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Hoya - Expert Tips

How to care for Hoya (Wax Plant): Expert Tips for Thriving Plants

Hoya plants are a very impressive group of tropical houseplants. Plant collectors and experts estimate that there are more than 600 species in their family. Various characteristics distinguish different species and cultivars, including leaf shape, flower colour, size, and growth pattern.

Most Wax Plants are really easy to care for, but some cultivars require more attention. Overall, they are slow-growing plants with long stems and fleshy deep green waxy leaves. Some varieties even produce unique flowers. They (can) produce sweet-smelling and star-shaped flowers, usually with five thick and waxy petals.

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Good to know! Hoya plants have many common names, such as Wax Plant, Wax Flower, Indian Rope Plant, China Flower, and Honey Plant.

The first Hoya was attributed to the genus in 1810, introduced by Scottish botanist Robert Brown and named in honour of the botanist Thomas Hoy. The flowering plants of Hoya are part of the Asclepiadaceae family. Newer theories place the genus in the Apocynaceae (dogbane) family.

For those looking for an indoor plant that is low-maintenance and adds a unique touch to their space, Hoya plants are a perfect choice. Also, they are great for people who aren't very experienced with plants! In this article, we will explain how to grow and care for a Wax Plant successfully in your home.

Hoya (Wax Plant) Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully

  1. Provide bright indirect light. Hoya plants thrive in bright light. However, direct sunlight can damage their leaves, so place them away from sunny windows or use a sheer curtain.
  2. Be careful with watering. Hoya plants are drought-tolerant and can survive with infrequent watering. Wait until half of the soil has dried out before watering it again.
  3. Avoid watering too frequently. Hoya plants are sensitive to overwatering, and their sensitive roots can rot quickly.
  4. They enjoy high humidity. If the humidity drops too low, you can increase it by placing a water pebble tray near the plant or using a room humidifier.
  5. Hoyas only require a little fertiliser. It is not necessary for them to be fed during the growing season, but they will benefit from it from time to time.
  6. Pruning it occasionally is a good idea. As hoyas grow long, pruning regularly can help maintain their shape and encourage branching.
  7. Monitor regularly. Hoyas are generally pest-free and disease-free, but mealybugs and spider mites can occasionally pose a problem. Act immediately if you see anything suspicious.
  8. Hoya wants a consistently warm environment. Ensure a consistent temperature for your Hoya by keeping it away from air conditioning and heating vents.
  9. Don't repot too often. They are slow growers and prefer being slightly root-bound rather than repotted frequently. Repot only after the roots have filled the pot.
  10. Support it or let it hang freely. You can support hoya plants with a trellis, moss pole, or place them on a shelf where they can hang freely since they are vining plants.

Hoya (Wax plant) plant Tips

Light and placement for Hoyas

In nature, Hoyas grow epiphytically in the shade of trees or other plants, so indirect bright light is their best environment. You can place them near an east or west window, or you can use curtains to block the sun if you have a sunnier spot. Don't be fooled by their waxy foliage - they are not succulents and cannot stand the direct sun.

Interesting fact! It is common for plant parents to intentionally sun-stress their wax plants to enhance the colour of their leaves. Hoya leaves produce more pigment to protect themselves from the sun, giving them a vibrant pinky-red colour. Among the Hoya species that respond well to sun exposure are Hoya Carnosa, Hoya Pubicalyx, Hoya Kerrii, and Hoya Lacunosa. Make sure not to stress it out too much!

Hoya Carnosa, for example, can also grow well in the shade, but they will grow much slower (growth may even stagnate) and probably won't bloom. Those with variegated leaves, however, do not do well in the shade. It is possible that they will lose their variegation and turn green. To maintain their beautiful patterns and colours, they need brighter spots.

Grow lights are recommended if your Hoya doesn't receive enough light. As your Hoya reaches for more light, it may stretch out and become leggy.

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It is important to water hoyas carefully because they are sensitive to overwatering. It is better to keep the soil dry than overly wet, which can cause its sensitive roots to rot. It is best to water the plant after half of the soil has dried out. You can measure soil moisture by sticking your finger in it or using a water meter. It is always a good idea to water your Hoya with room-temperature water.

Hoyas with larger and thicker leaves will have a higher water retention capacity and require watering less frequently than those with smaller, thinner leaves. Larger leaves can store more water due to their larger and thicker surfaces. Their growth slows as they go dormant in autumn and winter, and they don't need as much water since the soil dries out more slowly. Give them just enough water in autumn and winter so that the soil does not dry out completely. Too much water can make the flowers fall out.

Expert tip! Water stress during winter is a great way to encourage your Hoya plant to bloom. If you reduce watering for a while, Hoyas will enter survival mode due to stress. As a result, their goal is to reproduce as much as possible, and this induces flowering. As soon as you see a peduncle, you should continue your regular watering routine.


Wax Plants are not heavy feeders but will benefit from regular fertilisation as they eventually use all nutrients in their small pots. Use PLNTS Nutrition liquid plant food to feed your Hoya about once a month during the growing season.

As soon as the weather turns cold, you should limit the fertiliser. In fact, these plants should not be fed during the winter months as they will enter a semi-dormant state. Feeding Hoyas just before their flowering season and during flowering will encourage more blooms.


Although it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, the Hoya plant grows best between 18 and 27°C. Hoyas are at risk if temperatures fall below 10°C.

Is it safe to take it outside in the summer (Europe)?

