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The Beloved Hoyas: Care And Repotting Tips

Hoyas are popular & easy care houseplants. They come in a wide array of foliage colors, textures, patterns, shapes & sizes. Get care & growing tips here along with how to repot them.

a variegated hoya is trained to grow up & over bamboo hoops in a topiary form

Some many beloved Hoyas, so little room!  There are over 200 species of Hoyas out there with a diverse array of foliage color and shape as well as flower color and form.  These tropical plants, many of them epiphytic succulents, are vines and some are shrubs.  All of them so very interesting in my book.  I grow my Hoyas outdoors here in Santa Barbara but I’m giving care tips for them indoors too because they always have been and are now ever popular houseplants.

I love their fleshy, glossy leaves and their unique waxy flowers.  I remember seeing quite a few of these twining plants in homes and greenhouses growing up In New England.  Many of them were in hanging baskets and we had one that had trails which were at least 6′ long.  Exotic as they are, they’re not hard to care for at all.

closeup of the flower of a hoya or wax plant

This is the flower of my Hoya carnosa “variegata”.  The common name is Wax Flower, Porcelain Flower or Honey Plant. You can see the clear nectar oozing out of the center of the flower.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years about caring for Hoyas:

Light:  Outdoors Hoyas like bright shade.  Indoors they like bright, indirect light.  This is not a plant to hang in a hot, sunny window.  It will fry in no time

Water:  Like the majority of plants, water more in the summer & less in the winter.  Water thoroughly and let it drain out of the pot.  Make sure the top 1/2 of the soil dries out before watering again.  I water mine in the garden every 10-14 days.  I’m sure you know this but it’s worth a repeat – the warmers the temps are, the more often you’ll need to water.

In the winter, water sparingly.  Indoors they will dry out slower so that may be every 4 weeks.  Remember, Hoyas are succulents so no matter the season, don’t overdo it with the water.

Temperature:  They bloom when it’s warm & prefer it cooler in the winter months.  They don’t like excessive air conditioning or conversely, heat.  Keep them out of any cold or hot drafty spots.  Mine grow outdoors in a temperate climate so mother nature provides them with these seasonal changes they need to grow & thrive.

Here’s my Hoya carnosa “variegta” before & after its transplant with care tips in the middle:

Fertilizer:  I apply a good dose of worm castings every spring to nourish my Hoyas.   Now that the 1 you see here in these pics & the video has been moved to a shadier spot & into a bigger pot, it’s happy as can be.  Plus, it’s been flowering quite a bit & there are at least 7 more blooms on the way.

You might want to check out this Hoya plant food.  Feed it 2 or 3 times in early spring through summer.  Back off in the fall & winter months because the plants need to rest.

Repotting/Soil:  Regarding transplanting & repotting, don’t think your Hoya will need it every year.  They actually like being pot bound & you’ll get a better bloom if you leave them be for a few years.  I hadn’t repotted mine for 3 years & did it because the soil was way down in the pot.  And, I didn’t jump up too big in pot size – you can see the difference in the video.  It’s best to do the repotting in the early spring to early summer.

In terms of soil, Hoyas like a nice & rich mix.  Most of them are epiphytic & are used to having rich matter fall on them from above.  The mix I concocted was a blend of organic potting soil, compost, worm castings & orchid grow mix (which is a combo of fine fir bark & perlite).  Because they are epiphytes just like orchids & need excellent drainage, the bark is a fine additive.  You can also add charcoal, leaf mold or coco coir.

Pruning:   When mine was growing up the patio umbrella, I can’t remember ever pruning it.  During the transplant process I did cut off one of the stems to use as a propagation experiment.  When I was training it on the hoops, I cut off the dead ends.  You get the picture, I don’t prune this plant much at all.

