The Hoya Carnosa (HOY-a)(kar-NO-suh) is a tropical evergreen that comes in multiple variants. One variety is Hoya Carnosa Variegata that is grown as an indoor houseplant in hanging baskets and is one of the more popular varieties.
Although the wax plant is tropical, caring for them is a bit different than other tropical plants.
Hoya plants are a part of the Apocynaceae family and originate in Indochina, Indonesia, and Australia.
Some of the common names for Hoya Carnosa Variegata are:
- Wax plants
- Honey plant
- Hindu rope plant
- Porcelain flower
As their nicknames suggest, these plants are famous for their heavy wax leaves. Like traditional hoya plants, this variation contains vibrant green, white and pink colors. It is sometimes called Hoya carnosa variegata tricolor.
This particular variant is known for its small pink stems, which eventually turn into colorful leaves.
Hoya carnosa plants are incredibly easy to grow at home, and you’ll discover why. In this guide on caring for Hoya carnosa variegata, you will learn the basics to grow and care for this unique plant successfully.
Hoya Carnosa Variegata Care Requirements
Size & Growth
Hoya carnosa plants are generally fast growers. Their broad waxy leaves can grow up to 3″-inches wide and 0.8″ inches thick.
Wild hoya carnosa plants in high humidity climates grow along rocks and extend about 20′ feet or more. But, indoors, Hoya variegata plants won’t grow that large given the conditions.
Flowering and Fragrance
Hoya carnosa blooms are star-shaped, usually pale white or pink and grow in flower clusters. They typically flower during mid-summer and are easily be identified by their sweet smell.
The flowers produce sticky nectar that gives off a fragrance, which smells different for everyone. Some people claim they smell like chocolate, while others smell a buttery honey fragrance.
Light & Temperature
Hoya carnosa variegata plants prefer bright, indirect lighting. New Hoya owners often make one mistake when growing these plants – placing them near a window with unfiltered sun.
This lighting will not help the hoya carnosa plant grow to become the stunning indoor plant you are looking to enjoy. The unfiltered light of the afternoon sun will cause the leaves the turn yellowish and eventually fall off.
Avoid placing hoyas in a dark corner. They will not flower properly.
Instead, find a good source of indirect bright light, and your plant should not have any issues. The Hoya plant family enjoys morning sunlight.
Try your best to ensure they are soaking up as much morning light as possible for proper blooming.
Watering Schedule and Feeding
The carnosa variegata wax vine prefers the soil to be more on the dry side. A common recommendation is to let the soil dry completely before watering again.
Although Hoyas are famous for their simple care, Hoya carnosa plants are easy to get too much water causing root rot. So, less is more when it comes to watering.
Water your plants more during the spring and summer months and less during the fall and winter. Like many indoor plants, always allow the excess water to drain out before watering again to avoid any problems.
Soil & Transplanting
As you might have guessed, Hoya carnosa variegata plants like a potting soil rich and full of nutrients.
Details: Tips on Soil for Hoya Plants
In the wild, Hoyas are used to having foliage drop from tropical canopies, creating rich soil for them to grow and thrive.
To play it safe, use an African Violet potting soil and mix in some compost and worm castings.
The best way to tell when it’s time to repot variegata Hoya is when the potting mix dries out fast after watering.
This fast-drying indicates that the current growing medium or pot is too small for the plant to grow well.
Also, if you notice roots growing through the drain hole, it’s time to repot your wax plant.
Grooming and Maintenance
Above, we mention how these plants are susceptible to overwatering. Always make sure the grow pot has a drain hole.
They also enjoy heat and humidity. Avoid placing Hoyas near air conditioning vents.
As for grooming, there’s not much you need to do with this plant. If you do notice any scraggly or stringy growths, feel free to trim them.
Trim only to improve the plant’s aesthetic appeal. Pruning does not affect its growth in any way.
Question: Are Hoya Plants Poisonous?
How to Propagate Hoya Carnosa Variegata
The best time to propagate hoya carnosa plants is during the spring or summer. Here are the steps on how to propagate them successfully:
- Fill a growing medium with a well-draining potting mix.
- Water the potting soil and let the mixture sit until the soil is moist.
- Find healthy stems 4″ to 5″ inches long
- Take stem cuttings using a sharp knife, hand pruners, or pair of scissors.
- Remove all the leaves from the base of the stem.
- Place the stem in a rootone rooting hormone for plants.
- Stick the cutting into a potting soil
- Watering the soil mix so the medium stays moist (be careful not to overwater).
- Place your new growing medium near a source of bright, indirect light.
Hoya Carnosa Variegata Pests or Diseases
The pests attacking Hoya include mealybugs and spider mites. The waxy leaves provide a perfect spot for these pests to hide.
Inspect the plant, leaves, and leaf nodes regularly for pests.
Cleaning leaves regularly helps keep the pests away. Cleaning also helps stop dust from collecting.
Attacking aphids feeding on the sweet juices leave behind sooty mold and honeydew.
Use a Neem Oil mix in a spray bottle to control aphids and get under the leaves where spider mites and mealybugs love to hide.