Heart shaped plant leaves

We believe giving your loved one (or bff/neighbor/best buddy/oncly/colleague/anyone really) a plant as a token of love and affection is always a good idea. Depending on the type of person you’re giving a plant to, go for an easy grower that thrives under many circumstances, or pick something a bit more special that they will treasure for years to come. For Valentine’s Day any plant could do the trick, even a prickly cactus, but just for the romantic souls amongst us: let’s focus on some particularly romantic plants. Plants that have heart shaped leaves that show off your ever growing love for your Valentine. Here are our top six heart shaped plants:

Ceropegia Woodii

Photo via The Fresh Flower Company

This delicate looking plant called Ceropegia woodii is also named “String of Hearts” and features dozens of small heart shaped leaves on long trailing vines. They do best in partial shade or full sun and hate being over watered. Leave the soil to dry out completely before watering. They also quite like humidity, which makes them perfect for bathrooms (with some bright indirect sunlight!).

Philodendron Scandens

Photo via Plant Pot

Philodendron scandens’s heart power is truly underestimated. It is an easy growing plant that also grows quite fast and works really well as a hangin plant, like the one above. But you can also opt to guide its vines along a wall or your canopy bed for an instant “heart bunting” effect, like in this bathroom at Saana’s place in Turku, Finland:

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Hoya kerrii

If you visit your local plant shop this week, you have a big chance to find one of these cute Hoya kerri “Lucky Heart” plants. They are sometimes even sold as “heart cactus”, but they are actually not cacti: Hoya kerrii is actually a climbing plant that can grow up to 4 meters high! Usually when you buy them they have only one leaf and only start growing a new leaf a few months later, but once strong roots are established, it will grow new vines quite quickly.

Alocasia zebrina

To recognize the heart shapes of an Alocasia plant, you need a bit of imagination. Most Alocasia leaves have a slightly sharp <3 shape, but have a look around your local plant shop or garden center and try to find a plant that you love. One of the most decorative Alocasia species is the Alocasia zebrina, with its patterned stems, spotted here at the new Leaf boutique in Paris. It is the plant right in front of the red door. Like most Alocasia, they like humidity, both of the soil and the air, as well as bright indirect light.

Anthurium

Photo via Anthura

This tropical beauty will charm anyone with a romantic personality. Its lush green heart–shaped leaves are a perfect match to the bright flowers – mostly in flashy reds or pinks. Even though we think of it as the flower, it is only a so called spathe as the actual flowers are small and sit on the elongated spike shaped spadix. This popular houseplant grows ideally with bright, indirect light and a good soil mix in pots with drainage holes. The plant doesn’t like to sit in continuously moist soil so water it whenever the soil has dried out. Other than that, just give it some extra love and you will be rewarded with bright and beautiful flowers (sort of as we learned)!

Alluaudia ascendens

This beauty, called the Alluaudia ascendens, is one of the rarest heart shaped plants in this post: you will most probably see it first in a botanical garden, rather than in your local plant shop. So we suggest to offer your plant-loving friend or Valentine a visit to one of the beautiful botanical gardens in the world. Turn it into a romantic weekend getaway, or simply meet him or her in a botanical garden close by and search for Alluaudia ascendes together.

Happy green Valentine’s Day, plant friends!

If you are planning on getting a houseplant, you should definitely consider getting a heart-shaped plant. Heart-shaped plants are wonderful. They are very attractive and appealing. Besides, they will create a lovely romantic atmosphere in your house. Therefore, in this post, we have compiled a selection of the most charming heart-shaped plants that you can grow indoors. These plants are fascinating. Scroll down and take a look at them.

  1. Devil’s Ivy

Epipremnum aureum, commonly known as Devil’s Ivy, Money plant and golden pothos or pothos. This vine plant is one of the most popular houseplants. It is low maintenance, easy to grow, and most of all it is has been proven that the money plant is one of the most air purifying plants. It is able to remove many toxins including formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene. For more information about growing the Money plant indoors, read this post.

Anthurium andraeanum has many names including Tailflower, Flamingo flower, Painter’s-pallette, Tale flower, and Laceleaf. It is one of the most decorative heart-shaped plants. This exotic plant will be a nice and adorable addition to any place. Its leaves are very attractive and alluring and they will draw a smile on your face everytime you look at.

The arrowhead plant is one of the most ornamental heart-shaped plants. This plant is also known as American evergreen, Syngonium, Five fingers, and Nephthytis. It is not an actual heart-shaped plant but there is a similarity between the shape of its leaves and the shape of a heart. The arrowhead plant is a nice looking decorative plant. To successfully grow this plant indoors, you have to keep in mind the following:

  • avoid overwatering
  • Keep it away from direct sunlight

Sweetheart Hoya is an absolutely unique and remarkable plant. This heart-shaped plant goes with many names such as Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Plant, Valentine Hoya, Porcelain Flower, Heart Leaf, Lucky Hearts, and Wax Plant. It is an excellent decorative choice and it makes a wonderful gift too. Although it looks like a succulent plant, it is not. Sweetheart Hoya is a member of the milkweed family.

