11 Tips For Growing Beautiful Hoya Plants Indoors
Looking to grow a beautiful hoya plant indoors? While hoyas are fairly easy to care for, there are additional measures you can take to truly maximize the growth and beauty of this fantastic plant! In this article, gardening and houseplant expert Madison Moulton gives you her favorite tips to grow thriving hoya plants indoors.
With so much variety in species, type, color and more, there is so much to love about the Hoya genus. Depending on your chosen plant, they are also quite easy to care for. Hoyas are easy to grow, require minimal maintenance and produce beautiful blooms, even indoors.
But, depending on your variety, you may be wondering how to maximize their gorgeous flowers, especially if you are growing them indoors. The good news is, there are a few things you can do to ensure you get the most out of your hoya’s blooms.
If you’re looking to grow a great Hoya, there are some tricks of the trade that may help you along the way. Let’s take a look at our top tips to get the most out of your hoya’s beautiful flowers if you plan on growing them indoors!
Know Your Species
Hoya is a general term used to describe an entire genus of plants. There are over 500 species within this genus, with diversity in size, color, and growth habits. There are certainly some common species that are easier to find, but no two species are exactly alike.
Growing a great Hoya plant starts with understanding the characteristics of your specific species and tailoring your care to that plant. For example, some species have thicker, more succulent leaves than others, meaning they will need to be watered less often. Some are epiphytes, accustomed to climbing nearby structures for support and growth, while others are mostly terrestrial.
There are a few species to look out for most commonly in cultivation, such as:
There are also numerous cultivars, either within these species or as a hybrid of two or more species, that have their own special characteristics.
Make sure you check the label thoroughly before you purchase the plant and do your research on what that species needs before diving into care specifics. You can also use the characteristics of the plant, such as color and leaf shape, to deduce some of its requirements, but nothing will be as reliable as solid research.
Don’t Overdo Watering
If you’ve started out your houseplant growing journey with one of the more common beginner houseplants – such as a type of Pothos or type of Monstera – you may think Hoyas require similar amounts of watering. Unfortunately, this ends up being the downfall of many Hoya plant owners.
Unlike the thin leaves Pothos or Monstera, Hoyas are generally considered semi-succulent or succulent plants. They have thick waxy leaves that are able to hold much more water than other houseplants, meaning they require water less often.
These succulent leaves, combined with the epiphytic nature of many species, mean Hoyas are incredibly susceptible to overwatering. The soil can never be waterlogged or soggy or they will quickly experience root rot, resulting in the plant’s ultimate demise.
How often you should water will depend on your chosen species and the environmental conditions it is in. Always test the soil before watering and only water again when about half the soil in the pot is dry. Those with thinner leaves will need water sooner, and those with thicker leaves can typically last longer without additional watering.
Provide Adequate Drainage
Overwatering may not be caused by watering your plant when it is not ready. Even if you water at the right time, your plant may still experience root rot if the drainage levels are not sufficient. Root rot is difficult to solve once it sets in, so avoiding it is vital to growing a great Hoya.
Good drainage starts with the pot the plant is in. Drainage holes are an absolute must and cannot be skipped. Some may use stones at the bottom of the pot to replace drainage and say they will water carefully, but that comes with its own issues and is incredibly tricky to manage.
If your chosen decorative pot doesn’t have any drainage holes, drill some of your own or use it as a pot cover, keeping the plant in a plastic pot inside.
The second element of drainage is soil. The soil your Hoya came in should be mixed with peat moss or coconut coir and perlite to improve drainage and aeration. When repotting, you need to replicate these conditions as much as possible to stop the soil from holding on to too much water.
Compacted soil from degradation or irregular watering can also hold into too much water, having the same negative impacts. Water consistently and repot when the soil starts to break down (or sooner) to avoid these issues.
Keep It Bright
Hoyas are beloved for many reasons, one of which is the sweet-smelling clusters of pink and white flowers they produce in spring and summer. Flowering is a strong sign of a healthy and happy Hoya, and the part of growing these plants many look forward to.
There are many factors that contribute to flowering, but the most important one is sunlight. Some Hoyas can grow quite well in lower light conditions, but they need the preferred conditions of bright indirect light to flower successfully.
Aim for an east or west-facing window, as close as possible to the light source without hitting the sun’s direct rays. A south-facing window filtered by a sheer curtain also matches the dappled light they are accustomed to outdoors. Avoid rooms with north-facing windows or areas far away from light sources to keep your Hoya bright and happy.
Add Some Direct Morning Sun
As a general rule, houseplants should always remain out of the path of direct sunlight. This stops the leaves from burning and crisping and stops the soil from drying out too quickly too. However, not all direct sun is equal.
Sunlight is generally the most intense from midday and through the early afternoon. In the morning, just as the sun rises, the light intensity is far lower and less likely to do damage to the leaves of your Hoya. At these times, it can actually be beneficial for your plants to receive some direct sun, especially if the light is not as bright indoors throughout the day.
