Hoya - Soaring Spheres Of Wax Ivy

House lianas are not only versatile plants, but also remarkably malleable in their use. On supports, simply in pots, in ampeles or formed into outlandish figures and even sculptures, they offer to bring massive greenery and vertical accents to the decoration. The hoia, which has become a truly classic plant in the new millennium, is no exception. Inimitable, soaring and ornate balls of inflorescences with unusual star blossoms are charming at first sight. And taking care of hoias, or "wax ivy" is not that difficult at all.

Hoya - soaring spheres of wax ivy
Hoia fleshy (Hoya carnosa). © Dev

Hoyas are luxuriously flowering indoor vines

Hoyas are so popular, that sometimes you don't find them in flower shops but in gift stores. True, we are not talking about huge lianas, but only rooted leaves: green "hearts" that have taken roots in a pot are a great gift for Valentine's Day. But also full-fledged hoyas have earned the status of one of the most "reliable" indoor lianas. "Folk" nicknames of "waxwort" and "wax ivy" the plant has received for the seemingly waxy, unusually dense textures of the stars at the inflorescences and the particular texture of the leaves.

Hoya (Hoya) is a genus of evergreen climbing, creeping or hanging semi-bush and shrubs with long and slender shoots. Hoia vary in height from 15 cm to 2 m. It's true that the tiny plants are rooted leaves of Kerr's hoia, while all the adult plants are much bigger, even if they are limited in height by the supports they grow on. The leaves of a hoia are dark, fleshy but not too thick, leathery, always solid and arranged in opposite directions. And the shape and size of the leaves of individual hoias can be radically different.

The hoias flower from May until October. Flowers of this liana are unusually original, graceful, star-shaped, with an unusual double structure: inside a large five-pointed "star" there is a contrasting star-crown of a smaller size. Both the shape of the leaflets and their original waxy and sometimes almost furry texture made the plant stand out and made it a legend. The star-shaped flowers of the hoia are gathered in umbrella-like inflorescences, which most often droop, hanging down like magic porcelain baskets.

There are varieties with white, pink and cream colors, and almost always the star-shaped flowers are decorated with a dark or bright crown in the center. A distinctive feature of all Hoyas is their ability to emit a surprisingly gentle scent at night.

Hoya - soaring spheres of wax ivy
Hoya Kerrii. © Zoran Jovanovic

Hoya species

The most common houseplants are the Kerr's and the fleshy one.

The Hoya Kerrii (Hoya Kerrii) has shoots that can reach 2 meters in length. But it's not the flexible, creeping shoots of the topgrower that attract attention at all, but the large, leathery leaves in the shape of an inverted heart. In length and width the leaves of this hoya reach 15 cm, and their color - a rich, bright green - creates a feeling of freshness. The umbrella-shaped inflorescences are very graceful.

They contain numerous white flowers with a beautiful dark middle and a basic creamy-creamy color. The species is slow-growing, in room culture remains stable and is well "managed." In addition to the basic plant, the variegated form with creamy leaves is also very popular.

Worthy to flower growers is the more modestly sized Hoya fleshy (Hoya carnosa). It is this plant that is originally called wax ivy. The shoots of the liana grow only up to 1 m, but it will outshine its counterparts in ampelic culture. This elegant if not to say graceful plant needs to be tied up and has fleshy, fairly dark glossy, pointed leaves which are smaller than those of other species.

If you look closely, you can see small whitish and yellowish speckles on the leaves of wax ivy. This hoya forms dense bushes and its leaves are evergreen. Inflorescences sit on short pedicels, in small umbrellas. Individual wax ivy flowers are very beautiful, star-shaped with a red crown in the center, giving the whole inflorescence a mottled appearance. In addition to the basic species, there is a more small-leaved hoya of the compact form.

It is also worth paying attention to other species of hoya:

  1. Ampelent small-leaved beauty Hoya beautiful (Hoya bella) is a dwarf species, which, although less common, is also very highly ornamental. It is not as luxuriant but more densely pubescent, with beautiful leaves up to 3 cm. long, oval in shape with a pointed tip and numerous small drooping star-shaped flowers with crimson midrib.
  2. Hoya majestic (Hoya imperialis) is a climbing species with pubescent shoots, large oval leaves up to 20 cm long with the edge rounded at the base and pointed at the tip. The flowers are gathered in dangling umbrellas, pink-red, with a pubescent crown, appearing like a shining vision.
  3. Hoya multiflora (Hoya multiflora) is a compact species with narrow, up to 14 cm leaves, unusually thin, prominent veins and yellow and white flowers that have an outer star as if bent backwards. This hoia is famous for its lemon fragrance and its shooting star-like flowers, gathered in inflorescences of up to 40 flowers each.