Cyclamen Persicum, widely known as Sowbread and Florist’s cyclamen, is one of the most charming heart-shaped plants. It is distinguished by its astonishing foliage and flowers. This ornamental houseplant needs attention and care to grow and survive. It is a very delicate plant. It is recommended that you check out this article about growing houseplants before you grow Cyclamen.

Simply known as Philodendron, it is one of the best and the most ornamental houseplants. Philodendron is an absolutely gorgeous plant. It is very attractive and alluring. Besides, being really low maintenance and sturdy, made this plant extremely popular. For growing Philodendron, you need to place it in a spot where it can receive partial sunlight.

Strings of heart or Rosery vine is a semi-succulent vine characterized by beautiful heart-shaped leaves and purple stems. Growing it in hanging pots or hanging baskets will give you an extremely pleasant and alluring view. This attractive houseplant will beautify and decorate any room in your house.

Its botanical name is Hemionitis arifolia, the heartleaf fern or heart fern is one of the best heart-shaped plants to grow indoors. It is an alluring houseplant that will bring nature and beauty to your indoor. It is an ideal choice to make your indoor warmer and more romantic. In order to grow heart fern successfully, you should keep in mind the following information:

  • It needs a slightly moisten soil
  • It requires a bright but shaded spot

This is a popular indoor herb. It is known with many different names such as Wild pepper, kadok, bai cha plu, and paan. Besides being decorative and having heart-shaped leaves, this plant is also edible. It is healthy and tasty. You can add it to a variety of dishes. If you want to learn how to grow betel plant indoors, check out this informative article.

Philodendron Gloriosum is an absolutely remarkable and exceptional houseplant. This largely sized beauty is perfect to make your indoor looks romantic. It is characterized by extremely large heart-shaped leaves that look totally stunning.

These are the most decorative heart-shaped plants. These plants are very beautiful and extremely attractive. They will add romance to your life. Besides, they are all low maintenance, they won’t take much of your time.

Care Of Sweetheart Hoya Plant: Growing Valentine Hoya Houseplants

Sweetheart hoya plant, also known as Valentine plant or sweetheart wax plant, is a type of Hoya appropriately named for its thick, succulent, heart-shaped leaves. Like other Hoya varieties, sweetheart hoya plant is a stunning, low-maintenance indoor plant. Read on for additional wax plant info.

Hoya Wax Plant Info

Native to Southeast Asia, sweetheart hoya (Hoya kerrii) is often a quirky Valentine’s Day gift with a single 5-inch leaf planted upright in a small pot. Although the plant is relatively slow-growing, it appreciates a hanging basket, where it eventually becomes a bushy mass of green hearts. Mature plants can reach lengths of up to 13 feet.

During the summer, clusters of white, burgundy-centered blooms provide bold contrast to the deep green or variegated leaves. One mature plant can display up to 25 blooms.

How to Grow a Sweetheart Wax Plant

Sweetheart hoya care isn’t complicated or involved, but the plant is somewhat particular about its growing conditions.

This Valentine hoya tolerates relatively low light, but not full shade. However, the plant performs best and is more likely to bloom in bright or indirect sunlight. Room temperatures should be maintained between 60 and 80 F. or 15 and 26 C.

With its fleshy, succulent leaves, sweetheart hoya is relatively drought-tolerant and can get by with as little as one or two waterings per month. Water deeply when the soil is slightly dry to the touch, then let the pot drain thoroughly.

Although the soil should never become bone dry, wet, soggy soil can result in deadly rot. Be sure sweetheart hoya is planted in a pot with a drainage hole.

Sweetheart hoya is a light feeder and requires little fertilizer. A light solution of balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer mixed at a rate of ¼ teaspoon in a gallon of water is plenty. Feed the plant once a month during the growing season and discontinue feeding in winter.

If a mature plant doesn’t bloom, try exposing the plant to brighter light or cooler nighttime temperatures.

Hoya Species, Heart Leaf Hoya, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart,Valentine Hoya, Wax Plant, Porcelain Flower

View this plant in a garden

Category:

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Vines and Climbers

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Foliage:

Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us

Height:

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Spacing:

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Danger:

N/A

Bloom Color:

Maroon/Burgundy

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From woody stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama

Montevallo, Alabama

Phoenix, Arizona(2 reports)

Brea, California

Carlsbad, California

San Francisco, California

Bartow, Florida

Indialantic, Florida

Miami, Florida(2 reports)

Palm Bay, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Venice, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Augusta, Georgia

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Canton, Mississippi

Chehalis, Washington

Cabin Creek, West Virginia

show all

The Hoya plant, in its many varieties, is a tropical evergreen, perfect for indoor life. Though tropical, be careful not to overwater it. In this article, we’ll go in-depth about how to care it and discover some of its varieties.