Hoyas can be taken outside during the summer in Europe as long as they are protected from direct sunlight and strong winds. Don't forget to bring it back inside when the nights turn chilly. You should also check carefully to ensure it has not got any pests.

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Hoyas are native to tropical and subtropical regions and prefer higher humidity levels to promote healthy growth and prevent leaf drop. They prefer a humidity range between 50-70%, but it will also grow pretty well in 40-50%. When humidity levels drop under 30%, leaves can dry and fall.

Use a room humidifier or water tray with pebbles if your room humidity levels are too low. Learn more on how to raise air humidity.


It is generally recommended to repot Wax plants every 2 to 3 years. Hoyas benefit from being slightly pot-bound or crowded in a pot. If your Hoya roots are coming out of the drainage holes or the top of the pot, it needs to be repotted.


Potting soil with good air circulation is very important for Hoya. As epiphytic plants, they grow best in loose, not too nutrient-rich and slightly acidic (pH between 6.0 and 7.0) soil. A little bark can also be added to such soil.

Our Epiphytes potting mix kit is perfect for Wax Plants. This mix provides good drainage while retaining moisture and nutrients in the plant. Avoid using heavy, clay-based soils or garden soil, as these can have too much moisture and become compacted.

Hoya Flowers

Hoya flowers come in many colours, including white, pink, red, orange, and yellow. The flowers are generally small and star-shaped and grow in clusters known as umbels. Some Hoya species have fragrant flowers that smell like chocolate, vanilla, or cinnamon. How cool is that!

Whether or not your Hoya will bloom indoors depends on some factors, including the species of Hoya, the amount of light it receives, and its overall health. Sufficient light, water and nutrients are needed for flowering. Some Hoya species are more likely to bloom indoors than others, requiring specific growing conditions.

A secret to blooming is also stress during the winter months. Hoya plants often experience periods of dryness or drought followed by rainy seasons in their natural habitats, which triggers them to bloom. Winter is the perfect time to hold off on watering your Wax Plant, but don't let it go longer than 3 months without watering. Once you see a flower peduncle, you can start watering again normally. Be careful not to overstress Hoya by doing this!

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Propagating Hoyas

The most common methods of propagating Hoyas are leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, air layering, and growing from seed. The easiest way to propagate Hoya plants is by taking a leaf and stem cuttings from them.

Step-by-step guide on how to propagate Hoya by stem cuttings

  1. Look for a healthy and beautiful stem with at least 2-3 leaf nodes.
  2. Cut off a piece of the stem with a sharp knife or scissors. Make a clean cut just under the leaf node.
  3. Remove the lower leaves from the stem and dip the end of the stem in rooting powder to encourage rooting.
  4. Use a pot with well-draining soil to bury the cut stem's lower end. The soil should be slightly moist when you plant the cutting.
  5. You can also let your stem cut root in a glass of water, and you can use any length of the stem for this method.
  6. Once the new plant has established itself, you can transplant it into a bigger pot.

Stem cuttings are the easiest and most effective way to propagate Hoyas. Roots typically take 3-5 weeks to develop, after which you will start seeing new growth.

Step-by-step guide on how to propagate Hoya by leaf cuttings

  1. Start by cutting off a few of the leaves from the stem of your Hoya plant.
  2. Push the lower part of the leaf gently into the soil, so it is in good contact with the soil. As soon as the roots form, they will start to grow new plantlets there.
  3. Keep your leaf cutting in an indirect light spot and water it regularly.
  4. To keep air humidity higher, you can cover it with a plastic bag or cover.
  5. Once the new plant has established itself, you can transplant it into a bigger pot.

Leaf cuttings can take some time to grow, so be patient! It can take up to 5 weeks for the roots to develop on the leaf-cutting. Then it will start to grow baby Hoya plants from the bottom of the leaf-cutting.

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Most common pests & diseases on Hoyas

Most pests that attack Hoyas are sap suckers. Aphids, mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites are some of the most common attackers. Fortunately, all these pests can be controlled. For example, use ready-made neem oil spray or make your own neem oil-water-soap solution and spray it on all parts of the plant. It should completely reduce or eliminate the population of these common pests.

Some other pests and diseases could affect your Hoya plant, but few are common invaders of this plant type. We recommend you to visit our PLNTS doctor page to find out which pest or disease is bothering your Hoya and how to control it.

Hoya varieties

Hoyas are fantastic houseplants with foliage that come in many shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. There are over 500 known Hoyas, what makes it hard to choose a favourite. The most popular type of Hoya is the Hoya Carnosa, which is known for its waxy, star-shaped flowers that bloom in clusters. Other popular varieties include the cute heartshaped Hoya Kerrii, Hoya Wayetii and Hoya Callistophylla. Overall, hoyas are a beautiful and unique addition to any indoor plant collection, and their stunning flowers and interesting foliage are sure to delight plant enthusiasts of all levels.

Are Hoyas toxic for pets or children?

Hoya plants contain no toxins that could harm dogs, cats or other pets and humans. Hoya plants are listed as safe by the ASPCA. So that's another great reason to get a Hoya!

Buy Hoya online at PLNTS.com

At PLNTS.com you can buy your new Hoya online, for example, the Hoya Gracilis or Hoya Australis Lisa. Whether you're Hoya big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - buy Hoya online at PLNTS.com

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Hi, I'm Emma, your PLNTS.com guide!

Hi, I’m Emma, your PLNTS.com guide!