HOW TO GROW YOUR HOYA AND HAVE AMAZING FLOWERS AND FOLIAGE.
EVEN IN THE COLD!
HOYA - THE ARISTOCRAT OF PLANTS
A myriad of intriguing flower colours and shapes await you when you enter the amazing world of the Hoya. But also spare a thought for the diverse foliage that will delight you with its colour, forms and interesting variegations in not only white and gold but also silver, bronze and pink (called chimeras). The fragrance of many of the various blooms will also give you a nice surprise. Hoyas are native to both sub-tropical and tropical climates in Australia and through Southern Asia. The good news is that many of them will grow in cooler temperate climates in Southern Australia and Tableland areas without glasshouse facilities. Remember to treat each Hoya species as an individual, each species requiring something a little different from its relatives in the way of heat, light and moisture. As these are not fussy plants you can usually experiment with different positions to find the right spot.
Hoyas which do well outdoors in cooler climates under shade and right down to -2oC are:
Hoya bella, Hoya carnosa, Hoya carnosa compacta (Indian Rope), Hoya carnosa Krinkles, Hoya globulosa, Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’, Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Princess’, Hoya lacunosa, Hoya serpens, Hoya shepherdii, Hoya pauciflora, Hoya polyneura (Fishtail Hoya), Hoya pubicalyx ‘Red species’, Hoya pubicalyx ‘Silver Leaf’, Hoya pubicalyx `Red Buttons', Hoya australis Nambour prov. (Australian Waxflower).
Still keep them in the warmest location you have and keep them out of the frost.
Hoyas that are reasonably cold hardy and will grow down to +2oC if you give them added protection in winter: bring them inside or in a glasshouse or the like where there is good light.
Care needs to be taken not to get these less cold hardy plants too moist in the winter chill.
Some of these reasonably coldhardy Hoya are:
Hoya lacunosa, Hoya australis ‘Daintree’, Hoya multiflora, Hoya shepherdii longifolia, Hoya nicholsoniae, Hoya pubicalyx `Hawaian Royal Purple', Hoya `Champagne Beach', Hoya diversifolia, Hoya tsangii, Hoya unclan, Hoya macgillivrayii (Big Mac).
Hoyas that are not cold hardy and need a minimum of +5oC are Hoya magnifica, Hoya `Saphi Wine', Hoya cummingiana, Hoya kennejiana, Once you possess a Hoya it will be your friend for life flowering each spring and autumn (sometimes both) or summer, off the same flower spurs each year. They don’t need a great deal of attention, are relatively maintenance free and can be allowed to dry out between waterings. Unfortunately some of us think you need to neglect the plant altogether because of its hardiness-this is not recommended.
Flowers for most Hoya come in the second spring after purchase in a 75mm pot- the short wait is well worthwhile. They can stay in this size pot for years and when you pot them up..... a 100-125mmpot is enough. Being an epiphyte they like being tight rooted and like drying out between waterings especially when its cool. Too many hoyas are killed by overpotting.
Good light is essential for flowering and the needs of each variety are often slightly different. Shade of 50-70%, alcinite and fibreglass covered structures or the edge of your patio where morning sun is available is all that is needed for good flowering. When searching for new hoyas in PNG we always found them on the edges of the forest or in openings where they got plenty of light & full sun at times. ....but keep in mind the humid conditions. We never found them in the shaded dense forest !!
Hoyas love a tight root system . Provided you have potted your Hoyas into a well drained potting mix they will do all the rest. Treat them like any other plant with slow release fertiliser once or twice a year. Not too much or they might not flower. Watch out for Mealy Bug from spring on. If you see this little sucker covered in a white substance, simply scrape it off with a toothbrush. There are common sprays available that will do the job but it hardly seems necessary unless you are a large collecter of Hoya.
Did you know Hoyas can be grown and flower beautifully under fluorescent light? Many Hoyas make an adaptable indoor plant . In areas of low humidity you should go for the thick leaved or hairy leaved types indoors, as well as, Pubicalyx and Carnosa varieties.
Like all vines you will get more flowers if you run the vines horizontally. A good way to keep them is to nail the pots to a post at say 25cm intervals and traiin them along horizontal tie wires servicing each pot !! You can also hang them in a hanger or run them vertically up tie wires from a pot either suspended or on the ground.
In nature you will see hoya fruit which are like beans with seeds inside....the pollination is carried out by ants. In captivity we usually kill off the ants so we do not often see hoya seed !!
Once a hoya flowers it sets a solid spur (peduncle) from which it flowers again every time it flowers !! The spur gets bigger after each flowering.
For many of us one of the best features of the Hoya is its relatively inexpensive price tag despite its rightful claim to the Aristocracy.
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