Hoya Plant Overview

Quick Facts

Origin Indo-China, Indonesia, Australasia
Scientific Name Hoya
Family Apocynaceae
Type Evergreen climber
Common Names Wax plant, wax climber, Hindu rope plant
Ideal Temperature 60-80° F
Toxicity Not toxic to people or pets
Light Bright, indirect light
Watering Water sparingly
Humidity Moderate to high humidity
Pests Mealy bugs, scale, red spider mites

Caring for Your Hoya Plant

Typically, you can expect your Hoya plant to need watering once a week during the growing season in spring and summer, and then. only once every two weeks to once a month during fall and winter. This will vary depending on the size of your plant and the conditions it’s living in, so always check the consistency of your houseplant’s soil before adding more water to it.

Like most houseplants, the Hoya plant is susceptible to root rot, so it’s always better to underwater than overwater it. Although this plant is not a succulent, it does have quite fleshy leaves and can survive short periods of drought.

The Hoya plant is an epiphyte, like the Orchid, so water it sparingly. This plant does not like to sit in wet soil, so only water it once the soil has had a chance to dry out, always checking the top few inches of the soil for moisture before you proceed with watering (Missouri Botanical Garden).

Don’t water it too heavily, making sure that water doesn’t pool on the surface of the soil. In its natural habitat, the Hoya plant lives in low water conditions, so try to replicate this at home to get the best out of your plant.

The Hoya plant enjoys bright indirect light. It will thrive in sunny spots where the light is filtered through sheer curtains. In fall and winter, the Hoya plant may live on a bright windowsill in direct sunlight, but it should be kept out of direct sunlight in spring and summer when the rays are stronger, especially in the heat of the afternoon, as this can cause the foliage to scorch or fade. If you want your Hoya plant to flower, then you need to position it in a spot where it will get as much bright, indirect light as possible, at least around six hours a day. If the plant isn’t getting enough light, then it will struggle to bloom.

Temperature

As a tropical plant, this plant can tolerate quite hot temperatures and is well suited to life indoors, where conditions tend to be warm. As a general rule, if you are comfortable with the temperature in your home, then your Hoya plant is comfortable too. The ideal temperature will differ depending on the variety of Hoya plant, but most can cope just fine with temperatures ranging from 50° F to 95° F. The perfect temperature for most Hoya varieties is between 60° F and 70° F.

As a heat-loving plant, the Hoya does well in sunrooms and conservatories, as long as it is given some shade during the heat of the day. Don’t let your Hoya plant live in an unused area of your home, such as a spare room, where temperatures may drop too low during winter months if you don’t heat up that room. In conditions lower than 50° F, the Hoya plant will likely lose its leaves. Keep it away from cold drafts, such as near windows, doors, and air conditioning units, to prevent sudden changes in temperature.

Humidity

This plant does well in moderate to high humidity and should fare well in the normal humidity found in homes. Keep it away from heaters and anything that may dry it out. If you notice that your plant seems to be suffering as a result of dry air, you can increase the humidity around the plant. There are several ways you can do this, including using an electric humidifier. Other methods you can use are simply spraying the plant with a water mist every couple of days or placing it on a pebble tray filled with water (Gardeners World Magazine). If you use a pebble tray, make sure the plant’s pot with holes in the bottom are not coming into contact with the water in the tray, as this will make its roots too wet and soggy.

Pruning

The Hoya plant is quite independent and needs very little attention when it comes to pruning. If your Hoya plant has any dead, damaged, or diseased leaves, you can remove these to keep the plant looking its best. For anything over and above this, you should proceed with caution, as pruning too much or removing vital parts of the plant can have a detrimental effect.

Flowers on the Hoya plant bloom on old flower stems called spurs (Royal Horticultural Society). It can be tempting to remove spent flower stems after the flowers have reached the end of their time, but in doing this, you will prevent the plant from blooming again in the future. Cutting back the trailing length of the plant will also have similar results. The plant needs space to grow in order for its roots to fill the pot and produce the much sought after flowers. While it may become essential to prune the plant if it becomes overgrown, do so in the knowledge that it could mean you’ll be waiting longer than usual for flowers to appear.

Repotting

Hoya plants, similarly to orchids, perform best when their pot is a snug fit, so don’t be too keen to repot your Hoya plant. Leaving it until it becomes root-bound will actually result in a better bloom of flowers, so you shouldn’t be repotting this plant very frequently.

However, a time will come when the plant outgrows its pot and leaving it in such tight conditions can stunt its growth. At this point, it’s time to repot. If your Hoya is in a plastic pot, you can gently squeeze the sides of the pot to find out if it needs to be potted on. If there is give in the pot when you push the sides in, then the plant can remain in the pot. If the pot stays firm, then it means the roots are compacted and need some growing room.

Repot the plant during spring by selecting a pot just one or two inches wider and deeper than the Hoya’s current pot. Using a pot that is too big for this plant can cause growth problems, as too much moisture in the new soil can overwhelm the roots and prevent flowering.

Fertilizer

Young Hoya plants will benefit from a fertilizer high in nitrogen throughout its growing period in the spring and summer. This will encourage foliage growth and should result in a lush and vibrant plant. Once the plant reaches a good size and you become more concerned with good flower production, you can switch to a different fertilizer high in phosphorus. It is especially beneficial if you can give your Hoya plant a high phosphorus feed a month before it is expected to flower, as this should result in a spectacularly abundant bloom.

