Hoyas are known for their waxy bright green, succulent leaves. There are hundreds of different Hoya species, each with a unique leaf pattern and response to stress.
If you’ve been doing your regular Hoya checkup and you stumbled upon some soft leaves, you must be wondering, why are my Hoya leaves soft? Don’t be alarmed!
Although Hoya species differ, soft leaves are usually caused by the same reasons. We’ve listed five possible reasons why your Hoya leaves are soft, along with some tips and tricks to get your plant thriving again!
When your Hoya’s leaves go soft, it’s your plant’s way of telling you that you’re doing something wrong. Here are five things that may be causing your Hoya’s leaves to be soft:
The most common reason why your Hoya leaves are soft is overwatering. This is a mistake most people, even Hoya lovers, fall into. Hoyas love their water, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they like to be watered every day.
Overwatering can cause a number of problems, such as root rot and soft, wrinkled leaves. It can even potentially kill your Hoya!
A lot of people will recommend the good old soil finger test. While this method may work for a lot of plants, it’s a little more tricky when it comes to Hoyas.
Hoyas have a high water absorption rate, meaning the soil will likely dry in no time. This tricks a lot of people into believing their Hoya is thirsty, which then leads to overwatering.
Other people would suggest a watering schedule, but that wouldn’t work either. Because every setting and environment is unique, the humidity, temperature, and lighting will vary.
There are hundreds of different Hoya species out there, each with its unique set of preferences. There are, however, some general tips and tricks you can know to avoid overwatering.
Because you won’t be able to keep a watering schedule, the best technique is to let the soil totally dry before watering it again. We’re talking bone dry!
This may seem like you’re upsetting your plant, but this is a trusted watering method used by many Hoya growers. It also ensures that you’re not overwatering your plant.
Hoyas don’t like to be watered regularly. However, when you do, make sure you soak them thoroughly. You may rinse them under running water or using a shower head.
You should water them until the water pours out of the bottom of the pot. The most important step of all is to drain before you’re done.
The reason Hoyas need to be soaked like this is to make sure the water reaches the roots and everywhere else needed.
Root rot is a serious condition that may be fatal if left untreated. Unfortunately, most people are unable to identify root rot until the condition has advanced. This is because early symptoms develop in the root system.
Once advanced, Hoyas begin to exhibit indicators on the leaves, such as softness and a yellowish color. Other symptoms of root rot include:
- Soft, brown roots
- Foul smell in roots
- Slow growth
- Blooming delay
Root rot is commonly caused by excess moisture in the soil.
Firstly, assess the severity of the condition. If you notice the entire root system has turned brown and mushy, it might be too late to save your Hoya.
If you see some firm, white roots in there, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to bring the roots back to life and save your plant.
Here are the steps you can take to treat root rot in your Hoya:
The first step is to get rid of your plant’s existing soil. To do this, you may have to take your plant outside. This is because it may contain fungus gnats, and you definitely don’t want any of these guys lurking about in your home.
The plant will also smell highly foul and stagnant because of the amount of time the water has been kept in there.
To remove the soil, begin by taking the plant from its pot and gently shaking the roots out until there’s no more dirt left.
To remove any dark and sludgy roots, use a sharp pair of scissors to cut the white healthy roots slightly above the damaged parts. Take care not to overburden the root system.
Repeat until only the pale, healthier-looking roots remain on your plant.
Next, soak your roots to remove any existing bacteria. To do this, combine water and hydrogen peroxide in a 1-3 ratio and soak the roots for a few hours.
Not only does hydrogen peroxide eliminate germs, but it also supplies oxygen to the roots. This gives your Hoya the best chance of bouncing back!
Hydrogen peroxide is also a great disinfectant. You can use it to clean your pot as well as disinfect your scissors.
After getting rid of all the rotten roots, it’s now time to repot your Hoya.
The most crucial factor in keeping your Hoya healthy is the soil mixture you use. Hoya plants require a well-draining, airy soil mixture.
To create this mixture, you need the following:
- Regular houseplant potting mix
- Orchid bark
- Cactus soil
- Coconut coir
It’s crucial to deliver your roots the oxygen they’ve been lacking, as well as keep the soil aerated. This is when hydrogen peroxide comes into the picture again.
Mix hydrogen peroxide and water in a 3-1 ratio and use this to water your plant. This also does a great job of treating and preventing any pests that could be lurking around.
After completely soaking your Hoya, make sure you properly drain it. After all, poor draining is the number one cause of root rot.
Hoyas love stability. They don’t like to be moved around a lot. If they experience a sudden change in their habitat, they’ll immediately start showing warning signs, such as soft and wrinkled leaves.
These changes can include sudden temperature, watering, humidity, and lighting changes.
In terms of temperature, we recommend choosing a spot in your home where the temperature is most steady.
This means you should avoid putting your Hoya close to a draughty window, an air conditioner, or air vents. The ideal temperature for a Hoya is between 64 and 82ºF.
Hoyas flourish best in mild to bright indirect light. It’s best to place yours next to a west-facing or south-facing window.
If your home doesn’t receive a lot of natural light, you can use full-spectrum grow lights.
Lastly, Hoyas prefer high humidity because they’re tropical plants. The optimal humidity range would be 50-80%.
We humans don’t mind moving every once in a while, but most plants, including Hoyas, can suffer from transplant shock.
Whether you’re repotting your plant into a larger container or changing the soil mixture, your plant will probably suffer a bit of stress. This shock might cause your Hoya to lose leaves or cause its leaves to go soft.
Some Hoyas will not respond or display any indications of transplant shock, while others will. If your plant shows signs of stress after repotting, you can use the methods below to help it bounce back.
- Make sure your plant is hydrated.
- Set the correct temperature and humidity range.
- Make sure it’s getting proper lighting.
- Don’t relocate it anytime soon.
- Be patient.
Another reason your Hoya leaves are soft is that your plant may be suffering from Edema, a condition caused by the roots absorbing more water than the leaves can release. This leads to the leaf cells bursting, resulting in soft, blister-like patches.
In simpler words, Hoyas absorb and store water through their leaves, and excess water causes the leaves to soften.
Other symptoms of Edema include:
- Water-filled patches form on the leaves. These eventually develop into blotchy or blister-like growths.
- The soft patches on the leaves may burst. They’ll either look white and powdery, or they can turn rust-colored and look like leathery lumps.
Edema can be caused by a variety of factors, the most common of which is overwatering. However, it can result from improper lighting and incorrect fertilization.
Edema, as previously said, is simple to treat. The key is to begin treatment as soon as you see any of the symptoms listed above in your plant.
The same factors that cause the leaves to go soft usually cause the leaves to shrivel. However, they’re likely to shrivel because they’re underwatered.
As we previously mentioned, Hoyas store water in their leaves. If they’re overwatered, they’re likely to go soft and develop water-filled patches on them.
If they’re underwatered, they’re going to use the water stored in their leaves to hydrate. Once that water is absorbed, the leaves will likely shrivel, curl and dry out.
One thing all these possible reasons have in common is that they’re all a result of excessive watering. We know it might be tempting to water your Hoya because of how rapidly it absorbs water, but it really isn’t a smart idea.
If you’re wondering, “Why are my Hoya leaves soft?” You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ve listed five possible reasons and solutions to bring your Hoya’s leaves back to life.
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.