Hoya Plants: Caring for Hoya

Hoya have been popular house plants for decades and with good reason. They are extremely long-lived, have a classic, deep green, vining foliage and produce fragrant, light pink and red star-shaped flowers. Because of their thick waxy, foliage they are often called wax plants or sometimes porcelain flower referring to the unique texture of the flowers.

These tropical vining plants have a few requirements in order to thrive but nothing too hard. Give them bright, indirect light, humidity and a light touch when it comes to watering. Use a potting mix that allows for good air circulation around the roots. Read on for the best recipe for success.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Light

Select a place that gets bright, indirect light. Don’t let their waxy foliage fool you. They are not succulents and can’t take harsh afternoon light. They will grow in lower light situations but it’s unlikely they will bloom. 

Soil and Repotting

Potting soil with good air circulation is very important for Hoya. To create a perfect blend mix equal parts of Espoma’s organic Cactus Mix, Orchid Mix, and Perlite. Hoya like to be pot-bound or crowded in their pots. They will only need to be repotted every two or three years.

Water

Water regularly with room-temperature water, spring through summer. Let the top layer of soil dry between watering. In the fall and winter growth naturally slows down and they won’t use as much water. Water sparingly during fall and winter, give them just enough that the soil doesn’t dry out completely. Too much water can cause flowers to drop.

Humidity 

Hoya are tropical plants that thrive in humid conditions. Use a humidifier to bring the humidity levels up, especially in winter when indoor air tends to be dry. A saucer with gravel and water also provides humidity as the water evaporates. Misting with room-temperature water also helps but avoid spraying the flowers.

Temperature

Keep the room temperature warm year-round, try not to let it drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also best to keep plants from touching cold windows and away from heating and cooling vents.

Pruning

Prune in spring before vigorous growth begins. The stems with no leaves are called spurs and shouldn’t be removed. Flowers are produced on the same spurs year after year. Hoya are vining plants that will happily cascade from a shelf or window sill. Conversely, they are often trained onto trellises that are either vertical or circular, giving the impression of a more robust plant.

Fertilizer          

Espoma’s Orchid! liquid fertilizer is perfect for Hoya. The dosing cap eliminates measuring and gives exactly the right amount every time. Feed once a month from spring through fall.

Here are links to other blogs and videos we hope you will enjoy:

Hoya Tips and Propagation from Homestead Brooklyn

A Healthy and Happy New Year with Plants

DIY Terrarium Ideas

Espoma Products for Hoyas

Plant Care Can Also Be Self-Care

Many people wonder when they’ll find the time for self-care. It turns out that plant parents have been doing it all along. Many report their thoughts slow, they breathe more calmly, feel less stressed and they find happiness in the practice of gardening. Caring for another living thing is a positive intention that keeps us grounded in the present.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Plants Improve Our Health and Well-Being

Calming Effect

Plants help to reduce stress and promote feelings of wellbeing. Research in hospitals shows that patients surrounded by plants and flowers recover faster, take less pain medication, and have lower heart rates and blood pressure.

Focus and Productivity

Several studies have shown that keeping plants at work improves focus and productivity. Large plants or large groups of plants at work can also lessen background noise making it easier to concentrate.

Natural Mood Boost

Soil contains microbes called M. vaccae or “outdoorphins”. New science suggests the interaction between the microbes and our immune systems can improve gut health and act as a natural antidepressant.

african violets, espoma liquid african violet fertilizer

New Age Therapy

Horticultural Therapy has been used for centuries and is seeing a revival, especially with people that have experienced trauma or mental health issues. In Scotland, doctors are prescribing long walks in nature.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Memory Booster

A study from Texas A&M shows that being around plants at home or work helps improve memory and attention span by 20 percent and improves accuracy as well.

Photo courtesy of Costa Farms

Heightened Creativity

A 2015 Human Spaces report found that employees whose offices include plants scored 15 percent higher for creativity. Another theory suggests that looking at nature or plants can shift the brain into a different processing mode, making people feel more relaxed.

Self-Care for the Holidays

The winter holidays can be a busy and stressful time. Planting a mini Christmas tree, or Norfolk Island Pine might be a wonderful way to relax, refocus and inhale some stress relievers from the soil. They would also make a lovely, air-purifying holiday gift. These easy-care houseplants can be potted up in Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix and decorated for the season. They like medium to bright light and moist but not wet soil. Make sure to keep them healthy with a dose of Espoma’s Indoor! organic fertilizer every two to four weeks.

Here are some of our other blogs and videos we think you will enjoy.

Give Some Green for the Holidays

Parenting Advice for New Plant Parents

Poinsettia Care Guide from Garden Answer

Products for Happy Houseplants

Leaf Mulch with Garden Answer

In this fall episode of Garden Answer, Laura is making leaf mulch from her fallen leaves. It’s a free resource that will help build healthy soil. Instead of going to all the trouble of bagging leaves, recycle them.

She begins by blowing all of her leaves onto an open grassy area and mulch mowing them.  Laura has a large riding lawn mower but you can get the same results with a regular walk-behind model. Just go back and forth until the foliage is fairly small and then attach the bag to suck them up.

Laura wants to enrich the empty raised beds in her vegetable garden. She pours about two inches of shredded leaves on the top of each one. Followed by a sprinkling of Espoma’s organic Blood Meal.  She’s creating a mini compost pile. In summer, grass clippings would provide the nitrogen to help break down the leaves. Since she isn’t cutting grass anymore, she uses the blood meal as an organic nitrogen supplement.

Blood meal may keep plant-eating pests away but it can attract meat-eaters like dogs, raccoons, and possums. If that would be a potential problem, put the two inches of shredded leaves down and wait until spring to add Espoma’s organic Garden-tone.

More leaves? Try making leaf mold. It might sound terrible but it’s a fantastic soil conditioner. It improves soil structure, helps the soil retain moisture and creates the perfect habitat for beneficial microbes. Simply take shredded leaves and pile them up in a wire bin or a quiet corner of the yard. The following spring you will have the most beautiful, natural-looking mulch for garden beds. It’s gardeners’ gold.

Here are a few more videos from Garden Answer we hope you will enjoy:

Fall Bulb Planting

Best Plants to Produce Fall Fruits

Plant a Fall Container

List products called out in the post.

Bone Meal

Garden-tone