The Hoya Burtoniae is a rare species that you won’t often see offered in nurseries and garden centers. It is a lovely vining epiphyte that is native to the Philippines.
If you do see the plant, it is most likely hanging from a basket which allows its vining stems to drape downwards.
When allowed to get bushier and longer, the plant looks stunning when displayed this way.
That’s because its small dark green, fuzzy leaves adorn each vine.
Of course, one of its most attractive features are its flowers.
These are small, red in color with a tinge of yellow. They look somewhat like those of the Hoya DS-70. Although in the case of the Hoya Burtoniae, the flowers are not bunched up sticking to one another. Instead, there’s some space in between them.
Either way, this is a lovely plant if you enjoy trailing vines in hanging baskets.
Hoya Burtoniae Plant Care
The Hoya Burtoniae enjoys getting a good amount of natural sun. And the plant will do well in many different lighting conditions.
Of these, it does best under bright indirect light with exposure of at least 6-8 hours a day.
As such, it makes an east facing window a great spot for keeping your Hoya Burtoniae as it enjoys the gentle morning sun.
Similarly, it will likewise be very happy in a western exposure.
The difference here is that it receives afternoon sun from this direction. As such, you want to limit its exposure to direct sun.
It will happily take 1-2 hours of direct sun from the west but that’s just about it. The level you’re looking at is when its leaves turn a bit reddish in color. This is a sign that the plant is a bit sun-stressed.
It looks lovely this way. And this amount of direct sun won’t harm the plant. Thus, many growers intentionally give it this kind of exposure.
However, avoid going much more than 2 hours a day on a regular basis. This will eventually cause the plant’s leaves to lose their waxy appearance, get discolored or even get scorched.
As such, it is not a good idea to leave your Hoya Burtoniae under the southern window without some kind of protection or distancing it from the sun’s rays.
Another important aspect of caring for the Hoya Burtoniae is its temperature needs. It is a tropical plant, therefore, it enjoys moderate to warm weather.
The Hoya Burtoniae has an ideal temperature range of between 60 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. And if it is kept above or below this range consistently, you’ll see its growth slow a bit.
The farther away from the range you get the more its growth rate will be affected.
But the most important thing to keep it mind Is avoid the cold.
Since the Hoya Burtoniae is a native of the Philippines, it never sees snow or experiences freezing conditions (even during winters). In fact, its winters are very sunny and still quite warm in general with temperatures dropping to as low as 55 or so degrees Fahrenheit.
As such, avoid leaving it in very cold environments. Anything below 50 degrees becomes a problem.
This also means that outdoors, it prefers USDA Hardiness Zones 10 through 12, as these regions have sunny winters.
If you live below zone 10, you can still take the plant outdoors especially during the summer. However, make sure to bring it back indoors once the temperatures hit the 50s.
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Another very glaring aspect of Philippine weather is its high humidity. This is why its hot temperature feels scorching hot during the summer. It is also why most people there enjoy visiting malls on weekends. They get free air conditioning there).
As such, the Hoya Burtoniae thrives when humidity it kept between 50% and 70%. It will likewise be happy with even higher levels. But, you do want to be careful with too much humidity in your home as the excess moisture not only attracts pests and increases the risk of plant disease, it can eventually cause issues with your home like mold.
Thus, moderation is key. On one hand, you want to keep the plant happy, But, on the other, you also want to keep it safe.
The good news is that its thick, succulent-like leaves allow it to tolerate lower humidity. Thus, the plant does not mind regular household humidity in most cases.
Nevertheless, try to keep humidity at 40% and higher. If your area consistently average humidity in the low 30s or even below 30%, make sure to monitor the plant’s leaves for any signs of crispy tips and browning.
This is a sign that is it not getting enough moisture from the air. If you don’t’ see these symptoms, it means the plant is happy with the humidity it gets.
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How Often to Water Hoya Burtoniae
The Hoya Burtoniae does not need a lot of water. However, avoid letting it dry too much to the point where the soil is bone dry for long periods of time.
While its semi-succulent leaves make it a bit drought tolerant, leaving it in this disposition often enough will eventually cause damage. Its leaves do hold some water. But they are not as thick as other hoyas so it won’t last as long without water.
