The many types of Hoya plants (also called wax plants) come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, with over 300 different species.
Each variety possesses its beauty within each bloom. But the popular house plant from the family Apocynaceae requires some care and attention to maintain its beauty.
Native to tropical Asia and Australia, they live a long time and will quickly become some of your favorite houseplants.
Hoyas don’t require huge amounts of nutrients, which might encourage them to make more foliage rather than flowers.
One of the most common mistakes people make when growing Hoya plants is lighting. While this may seem obvious, fulfilling Hoya light requirements is crucial to your plant’s growth. Not doing so can prevent your Hoya from blooming.
Hoyas, like the popular Hoya carnosa, have thick, waxy leaves that overflow from a pot in beautiful trailing vines. They bloom in clusters of sweetly smelling flowers like those of their distant cousin, the milkweed.
Here are some tips to ensure your Hoya plant receives sufficient light.
- Common Hoya Lighting Mistakes
- Hoya Light Requirements
- Contributing Factors to Grow a Healthy, Happy Hoya
- Propagation of Hoya Plants
- Common Problems Experienced with Hoya Plants
Common Hoya Lighting Mistakes
A common misconception about Hoyas is that they’re low-light plants. We’ll give you a hint: they’re not.
Hoya needs as much indirect sunlight as possible. Some species can thrive in a lower-lit environment, but Hoyas’ overwhelming majority require bright indirect light to grow.
Hoyas are tropical plants typically found in Eastern Asia and Australia. That being the case, Hoya’s are used to receiving a lot of heat and dappled sunlight.
They don’t require constant watering and do not require high humidity levels. If you choose the sunny option, place your plant on an east- or west-facing windowsill rather than a south-facing one so that it receives rays only during the early morning or late afternoon rather than at midday when the direct sun might burn its leaves.
Many Hoya species thrive the most in humid environments. The same principle applies to anyone planning to make the Hoya one of their new house indoor plants.
Placing it in Dark
The biggest mistake you could make is placing it in a dark, cold corner of the house. Hoya’s are accustomed to humid climates, so placing them in an area with no heat might as well give your hoya a death sentence.
Exposing to too Much Sunlight
Likewise, exposing your Hoya to too much sunlight can cause the waxy leaves to dry out and fade, giving off a yellowish color.
That is why we recommend you use indirect sunlight rather than direct light. That way, you don’t have to worry about unintentionally burning your plant to a crisp.
Hoya Light Requirements
As we mentioned earlier, Hoyas require indirect light. If you plan on keeping your Hoya indoors, go around your house and scout the best spots to place your plant.
Finding the Right Spot
Rather than placing your plant directly under the window, find a sunny window that provides bright but scattered light.
We’d recommend a north-facing window for Hoya plants that don’t require as much sunlight as non-variegated species.
But for most species, it’s recommended you place them near a west or south-facing window. It will provide the perfect amount of sunlight for your Hoya.
Using Fluorescent Bulbs To Improve Light Conditions
If you don’t live in a very sunny area, don’t panic. Fluorescent bulbs will work just fine for your Hoya.
Some growers prefer to use artificial light, especially in the winter months. Grow lights are strongly recommended to maintain your plant’s growth and ensure the porcelain flower blooms appropriately.
Give it a 4-5 week period of drought during the winter as a way to encourage it to bloom the following spring. And finally, when it does bloom, remember not to deadhead the flower stems.
Most Recommended Type of Bulb
Any Hoya plant will grow perfectly normally under artificial lighting — but only if it’s placed under the right kind of bulb.
Regular T12 tube lights won’t be enough for a Hoya. Instead, a high-output light is recommended by most growers, specifically a T5 HO light.
Hanging the fluorescent bulbs or mounting them to the wall to provide side lighting to your plant should be sufficient. While most bulbs can be expensive, they’re worth it in the end.
Related: More on Artificial Light For Plants
Contributing Factors to Grow a Healthy, Happy Hoya
In addition to the Hoya light requirements we provided, there are also some contributing factors to keep in mind.
Amount of Water
As they like to be pot-bound, only repot them once the roots have replaced nearly all of the soil, and only select a new pot that is 1-2 inches larger than the previous one. They are also sensitive to too much water, so make sure to use a well-draining soil mix with plenty of perlite.
Even if a Hoya prefers a moist medium, they’re still sensitive to overwatering. Make sure to let the substrate dry down enough between waterings, don’t let the Hoya sit in water (like a tray), and don’t plant it in a pot that is too big.
You can fertilize every watering or every other watering, but since these plants like to dry out, use an organic fertilizer low in salts to protect sensitive Hoya roots. Fertilize the plant during the growing season of spring, summer, and fall. Hold off during their dormancy in the winter.
Like other succulents, hoya plants like their soil to dry out completely in between waterings. Some people even wait until their leaves start to wrinkle or pucker slightly before giving them a drink.
Let your hoya indoor plants dry out between watering. Soak the soil thoroughly until the water drains out of the drainage holes. You’ll need to water more when they’re receiving more light, so adjust accordingly.
All that matters is that the substrate is fast draining. Otherwise, the Hoyas could suffer from root rot, and healthy roots are essential to Hoya growth and flowering.
Amount of Humidity
Since Hoya’s are native to tropical and humid climates, your plant does best when it gets considerable humidity.
Many Hoya owners are often surprised at how much moisture the plant can handle. For some species, humidity is an absolute must, and it can hasten the plant’s growth.
Amount of Heat
Some Hoyas can thrive in lower-lit areas when exposed to high humidity.
Most hoya plants prefer medium to bright, indirect light. Some do well with about two hours of direct sunlight in the morning or evening, but too much sun exposure may burn their leaves or turn them yellow.
So if you’re struggling to find a brightly lit area of your home, consider using a humidifier or a humidifying tray. That way, you can ensure your Hoya retains its moisture while also receiving the right amount of heat.
Amount of Airflow
Keeping that in mind, make sure where you’ve placed your Hoya has a sufficient amount of airflow.
Restricting the airflow can cause other problems, like fungus. If you plan on planting multiple Hoya’s, space them out or even crack open a window.
You can also use well-aerated soil to ensure your Hoya isn’t suffocating from the humidity.
Related: More on The Best Soil For Hoya Plants
Propagation of Hoya Plants
Be sure to include a couple of healthy leaves! It’s not impossible to propagate Hoyas from a leafless cutting, but it’s way more risky!
Hoyas don’t mind being rootbound. Keep in the same pot for years, but remember to fertilize throughout spring and summer.
When you choose to repot, be extra kind to the plant: Repot in spring, wait to repot 2-3 days after your last watering, and be very gentle with the roots. There’s no need to strip away all the old soil, knock off anything that’s loose.
Common Problems Experienced with Hoya Plants
Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and ants can all be attracted to the Hoya plant because of the sweet-smelling nectar.
These insects can be sprayed off the plant with a gentle stream from a hose, or if you prefer, insecticidal soap or Neem oil spray can take care of them.
The worst pest that will bother your Hoya plant is the root-knot nematode. These little pests seek out plants in areas that have warm temperatures year-round.
In conclusion, the Hoyas aren’t very high-maintenance. That’s what makes them such an excellent option for house plants.
Keeping in mind contributing factors like maintaining a humid environment and ensuring proper airflow can help majorly fulfill Hoya’s appropriate lighting requirements.