If your Hoya is in a medium to low light area based on the position of your windows and the direction of the sun, an hour or two of direct morning light can give the plant to boost it needs to grow and flower happily.
If you live in an area with hot summers, you may want to stick to indirect light as even early morning sun in these regions can cause damage. However, for everyone else, it can be surprisingly beneficial for plant health.
Make Your Own Soil Mix
Hoyas don’t require repotting very often due to their slower growth rate. They are often happy in the pot they came in for several years, needing a soil refresh around year 3 or 4 to maintain growth and health. Younger plants may need to be repotted sooner if the roots are growing through the drainage holes or if growth becomes stunted.
When it comes time to repot, your chosen soil mix is crucial to the continued health and happiness of your Hoya. While you may reach for your general houseplant mix, consider making your own mix first to grow a truly great Hoya. This allows you to tailor the composition to the growth and conditions of your plant and to match the original soil mix as much as possible, preventing transplant shock.
As most commonly grown Hoyas are epiphytes, they grow best in an orchid or succulent mix that drains incredibly well. Amend the orchid mix by adding perlite for drainage and coconut coir for water retention to provide the ideal conditions. Adjust as necessary until the texture matches that of the original soil mix.
Fertilize As Needed
As slow growers, Hoyas don’t typically rely on fertilizer to sustain themselves. In the right soil, they should be happy for months on end without a top-up. However, to grow a great Hoya, you should consider making fertilizer a regular part of your care routine.
Plants in containers draw up the nutrients in the soil over time. Once your Hoya has used up all the available nutrients in the soil, it needs a top-up from you to continue growing. Fertilizing regularly will maintain the nutrient levels so there is always enough for the plant to use. This is especially important in flowering, where nutrients are vital to the development of blooms.
They don’t require much to be at their best. A half-strength dose of balanced fertilizer applied every 4-6 weeks should be sufficient for most species in most conditions. You can also use an orchid-specific fertilizer or one higher in phosphorus to promote flowering.
Keep Them Warm
Hoyas are native to the tropical areas of Asia and Australia, loving high temperatures. They are hardier than some of the more sensitive houseplants, but they will nevertheless grow their best when temperatures remain consistently warm throughout the year.
Avoiding temperatures below 50F is essential, but even in ranges slightly above this growth will be incredibly slow. Aim to keep temperatures around 70F for most of the year and as consistent as possible. This will encourage strong growth while avoiding any potential damage from excessively cold weather.
The same can be said for cold drafts, especially in winter. Keep your Hoya away from open windows in winter (or out of the path of air conditioners in summer) for the best results.
Use A Humidifier
The tropical habitats of Hoyas not only influence their love of warm temperatures, but also high humidity. Due to their succulent-like leaves, you may not expect these plants to be humidity lovers. However, these epiphytes are reliant on high humidity levels to maintain growth and in particular, to flower.
Like many of these tips, this is dependent on species. Some are more tolerant of drier air while others will only grow in humidity levels of 60% or higher. In general, you can aim for 50% or above, with 70% the ideal conditions for most Hoyas.
Unfortunately, 70% humidity is almost impossible to find indoors. That’s where humidifiers come in. Placed in the prime position, humidifiers greatly improve humidity around your Hoyas without majorly impacting the rest of your home and making the rooms uncomfortable. They are also great for other houseplants, not just Hoyas, and are particularly useful for those with fussier Hoya species to care for.
Clean Up Damaged Stems And Leaves
Regular pruning is not vital to the health of Hoyas. As long as growth is consistent and healthy, they don’t require pruning to spur new growth or look their best. However, a trim every once in a while to rid the plant of damaged stems and leaves will do wonders for its health.
You may notice a yellow leaf or a damaged stem here or there on your plant, not thinking much of it. But it’s important to consider the energy the plant is putting into keeping that leaf or stem alive and attached to the plant. That energy could be directed toward new growth or flowering, but instead, it is being used to hang onto parts of the plant that are contributing nothing to overall health.
Grab a pair of pruning shears every now and then when you water the plant, gently trimming any underperforming stems or leaves. This 2-minute task will do wonders for health and may even be the thing to kickstart flowering in your Hoya.
Check For Pests And Diseases
While you’re trimming or watering, it’s also beneficial to take a closer look at the leaves, stems and soil for any signs of pests and diseases. If there is anything that will quickly get in the way of growing a great Hoya, these pesky problems are it.
Hoyas are susceptible to a number of pests found on indoor plants, including spider mites and mealybugs. You may also encounter diseases like powdery mildew or root rot that can quickly lead to the demise of your Hoya if not dealt with quickly.
Checking regularly stops these problems from overtaking your plants. You can deal with them swiftly before they cause any damage, returning your plants to good health in no time.
Hoyas are not difficult plants to care for, tolerating a wide range of conditions. But just because they are tolerant of many conditions, doesn’t mean you can’t maximize their beautiful blooms indoors and extend their lifespan. Making small adjustments to provide the conditions they love the most will make a world of difference in your Hoya growing efforts.