Different types of Hoya plant bloom at different times, so you will need to know your plant’s pattern to be able to execute this. Hoya plants generally tend to do best with a liquid fertilizer, which should be diluted to half strength; this will protect your plant from fertilizer burn. During fall and winter, the plant becomes almost dormant and needs to rest, so you should not feed the plant during this time.

Typically, propagation of the Hoya plant is performed with stem cuttings or layering, as these tend to be the most successful options.

To propagate from a stem cutting, choose a softwood stem on the mother plant and cut it off with a sharp, clean tool at an angle. The angle gives more surface area from which roots can grow. The stem should ideally be about four inches long with a few sets of leaves on it and at least one node. Remove all of the leaves except for the top set. At this point, you can either use water to propagate your stem cutting or a moist propagation mix; both are equally effective, so it’s up to personal preference. You can dip the cut end of your stem in rooting hormone to encourage growth, though this isn’t essential.

If you propagate in water, make sure that half of the stem is submerged, and half is sticking out. Situate it in bright but indirect light with plenty of warmth, preferably from the bottom. Change the water when it becomes cloudy. New roots will appear within several weeks, at which point you can remove the cutting from the water and pot it up in a small container with well-draining soil mix, continuing care as usual for a Hoya plant and watch as it grows into a new full-sized plant. Propagating in water is particularly interesting as you can watch the roots appear and grow, and you can obviously see when enough roots have formed to be able to plant it into a new home.

However, propagating in a growth medium is equally successful and popular. To do this, select a mix specially formulated for propagation; a succulent mix often works well for Hoya plants. Fill a small pot with the propagation medium and ensure it is moist but not wet. Using your little finger or the blunt end of a pencil, make a hole in the center, which your stem cutting can stand up in. Keep the cutting in bright but indirect light in a warm environment. Although you won’t be able to see roots forming, you can check after a few weeks by gently tugging on the stem. If it comes right out, then it is not ready to be potted up, but if there is some resistance then, it means enough roots have grown to be able to place it into a more permanent pot.

Another effective propagation method is layering, which should not be confused with air layering as the two methods are very different. To propagate with layering, select a long softwood stem on your Hoya and pin it down to a new pot filled with soil while it is still attached to the mother plant. Roots should begin to form along the side of the stem where it meets the soil, though it can take longer than propagating with stem cuttings. Once enough roots have formed along the stem, you can cut it free from the mother plant and allow it to grow into a new Hoya in its own right.

Leaf cuttings and seeds can also be used to propagate from the Hoya plant, but these are usually much less successful and more time-consuming. Hoya seeds are not stable, so you won’t know which type of Hoya you are going to end up with when you plant them, and many of the seeds are usually not viable, so you may have to plant many before you manage to successfully grow a Hoya plant.

Propagating with leaf cuttings is similarly uncommon as it can take years before a leaf cutting develops into a plant. Though it is quite easy to get a leaf cutting to establish roots, it is much more difficult to convince the leaf to undergo any noticeable growth above soil level.

Flowering

The blooms on a Hoya plant are both beautiful and fragrant. The star-shaped waxy flowers appear in various colors and sizes depending on the variety of Hoya. Some Hoya plants will bloom year after year, while others are more sporadic. There are certain types of Hoya plant, notably the variegated Hoya, which take several years to have their first set of flowers.

Though the flowering of the Hoya can be inconsistent and unpredictable, these delightful blooms are worth the wait. To encourage flower growth, ensure your plant is getting enough light, is receiving an appropriate amount of high phosphorus fertilizer, and isn’t being heavily pruned. If these rules are applied, you should be in for an impressive display of flowers from your Hoya plant.

Varieties

It is estimated that there are several hundred varieties of the Hoya plant in existence, with more cultivars existing in some of the varieties. This means that there should easily be a variety of Hoya to suit everyone. Most varieties are grown for their flowers, though some are more of a vining plant, appreciated for their succulent foliage. You can also select your Hoya based on its needs, as different varieties like different climates, so you can find one that will grow perfectly in your home. A small snapshot of some of the varieties of Hoya plant is listed below.

Hoya Kerrii

Hoya ‘Kerrii’

This variety of Hoya hails from Southeast Asia and is commonly known as the Sweetheart plant due to its heart-shaped leaves. As a houseplant, it is popular in Asia and Europe, making a regular appearance in garden centers and stores around Valentine’s Day each year. The flowers on this variety vary from yellow to light pink, with the central ‘star’ of each flower being a deep pink. This fast-growing vine can develop rapidly and will need plenty of room to grow.

Hoya Australis

Hoya ‘Australis’ – Credit toWendy Cutler

Native to Australia, this variety is one of the few Hoyas that worships the sun and can tolerate it directly all year round. It grows in the wild around the edge of rainforests and is known for its ability to attract butterflies. As a houseplant, this is most commonly seen in Australia, though it is starting to be brought to other parts of the world. With its juicy succulent-like foliage and white and pink flowers, it is a very attractive Hoya.

