Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata Care & Varieties

The Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata is the best known of the many varieties of Hoya Albomarginata.

Note that the term Albomarginata means “white margined” in English. Therefore, it does not point to a single species of hoya.

Instead, when you hear the term Hoya Albomarginata, it refers to a hoya with white margins or white variegations on the sides of their leaves.

Therefore, in addition to the Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata, you will come across many other varieties, cultivars and hybrids that are called Hoya Albomarginata.

I just wanted to explain this before going into the plant itself and as I’ll be listing down as few other Hoya Albomarginata varieties below in case this white and green color combination is something that you like to collect.

The Hoya Carnosa Albomarginatais is a beautiful subspecies of the Hoya Carnosa. As such, it looks like its parent plant.

However, the biggest difference between them is its white variegations on the sides of its leaves. This makes is very easy to identify compared to the regular Hoya Carnosa which has all-green foliage.

Similarly, it produces beautiful, fragrant star-shaped flowers that have white and pink colors. These grow in clusters forming a ball.

It is native to different parts of Asia especially the tropical regions.

Hoya Albomarginata Varieties

As mentioned, there are many different hoya albomarginata varieties around. All of them feature some kind of white leaf variegation which is why they are named as such. But since they’re all different hoya species, you can choose among many different looks and even collect them all and not have any of them look identical with the others.

  • Hoya macrophylla albomarginata – this plant features large teardrop shaped leaves like the Hoya macrophylla with ribbed veins running across its leaves. The white margins on its foliage are much more subtle though compared to many of the other species on this list. Its flowers are small and pinkish white in color.
  • Hoya kerrii albomarginata – often considered a succulent because it looks like its parent the hoya kerrii which has very distinct heart-shaped leaves. Again, its distinguishing feature is its white edges what have random patterns that match well with its green leaves.
  • Hoya incrassata albomarginata – a native of the Philippines, this plant looks like the Hoya incrassate but with white margins. It has thick, ovate shaped leaves with lovely fuzzy flowers covered by tiny hairs. These flower grow in bunches and have a cream outer color, maroon tips and a white middle.
  • Hoya bella albomarginata – a sport of the popular hoya bella, this is another white margined beauty that blooms between May and August. Its flowers are white in color with a purple-pink middle. You’ll also notice its sweet scent.
  • Hoya acuta albomarginata – like the hoya acuta, this one has small oval shaped leaves with white variegations along its margins. The size of its leaves and the distance between nodes (internodes) is longer as well.
  • Hoya verticillata albomarginata – has thick, dark green leaves with beautiful white and pink margins. This is a fast grower with good sized foliage. Its flowers feature a white color with pink and yellow centers.
  • Hoya pachyclada albomarginata – thick, slighty hairy/fuzzy gray-green leaves with semi-visible veins. It produces a lot of flower clusters, each of which having 20-25 blooms each. It tends to blossom during spring and summer. And will grow quickly under the right conditions but slowly if not.
  • Hoya australis albomarginata – its leaves are thick, have an oval shape with a rounder tip. They are likewise wider and shorter than many other hoya plants. Its blooms are white, star-shaped with brown middles.

 

Hoya Albomarginata Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata does best in bright indirect light. It will likewise be happy with medium light. And can tolerate low light without a problem.

However, it is important to take into consideration its variegations.

The lovely white/creamy patterns that make the plant very attractive also affects how much light it needs. In contrast to the standard all-green leaved Hoya Carnosa, it needs more illumination and cannot tolerate low light as well.

That’s because its variegations are created due to lack of chlorophyll.

Chlorophyll is not only what makes the plant’s leaves green it is also what absorbs light which the plant will use for photosynthesis.

Since Hoya Albomarginatas are known for their white variegations, these sections of their foliage don’t collect light like the green parts of their leaves do.

So, in order to get the same amount of energy from photosynthesis, variegated plants need to compensate by getting more light. Similarly, while they will survive in low light, they will grow slower in the same lack of light compared to their solid-green counterparts.

That said, while the Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata grows optimally in bright light, make sure it receives indirect, filtered or diffused light. That’s because it cannot take long hours of direct sun on a daily basis. So is the case with strong summer sun. Both will eventually burn the plant’s foliage.

On the other hand, if your home does not get enough natural light, you can use or supplement it with artificial grow lights. Like direct sun, you want to keep the plant away from the bulbs which emit heat.

Ideally, place it about 8 inches (or more) away from the grow lights.

Finally, with natural sun, the plant needs at least 6 hours of light daily. If you use grow lights, it will need 14 hours since artificial lights don’t cover the entire color spectrum like the sun does.

Light is very important not just for plant growth but also to keep the leaves’ beautiful colors. The Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata is also less likely to flower without bright, indirect sun.