Again, you want to check the leaves to see what they plant is telling you. If it lacks water, its foliage will get soft and get wrinkled. The plant will likewise droop and wilt.
That said, the plant is quickly able to bounce back from dryness once you give it water. But it is more sensitive to overwatering.
Its roots are epiphytic therefore they prefer getting a lot of air and staying on the dry side (while getting a good dousing every now and them). The cannot take being left sitting in water for extended periods of time.
So, waterlogged soil and overwatering will eventually lead to root rot.
During the summer, water it once a week. Scale back in the winter to about once every 2 or 3 weeks depending on how cold it gets.
When watering, you can:
- Pour straight into the soil – wait until the top 1-2 inches of soil is completely dry before adding more water. Avoid wetting the leaves too much. Instead, pour on the soil. And keep pouring until you saturate the soil and the moisture drips from the bottom of the pot. Then make sure to allow the soil to completely drain right after.
- Water from below – leaving a saucer or container with water and allowing the soil to absorb the moisture through the drainage reduces the risk of overwatering.
Hoya Burtoniae Potting Soil
The Hoya Burtoniae needs well-draining potting mix when grown in a container. This will allow any excess moisture to drain out so the roots don’t end up in a pool of water.
Note that soil with good drainage does not mean that it will immediately drain out all the liquid that you pour onto it.
As such, avoid sandy soil or very fast draining soils. These will get rid of the water so fast that the roots are not able to absorb any of the moisture.
Instead, well-draining soil means it holds a bit of water to keep the soil moist (but far from soggy, mucky or wet). The rest it will drain in a short period of time.
By doing so, it allows the roots to get enough moisture to drink (which they love). In fact, you’ll see them perk up when they get water.
However, it does not retain too much liquid that the roots end up standing in water.
Therefore, you also want to avoid dense and heavy soils which retain too much moisture. These will increase the risk of root rot.
Here, watch the leaves again as they’ll be where the visible symptoms present themselves. Unfortunately, the roots are hidden under the soil. So, you can‘t use them as a guide.
When leaves turn yellow, you want to be wary of overwatering. While yellow leaves can be caused by other things, the most serious cause is root rot. So, check for that first.
That said, in order achieve well-draining soil for your Hoya Burtoniae, you can use any of the following DIY potting mixes.
- 1/3 potting soil with 1/3 orchid mix and 1/3 perlite
- 2/3 peat moss and 1/3 perlite
- 1/2 potting soil with 1/2 orchid bark
- 1/3 potting soil with 1/3 coco coir and 1/3 perlite
In addition to perlite and orchid bark, other ingredients that help with drainage include pine bark, pumice, vermiculite, charcoal, fir bark and a few others.
The Hoya Burtoniae needs fertilizer. Although it does not need a lot of it.
Therefore, once a month feeding with a weak fertilizer or a general purpose fertilizer diluted to half strength is sufficient for its needs.
Also, it is not picky about the kind of plant food you use. So, if you already have houseplant fertilizer at home, you can use that.
Like other hoyas, too much fertilizer is not a good idea for the Burtoniae. Instead, it needs a rest period from feeding.
So, only feed the plant during its growing season which is spring and summer. You can stop feeding in early or mid-fall. Don’t feed it after that and during the winter.
Flowers / Blooms
After your Hoya Burtoniae matures, it will be able to bloom. This usually happens in the warmer months. Therefore, you want to give it enough bright, indirect light and fertilizer to encourage it to flower.
Sufficient light is by far the most important factor in helping your Hoya Burtoniae blossom. So, avoid low light.
The plant produces many small round shaped flowers. These grow in clusters called umbels. And you can get anywhere from 10 to 25 individual blooms per umbel.
The flowers themselves are red-pink in color with some yellow and a pinkish middle. They are also fuzzy as they grow tiny hairs.
Like many other hoyas, these blossoms are fragrant.
Another important thing to note about the Hoya Burtoniae’s flowers is that they grow from spurs or peduncles. These take a while to grow. And you’ll likely see them start doing so earlier in the year even if the plant usually flowers in spring until late summer.