Hoya Carnosa

Hoya Carnosa

This award-winning plant is what most people bring to mind when they think of Hoya. It is the most popular and most commonly found variety of Hoya, native to Australia and Eastern Asia. Many cultivars of this variety exist, all of them producing waxy leaves and star-shaped flowers in an array of colors. The stand out element of this variety is the fragrant blooms, which smell especially sweet in the evening.

If you are looking for a Hoya Carnosa plant to add pleasure to your house, I would recommend getting a Hoya Carnosa ‘Compacta’, also called Hindu Rope Plant. This is a popular Hoya Carnosa plant type that you can easily find on the market.

Hoya Serpens

Hoya ‘serpens’ – Credit toChhe

This variety of Hoya, native to the Himalayas, produces unusual-looking flowers. Though its blooms are the typical star shape associated with Hoya plants, they have a fuzzy, almost bristle-like texture and seem to be a cross between a flower and a nettle. The blooms are always a very pale green, with the central star being white or cream. The only vibrant color on this variety is a small spot of pink found at the middle of each flower. While the flowers on this variety may be somewhat underwhelming, the foliage is lush and abundant. The waxy green leaves of this Hoya plant are round in shape and grow rapidly along the extending vines.

Hoya Cinnamomifolia

Hoya ‘cinnamomifolia’ – Credit to nhq9801

This plant has been named cinnamomifolia due to the similarity between its leaves and those of the Ceylon cinnamon plant. It originates from Java, an Indonesian island. This variety is rarely grown as a houseplant, which is a shame because its blooms are very intriguing. The outer part of the flowers are usually a pale green or yellow, while the central star-shaped part of the flower is a very deep and rich shade of pink or red.

Epiphytic hoya plant, also known as the wax plant, is a popular houseplant. With clusters of star-shaped flowers adorning it, this waxy-looking species survives with only the bare minimum of care. But what does that care entail?

Today we’ll delve into the sweetly-scented world of the hoya plant to learn all about the best way to grow it. Every aspect of its care will be mentioned, from watering all the way through propagation.

By the time we’re done, you will be a hoya expert, and you’ll want to grow this bright, starry-flowered and aromatic plant at your home!

Helpful Products For Hoya Plant Growers:

  • Neem Oil
  • Safer Soap
  • Monterey BT
  • Garden Safe Slug & Snail Bait
  • Bonide Copper Fungicide
Common Name(s) Hoya plant, wax plant, porcelainflower, wax flower plant, Hindu rope plant, common waxflower, waxvine, lucky-heart, sweetheart plant, green wax plant
Scientific Name Hoya carnosa, Hoya australis, Hoya cinnamomifolia, Hoya kerrii, Hoya serpens, and many other Hoya species (200-300 more)
Family Apocynaceae
Origin Asia, Australia, and the tropical regions of that part of the world
Height 2-4’ tall, with a spread of up to 2’
Light Bright indirect sunlight
Water Sparing water, only when soil is dry
Temperature Above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with varieties that thrive in hotter temperatures
Humidity Tolerates humidity well
Soil Extremely well-draining soil required. Can use an orchid potting blend or a homemade blend with lots of perlite, pine bark and peat moss.
Fertilizer Higher nitrogen fertilizers for plant growth, high phosphorous fertilizers to stimulate flower development. Liquid fertilizers preferred.
Propagation By stem cutting or layering is easiest, but can also be propaged from leaf cuttings or seed
Pests Sap-sucking pests such as aphids, spider mites, mealybugs and other scale insects are common. Also can be affected by caterpillars, snails and slugs, whiteflies, and thrips. Susceptible to sooty mold and fungal root rots.

Types of Hoya Plant

The family of hoya plants is 200-300 different species with multiple different cultivars. Some bear gorgeous and aromatic flowers, others are vines with a wide diversity of leaf shapes. While we can’t cover it all in one piece, let’s look at a few of the most popular varieties to grow at home.

Hoya carnosa, ‘Wax Plant’, ‘Porcelainflower’, ‘Wax Flower Plant’, ‘Hindu Rope Plant’

Hoya carnosa. Source: sallysetsforth

Sweet-smelling hoya carnosa is one of the most popular of the hoya plant varieties, with many different cultivars available. It has won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit for many of those cultivars, and is a phenomenal houseplant.

Originating in eastern Asia and Australia, it has waxy foliage and the star-shaped flowers common to all hoya varieties. It tends to grow as a vining plant. Reputed to be a great cleanser of indoor air pollutants, it’s a popular plant to grow.

Hoya australis, ‘Common Waxflower’, ‘Waxvine’

Hoya australis. Source: Lauren Gutierrez

With shiny, succulent leaves and a vining habit, the common waxflower is a common butterfly attractant in its native Australia. This hoya plant loves sunlight, growing along the edges of rainforests and on rocky outcroppings in the eastern and southern parts of its native ground.

