The Hoya Chelsea is also known as the Hoya Carnosa ‘Chelsea’. As such, it is a cultivar of the Hoya Carnosa and has a few similar features which make their care closely related.
That said, one look at the two and you instantly can tell their difference.
The Hoya Chelsea has rounded heart-shaped leaves while the Hoya Carnosa has longer more oblong shaped foliage. Their flowers are likewise different.
And, their growth habits as well, as the Chelsea seems to keep its vines closer to one another compared to the Carnosa’s more expansive look.
Nevertheless both are beautiful houseplants that are fairly easy to care for. They work well in pots set on tables or furniture just as well as in hanging baskets.
Unfortunately, the Hoya Chelsea is hard to find. Thus, if you have the opportunity to secure one, go for it as it makes a great addition to any gardener’s collection.
Hoya Chelsea Plant Care
The Hoya Chelsea grows best under bright, indirect light. It loves plenty of sunlight which allows it to flower more. However, avoid direct sunlight as this will burn its leaves and change their color.
A good spot for it indoors is near an east facing window where it receives morning sunlight. It can tolerate direct morning sun because it is not as intense.
But, it will not be able to tolerate even a few hours of harsh afternoons sun. in this location it will prefer some shade from the sun or distancing from the window (at least 3 feet or more).
With light, balance is key as too little light will prevent the plant from producing its beautiful blooms. Similarly, its growth will slow down and become leggy as it reaches out towards the source of the light.
Outdoor, the plant prefers partial or dappled shade.
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Like the Hoya Carnosa, the Chelsea favors warm conditions. It is used to this kind of climate because it is native to China and India. Both of which have generally moderate to warm weather (although some parts of China is very cold).
Thus, the plant is hardy to USDA Zones 9b to 11. And, it is not able to withstand freezing temperatures.
Ideal temperatures for your Hoya Chelsea run between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But, it does not mind hotter weather either.
But, the same cannot be said for the opposite as it is easily damaged by frost. As such, you want to keep it away from temperatures of 50 degrees or less.
Ideal humidity for your Hoya Carnosa Chelsea is 60% or higher.
Fortunately, it does well in average household humidity as well. So, it does not have a problem between 30% and 40%.
If you live in a dry region, misting will help a lot as this will help increase air moisture around the plant. However, you do need to do this at least 2 or 3 times a week consistently.
How Often to Water Hoya Chelsea
Your Hoya Chelsea prefers drier soil conditions compared to many other houseplants. It does not need a lot of water. In fact, it is drought tolerant as its fleshy leaves are able to store moisture to keep it well hydrated during dry periods.
This is makes the plant more forgiving in case you forget to water it. It also reduces the frequency you need to do so.
On average, you can water the it every 7 to 12 days depending on how much sunlight and how hot it is.
A good gauge is to check the soil and wait for the top 1 to 2 inches of the top layer to dry out before you water.
Note that younger Hoya Chelsea need regular watering. They cannot handle dry periods as the plant will develop this tolerance as it matures. Thus, it will only need less water after 2 or 3 years.
Too much water turns the plant’s leaves yellow. If you see this check the soil. Moist soil likely means that it is getting too much water. And, it would appreciate you scaling back.
On the other hand, if the plant starts becoming wrinkly, or its leaves get soft, it needs water.
When watering, avoid pouring from overhead where the entire plant gets wet. Getting the leaves wet increases the chances of bacteria and fungus. Instead, pour directly on the soil. You can likewise water from the bottom using a saucer.
Soil for Hoya Chelsea
Since your Hoya Chelsea prefers less water, it is important to avoid waterlogged soil or a mix that retains too much water. This will increase its chances of getting overwatered even if you don’t necessarily overdo the watering (since the soil holds excess moisture).
Instead, a good well-draining mix is ideal.
The plant also enjoys soil that is slightly acidic to neutral (pH between 6.1 to 7.3). And, light, airy soil will allow it to get sufficient oxygen into its roots.