 

Temperature

The Hoya Albomarginata is a tropical plant. This means that it is used to warm climates and does not experience the cold, snow or frost.

As such, its is happiest in temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it easy to grow indoors as most homes maintain this kind of temperatures. That’s because we humans are most comfortable at these levels as well.

However, you do want to avoid the cold.

The Hoya Albomarginata does not have much tolerance to it. And anything below 50 degrees Fahrneheit will affect its growth (slowing it down). The longer it stays in this environment, and the colder it gets, the more problems the plant will experience.

As such, outdoors it does best in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11 where it can stay outside the entire year. These regions are sunny and balmy even through the winter.

Indoors, avoid air conditioners and drafty areas where cold air can reach the plant.

 

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Humidity

Similarly, the Hoya Albomarginata’s tropical natural also means that it is used to humid conditions. And it prefers humidity of 50% and higher if possible.

However, because it has semi-succulent leaves it can tolerate lower humidity without any problems.

If you look at its foliage, you’ll notice that they are thick. The reason is they store water there to help the plant get through periods of dryness.

This allows it to require less water. And it also lets it tolerate average room humidity.

So in most cases, you should not have any issues with lack of humidity.

That said, if you live in the desert or experience dry air especially during hot summers and cold winters it is a good idea to have a plan set up to help your Hoya Albomarginata.

The simplest way is to mist it regularly. How often can vary depending on how dry the air gets. As such, you may need to mist daily or once every 3-4 days. It really depends on the time of year and where you live.

However, when misting, be careful not to spray too much water on the leaves as this can increase the risk of fungus gnats and infections.

 

How Often to Water Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata

As mentioned, the Hoya Albomarginata stores moisture in its leaves. The plant is also an epiphyte. Together, it means that it does not need a lot of water.

In fact, these features make it more susceptible to overwatering. So, you want to stay more on the dry side as the plant can tolerate a bit of drought without any problems.

On the other hand, its epiphytic roots are more easily overwhelmed if they’re left sitting in water for long periods of time.

This means the best way to water your plant is to wait for part of the soil to dry.

  • If you’re an aggressive water-er or like to water frequently, please wait until the top 2 inches are completely dry before watering again.
  • If you tend to forget to water your plants or find yourself late every now and then, this is less of a problem. You can wait until the soil is 50% to 75% dry before watering.

Anything between this range will keep the plant healthy and happy.

It also automatically adjusts how often you water as the weather changes.

In the warmer months as the temperature is warmer and there’s more sun, the soil will dry faster. In winter, the cold weather and less light causes the soil to take longer to dry.

By listening to the plant and feeling the soil before you water, you don’t need to memorize or remember and fixed schedule as the soil will do that for you.

 

Potting Soil for Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata

The Hoya Albomarginata needs well-draining potting soil that is loose and have good aeration. Again, this stems from its epiphytic roots.

In its natural environment, the plant’s roots don’t live in soil. Instead, it uses them to cling onto trees and climb up them. This lets it get as much light as possible which helps it grow faster and produce more foliage.

As such, its roots are consistently exposed to air and have good air circulation. Just as importantly, when the rains come and drench the roots, they’ll quickly dry afterwards because they’re exposed to light and good air flow.

Therefore, you want to mimic this as much as possible with the soil.

Well-draining soil allows excess moisture to quickly drain after you soak the root ball with water to give the roots a good drink. Similarly, well-aerated soil allows as much oxygen as possible to the roots.

With that in mind, the best soil for Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata that does not require a lot of ingredients is a combination of:

  • 2 parts peat moss
  • 1 part perlite

You can also go with

  • 1 part potting soil or cactus mix
  • 1 part orchid mix
  • 1 part perlite

Both these DIY potting mixes will allow the plant to get enough hydration while making sure excess moisture drains out so its roots get enough oxygen.

 

Fertilizer

The Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata is a foliage plant that happens to produce beautiful flowers. As such, feeding it really depends on what you want to focus on.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it is a light feeder. So, avoid giving it more plant food than it needs and don’t feed it when it is not actively growing.

For the most part, you’ll be using a high nitrogen fertilizer to help the plant produce more leaves. You can use a balanced liquid formulation diluted to 50% the suggested strength.

Feed the plant during spring and summer. And start weaning by fall. Don’t feed the plant during the cold weather as it wants to use that time to rest.

Because the Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata will flower, you can also help it along during this time. Some growers just use the balanced fertilizer during this time, although I prefer to shift to a higher phosphorus product to help it flower more and let the blooms last longer.

You can use an orchid fertilizer or a bloom booster. The important thing is that the P (phosphorus) figure in the N-P-K ratio is high enough.

