Hoya carnosa (HOY-a kar-NO-suh) is a vining member of the Apocynaceae family of plants.
This tropical houseplant, commonly known as Honey Plant or Wax Plant, hails from Asian settings such as India, China, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Vietnam. It also grows wild in Australia.
This rugged plant is virtually trouble-free if it is adequately watered. However, overwatering can lead to root rot. [source]
It is not always possible to save an overwatered Hoya. If your plant is slightly overwatered, simply withholding water until the soil becomes nearly dry and moving the plant to a brighter setting may do the trick.
If the situation is direr, you may need to take further steps.
This article discusses how to save overwatered Wax Plants (if possible). Read on to learn more.
Is It Really Possible To Rescue A Severely Over Watered Hoya?
If you have overwatered your Hoya, you first need to figure out how badly it has been damaged.
If the leaves are a bit yellow but not wilted, just changing your watering schedule and moving your plant to a brighter setting may be enough to save the plant.
If the leaves are yellow and wilted, and the stems are brown or black and squishy, root rot may have begun, and you will need to take further steps to rescue your Hoya.
Know from the start that you may not be able to save it, but you lose nothing by trying.
Follow these steps to help your Hoya recover:
1. Treat Your Plant Gently
Wax plants typically like full sun. However, if your plant suffers from severe overwatering, you should move it out of direct sunlight.
Generally speaking, most plants do well with bright, indirect sunlight, which is what a plant stressed by overwatering needs.
Bright indirect sunlight provides enough light for photosynthesis, but it will not burn the Hoya’s stressed leaves.
2. Groom Your Plant
Once you have moved your Hoya to a less sunny area, give it a good pruning. Remove yellowed, wilted, and dead leaves.
These will only drain energy from the plant, and they will never recover.
3. Keep Cuttings
If there are any healthy-looking stems and leaves, take a cutting to start separately in a jar of water, just in case your Hoya does not survive. [source]
4. Get Rid Of Excess Moisture
Be sure your pot has ample drainage holes. No plants do well in containers with little or no drainage.
If the pot’s drainage is inadequate, lay the plant gently on its side to see if any excess water will drain out.
If so, leave the pot tipped over until excess water stops trickling.
5. Aerate The Soil
Poke a few holes in the soil’s surface using a pencil, chopstick, or similar implement.
This will allow a little more air to circulate into the Hoya roots. Once your plant has begun to recover, you can repot into a more suitable container with fresh, airy soil.
6. Withhold Water
Allow the soil to nearly dry out, and then provide a thorough watering with a fungicidal treatment.
Do not fertilize until the plant has fully recovered.
7. Repot Your Recovered Hoya Plant
With proper care, your Hoya may begin showing signs of recovery within a couple of weeks. This will come in the form of new growth.
After a month or so, you can repot your Hoya into a new container with all new potting soil.
Your new container should have ample drainage holes.
8. Check And Prune The Roots
When you repot, examine the roots carefully and prune away any soft or brown roots. Healthy Hoya roots should be firm, plump, and white.
Three or four days after repotting, water thoroughly with a fungicidal treatment solution.
9. Don’t Over-Fertilize
After repotting, you will not need to fertilize for at least six weeks. If you are repotting near the end of summer, don’t fertilize until spring.
How Do You Know When To Water?
You can establish a general watering schedule by checking your plant’s soil to see if it is wet or dry.
If it is moist, clearly, you should not water your plant. Instead, wait until the top couple of inches of soil are mostly dry and provide a thorough watering.
This method is called soak-and-dry watering.
Maintain this soak-and-dry watering method in an ongoing manner, and your Hoya should recover and continue to do well, provided the rest of your plant care regimen suits the needs of the plant.
Hoya watering tips:
1. Water your Honey Plant with lukewarm filtered or rainwater regularly throughout the growing season (spring and summer).
2. To provide a thorough watering, you should allow water to run out the drainholes in the bottom of the pot. Ensure all excess water has drained off before returning the plant to its saucer.
3. Some plants do better when allowed to stand in water for 15 minutes rather than being watered overhead.
4. No plant should ever be left standing in water. In all but aquatic plants, this will always lead to root rot.
5. Water in the morning whenever possible. Generally speaking, nighttime watering is not recommended because plants watered at night tend to stay excessively moist for several hours. This can give root rot a chance to get a foothold.
6. During the plants’ semi-dormant season (autumn and winter) you should reduce both frequency and amount of water given. Allow the soil to nearly dry and then water sparingly.
7. Take great care not to overwater in winter because root rot is more likely to occur during cooler weather.
If you see that your Wax Plant is suffering (leaves withering or turning brown) increase watering incrementally until you hit the proper balance.
Remember that too little water Is always better than too much
Soak & Dry Prevents Root Rot
To avoid this sort of problem from the get-go and into the future, apply the soak and dry watering method.
Most plants will do well with this method. Some exceptions prefer slightly moist soil, but even they will typically do pretty well with soak and dry.
As you become well-versed in plant care, you will develop the skill and instincts necessary to know your plants and provide for their precise needs.