Tip of the Week – Focus on Hoyas

hoya macgillivrayi, hoyas

Hoya macgillivrayi

Hoya Plants

Hoya plants Collected for their variable eye catching wax flowers and lovely foliage. There are some 200  known species of  hoya plants from the Family Asclepidiacea. Many in Papua New Guinea are yet to be discovered!! Mostly tropical and subtropical. There are at least seven Australian natives in Queensland.

Hoya plants  are collectibles due to the amazing array of flower shapes, colour and sizes. Many could be grown for their foliage alone…even without the wonderful flowers..

Plant Types

Hoya are mostly hanging and/or climbing vines. Some are more rigid and erect. Many are epiphytes. There are many variables in flowers and foliage. They all have a central crown and are five starred.


In nature seeds are produced in pods after ants cross pollinate the flowers. You wont get many seed pods at home though as we tend to kill off the ants  which have a cosy relationship with mealybug…(which can be sprayed with detergent water.) You can propagate hoya by cuttings.

Water Requirements

Its an epiphyte so don’t drown it with water especially when its cold. Let it dry out a little between waterings. However don’t leave it dried out for a long period or the plant will dessicate.

Potting Mix

Needs to be well drained with a little coarse material. They must have good drainage. Old mixes need to be replaced as they break down …become too fine and hold too much water in winter.

Potting Up

The biggest mistake that can be made is to overpot the plant. It happens a lot. Hoya more than most plants like being rootbound. You can keep them in a 70mm diameter pot for several years then go up to a 100mm diameter pot.


Flowering is enhanced if the plant is rootbound. You need good strong filtered  light under shade or cover. Morning sun is fine and recommended if you can get it. In nature Hoya grow on trees near openings in the forest or on edges or by the river or br the sea. Plants under a little stress for water or nutrients will usually flower best. This is a survival mechanism. Run the vines horizontally for more flowers.

For flowering you want tight roots and good light.


Too much nitrogen fertiliser will get your Hoya putting too much growth energy into its foliage and it wont think it needs to produce flowers  which produce seed for  survival.  Use a slow release fertiliser similar to osmocote twice a year. In addition any liquid fertiliser occasionally will be fine….fish and kelpare great. If light and root tightness are good and you still want more flowers try a high Potassium (K) fertiliser to induce flowering.

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