Hoya bella is a member of the Hoya genus, which in turn belongs to the Apocynaceae family. As such, it has many of the similar characteristics of other hoya plants. This includes,
- Being an epiphyte. In their native habitat, they cling onto trees and larger plants.
- Thick fleshy leaves that store water. While it makes it succulent-like, hoyas are not succulents. And, not all hoyas have thick leaves.
- Beautiful fragrant flowers. While they are considered foliage plants, many hoyas produce stunningly beautiful flowers that grow in clusters. These have different colors depending on the type and subspecies you have. Also, their scents vary with some being odorless at different times of the day.
The Hoya bella likewise grows up to about 2 to 3 feet. And, it is well suited for indoor growing. It is also worth mentioning that it is easy to care for.
These features, together with its uniquely beautiful leaves and blooms make it popular as a houseplant.
Hoya Bella Plant Care
Hoya Bella Light Requirements
The Hoya bella can grow well in different lighting conditions. This includes bright light, partial shade, low light and even fluorescent grow lights.
But it does best when given plenty of bright, indirect light. This also gives it the best chance of producing flowers, which it won’t in lower light conditions.
That said, it is always important to take into consideration where you live and how much light your locale gets.
If you live in a warm and sunny are, then you want to provide only filtered or indirect light. Outdoors, it is a good idea to keep the plant in bright shade.
Direct sunlight, especially in hot and sunny conditions, including afternoons and the peak of summer will scorch its leaves.
Here, an east or north facing windows are the best locations. With the latter, you can even provide it with some direct sunlight because that direction has the least amount of intensity.
Meanwhile, if you live in a cooler region, the plant may not get enough light in a northern exposure. Instead, it will prefer a west and south facing window. But, you’ll still want to be wary of long hours of direct or strong sunlight.
If you have a hard time finding a spot that receives enough sunlight, then fluorescent grow lights are another option. You will need to provide longer hours with artificial lighting because they don’t carry the full light spectrum the sun does.
Nevertheless, these will provide enough illumination to keep the plant happy.
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Hoya Bella Temperature
Your Hoya bella likes cooler temperatures relative to many other hoya varieties. But, it still has problems dealing with he cold.
As such, the most important thing to remember is that it cannot tolerate temperatures below 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In these conditions, it will sustain damage. And, the longer it stays there or the lower the temperature drops, the worse it fare.
On the other hand, it does best in moderate temperatures. Ideally keeping things between 70 and 80 degrees will give it the best climate conditions. It will enjoy the lower end of that range at night, and the mid to slightly upper part during the day.
That said, it can tolerate temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit if needed to survive. But, you want to be careful with sun exposure at these leaves as it can quickly dry the plant, then burn its leaves.
As such, you can grow the plant outdoors all year long if you live in USDA Hardiness zones 10 to 12. It will appreciate growing next to something it can clime like a tall fence or trellis.
Otherwise, it is better to keep it as a houseplant or in a container if you want to bring it outdoors during the warmer months. Make sure to take it inside around mid to late fall when the temperature drops.
Hoya Bella Humidity
Humidity presents a somewhat similar scenario. That is, it can tolerate high humidity. And, prefers that you cap the low side.
Being a tropical plant, it is used to these kinds of conditions. So, you want to keep indoor home humidity to at least 40%. But, anywhere between 40% and 60% will allow it to grow at its best.
Again, it won’t mind, humidity levels higher than that. But, only provides a little bit of leeway below 40% before it starts experiencing stress.
Thus, if you notice its leaf tips start to dry up or turn brown, it is a sign that the air is too dry.
This means you’ll need to increase humidity by either moving the plant to another room or increasing the relative humidity in that part of your home.
I find that a having a digital hygrometer helps a lot here. This lets you know exactly how high or low your specific Hoya bella likes it. Since where you live affects your home’s humidity level, this makes it easier to track what the plant likes or doesn’t like.
Here are a few ways to increase humidity.
- Move it to a bathroom.
- Mist the plant every so often.
- Group it with other plants.
- Place it on top of stones in a water tray.
