Hoya Bella Care: Growing The Miniature Wax Plant

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Hoya Bella [HOY-a BEL-luh] is one of a broad genus of members of the Asclepiadaceae (milkweed) family of plants.

There are many different types of Hoya hailing from the Pacific Islands, Asia, and Australia. Hoya Bella is a miniature variety that comes from the Himalayas ranging into northern Burma.

Hoya bella growing on a small wire trellisPin
Bella Hoya climbing up a trellis | borroko72-Adobe

The full botanical name of this compact, epiphytic perennial plant is Hoya lanceolata ssp. bella, but it is usually referred to simply as Hoya Bella.

You may also hear it called:

  • Miniature Wax Plant
  • Porcelain Flowers
  • Honey Plant
  • Wax Flower
  • Wax Plant
  • Wax Vine

The plant’s genus name, Hoya, is a reference to 18th Century gardener Thomas Hoy. The specific epithet, lanceolata, refers to the plant’s leaf shape. Bella is Latin for “beauty. “

Hoya Bella Houseplant Care

Hoya Bella Care

Size and Growth

Miniature Wax Plant has a compact vining growth habit and can attain a height and spread of about 18″ inches.

As a potted plant, Hoya Bella can grow up to 3′ feet tall.

Like the blooms, the evergreen leaves of Hoya Bella are waxy. The waxy leaves are semi-succulent, lance-shaped, and may grow about an inch long. The stems exude white sap when cut.

Flowering and Fragrance

As a houseplant, Porcelain Flowers produce showy flower clusters of star-shaped, sweet-smelling white or pink blooms with red or purple centers.

Moreover, each white flower has pink coronas or smaller flowers inside.

A well-cared-for plant will bloom throughout the growing season and may even surprise you with some flowers in winter.

Light and Temperature

The miniature Wax plant likes bright light to partial or dappled shade.  

While the tropical plant can tolerate low light and partial shade, it will not thrive and bloom in a persistently shady setting or even in direct sunlight.

Placement near a south or west-facing window with bright, indirect light is likely to be quite successful as an indoor plant.

In winter, you can move your Hoya Bella to a lower-lit setting. This is especially advisable if doing so will help protect it from cold drafts near the window.

Do not allow the temperature surrounding the plant to fall below 55° degrees Fahrenheit.

Honey Plant is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 11 through 12.

Watering and Feeding

Keep the plants’ substrate or soil moist by frequent waterings throughout the growing season (spring through early Autumn).

It’s best to use lukewarm water to prevent plant shock.

Be sure that excess water runs out through the containers’ drainage holes, and never allow your plant to stand in water. Allow the surface of the substrate to dry before watering again.

Reduce watering during the winter months because this plant enters its dormant season.

Hoya Bella plant loves humid environments, so it’s best to maintain indoor humidity levels for optimal growth.

You can keep humidity levels high by using a pebble tray, drainage tray, or humidifier. Maintaining moisture levels will also help the plant thrive. 

Moreover, your Hoya Bella is not a heavy feeder.

Top dressing with worm compost early in the springtime is an excellent way to provide your Miniature Wax Plant with natural, safe, slow-release nourishment for the entire season.

Another option is to apply half doses of good quality liquid-based plant food monthly throughout the growing season.

You can also use a balanced regular houseplant fertilizer or orchid fertilizer twice a month to ensure your Hoya Bella grows well.

When spring comes around, feed your plant with fish emulsion or complete liquid fertilizer.

Don’t fertilize at all in winter.

Soil and Transplanting

Wax Flower does well in a very light, airy, well-draining potting mix that has been generously amended with orchid bark, perlite, and compost.

Hoya Bella plants are slow growing and epiphytic, so they may not need annual repotting. Many Hoya keepers only repot once every five years or so.

Trellised plants that would be quite difficult to repot can go for a decade without repotting if sufficient nourishment is provided.

However, you can still repot your Hoya Bella before active growth if desired. Always plant in pot with drainage holes.

Grooming and Maintenance

When flowers die back, deadhead them by removing the blooms but not the stalk. New blooms will grow on the old stalk.

It would be best if you also pruned the stems of your plant in late winter to allow it to produce new flower buds and flower peduncles.

However, avoid pruning Hoya Bella flower buds that can be seen on the stems, as it will prevent blooming.

Moreover, keep your plant away from exterior doors and drafty windows.

How To Propagate Hoya Bella

You can propagate your Hoya bella from seeds, stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, or air layering.

The easiest and most reliable way to propagate Wax plants is through stem cuttings, which can be done from spring to summer for best results.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Take a cutting 4″ to 6″ inches long with several leaves at its tip using a sterilized pair of scissors.
  • Remove lower leaves from the stem before placing the cutting in water, moist potting soil, or perlite and damp sphagnum moss.
  • Of these three options, water is the easiest, and it allows you to watch your cuttings for root growth.
  • Keep your cuttings in a warm, sheltered location with plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. If starting cuttings in water, change the water every couple of days.
  • If starting cuttings in soil or another substrate, keep them slightly damp until they exhibit new root development. 
  • Then you can reduce watering and repot the cuttings into their own containers if you wish.

The cutting will produce a blooming mature plant in about two years.

Hoya Bella Main Pest Or Diseases

Although the plant does prefer moist soil, be careful not to overdo it. As with most plants, a soggy substrate will cause root rot. 

This is very difficult to fix, whereas underwatering is a pretty easy fix!

Kept as an indoor houseplant, Miniature Wax Plant is subject to the usual suspects regarding houseplant pests. Keep a sharp eye out for scale, mealybugs, fungus gnats, and the like.

You can prevent or eliminate these pests, including fungus gnats, by controlling the soil moisture and providing air circulation.

Spraying liquid soap solution all over your plants will also help remove these insect pests. Mix one liter of water and one teaspoon of liquid soap.

Bud drop may result if the plant is disturbed after the buds have appeared. It is best not to move the plant or even rotate the pot once buds have emerged.

Is the plant considered toxic or poisonous to people, kids, and pets?

Porcelain Flowers are an entirely non-toxic plant; however, you should keep them out of the reach of kids and critters for their own protection. It is ideal as a hanging basket plant.

When repotting or pruning, protecting your skin against contact with the plant’s milky sap is smart.

Is the plant considered invasive?

Hoya plants are not officially listed as invasive in any setting.

Suggested Hoya Bella Uses

Honey Plant is rather delicate and likes a well-sheltered setting. It will thrive in a conservatory or greenhouse.

If kept outdoors, this evergreen plant should be placed well back on a covered porch to shield it against the harsh sun and high winds.

Miniature Wax Plants’ compact vining growth habit makes it an excellent choice as a hanging basket plant or trained to climb a small pole or trellis in a container.

Planted in a sheltered area in a tropical setting, this perennial evergreen can add a lot of winter interest.

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