Are Hoya Plants Poisonous?

I remember my grandma growing hoya in her kitchen for years. She never mentioned if it was poisonous. Are Hoya plants poisonous and a safe house plant around kids? 

The Hoya is a species of evergreen plants in the dogbane family (Apocynaceae) and is widely found throughout Australia and tropical Asia. Many plants in the dogbane family are poisonous.

Flowers of the Hoya plant
Blooming Hoya | Trimitrius-DepositPhotos

The Hoya plant, commonly known as the wax plant because of its waxy star-shaped flowers, is one of the easiest houseplants to maintain. It does not care for pampering or constant moving and handling, which is why it is so popular as a house and office plant. 

Even those who do not feel they have a green thumb will find the Hoya incredibly manageable. 

First introduced by Scottish botanist Robert Brown, the plant was later named after the 18th-century botanist Thomas Hoy.

Hoya plants are identified by their striking clusters of sweet-smelling, light pink flowers and the foliage’s waxy, artificial look. They do not need direct sunlight and can even grow under fluorescent grow lights. 

Popular Hoya varieties and common names include:

These low-maintenance beauties make excellent greenhouse and indoor plants and can be potted or hung in baskets. 

Characteristics of the hardy Hoya include:

  • Climbing or trailing vine
  • Grows from 2-4’ indoors
  • Trailing stems will climb counterclockwise around trellis and wire structures
  • Glossy, fleshy leaves
  • Flower clusters may consist of 10-30 flowers
  • May take up to 3 years to bloom
  • Has no severe disease or insect problems

Although perfectly adapted for indoor care, you may be wondering, are Hoya plants poisonous? 

Let’s take a closer look.

Is the Hoya Plant Poisonous or Toxic to Humans or Animals?

Hoya plants are non toxic to people and animals. 

The University of Connecticut lists the Hoya as a non-toxic houseplant that is safe for people and pets. Still, they remind us that, although ingesting or touching these plants is unlikely to cause illness, even non-toxic plants can cause a reaction in certain individuals.

California Poison Control also verifies that the Hoya is not poisonous and considered safe around adults, children, pets, farm animals, etc. 

Are Any Parts of the Hoya Plant Toxic or Poisonous?

There are no parts of the Hoya that are poisonous to humans or animals. 

Since plants are a significant cause of poisoning in young children and pets, it is understandable why someone would want to make sure their Hoyas are non-toxic.

You can safely grow a Hoya in a pot or basket within your home without the fear of your dog, cat, or child getting sick from the plant.

That being said, it is crucial to keep in mind that even non-toxic plants can cause vomiting. 

Children and pets may also break off chunks of the plant and gag or choke on the pieces. 

Benefits of Hoya Plants

The Hoya plant’s most common benefit is that it is easy to take care of and is non-toxic. Its flowers are also aromatic and are often used in powders, perfumes, and lotions.

Household plants like the ornamental Hoya also have the potential to improve the quality of indoor air. 

Research by the University of Georgia showed that some plants could reduce indoor pollutant levels and effectively remove air-borne contaminants like volatile organic compounds. Products like cigarettes, paint, cleaners and disinfectants, air fresheners, and pesticides release VOCs.

The Hoya was listed as one of five “super ornamentals,” as it had a high contaminant removal rate.

The removal process is called phytoremediation and refers to green plants’ use to contain, remove, or decrease toxic environmental contaminants.

Why some plants are better at this than others is still unknown, and further research can help scientists learn more about these plant’s benefits.

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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