this plant more frequently in summer and apply a diluted fertilizer every two weeks in the growing season.
There are hundreds of types of hoya, and some of them are more famous than others.
Some types of hoya are suitable for beginners because they don’t require much maintenance. All they need is access to bright indirect sunlight and regular watering.
However, overwatering or underwatering your hoyas can easily kill them.
This is why you should examine the soil and water your hoya plant only when the first two inches of the soil feel dry.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.