You can prune it to control the size, make it more bushy, to thin it out or remove any dead growth.  I’ve never pruned off those short stalks from which the flowers emerge because new fluorescences will develop on them.

a variegated hoya in a clay pot is growing up the legs of a bistro table on a patio

Here’s my Hoya before being repotted, training & relocated.  You can see it was definitely bleached out.

Training:  In their native environments, Hoyas can trail up to 20′.  They climb up trees, over pergolas & arches & up columns.  They are twining vines, so if you’re going to train it then you’ll need to attach it to whatever you’re training it on.  Indoors they’re usually seen as hanging plants but can be trained on trellis’ and hoops.  Stay tuned, because my next post & video will be on how I trained this Hoya.

Propagation:  I propagate mine in water from cuttings.  I go down stem 3-7 nodes on the stem & make a cut at an angle.  I have a separate post & video on my pruning experiment coming soon.  You can also propagate those stem cuttings or individual leaf cuttings in a light mix formulated specifically for this purpose.  Lastly, they propagate (slowly!) by seed too.

Pests:  Outdoors mine get a light infestation of golden aphids & sometime mealybugs towards the end of summer.  I just take the garden hose & gently blast them off.

Indoors they most commonly get mealybugs.  Keep your eye out for spider mite, scale & aphids.  Use horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to control them. You can also make your own blends.

Flowers:  Saving the best for last – Hoya flowers are beautiful!  Their waxy, star-like blooms are intriguing & can be found in many colors, sizes & forms depending on the species of Hoya.  Some bloom in the first year & others take a few years to establish before they bloom.  My Hoya carnosa “variegata” took almost 3 years to bloom by the way, so be patient.

Sound the trumpets please – these wonderful flowers are fragrant too, especially in the evening.  The icing on the floral cake!

Indoors they take longer to bloom, depending on the species.  If yours is indoors & has never bloomed, it’s most likely not getting enough light.

close up of a hoya wax plant flower bud the plant grows on bamboo hoops

This is how the flower buds look.  And, don’t cut the stems of the flowers off after blooming.

I love Hoyas and plan on getting a few more.  Because they are so easy to root, I plan on buying cuttings.  I’ve left a couple of sites down below for you to peruse for you own Hoya viewing and possibly purchasing pleasure.  Now the hard part, which Hoyas to choose!

Happy gardening,

Nell's signature

So many Hoyas.

Here you can buy Hoya cuttings.


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  1. Pingback: How To Care For Hoyas And Repot Them | Gardenoholic

  2. Pingback: How I Trained My Hoya - |

  3. Pingback: How to Grow String of Hearts or Rosary Vine, a Sweet Succulent-Like Trailing Houseplant – News strips

  4. Loved the information on your site. I thought to give my Hoya a gift of good light and humidity when we moved temporality in to a different house. Instead, it got bugs, a spider like sticky film on the leaves, and a black sooty fungus.

    I was told to toss the plant by local nurseries, but I has now rewarded me with beautiful hot pinks stems and large ivory leaves. Help!

    I cut off the most affective areas and bathed the leaves in a solution of lemon Joy and water…we us this to kill fleas on infant kittens at the shelter where I work. Please let me know what else I can do for this plant.
    BTW=this was a gift “plant” It appears to actually be 3 plants that have sent out lots of vines…..about 3-4 ft. Thank you for any infor. Diane

  5. Hi Diane – Thank you! Sounds like your hoya has aphids (like most pests) which cause a sticky film & sooty mold. Or, it could be spider mites. Either way, give the plant a good hose down & get the undersides too. Or, you can use a horticultural oil spray. Nell

  6. Thank you for your reply. I scrubbed every leaf, pruned off the worst and took your advise and gave the plant a good shower. BTW. this plant isn’t little, so needed to spread it our on towels on the dining room table to get a dry-off of the leaves.
    Spring is now here and our new house’s deck offers bright shaded light with the Arkansas summer humidity. The plant is about 2-3 yrs old so I will be trying to entice it into flowering. Any other advise other then starting fertilizer. A good bug spray? diane

  7. I have heard that
    Hoya plants like cold tea now and then.
    Do you know if this is right?

  8. Hi Beverley – I’ve never heard that. I do know that some recommend feeding them with a compost tea. I use a combo of worm compost & compost to feed mine in the spring. Nell

  9. Hi Nell — I have two lovely Hoya Carnosas hanging side-by-side in pots, under a mixed light awning that only gets full sun from the west in the late afternoon, and I live in the Southern Alameda County in the SF Bay Area. Ideal in every way.

