Commonly called wax plant, hoya is a large group of long-lived vines (usually climbing or trailing) most often found in tropical forests. Since these plants grow both in and on top of tree canopies, they adapt well to different light levels—part of what makes them great houseplants. Hoya’s thick, waxy leaves store water, so no worries if you forget to water it from time to time—another helpful houseplant trait. When conditions are right, long, leafless tendrils give rise to clusters of fragrant star-shape waxy flowers that bloom for weeks.
Hoya Care Must-Knows
Hoya does best planted in moist well-drained light soil and sitting in front of a north window where it gets all but the hottest sun. Especially sensitive to soggy soil, hoya is a houseplant that likes life on the dry side. Wait until the soil surface is dry to the touch before watering. Keep the room temperature at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit and warmer during spring and summer. This plant goes semi-dormant in winter. Fertilize hoya once in spring and again in summer using a general houseplant fertilizer. Follow package directions carefully for application rates. Don't fertilize in winter.
Hoya's thick, waxy leaves cling to vining stems that can be trained up a trellis, allowed to dangle from a hanging pot, or encouraged to ramble across a surface. As the stems grow they send out long, leafless tendrils that eventually develop flowers and foliage. Do not cut them off.
A mature hoya blooms under bright light in spring and summer when plant growth is most active. (Plants growing in low and medium light produce beautiful foliage and lanky stems but rarely flower.) The waxy porcelain-look flowers appear on knobby spurs that should be left in place for the next round of blossoms. Some gardeners recommend keeping hoya pot-bound to encourage more prolific blooming. Hoya can generally grow in the same pot for years.
More Varieties of Hoya
Hoya carnosa 'Crispa' has curled, contorted leaves along the stem that give this hoya the look of a braided rope. With enough light, 'Crispa' produces fragrant reddish flowers. Zones 10-11
This cultivar of Hoya carnosa 'Variegata' has leaves variegated with creamy-yellow centers. Zone 10.
Hoya lanceolate subsp. bella 'Variegata' features fleshy dark-green leaves with a cream variegation. This petite hoya has sweetly scented white flowers that bloom from early to late summer. Zones 13-14