Many members of the houseplant community are just starting to discover the joy of collecting wnd growing the wide variety of “Hoyas” which are commonly known as wax plants or porcelain flowers due to te waxy appearance of their flowers and in some cases, their waxy leaves.
I heard of this plant for the first time whilst on a live stream with a fellow plant enthusiast and amazing human being with a lot more knowledge than me. After the livestream ended, I googled it and I was amazed at how many varieties there are and how beautiful they are; all I could think is how much I wanted one!
All about ‘Hoya’.
Hoya is a genus of 200–300 species of tropical plants in the family Apocynaceae (Dogbane). Most are native to several countries of Asia such as China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia, There is a great diversity of species in the Philippines, and species in Polynesia, New Guinea, and Australia.
Common names for this genus are waxplant, waxvine, waxflower or simply hoya. This genus was named by botanist Robert Brown, in honour of his friend, botanist Thomas Hoy.
The first Hoya was ascribed to the genus in 1810. As of 2015, there have been over 500 scientific names published, however there is much discrepancy within the group– and new species are being discovered regularly. There are likely to be somewhere between 600-700 hoya species of which many of them are still undescribed and unnamed.
Hoyas are evergreen perennial creepers or vines or rarely, shrubs. They often grow epiphytically on trees; some grow terrestrially, or occasionally in rocky areas.
Larger species of Hoya can grow 1-18 metres or more, with suitable support in trees. In Hoya’s leaves can exhibit a variety of forms, smooth, felted or hairy; veination may be prominent in some plants but not in all, and many species have leaf surfaces flecked with irregular small silvery spots. The leaves can vary from very thin to semi-succulent to very succulent, wit the exception of Hoya imbricata which is a shingling hoya that only gets one leaf per node, hoyas produce opposite leaves. The leaves of a hoya always seem to be so simple–so never serrated, this can make them a bit more challenging to tell apart.
The greatest diversity of hoya comes out of subtropical and tropical Asia through the western Pacific. The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea particularly have a high diversity of hoya, but they can also be found in places like Thailand, China, Singapore, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Japan, LAos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Vanuatu and even Australia.
Hoya has a few different types of growth structures; climbing/vining (e.g. hoya australis), hanging/pendant shape (e.g. hoya bella). Then there is more erect, bushy and shrub like which is a but more uncommon (e.g. hoya multiflora), and finally there is a shape more in between pendant and shrub like (e.g. hoya cumingiana).
Hoyas fell out of place and were easily dismissed as ‘grandma’s plants’ for years and years but that is by far doing them a disservice.
In the past couple of years, they’ve undergone s huge revival- they are now coming back into popularity.
The range of species and hybrids available has expanded from the 2 stalwart specimens you’ll find in every house plant book H. Carnosa and H. bella. Hoyas defy the the usual categorisation of houseplants as either flower or foliage, but this genus offers the best of both worlds.
Hoya has been on the rise for quite a while now, with a viral presence on Instagram and Pinterest. This surge in popularity is likely due to that fact that these easy-care, low-water plants are fragrant, slow-growing, and thrive indoors. And, as an added bonus, they might even treat you to a few clusters of star-shaped flowers, given the right conditions ( when given plenty of sunlight). Hoyas grow well in low, medium, or bright light, though they’re less likely bloom in these conditions. The more light they receive, the more flowers they will produce. Hoyas also prefer snug pots and are said to flower more when they’re a bit root bound.
With their beautiful flowers and foliage; suitable for both pots and baskets, what’s stopping you from adding them to your plant collection?Below are some care tips for your hoya.
Care tips for your hoya:
– Hardiness varies by species. If growing outdoors, some varieties of hoya are hardy in USDA Zones 8 through 11; others (like our H. carnosa) will only abide zones 10 through 11.
– Many people grow hoyas as houseplants. If indoors, cooler temps are A-OK during the winter but make sure they don’t drop below 50. The plants enjoy the warm temperatures of the spring and summer growing season.
– Humidity in your hoya habitat should be at least 40 percent. This can be achieved through regular misting with a spray bottle.
– Put it in a spot with bright indirect light, like a north-facing window.
– Evenly moist, well-drained soil is preferred.
– Again, do not remove spurs after the blooms have faded. That’s where the next round of flowers will blossom. Allow faded flowers to fall off naturally.
– Apply a balanced fertilizer only during active growing season, i.e. spring and summer.
– Pot-bound plants will flower more vigorously.
– Keep soil moist in spring and summer, but allow it to dry in the winter — water just enough so the leaves won’t shrivel.
– Hoyas are most commonly propagated by cuttings.
– In general, don’t helicopter-garden this baby. It favors a bit of benign neglect. And definitely don’t move the plant while it’s blooming.
Here are some websites you can visit to read more about hoyas!