    All has been well for years, and they bloom profusely from late spring through early fall.

    This week, we have experienced temps up to 112 for several days running. I generally water every 8 days in summer, but this past week, I have watered twice within four days because the pots dried out completely.

    I can’t determine if the yellowing leaves at bottom and facing west are from the sudden change in temperature, or the extra water — or both. The profusion of blooms seem not have been affected, interestingly.

    Any thoughts about what I should do at the moment (should I panic) and as we head towards fall?

    Also, I have a ten-inch shoot that I have been nursing in water for six-plus months that is healthy with lots of roots. When should I pot it and how big a pot?

    Many thanks to you and your site.

  10. Michael – You’re very welcome. I lived in foggy, cool San Francisco for 20 years so 112 is a heat wave indeed. I now live in Tucscon AZ (hot!) where my Hoyas have adjusted just fine after a move from Santa Barbara. I water them more often here & get an occasional yellow leaf. They’re growing outdoors in bright shade with a north exposure. I’d say it’s the west exposure & that sudden jump to high temps. Hoyas can take heat but don’t like hot sun. Also, they don’t like to be overwatered because they store water in their leaves but the drying out combined with the heat would be a factor. You can plant that shoot now. A 4″ inch got will be fine until it gets bigger. Nell

  11. Hi,
    Do you know if Hoyas are pet friendly plants or are the leaves poisonous if ingested by animals?

  12. Hi Kim – I recently did a post & video on this: Hoyas are considered to be non-toxic to both cats & dogs. However, chewing on the leaves & stems can make them sick, but it won’t kill them. Nell

  13. Hi all
    Why can you not move HOYAS when they are in flower

  14. Hi Vic – You can but it’s best to do it when they not flowering so you don’t disturb the cycle. Nell

  15. I need help please!!! I have a wax plant that I propagated from a cutting many years ago. The plant has been doing great for about 16 years! Until…we moved, and I placed it in a three season porch during summer. Then I repotted it because it hadn’t been repotted – EVER (that I can remember). When I repotted it, I separated some parts and placed them in the soil as their own plant to propagate from. Then I fertilized it with Miracle Grow (it was end of summer/early fall) and brought it indoors. Now, It’s not doing well. Nearly all of it has died except the largest part of the plant, but even that has some yellowing/dying leaves. I thought the problem might be the new water, we’re on well water now whereas previously I was giving the plant city tap water that had a filter on it. I’ve recently taken to giving it filtered water from the fridge thinking the water was the issue. I really love this plant and want to save it but don’t know what to do. Can you help??

  16. Hi Monique – You may have fertilized it too close to the time of transplanting. Yellow, mushy leaves on a hoya are due to too much water. Damage on the leaves of a plant due to water quality manifest on the edges & actually look like burn. And, perhaps it needs more light. Nell

  17. Hi Nell. I have been reading your site, as we’ve just moved and I want to do right by my Hoya! It is really old – was my Grandmother’s initially; when she passed away, my Aunt separated it and gave half to my Mom. I then inherited “The Hoya” when my Mom suddenly passed in 1978! When Mom passed, the Hoya continued to live in the same home – and continued to flower periodically. Then, in 2002 we moved – and along it came. It’s done well, but never flowered again! Now that we’ve moved again, I hoping to get it to flower again. I’ve never replanted it in all the years I’ve had it (don’t remember Mom replanting either). The leaves are a beautiful shiny dark green & while it continues to grow, some of the new stem grow will always dry up (which I’ve just cut off). We are putting a Family Room addition on this spring and I’m wanting to have a place just for “the Hoya”. There will be lots of window light – is morning sun or ? preferred. Never having done anything, but water – I’m worried about doing anything to upset it! Given that we live in northern Manitoba, it’s been an indoor plant. Any advise is appreciated. Thank you.