- Use a humidifier.
source: wikimedia commons
Hoya Bella Watering
Unlike many other hoya plants, your Hoya bella doesn’t have the fleshy, succulent-like leaves. Thus, it is not able to store water like the others can.
So, you want to water this differently from your other hoyas, which prefer drier conditions since they are drought tolerant.
That said, overwatering is still always a lurking danger. So, never let the soil get soggy or muddy. Similarly, avoid allowing water to pool anywhere in the plant.
This will lead to root rot, which can eventually cause irreparable damage to your Hoya bella.
As such, here’s what your Hoya bella likes.
Keep its soil moist during spring and summer (its growing season). This means watering regularly. Because the rate at which soil dries depends on where you live, the temperature and humidity it experiences, how much sun you give it, the kind of soil and many other factors, it is difficult to gauge exactly how long between waterings.
But, initially do check the soil every 4 to 7 days. From here, you’ll be able to gauge how quickly it dries depending on the time of year.
You want to allow the soil to dry between watering sessions. Check by inserting your index finger down 1 to 2 inches into the soil. It should feel dry at that point before you water again.
In the winter, cut back on water.
Your Hoya bella will go dormant during this time. So, it won’t need as much water.
Allow the soil to dry out a little more. But, never let it completely dry. If you do, you’ll see the leaves turn yellow, die or start dropping. These are all signs of lack of water. But, at different levels of dehydration.
Either way, you want to avoid getting that any of these points of dryness.
Because the temperature and humidity keep changing, it is worth mentioning their roles in soil dryness and wetness. Here are the basic guidelines.
- Hugh humidity means more moisture in the air. As such, this means you don’t need to water as much. The opposite is likewise true.
- High temperatures mean lots of heat and sun. This causes soil to dry faster. Plus, more sun causes the plant to grow faster. Together, it means more water consumption (either because the plant absorbs more water or the weather causes more evaporation). So, you need to water more often. The opposite is likewise true.
Hoya bella enjoys light, well-aerated soil that is moist and well-draining.
Thus, you want something that allows enough air to get through its roots. Yet, be able to retain enough moistures for hydration while draining any excess.
While it sounds complicated, it isn’t as bad once you understand that you can mix different ingredients with specific properties to achieve the right combination.
More importantly, think of the potting medium as something like a recipe. You can keep adjusting the different ingredients and the amount you use to get the right features to the magnitude you need each specific feature to have.
Since the Hoya bella isn’t fussy about the kind of soil it lives in, this makes this much less complicated since you can use more combinations freely.
Do keep in mind that it grows better in mildly acidic to neutral soil. So, keeping soil pH to between 6.1 to 7.5 is a good idea.
That said, here are few options you can go with.
- Regular potting soil amended with peat moss and perlite. This is a good option if you already have standard potting soil at home for your other plants.
- Potting soil and sand. You want to be careful with sand because it can get compacted over time. That takes out the well-aerated feature.
- Peat moss and pine bark.
In addition to soil, you also want to consider where you’re growing the plant.
Often this comes down to 2 options because of its climbing and trailing nature.
- A pot with some support stakes to let it climb up against.
- Hanging basket to allow its vines to drop and trail over the edges.
Fertilizing Hoya Bella
Hoya bella is a light feeder. So, you only need to feed it twice a year, once in spring and once in summer. That’s it.
Don’t feed the plant in winter as it will rest during this time.
You can use a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer. Make sure you dilute it in order not to use too much concentration.
Like water, the plant doesn’t do well when overfed. As such, you want to be more cautious in giving it too much plant food rather than not enough.
Overfertilizing can burn its roots. Similarly, it will cause the leaves to turn brown and the flowers to drop. If you do notice its leaves turning this color, do check the soil by touching it first.
That’s because too much water can likewise cause browning leaves. As such, you want to eliminate a water problem first because you adjust fertilizer.
On the other hand, too much nitrogen will also cause leaves to change color. But this time, yellow.
Your Hoya bella tends to bloom between May and August. And, as a perennial, it may do so every season.
But, it is never a guarantee.
The problem with hoyas is that as beautiful as their blooms are, they can likewise be elusive to the flower grower. That’s because of two reasons.
