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Hoya Won’t Bloom

How to Get a Hoya Plant to Bloom

Hoyas are indoor plants known for their thick, shiny leaves and star-shaped blooms. Also known as wax plants, these tropical plants are easy to grow and care for. They are typically grown in hanging containers, allowing the plant’s vines and flowers to shine; however, getting the plant to produce the beautiful flowers it’s known for can be challenging.

There are many reasons why a Hoya plant won’t bloom, but in many cases, the problem can be traced to inadequate lighting and poor nutrition. If the plant is already getting enough light and looks healthy but still doesn’t bloom, then you need to find out the blooming timetable for your Hoya species.

The rest of the article will take a closer look at a few reasons why your Hoya plant won’t bloom and some of the things you can do to encourage the growth of the lovely scented-flowers. These are discussed below.

Poor Hoya Plant Health

Poor Hoya Plant Health

When your plant is not getting enough nutrients or water, it will not bloom. Take a look at the foliage. Is it looking healthy? If there are lots of discolored or dead leaves on the plant, you will need to rethink your care strategy.

Late Blooming Timetable for the Hoya Plant Variant

Late Blooming Timetable for the Hoya Plant Variant

All Hoya species need time to fully mature and flower. The most popular variant, the Hoya Carnosa, sometimes needs 2 to 5 years to bloom. Some varieties can take even longer.

Did you get a blooming timetable from the horticulturist when you bought your plant? If so, refer to it to see if your Hoya is still following its projected timeline.

Inadequate Light For Hoya Plant

Inadequate Light For Hoya Plant

If your Hoya plant has gone past its blooming timetable but looks healthy, it is possible that it is not getting enough light. These plants thrive in tropical environments, so they need as much light as possible to bloom.

Special Needs

Some variants of Hoya only bloom when they are root-bound. This means that they won’t bloom if the plant’s roots have too much room to spread into. Other variants won’t bloom without a specific type of fertilizer.

How to Get a Hoya Plant to Bloom

How to Get a Hoya Plant to Bloom

In order to get your plant blooming, all you need to do is figure out the underlying cause of the problem and fix it—assuming that it is well past its blooming date. Here are some of the things you should do.

Move the Plant to Expose It to More Light

As we have mentioned above, ensuring adequate light is very important when you are trying to get your Hoya plant to bloom. Some tell-tale signs that your plant isn’t getting enough light include small and pale-green new leaves, long sections of bare stem, and old dead leaves.

Once you see these signs, put your plant in front of an east or west-facing window where it is certain to get 2 to 4 hours of direct sunlight daily.

When the sun has moved away from the plant, it still needs to stay exposed to bright, indirect light during the day. If you must keep the plant in front of a south-facing window, put a sheer-curtain between the sun and the plant, so it doesn’t get scorched.

Water the Plant Properly

The best way to water a Hoya plant is to allow the potting soil to dry out first, and then spray water that has been sitting in an open container for at least 24 hours. This is enough time for the chemicals in tap water (fluorine and chlorine) that are detrimental to the Hoya plant to dissipate into the air.

Watering with water that has been allowed to sit for 24 hours also ensures you’ll be using water that is at room temperature instead of fresh, cold water, which can be stressful for the plant. Change your watering schedule to mornings only. This ensures the plant can retain moisture all through the day.

Don’t allow percolated water to sit in the saucer beneath the pot or basket for long. It will make the soil too wet and encourage root rot. If you find the Hoya leaves turning yellow and droopy, it is a sign that you are watering the plant too much.

Apply the Right Fertilizer Accurately

Soluble fertilizer in the 5-10-5 mix is recommended if you are trying to get the Hoya to bloom. Such fertilizer has high phosphorus content (the 10 in the middle), which encourages flowering. 

The best time to fertilize the plant is during the spring. It’s not a good idea to fertilize in the winter. Make sure you follow manufacturer recommendations when diluting the fertilizer.

If your Hoya plant has pale leaves and stems and is growing slowly, it is a sign that it isn’t getting enough fertilizer. You should consider increasing the fertilizer application frequency to twice a month. Only apply the fertilizer after watering to avoid damaging the roots.

Watch Out for Pests

Scale insects and mealybugs are some common pests of Hoya plants. You can identify them by their small, flat, or oval shape. They can also be colored brown, tan, or white. To get rid of these pests, you can wipe down the plant with a ball of cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol. They are often most congregated under the leaves and along the stems.

Aphids are other important pests of Hoya plants that can keep it from blooming. They are small and oval-shaped and can come in a wide range of colors. If you find these in a large quantity on your plant, you can wash them off with a strong spray of water.

Repot the Plant Only When Absolutely Necessary

If you’ve done all you can to get your Hoya to bloom without any success, it is natural to consider repotting the plant. However, you need to exercise caution at this point. Most Hoya variants prefer to have their roots bound tightly, sometimes more than would be deemed comfortable for other plants.

You should only repot the plant when you’ve tried everything else or when you notice signs of root rot or disease. When you do repot the plant, you need to stay patient while caring for it. Hoyas take a bit more time to adapt to a new environment. However, the plant won’t bloom until it has fully come back to life.

Don’t Remove Spent Blooms

When your Hoya plant finally blooms, don’t remove the spurs. New blooms in the future will grow there—typically at the base or peduncle of the old blooms, so removing the spurs means you will have to wait a long time before you see those beautiful flowers again. When the plant is done blooming, let the petals fall off naturally. You can brush them off if you are sure you won’t inadvertently damage the spurs.

Final Thoughts

The International Hoya Association and other experts say that inadequate lighting is the biggest reason why an old Hoya plant hasn’t bloomed. If you are sure that your plant has fully matured, but it is still struggling to bloom, you should expose it to more bright light.

The plant can reach full maturity in a year or three. The only way to be sure is to talk to your horticulturist and understand the life cycle of the Hoya variant you’ve bought. Once you’re sure the plant is fully matured and is getting enough light, you can explore other solutions to get it blooming, such as changing your fertilizer, rejigging your watering schedule, and as a very last resort, repotting the plant.

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