I like to start applying once the plant is about to bloom. You can likewise stop once its starts flowering. I like to continue because it helps prolong bloom time.

 

Pruning

The Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata is a fast grower with the right conditions. But how quickly the plant grows ultimately depends on how much light it gets, the temperature, humidity and how often you water it. Fertilizer also plays a role as well.

Therefore, don’t try to compare how quickly your plant grows with other owners. As long as your plants are healthy, have great color and are growing well, that’s all that matter.

If you let it keep growing, it can reach lengths of 6 to 10 feet.

Thus, you do need to prune it to keep it looking neat and compact. This will also let you remove any wayward stems that either get too long or go in odd directions.

Additionally, prune off any yellow, brown, damaged or diseased foliage as well.

For the most part trimming is aesthetic. And you’ll likely need to do light pruning a few times a year just to keep the plant’s shape in size in check.

Another important thing is to leave the old leafless spurs alone. This is where the flowers grow. Don’t cut them off even after the blooms have faded because the spurs are perennial in nature.

Since hoyas flower on old spurs, these will keep producing blooms for years to come.

 

How to Propagate Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata

There are a few ways to propagate the Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata. The simplest of which is through stem cuttings. Although, you can likewise use air layering or start from seeds as well.

That said, stem propagation is the most effective because it is easy to do at home for free without any special tools needed. It also produces a very high propagation success rate.

To propagate the Hoya Albomarginata from stem cuttings:

  • Use a sterile pair of scissors and cut a healthy stem that is between 3 to 6 inches long. You can use the stems you cut off while pruning the plant as well.
  • Make sure you have at least 2-3 leaves on the stem, as you’ll need the leaf nodes to grow into roots.
  • Remove the lower leaves to expose the nodes. Leave the top leaves as they will help with photosynthesis later on.
  • You can root the cutting in water, sphagnum or straight into soil. If you choose to propagate in water or sphagnum moss, you can more the cutting to soil after the roots have grown at least 1-2 inches long.
  • Next, plant the cutting into moist well-draining soil.
  • If you choose to propagate in water, submerge the stem and nodes underwater while keeping the leaves above the liquid. Remove any liquid that ends up in water.
  • If you decide to propagate in sphagnum moss, fill a container with the moss and plant the cutting there. Keep the growing medium moist as well.
  • Once planted, keep the cuttings in an ideal growing environment. This means bright, indirect sun, moderate to warm temperature and good humidity with enough air circulation.
  • It takes about 4 weeks for the roots to grow in volume and length.
  • If you used water propagation, you’ll be able to watch the roots as they grow.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata

The Hoya Albomarginata likes being pot bound. Additionally, it has the highest chance of blooming when it is snug in its pot. Therefore, there’s no hurry to repot the plant until it has outgrown its current container.

This makes it a low maintenance houseplant in this regard. And on average it takes about 2-3 years before you’ll need to move it to a larger pot.

You want to wait until its roots start coming out of the bottom of the container before doing so. This gives you more time for the plant to flower while being slightly root bound.

When you do repot, choose a container that is 2 inches wider than the current one. Avoid very deep pots as the plant’s roots are fairly small. Thus, added depth or width only increases the amount of soil which in turn increases the risk of overwatering when it gets wet.

Also, don’t repot a sick plant or one under stress. The same is true if it is flowering.

Once it blooms, try to leave it alone as it does not like being moved even to a different position. This can cause the blooms to abort or abruptly fall off.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata is non-toxic to cats, dogs and humans. As such, you can have peace of mind keeping it around the house even if you have curious pets and young kids who like to do a lot of mischievous things when you’re not looking.

 

Hoya Carnosa Albomarginata Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

Pests are always going to be a problem with houseplants. And although there is no way to completely prevent them, there are some deterrents you can apply.

Keeping the plant healthy allows it to keep its resistance against pests better. Also, regularly cleaning the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust helps a lot.

That’s because bugs are attracted to dust.

Of all the insects around, mealybugs are the most likely attackers when it comes to your Hoya Albomarginata. These loot like fuzzy white cotton balls on the leaves. Although they do tend to hide so you do need to be thorough when inspecting.

Spider mites and aphids can also attack this plant. While less common, you still want to get rid of them when they’re few.

That’s because pests become problematic once they turn into an infestation.

 

Diseases

Diseases are less of an issue for the Hoya Albomarginata. However, the can become a larger risk if there’s excess moisture.

Leaf spot, blight and mold are all caused by excessive foliage wetness that does not dry. Therefore, don’t over mist the plant or water it later in the day.

Similarly, root rot can happen is you overwater the soil.

Therefore, by limiting moisture, you also cut down the risk for bacterial and fungal diseases.