- Many take a while before they can flower. Often, it will only do so in its second or third year. So, you need to wait through at least one season before getting to opportunity to see them.
- They need specific conditions. And, even if these conditions are met, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will bloom.
That said, their flowers are worth the wait and effort.
These will grow in clusters of 10 to 25 or 30 flowers. They are star-shaped and mostly white with centers that are decorative and purplish pink in color. Its blooms also have a delicate fragrant.
Here are a few things that will help your Hoya bella bloom.
- Lots of bright light.
- High humidity, ideally at least 40%.
- Don’t prune the stalks where they grow from. They will regrow from the same stalks so trimming these will delay the entire process.
Speaking of pruning, the plant doesn’t need a lot of pruning.
Since it will be climbing up from their pots or hanging over the edges of baskets, you can allow their vines to grow longer.
However, you’ll still want to remove any unhealthy looking stems and leaves. This includes leggy ones as well as dead or damaged leaves.
You do not want to deadhead the flowers though. Allow them to drop instead.
If you trim back on the flowers as they fade, you can easily cut the shoots they grow from. Since the bloom on new growth, this will force them to have to regrow before they can bloom again.
So, while the plant is among the faster growing hoyas, you do not want to do any hard pruning.
If needed trim lightly to limit its size and design its shape.
Hoya Bella Propagation
Hoya bella is best propagated from stem cuttings. This is an easy want to grow new plants that are clones of your existing ones.
The best time to do so is during spring or early summer.
- And, it will take a few weeks for the plant to start rooting.
- In a few months, you should start seeing new leaves sprout.
- By 18 to 24 months, you will have a new plant.
Here’s how to propagate Hoya bella from stem cuttings.
- Begin by choosing a healthy stem. You want the stem to have at least 2 nodes, which are where the roots will grow from. Leaf nodes are the junctions where the leaf attached to the stem.
- Make the cut by using a sterile pair of scissors or pruning shears. You want to get about a 6 inch long stem so it stands out of the water or soil.
- Remove the lower leaves that will go into the water.
- Insert the stem into potting soil in a small container. You can likewise root the stem cutting in water, then move it to soil later.
- Keep the plant in moderate temperature with high humidity. Also make sure there is enough bright, indirect light.
- Water it to keep soil moist.
- After about a month, very gently tug on the stem to see if it resists. Ideally, it should which is a sign that roots are forming.
- From there, keep caring for it based on the conditions mentioned.
- After a few months, you should start seeing leaves come out.
Transplanting & Repotting Hoya Bella
Your Hoya bella does not like being moved.
Additionally, it prefers staying in a smaller container. Being root bound actually helps it flower. So, you want to keep it in its current container for as long as possible.
This means you only want to repot when necessary.
That is it has outgrown its container and is starting to show signs stress (for being in too tight a space) or overcrowding the pot.
Often, this will take around 3 years to happen, give or take a little depending on how quickly your plant grows.
Because it likes being pot bound, the new pot you choose should only be 1 size larger (max 2 inches).
Also, make sure that it contains drainage holes.
The plant is not toxic. This means it is safe for dogs, cats and humans.
One of the few areas where the plant requires a bit more maintenance is pets. Your Hoya bella is a favorite target of mealybugs, spider mites and fungus gnats.
This means it is important regularly inspect the plant so you can spot them before they grow in number. Similarly, this will help you notice any damages before these start to harm your plant.
Once you do find any of these pests, you want to start treatment immediately. Using insecticidal soap or neem oil helps.
With disease, it is all about moisture control. Your Hoya bella is susceptible to root rot, mold and fungal infections. All of which are caused by too much water.
These problems are often caused by one of two things.
- Too much water. This is either overwatering the soil. Or, wetting the plant from overhead so that the leaves are left wet. Too much misting to the point where foliage is wet is another reason.
- Too little sunlight. On the flip side, there’s drying. Sometimes, you don’t overwater. But, the water that you add doesn’t dry because there’s too little sunlight or air circulation.
Either of these will lead to water pooling (in soil) or staying wet with leaves. These conditions will increase the risk of fungus and mold which tend to grow in moist environment.