Hoya australis is often grown as a houseplant in Australia, and is beginning to make an appearance in other areas of the world as well. Waxvine can be grown indoors or outdoors in full sun conditions.

Hoya cinnamomifolia, ‘Wax Plant’

Hoya cinnamomifolia. Source: epiforums

Originating on the island of Java, Hoya cinnamomifolia gets its name from the shape of its leaves. The leaves resemble those of the Ceylon cinnamon or “true cinnamon” plant in shape and size.

While this hoya plant is not often grown in gardens, it is notable because of its distinctive flowers, which have outer petals in green to yellow tones. The inner petals are a rich and bright pinkish-red to dark red in coloration.

Hoya kerrii, ‘Lucky-Heart’, ‘Sweetheart Plant’

Hoya kerrii. Source: _j_a_d_s_

Called “Lucky-Heart” or “Sweetheart” due to the shape of its leaves, hoya kerrii comes from southeastern Asia. This is a very popular houseplant in that area of the world and in Europe, where it’s sold around Valentine’s Day.

When purchased at a garden center, this hoya plant is sold as a single heart-shaped leaf in a pot. It can take a couple years before it starts to grow in size, but when it does, it rapidly forms a vining habit and spreads out quickly. Its flowers are pinkish to yellowish with a deeper pink center star.

Hoya serpens, ‘Green Wax Plant’

Hoya serpens. Source: epiforums

Found in the Himalayas, the green wax plant is a rapid-growing vine. Its flowers have a greenish tint and appear to be furry or fuzzy. The only bright spot in these flowers comes from a tiny bit of yellow at the center flanked with hints of a deep pink hue. Otherwise, the rest of the flower tends to be cream to pale green in coloration.

Round and waxy-looking leaves are often more common than the pale green flowers, however. This plant does like to produce lots of deep-green leaves along its vine!

Hoya Plant Care

A closeup shot of the flowers of hoya carnosa compacta. Source: epiforums

Surprisingly, the wax plant is pretty easy to care for. Once you’ve learned a few tricks, you’ll be able to grow this plant for years to come!

Bright, indirect light is perfect for hoya plant growing. While they can tolerate full sun conditions in the spring or fall, the summer sun can scorch the succulent-like leaves and cause color bleaching. Ideally, ensure your hoya plant has at least 6 hours of bright and indirect sunlight per day. Using a grow light to supplement the sun’s rays is an option.

As a tropical plant, hoya prefers temperatures over 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Some varieties actually prefer it to be in the 60’s or 70’s. For indoor growers, this is perfect, as many of us tend to keep our homes between 60-70 degrees.

Outdoor growers should be sure of the lowest temperature their specific hoya plant will grow at. Bring it indoors when the temps dip too low.

As far as heat goes, while there are cool-temperature hoyas which prefer it to stay below 80 degrees, the vast majority can tolerate temps to 95 or even higher. Just be sure that they have some protection from the heat during the hottest part of the day, and some shade to keep the plants from wilting in direct sunlight.

Water

Do something cool today. Custom illustration for Epic Gardening by Seb Westcott.

As epiphytes, hoya plants naturally live in low-water environments. They are quite easy to overwater, and suffer ill effects including root rot if kept in soggy conditions.

Spring and summer are the times when a wax plant is thirstiest. At those times, the plant is going through its major growth for the year, and will need that water to expand and bloom. Check the soil to see if it is moist.

If it’s dry in the top inch or two, water to moisten the soil. Do not flood the pot or allow water to pool. Allow the soil to completely dry out in those top inches before watering again.

In the fall and winter months, hoya plants tend to go somewhat dormant due to cooler temperatures. During these times, you can water them much less often. Many indoor growers find that in the fall and winter, they only have to water their plant about once per month.

While there’s some variation in flower shape, hoya flowers are star-like. Source: Scarygami

Hoya plants are epiphytic and thus don’t require heavier, more traditional soils. Often, a blend of pine bark, perlite and peat moss is perfect to grow your hoya plant in. One soil blend which has proven popular is a mix of one part pine bark to two parts peat moss, with a bit of dolomitic lime mixed in to reduce the acidity of the blend. Add perlite to lighten it and increase its drainage capability.

You can use a commercial potting soil, but may need to add extra perlite to the blend to lighten it up significantly. An orchid mix is a good choice, as it tends to be light and extremely well-draining, as the plants require.

As the hoya plant is mostly a foliage plant, it requires a lot of nitrogen to spur its growth. New plants should be given a high nitrogen fertilizer on a regular basis. If fertilizing with a liquid, use a 2-1-2 or 3-1-2 once or twice a month to encourage growth.

Once your plant is a good size, you will want to switch to a high phosphorous fertilizer to encourage blooming. Many people opt for a fertilizer that is a 5-10-5, water-soluble fertilizer, but simply dilute it.

The different varieties of hoya will bloom at different times during the spring or summer. If you switch to a high phosphorous fertilizer about a month prior to your plant’s blooming period, it can produce stunning flower growth.

