Hoya bella [HOY-a BEL-luh] is a small, bushy perennial with clusters of fragrant white flowers with pink coronas. This indoor houseplant is native to southern Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.
The Hoya lanceolata subsp. bella belongs to the Asclepiadaceae family. This family is characterized by pollinia, which are gelatinous masses containing the flower’s pollen.
Some common names for the Hoya bella include:
- Wax flower
- Porcelain flower
- Miniature wax plant
The growth habit of Hoya bella varies depending on the growing environment and care.
Hoya Bella Care Instructions
Size & Growth
The growing season for the Bella Hoya differs depending on your USDA hardiness zone. For hardiness zone 10a, the growing season lasts from spring to midsummer.
Zone 10b’s season lasts from spring to summer, Zone 11 runs from spring to autumn, and all year long in zones 12 and up. The leaves are evergreen, but the flowers only grow in spring and summer.
This ornamental species flourishes as a houseplant. It can grow outside during the spring and summer. In its optimal condition, it has a slow to medium growth speed.
If uncontained, the Hoya bella can reach trails or climbs of two to three feet. The bloom size of the tiny wax flowers remains under one inch.
Flowering and Fragrance
Hoya bella is called the porcelain flower for a reason. The blossoms look waxy and artificial. They have a delightful scent and beautiful pink and white coloring.
Flowers occur in late spring to summer, with two to three blooms during this period.
The star-shaped petals arrange themselves in a hanging umbrella inflorescence. Every inflorescence features eight to ten flowers that sprout at a peduncle’s end. Both the flowers and peduncle fall when they fade.
The flowers have a delicate fragrance during the day that intensifies at night. They also produce a sweet nectar that attracts pollinators.
Light & Temperature
The wax plant flourishes in bright light to partial or dappled shade. If you live in a very sunny or humid region, some shade will protect the leaves from burning.
If you are growing your plant indoors, place it by a north-facing window, or some other window with bright, indirect light. You can also grow Bella under fluorescent grow lights.
The Hoya bella is humidity-tolerant and fairs best in 70°-80° degrees Fahrenheit. The minimum cold hardiness is 30°-35° degrees Fahrenheit. Bella rests during the cooler temperatures of fall to early spring.
In nature, Hoya bella withstands high humidity and temperatures over 100° degrees Fahrenheit. For optimal growth, try to keep them in temperatures of 70°-80° degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering and Feeding
When possible, water the plant with distilled water or rainwater. Spray the water onto the air root and mist the leaves, but avoid watering the buds.
During the growing season, keep the soil moist with frequent waterings. Let it dry between sessions. Allow the soil to dry more in the fall and winter, but not to the point that the leaves die.
You may need to water bella more often if you live in a dry climate or less in a humid one.
When spring rolls around, feed your Hoya bella with liquid fertilizer.
Only fertilize once or twice a year. Don’t worry about feeding it in winter.
If your fertilizer has too much nitrogen, the foliage may yellow. Too much water or fertilizer can brown the leaves and cause the flowers to drop. Be careful not to overdo it.
Soil & Transplanting
This showy houseplant grows well in slightly acidic to neutral potting soil pH values, ranging from 6.1 to 7.3.
The Hoya bella prefers moist yet well-drained soil for potting and transplanting. Still, this resilient plant can handle most commercial soil types as long as you mix it.
Mix slightly acidic soil with plenty of peat moss, or lighten commercial potting soil with perlite. Some Hoya owners add dolomite lime to a heavy peat moss mix to neutralize the acid.
Another option is to mix:
- one part soil with one part sand
- one part pine bark with two parts peat moss
Add lime and high-phosphorus fertilizer to both.
Only repot the wax vine when necessary. Otherwise, you can keep it in the same pot. Hoya bella does not respond well to frequent handling and transplanting.
When repotting, handle the roots carefully and use a pot with drainage.
Grooming and Maintenance
Hoyas are relatively low-maintenance. You can add stakes for climbing into their pots. If you keep them in a hanging basket, this isn’t necessary.
Add drainage dish covered in a thin layer of gravel to promote a humid environment. Do not allow the plant to sit in a puddle of water, but keep the dish moist. You can also cover the soil with a thin layer of gravel to maintain moisture.
When blooming, avoid moving or handling the Hoya bella. Once the flowers have fallen, do not remove the stalks. The buds will sprout from the stalks in the next growing season.
Check out the many types of Hoya plants
Hoya Bella Propagation
To propagate the Hoya bella, use stem cuttings to produce a new plant within two years.
Begin propagation in early spring by cutting a stem with at least three leaves. Letting the tissue heal before covering it with soil. Keep the potting mix moist for growth.
For more check out this article on: How To Propagate Hoya Plants
Hoya Bella Pests or Diseases
Hoya bellas tend to attract fungus gnats, mealybugs, and spider mites. To protect your plant from these pests, treat it with natural organic pesticide Neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Additionally, a nematode within 100 miles can seek out your waxflower and infect it. If this happens, try to propagate a clean stem before it’s too late.
Misting the leaves with water and keeping the soil moist will help keep the pests away.