The good news is, there are many different ways to achieve this kind of soil.
One that I like to use is made from equal parts of peat, perlite and orchid mix.
If you prefer use fewer ingredients so there’s less combining and mixing, go with a cactus mix and perlite to improve drainage even more.
To achieve optimal growth, feed your Hoya Chelsea once every month in spring and summer with a water soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength. The plant is a light feeder so it does not need a lot of plant food.
In fact, you want to be careful with overfeeding it because it can damage the plant’s roots. You’ll likewise notice its leaves get crinkled and dry.
If you notice this, flush the soil with water to drain the excess fertilizer and salt residue. Or, you can repot the plant so it starts fresh with new soil.
Don’t feed the plant during fall and winter. Also, avoid doing so during its blooming period.
The Hoya Chelsea is a vining plant that can grow to between 2 to 6 feet indoors. While it has a compact habit, it can look a little unruly as its gets too bushy.
Thus, it is a good idea to prune it to keep it looking neat and tidy. You may also want to do so to control its size and shape depending on whether you grow it in a container or a hanging basket.
As always, use a sterile pair of scissors or pruning shears to avoid transferring any bacteria to open wounds caused by pruning. You can wipe the blades with rubbing alcohol to sanitize it.
Additionally, do remove any damaged, discolored or diseased leaves as well.
Hoya Chelsea Propagation
The easiest way to propagate your Hoya Chelsea is via stem cuttings. The best time to do so is during spring or early summer at the latest. Because it is growing at this time, it roots faster and will start growing sooner.
Here’s how propagate Hoya Chelsea with stem cuttings.
- Take a 4 to 6 inch stem. Ideally, you want to choose a healthy looking stem with at least 2 to 3 leaves on it.
- Using a sterile cutting tool, snip the stem right under a leaf node.
- Remove the lower leaves because they will get submerged in water or get planted under the soil.
- You can dip the cut end in rooting hormone to help speed up the process as well.
- Plant the stem cutting into a small container with fresh potting mix.
- Water the soil and keep it moist.
- Place the plant under bright, indirect sun in a warm spot.
- You can cover the plant with a plastic bag to increase humidity. This will help it root and grow faster during the initial stages.
- In about 3 to 4 weeks, the plant will develop roots although you’ll only be able to test that by lightly tugging on the plant. Resistance is a sign that the roots are taking hold.
Another option is to propagate in water. This will allow you to observe the roots as they grow since you’ll see them through the glass jar.
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How to Repot Hoya Chelsea
The best time to repot your Hoya Chelsea is spring or early summer. Although it does not need much repotting. In general, it takes around 5 years or so before you need to do so. At the earliest, 3 years.
So repotting is actually a low maintenance task with this plant.
However, emergency situations will require immediate repotting.
Issues like overwatering and too much fertilizer damaging the plant are some examples. In these cases, you want to repot them as soon as you can to halt any more damage and try to help the plant recover.
When repotting move to a container that is 2 inches wider than its current container. Also make sure to get a container with drainage holes at the bottom. And, supply the plant with fresh, well-draining potting mix.
The plant is not toxic to people or animals. This makes it a good choice for homes with young children and pets since you have piece of mind that the plant does not pose any danger to them in case they accidentally ingest it.
Pests and Diseases
The Hoya Chelsea does not have a lot of pest or disease problems. However, it can be prone to them because of its characteristics and preferences.
When the plant blooms, it produces a sweet fragrance that pets and bugs seem to like. Additionally, it can easily be overwatered and overfed. Both instances make it more susceptible the both pests and diseases as well.
Plus, is preference for high humidity makes moisture a consistent threat.
As such, proper care is very important along with regular inspections. This will prevent these headaches from happening. And, if they do, you’re able to spot them early to prevent them from developing into infestations which is not only harder to treat but also more dangerous for the plant.