It’s generally accepted that liquid fertilizers work well for the hoya plant, but only if you exercise caution. Too strong of a liquid fertilizer can burn the plant and cause damage. If you are concerned about the strength of your fertilizer, opt to dilute it somewhat to protect the plant. Too little fertilizer is safer than too much.

Fertilizing is not as necessary during the winter months when your plant is dormant. Most growers recommend not fertilizing during the winter at all. However, if you still wish to, use an extremely low fertilizer ratio, around a 2-1-2, and fertilize no more than once per month.

Leaf cuttings are one way of propagating hoya plants. Source: Futureman1

There are multiple ways to start hoya, but the easiest ways are from stem cuttings or layering.

Stem cuttings should be taken from the softer wood or new growth of the plant, and should be 4-6″ long with a few leaves. You can root these in water or in a lightly-dampened growth medium. Cuttings like this tend to root quite well and will grow more quickly and readily than other types of cuttings.

Layering is a technique where you use pins to anchor a softwood tendril from one plant to the soil to encourage it to put down roots. This can take a little while, but can be quite effective. I recommend doing this by extending the tendril to a second pot and pinning it there. The roots will form from the stem, and once it seems established, you can snip the tendril free from its mother plant and allow it to develop on its own.

There are two other propagation techniques which are a bit more complex to do.

Leaf cuttings are often done for plants such as the lucky-heart. In this technique, a leaf will be snipped off just below its petiole and will be placed in a pot to root.

While leaf cuttings can in fact form a new plant, this process tends to take much longer than stem cuttings or layering. It can take a couple years to experience significant growth from your plant if it is from a leaf cutting.

Finally, hoya plants do produce seed. Much of the seed isn’t viable, but occasionally it is. It may or may not have the growth habits of its parent plant. Since it tends to be so variable, most people do not try to grow hoya from seed, but it is certainly an option if you want to try it.

Unlike most plants, hoya plants like to be a bit rootbound to produce flowers. However, they will eventually outgrow their containers. If you can see roots beginning to appear around drainage holes, it’s time to repot your hoya plant.

Plants in flexible plastic pots can be tested by gently pressing against the pot’s sides. If it’s firm and has no give, it’s time to repot.

Ideally, repot your hoya plant in the spring or early summer, as this is when it’s in its active growing stage. Select a pot that is no larger than 1-2 inches wider and taller than your current one. Too much space can actually stunt your plant’s flowering ability and may pose a danger to its roots from excess moisture in the soil.

Do not repot it any lower in the pot than it was in its earlier pot. While hoya plants can form roots along stems and from leaves, they also require some airflow around the plant to avoid plant damage like rot or decay.

While hoya plant tends to be very hardy, it can require some light maintenance to keep it healthy and happy. Here’s how you do it.

Remove any wilted, damaged, or dead branches/leaves. Often, these will have a yellowish or brownish appearance, and will be easy to identify. Also prune away any material which appears to be diseased. This can have a chalky or dusty look, and in glossy-leaved specimens can contribute to dull or matted-looking leaves.

Any other pruning is purely cosmetic, but should be done with caution. For hoya plants, new flower growth can occur on older flower stems called spurs. Those spurs will flower year after year. Avoid removing those to ensure your plant can continue to flower.

It’s also unwise to remove too much of the trailing length of your hoya plant. Not only are those trailing arms beautiful, but they’re also necessary. If the plant cannot grow in size, it won’t fill its pot and start producing those star-shaped flowers we all want.

I prefer to trim only when there is visible signs of damage or disease, and my hoya plant is quite happy with those conditions. If you do have something which is just bugging you, trim it, but do so carefully so as to encourage further growth.

Problems

These jewel-like flowers are easy to care for. Source: jackharrybill

Hoya is a surprisingly carefree plant, and has very few problems that you might encounter. It’s good for all levels of gardening skill. However, there still are a few issues you may encounter. This section will help you figure out what went wrong.

Growing Problems

Most growing problems spur from watering issues. It’s extremely easy to overwater a hoya plant. That can induce root rot and kill your plant. However, underwatering can cause wilting and yellowing of leaves.

Due to the epiphytic nature of hoya, it’s best to err on the side of underwatering. The plant will perk right back up if it shows signs of too little water and gets some, but it doesn’t work as well the other way around. Soggy soil is a major problem, so water carefully and in limited amounts.

Pests

Most of the pests which will attack hoya are sap-suckers. Aphids, mealy bugs and other scale insects, and spider mites are some of the most common culprits.

Thankfully, all of these pests can be controlled with the use of neem oil. Simply spray neem oil on all surfaces of the plant, and it should reduce or remove the population of these common pests entirely.

There are other pests which are reputed to attack the hoya plant, but very few of them are common invaders for this plant type.

Whiteflies and thrips can become problematic if they’re in high population numbers in your yard already, but the hoya plant isn’t their first choice of target. Similarly, some forms of caterpillars will eat hoya leaves, but they prefer other plants.

Insecticidal soaps like Safer Soap can be used to combat whiteflies and thrips, although thrips will also respond well to the use of neem oil. Caterpillars are going to require a different tactic. Use Monterey BT to wipe out caterpillars on your plants.