  18. Hi Lynda – Hoyas certainly have longevity! My hoyas (which are now all mature) tend to bloom heavier one year & lighter the next. It’s most likely not blooming because it’s not receiving enough light. Make sure it gets at least 6 hours of very bright light, but no direct sun. Nell

  19. Hi I have a Hoya cutting in water it has 2 root shoots about half an inch long, how much roots should I have before potting it up

  20. Hi Nell i really enjoyed your videos. The information you give on these Hoya beauties is very helpful

    I love these little darlings! Keep up the good work!!!

  21. Hi Tom – Hoyas have thick roots & root readily in mix as well as mix. You can transplant them any time now as long as the mix is light. Nell

  22. Hi Delores – I love Hoyas too! And thank you for watching the videos & stopping by. Nell

  23. I was wondering if 2-3 hours of early morning sun 730-1030 would be better than 3 hours of late afternoon sun 430-730 for a hoya carnosa? Thanks!

  24. Hi Susan – Indoors, late afternoon sun is fine as long as it’s not in the window. Outdoors, early sun is better. Nell

  25. Hi Nell, I have a Hoya cutting that has been in a water garden for about 5 yrs. It’s root bound and is now flowering for the first time. We are going to move to another state and I wanted to get it transplanted into soil before we move. When would be the best time to transplant and how large of a pot should I use? I’m kind of a newby at this. I would appreciate all the advice you could give me.

  26. Hi Janice – I don’t know how big the cutting or root system is but you might be able to go with a 4″ grow pot for the transport. Or, a 6 or 8″ pot. Spring is the best time to transplant but you can also do it in summer or early fall. Here’s a post I did last year on repotting my hoya topiary: By the way, I recently moved from Santa Barbara to Tucson & transported this hoya in my car. It made it just fine across the desert! Nell

  27. Hello,

    I’m pretty new to this houseplant thing and had very little knowledge (and still only have a little knowledge, just more than I had previously) about how to care for them. The plants that I am most passionate about are my hoya. I remember my great-grandma with her BEAUTIFUL hoya plants in her sun room; they were CONSTANTLY blooming. I had been trying to find more information about how to care for my hoya, but had some difficulty with specific care instructions. Thank you SO much! Your posts and videos have been EXTREMELY helpful (especially since I live pretty far north where I need to keep my hoya indoors).

    Long story short, thank you thank you thank you. I really appreciate your help and hoya-knowledge. ?

  28. Nicolas – You’re very welcome!! I’m so glad you found this info to be helpful because that’s why I do it. I absolutely love hoyas & they’re great for beginning gardeners like you. They’re very long lived & tough plants. 1 of mine grows outdoors here in the Tucson desert (in bright shade) & does great. I have 4 of them & find the foliage & flowers on each to be beautiful. I have a post & video on hoyas coming out today so stay tuned for that. All the best, Nell

  29. I found it. Thank you so much for all the great information! Thinking that mine may need a little more light.
    Thanks again,

  30. You’re most welcome Leonda! Nell

  31. Hi! I am the proud new owner of a Hoya starter plant . I was looking for a smaller pot bc I read that they did well with a smaller size, however all I could find was a plastic pot. Maybe it’s bc of the time of the year, but my selection was very limited. Do you think I should hold out for ceramic or a terra cotta pot?

  32. Hi Jennifer – Hoyas grow fine in plastic pots. One of mine is in a resin pot & doing great. You can see it here: Nell

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