Hoya plants like the popular Hoya carnosa add a homey feel to your greenhouse or garden with earthy greens and clusters of star-shaped flowers. Hoyas are known by common names, such as Honey Plant, Indian Rope Plant, Porcelain Flower, Wax Plant, and Wax Flower.
However, finding your plant’s growth disturbed and its greens tainted black with mold can be disheartening. If your Hoya plant loses its radiance, it may suffer from a common pest known as aphids.
How do you identify aphids on Hoya? And, most importantly, how do you get rid of aphids on a Hoya plant? Let’s find out.
What Are Aphids and How Can You Identify Them on Your Hoya?
Aphids are tiny, soft, pear-shaped insects that suck on the sap in the plant’s stem. There are many species of aphids, and they come in red, green, orange, yellow, black, or brown.
Despite their many species and colors, you can always identify aphids by their cornicles. These typically look like two short, thick antennas on their backside.
What Damage Do Aphids Cause?
- Aphids thrive on the plant’s sap. Because of their high reproduction rates, they gradually start to drain the plant.
- This leads to common problems like dwarfed growth, wilting leaves, dried buds, and galls formation.
- Also, aphids secrete a sticky layer called honeydew while feeding. Honeydew causes sooty mold growth that turns the hoya leaves and roots black.
- You may also notice black spots on hoya leaves along the leaf veins caused by sooty mold.
- Finally, aphids can infect Hoya plants with mosaic viruses. They also increase the risk of infecting other insects like ants and ladybugs.
- It’s also important to address flat mites on Hoya, as they can also cause harm to your plant.
How to Get Rid of an Aphid Infestation?
So, how to get rid of aphids on hoya plant? There are two different approaches to aphid infestations on all varieties of Hoya plants.
The Non-Chemical Approach
First, check regularly for bugs on hoya plants and look for honeydew on the underside of the leaves.
Once you spot even a tiny infestation, start applying aphid control. You don’t want them spreading from one plant to another and complicating the matter.
They can move from one plant to another if plants are close together. And even with plants kept apart, they can develop wings and find their way.
If your plant shows signs of a small infestation, prune out the infected parts. Then, try spraying the plant with a stream of water or a soapy water solution. That can be enough to throw off the aphids on hoya plant.
Always spray the entire plant and the undersides of leaves, as aphids can hide. Do so every two to three days for two weeks to combat the rapid reproduction rate.
If the water doesn’t work, you can try attacking them with lady beetles. They are natural enemies and can end the aphids problem once and for all.
Ladybugs do not harm your plant; their only prey is sap-feeding insects. They’ll only hang around until the aphids are gone.
Other natural enemies that can help you out are larvae, parasitic wasps, and green lacewings. You can buy the beneficial bugs online or from vendors.
Another thing you should do is make sure ants aren’t crawling up your hoya plant. Ants and aphids have a win-win relationship.
Ants feed on the aphid’s honeydew, and in exchange, they protect aphids in their nests and provide them with some hygienic services.
You can trap wandering ants by using ant stakes or a band of sticky substances to stop them before they reach your plant.
You can opt for insect-killing fungi, too, such as Naturalis-O and Botanigard. They have both proven competent at wiping out aphids, even better than insecticides!
You can also spray your plants with natural insecticide like insecticidal soap, neem oil, or horticultural oil. This can also address hoya pests and diseases.
Last, one precaution to remember is not to overuse nitrogen fertilizers. They’ll only increase the rate of aphid reproduction. Moreover, too much fertilizer will draw out plants’ moisture and result in plant burn.
Instead, use slow-release fertilizers with a low nitrogen percentage for added nutrients.
Also, ensure your Hoya plant is healthy, so provide its ideal growing conditions. These ornamental, epiphytic vines, so you must provide bright indirect light and good drainage to thrive.
They also require high humidity levels of 50-60%.
The Chemical Approach
The chemical technique can be aggressive, killing off beneficial insects and harmful Hoya pests. So, it’s best not to use it.
An Aphid population is hardly ever deadly for mature plants. But, severe infestations that refuse to budge can demand the use of insecticides.
The mildest and best options for yellow aphids on hoya are natural insecticides like insecticidal neem oil, insecticidal soap, and horticultural oils.
These dense substances are natural insecticides that work by stifling the aphids. So, make sure the substance reaches and covers all areas.
A recipe is to mix liquid soap, neem oil, and water. Or, you can replace the neem oil with alcohol. The rubbing alcohol dissolves the insect’s waxy covering.
Don’t use it in concentrated or large quantities, though, as it could burn the plant’s waxy leaves.
Dilute the oils, dish soap, and alcohol with water and reapply a couple of times, as their coverage isn’t long-lasting.
These effectively kill other common sap-suckers pests and bugs on hoya plants, including mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, and scale insects.
Other harsher options for hoya bugs are sprays that contain pyrethrins, imidacloprid, acephate, or pyrethroids.
However, hoya plant pests and diseases should be approached cautiously, as these cause environmental harm in the long run and kill hoya plant pests beneficial for your wax plant.