Also note that the flowers do take their time to mature (about 2 to 3 weeks). So, they won’t just pop open one day and you’ll see them. It does take a while.
Finally, keep in mind that the flowers grow on old peduncles. Therefore, you do not want to prune these spurs even after the blooms have faded.
The Hoya Burtoniae can grow to between 4 to 6 feet indoors. Although it does get bigger outdoors especially in the wild because it is in its ideal habitat.
While the plant is a slow grower like many hoyas are, it will eventually grow long. And if you let it get full or bushy, it will get quite thick.
As such, many growers will keep them in a hanging basket and allow it to get long and dense.
When displayed this way, length is much less of an issue. Although you may want to trim it every now and then to control density.
Also, if you keep it in a hanging basket, make sure the support is strong enough to hold the plant as it gets bushier. Likewise, take the extra weight of the basket or pot along with wet soil into consideration.
In general, the plant does not need a lot of pruning. And a little trim here and there on a regular basis is all that’s needs.
But, the most important thing about pruning this plant is to avoid cutting off the peduncles. New flowers will bloom from old growth. Therefore, if you remove these peduncles, it eliminates the possibility of future growth from that stalk.
How to Propagate Hoya Burtoniae
The most common way to propagate the Hoya Burtoniae is via stem cuttings. That’s because the process is easy and straightforward to do. Plus, you don’t need any extra equipment and it is free.
So, you can do it at home.
Stem propagation also gives you a few options. By that I mean you can root it in water, sphagnum moss or plant it into soil.
Most importantly, propagating from stem cuttings has a very high success rate.
- Take a 4-6 inch stem cutting. You want a healthy stem with at least 3 or more leaves on it.
- Remove the lower leaves to expose the nodes. These are where the new roots will grow from. So, you need to make sure the cuttings you use have at least 1-2 nodes.
- Place the cutting in a container filled with water making sure that the nodes are underwater. Remove any leaves that end up getting wet. These will rot over time.
- The cuttings will grow fastest under bright, indirect light in a warm humid spot. So, try to find somewhere with these conditions to leave the container.
- In about 4 weeks, the rotos should grow in volume and length. If your cutting has aerial roots, you may see small white roots appear as early as 4 to 7 days.
- Aerial roots are very useful for propagation because they’re where new roots grow the fastest.
- Once the new white roots grow to about 1-2 inches long, you can pot them up into soil.
If you don’t want to go through the process of moving the cutting from water to soil, you can plant them straight into potting mix (therefore skipping water altogether).
How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Burtoniae
As with other plants, the Hoya Burtoniae needs to be repot when it outgrows its container. If left there, it will eventually get stressed and it growth will get stunted.
More importantly, its health will be affected as well.
That said, the plant does like a snug pot. So, there’s no hurry. It most cases, it takes around 2 years before you need to repot. However, the actual time will depend on how fast your plant grows.
In addition to repotting, make sure to change the soil. This will give the roots fresh soil which is lighter and allows more airflow.
Use a container that is 2 inches wider at most. Avoid going bigger or deeper as the excess soil only increases the amount of moisture around the roots when the soil is wet.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
No, the Hoya Burtoniae does not pose a toxicity risk to cats, dogs or humans. However, its sap does cause some skin irritation to a few people. So, if you are prone to allergies or have sensitive skin, you may want to wear gloves when pruning or propagating the plant.
Problems & Troubleshooting
The Hoya Burtoniae can be attacked by mealybugs, spider mites, thrips and scale. Mealybugs especially like succulent-like foliage so these are the most common insects you’ll likely experience.
That said, with propre care, cleaning and a bit of luck, you’ll never need to deal with pests.
However, if you do spot them, make sure to treat them immediately.
Regular inspection is the only way to ensure early diagnosis. So, always check the leaves especially the bottom as well as the areas near the leaf nodes. Insects like to hide in these locations.
Diseases happen less frequently. However, you can increase this risk with too much moisture.
In addition to attracting fungus gnats, excess moisture also makes the environment favorable for bacterial and fungal infections.
In leaves, this can mean things like leaf spot, blight and mold. With roots, it can lead to root rot.