Hoias are lianas that are not that difficult to grow. But they require really careful care, constant monitoring and careful correction of conditions at the slightest signs of "discontent". These beauties need sensitive, caring owners who will be able to meet all their needs and provide the necessary care.

Hoya - soaring spheres of wax ivy
Hoya beautiful (Hoya bella). © Peter G
Hoya - soaring spheres of wax ivy
Hoya majestic (Hoya imperialis). © Doug
Hoya - soaring spheres of wax ivy
Hoya multiflora. © Doug

Hoia care at home

Lighting for Wax Ivy

The hoia is considered a light-dependent plant. To grow these beauties, regardless of the species, you need to choose light sites. But from direct sunlight in summer (in the rest of the year they are not terrible for hoias), as well as the slightest shading is better to save hoias. Western and eastern window sills are ideal for hoia. In winter the hoia can be moved to the southern windows, but the plant will not suffer too much if it stays in the same place. From a sudden increase in light in spring it is better to protect the hoia, gradually adapting to the new conditions.

Please note that the hoia cannot tolerate any change of location, starting from the budding stage to the middle of flowering. The plant cannot be moved from place to place, moved to new conditions, it's better not even to turn the pot at all, because the hoia can drop the formed buds.

Comfortable temperature regime

Hoia will not give any trouble with the selection of comfortable temperatures. This liana will be comfortable in the normal room range, it is not afraid of extreme heat, but it achieves the greatest decorative effect in coolness, at temperatures around 18-20 degrees. In normal room temperatures, the hoia can be grown all year round, but it is still better to lower the temperature by at least a few degrees from November to February. The minimum threshold of acceptable temperatures for the liana is 12-15 degrees for most hoias and 18 degrees for the beautiful hoia.

Hoias love fresh air. The rooms in which they grow are best ventilated regularly. But the plant is not taken out into the fresh air, and in the cold season hoia are protected from cold air currents.

Watering and humidity

Despite their rather large size, hoias do not like excessive moisture and need a restrained approach to watering. These beauties should not be watered too much, but the upper layer of soil in the pots must be dried out between procedures. At the same time, a complete drought should not be allowed, maintaining a light, stable humidity. Starting from October all hoias are watered less, letting the substrate between procedures dry out more, but still not leading to complete desiccation of the soil.

Hoias like high humidity, but not so much to create for the beautiful lianas greenhouse conditions. For these hardy topsides it is enough to provide spraying of the leaves, which will compensate even the work of heating systems.

When you do the procedures, it is worth taking care not to get water on the flowers, spray the plant gently and only on the leaves. If the hoia grows in cool room temperatures, humidity is all the more irrelevant to it. But if that liana is grown in heat, the leaves should be sprayed as often as possible.

Both for watering and for spraying, soft water should be used. Hard, not watered water will cause the appearance of spots on the leaves.

In addition to the usual procedures, you should introduce regular wiping the leaves of dust into the care program of the beauty. It's better to carry out the procedure once a week, using a wet sponge or rag.

Hoya - soaring spheres of wax ivy
Hoya cinnamomifolia (Hoya cinnamomifolia). © fracass-be
Hoya - soaring spheres of wax ivy
Hoya concave (Hoya lacunosa). © Sandra
Hoya - soaring spheres of wax ivy
Hoya pubicalyx (Hoya pubicalyx). © vgonnot

Feeding for hoya

Despite the large size of the plant, the hoya does not need heavy, frequent feeding. In this parameter, it is similar to most indoor crops. Fertilize it every 3-4 weeks with a standard dose or every 2 weeks with a half-reduced dose.

From October to February fertilizer is not applied at all. Each feeding procedure should be completed by carefully loosening the top layer of substrate, during which the roots must not be flooded. Complex universal preparations are best for hoia (nitrogen is as important for it as phosphorus with potassium).

