Hoyas are some of the most popular houseplants. These waxy-leaved plants sport beautiful flowers and a wide array of scents. Most are also easy to grow – only needing a node or two plus a leaf to sprout. Still, you might find growing hoya a little challenging and might be wondering why this is so.
If your hoya is not growing, it could be due to several factors. For example, you are overwatering, lack a well-drained potting medium, no bright light, low humidity levels, or little airflow. Hoya plants also need healthy roots and the right temperature to grow.
In this detailed article, you’ll discover the following:
- The reasons why your hoya is not growing
- How to grow hoya
- Steps to take to ensure your hoya thrives
- How to prevent the occurrence of common growth problems
Hoya: A Brief Background
Hoyas are tropical plants indigenous to Asia and Australia. Also referred to as wax plants or porcelain flowers, there are about 300+ species. Their lovely scents are released more at night – some are quite foul-smelling, though.
Many hoya plants grow below 1000 meters (3280 feet). Some grow close to the sea level, whereas others bloom in high altitudes. Some species, like Hoya linearis, are a challenge to grow indoors since they need cool night temperatures and frequent misting. This is because, in their native habitats, they are often subjected to heavy monsoon seasons.
If you wish to grow species similar to those found near the sea level, they will require more sunlight than other varieties. Additionally, they need more calcareous substrate in their potting medium.
The Reasons Why Your Hoya Is Not Growing
While hoyas are not fussy plants, several factors could cause them not to grow. These are:
- Pot is not draining properly. Ensure your substrate is fast draining to prevent root rot.
- Overwatering. Hoya flourishes in a moist medium but is sensitive to overwatering.
- Not enough airflow and humidity. Humidity quickens hoya growth while good airflow keeps fungus at bay.
- Lack of bright light. High lighting enables hoya to thrive and prevents the soil from staying damp.
How to Grow Your Hoya
Hoya plants are quite easy to propagate. You can get away with merely sticking one or two-node cuttings in water, or using a sterile potting medium. However, varieties that are thin and fuzzy pose a challenge when it comes to rooting, while woody stems might not root at all.
You can easily grow hoyas from cuttings. Besides, hoya plants can sprout roots from a single leaf if there is a stem attached to it. The plant continues to grow and eventually becomes a large vine. Also, nodes with the chlorophyll in their stems will take root and grow with time – even without a leaf.
Healthy roots are crucial to hoya growth and flowering. Nevertheless, delicate species such as Hoya linearis present a bit of a challenge with rooting. Additionally, they are more difficult to maintain than hoya featuring thicker, hairless stems and adventitious roots (form from no-root tissue) like the popular Hoya pubicalyx.
Hoya plants present different growth structures: vining, hanging, bushy and shrub-like.
It’s advisable to choose your hoya’s growth structure depending on the available space. For example, you can use hanging baskets to grow pendant shaped hoya or as floor plants using a trellis for support.
You can tell a lot about the habitat of your hoya by checking the leaves.
Thin, dark, large leaves imply the plant is used to conditions that are humid and without much sunlight. On the other hand, thick, succulent, light-colored leaves mean the hoya can be exposed to direct sunlight and can survive aridity.
Allow Tendrils to Grow
Most hoyas like to cling, and their tendrils will grasp onto anything nearby. Allow tendrils to grow and clasp around something. Under the right conditions, with the right amount of sunlight, your hoya will start flourishing.
Go ahead and prune your hoya if it grows too large and unwieldy. Remove dead stems also. Avoid cutting the peduncle- inflorescence stem- because this is where the flower will emerge.
Don’t Give Too Much Water
Hoyas need intermittent drying out; otherwise, they rot. But if they don’t get enough water, the roots dry out and die. However, over-watering will harm or even extinguish the plant. So, ensure to pot them in a well-draining potting medium.
You can also limit your watering depending on the species. For instance, Hoya carnosa experiences short drought periods in its native habitat. So, during spring, withhold water for 4-5 weeks to help in flowering.
Limit Exposure to Too Much Light
Most species are accustomed to receiving dappled light in forest treetops. Try and recreate the same in your home as most hoyas are unable to withstand direct or intense light. In the garden, grow your hoyas under some shade to help protect them from direct exposure to light.
Note that most can’t bear chilly temperatures – temperatures under 50°F (10°C) might cause chill damage.
Use the Right Potting Material
Use that have holes and allow for the removal of water from the soil. Water the plants well, then allow the soil to dry. If your hoya is growing in a little substrate, provide water more frequently. Also, make sure to mist the roots every few days.
Note to use smaller pots, so the roots are snug.
Do You Need to Add Supplements or Fertilizers?
If you source hoyas from limestone areas, they are more likely to grow well in alkaline soil. Consider adding crushed eggshells or oyster shells. The soil will slowly become more basic pH.
Extra micro and macronutrients are welcome too. Go for a light, organic fertilizer, slow-release, or a balanced synthetic fertilizer cut in half.
Allow for Humidity
Hoyas are tropical plants. Hence, they are used to moderate to high humidity. Some also go through torrential rains. As a result, most hoyas thrive with high humidity. You can position your potted plants around your humidifier, within plastic bags or behind glass to maintain humidity at a constant level.
Additionally, increasing humidity allows more roots to form. Hoya roots help the plant adhere to the surface as well as absorb moisture. Since most hoyas are epiphytic – grow on tree surfaces – they dry out often. These roots thus allow them to soak water whenever they find it.
Some hoyas require a bit more patience than others. Still, once you figure out what these houseplants need and how to care for them, you will find it easy to grow them. In turn, they will reward you by thriving and flowering consistently.
Remember that hoyas don’t enjoy sitting in water, so don’t overwater. Secondly, adequate humidity is vital for better rooting, so enclose your plants in a plastic bag or humidity dome. Finally, use the tips below to help your hoyas grow:
- If leaves look shriveled, up the water intake, humidity or check for mealybugs.
- If buds fall before bloom, the potting medium was dry/wet far too long.
- If leaves shed abruptly, the hoya got a chill and needs moving to a warm, humid location.
- If hoya looks limp, roots might be dead due to overwatering or lack of water.