The only other pests you’ll need to watch for are snails and slugs. Use something like Garden Safe Slug & Snail Bait to keep these at bay.

Diseases

The most common disease amongst hoya growers is sooty mold. This black mold forms on leaves that are sticky with plant saps or nectars, and the hoya flowers can produce enough sweet-smelling nectar to cause it. Aphids can also cause sooty mold due to their production of honeydew.

Thankfully, sooty mold is very easy to deal with. Simply wipe off the mold with a damp cloth. If you want, you can spray a diluted seaweed fertilizer over the area where the mold formed, which seems to stave off mold formation for a bit.

Botyris blight can form on the leaves of hoya plant. This starts as greyish fungal patches towards the center of the plant. As it develops, it can cause leaves to become mushy or to collapse. This can be treated with the use of a copper fungicide such as Bonide Copper Fungicide.

Finally, there is the dreaded root rot. Caused by moisture in the soil which aids fungal development, this can be prevented simply by not overwatering. If your plant begins to wilt or form black or brown stem or leaf lesions, root rot may be the cause.

Spray with a copper fungicide both on the soil and the plant itself to try to reduce the effects of root rot. If the roots themselves are black and mushy, your plant is beyond redemption, and should be disposed of.

Frequently Asked Questions

All things considered, hoya is a lovely addition to your houseplants. Source: Avital Pinnick

Q: Why is my hoya plant not flowering?

A: There’s a lot of possible reasons for this. If it’s too young, it won’t flower. Hoya likes to be a bit rootbound to produce flowers, too, so if you recently repotted it, that might be the culprit. Pruning heavily may have accidentally removed the flower spurs from which the flowers grow. And it simply might need more phosphorous to stimulate flower growth.

It’s hard to gauge which is the actual cause. If you haven’t pruned your hoya recently, that won’t be the problem, so it’s usually the easiest thing to check. Adding fertilizer at the right time (about a month prior to blooming, and then again right as it blooms) is the second easiest option.

If it still won’t bloom at that point, be patient and wait another year. Sometimes it’s simply that your plant wants to grow more first before it provides those huge bundles of starry flowers.

Q: I got a hoya kerrii and it’s not growing.

A: Hoya kerrii is often propagated through leaf cutting. Unfortunately, leaf cutting is one of the slowest ways to generate more hoya plants, and it can take a couple years before it really shows signs of much growth. As long as the heart-shaped leaf remains green and it seems to be alive, it probably is. Just give it some time and care and it will eventually flourish!

Ready to grow your own selection of tropical star-flowers? The hoya plant’s really quite easy to care for, all things considered, and it’s well worth adding to your houseplant collection! Do you have a favorite hoya plant? Share your stories in the comments!

The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:
Lorin Nielsen
Lifetime Gardener
Kevin Espiritu
Founder Did this article help you? × How can we improve it? × Thanks for your feedback!

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Nothing quite shows you trust someone like giving them a living thing to take care of. I love you, I trust you, here’s a plant baby!

I personally prefer gifting plants over bouquets because they last longer and any of these heart-shaped plants would be perfect for Valentine’s Day! We even have you covered with how to wrap them.

Hoya Kerrii – Sweetheart Plant

These little cuties are Hoya Kerrii, a variety of succulent vine plant famous for their heart-shaped leaves and fragrant flowers. The single, heart-shaped cuttings were extremely popular a few years ago, though in this form they will not grow or flower. The full form is super cute as well and you get to let your love grow!

Philodendron Gloriosum

The Philodendron genus is the perfect place to look for heart-shaped plants. Most Philodendra have heart leaves and come in a dramatic range of greens. I adore the Glorisum’s white veined, velvety leaves. Rumor has it these guys are fairly easy to take care of too.

Philodendron Scandens or Philodendron Cordatum – Heart Leaf Philodendron

Aptly named, the Heart Leaf Philodendron is a nearly impossible to kill trailing plant that can survive the worst black thumb. It’s the perfect starter for a lifelong plant obsession.

Ceropegia Woodii – Chain of Hearts

String of Pearls, meet Chain of Hearts. Another easy-to-care-for gem that loves to flower.

Cyclamen

The flowers might not be heart shapes, but their deep green leaves decidedly are. Cyclamen come in all the classic Valentine’s Day colors too (pinks, reds, white, and lilac) so they make it on the list. You can even find these guys in grocery stores!

Anthurium – Laceleaf

Heart-shaped flowers & heart-shaped leaves, a double win. Anthuriums can be white, yellow, red, pink, orange or green and bloom with very little care.

Hemionitis Arrifolia – Heart Fern

Ferns are the perfect plants for those heavy handed with watering. They will gladly take all your loving and grow happily in any kind of planter.

These plants were picked for indoor living, but if your loved one prefers a garden space, check out Calla Lilies or Bleeding Hearts. And if you’re looking for a true, next level gift, check out all the different kinds of trees with heart-shaped leaves! Which one would you trade chocolate for?

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