Stimulating the flowering of wax ivy

The beautiful hoia in the room culture is recommended to "force" to flower. The plant will open flower buds on its own, but if you want to observe a really lush flowering, it is better to additionally stimulate the process. The procedures are especially important if the lowering of temperature in winter could not be ensured.

For stimulation the whole plant with the beginning of active growth in spring is immersed in warm water (temperature - 34-36 degrees of heat). You can be limited to soaking only the pot with roots in water of the same temperature. If you soak the whole plant, the procedure is carried out for 30 minutes, the pot is soaked for 2 hours.

Also stimulates abundant flowering and increase the intensity of lighting, including the use of artificial dosvetki.

Hoya - soaring spheres of wax ivy
Hoya fleshy (Hoya carnosa). Joya carnosa

Hoya pruning

A very important rule to remember when growing haoya: Never "touch" the flower stems, the stems on which the inflorescence is raised. They can not be cut, break off even after the end of flowering. When blooming, the flower shoots should be left on the plant: perhaps the plant will release flowers again in comfortable conditions. But the main reason is that it is on the old flower stalks that the hoya will release inflorescences next year. And if you cut them, you will have to wait a long time for a new flowering.

And the rest of the shoots can not be cut, curling around the supports or shorten after flowering only the longest branches. They are cut back to short branches on which flower buds will also form next year. The plant can also be shaped as needed: as soon as the branches become too elongated and unattractive, they can be pruned or lightly trimmed and, if desired, shortened to half their length (such shortened branches will also produce inflorescences next year).

The heavy umbrellas of the hoia inflorescences droop and if you want to appreciate all their beauty and you grow the liana in classic pots, it's better to put small props on the inflorescences.

Potting and substrate

Frequency of repotting the hoia directly depends on the age of the plant. Young lianas are better to transplant annually, increasing the capacity. Mature and old plants can be transplanted once every 2-3 years. When transplanting immediately establish a support for the plant. The best time is early spring. When transplanting the hoia is very important to lay a thick layer of drainage at the bottom of the container.

For the hoia is better to choose permeable, light and nutritious substrate with a neutral or slightly acidic reaction. It is considered that this plant can bloom perfectly well in quality garden soil, if only sand is added to it, but a mixture of sod soil, humus, peat and sand with the addition of a double portion of leafy soil will suit hoia better.

Hoyas are excellent for hydroponics.

Diseases and pests of wax ivy

Hoyas suffer from pests only with improper care and violations of comfortable growing conditions. The plant attracts scutes, which must be dealt with by mechanical flushing and insecticides. Powdery mildew is also common on hoias, which is also best combated by comprehensive measures - correcting humidity and treating with fungicides.

Common problems in hoia cultivation:

  • bud drop when re-potting, transferring to another room;
  • appearance of spots on the leaves in too little light or in direct sunlight, excessive feeding rates, watering with cold water;
  • absence of flowering in poor light, soil depletion, wintering without lowering the temperature by at least 2-3 degrees and pruning the flower stalks;
  • leaf drop in extremely dry air;
  • curling, leaves or their drying out in low temperatures and under direct sunlight;
  • flower buds drooping in heat, improper watering;
  • dropping of leaves and even shoots in overwatering;
  • dropping of flowers when changing location or in low light;
  • delayed growth and paling of leaves when nitrogen deficiency, using fertilizer only for flowering plants.

Propagation of Hoia

The most common method of propagation of this indoor plant is considered cuttings. In this case, you need to use the shoots of the previous year for hoya, cut them in the spring or fall. For hoia on cuttings it is better to leave from 2 pairs of leaves, removing the lower and shortening the upper. Rooted cuttings in the internodes, so cut them a few centimeters below the leaf node. The shoots can be rooted in the substrate, in sand, and even in water.

The main thing is to maintain a temperature of not less than 20 degrees of heat and high humidity. After rooting, usually taking 1 month, hoias are planted in small pots of 2-3 pcs. The plants will not flower until the fourth year. For such hoyas, it is important to prune the shoots after 3-4 leaves for thickening.

Much earlier flowering, in the same year, the method of stem plucking can be obtained. An incision is made on the shoot between the nodes of leaves, wrapped in wet moss and fixed with film, foil, twine. After rooting, the upper part is cut off and used as an independent plant.

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