The Hoya Caudata is also called the Hoya Caudata ‘Sumatra’. It is a rare epiphytic plant with long vining stems which it uses to climb up trees in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. The plant is native to Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo, Malaysia and Thailand.
Its most prominent features are its silver speckled oval-shaped leaves, which can have green or brown color. Its foliage is likewise thick, stiff and leathery with a rough texture.
The plant is often found in hanging baskets because of its long stems which makes it beautiful when allowed to drape down.
That said it is a natural climber that enjoys some kind of support to cling on. As such, you’ll see growers give it some shaped wiring or trellis.
Of course, the Hoya Caudata is likewise grown for its beautiful flowers. These feature star-shapes and grow in clusters. They have white backgrounds and pink centers with thin hairs around the blooms.
Here’s how to care for the Hoya Caudata ‘Sumatra’ including how to help it grow faster and produce more blooms.
Hoya Caudata Varieties
As with other hoya species, the Hoya Caudata does have a number of different varieties and cultivars. As such, when you see any of the following, know that they are closely related to the Hoya Caudata.
This also lets you choose from the different types available each of which have their own distinctive characteristics which you can easily tell by looking at their leaves and flowers.
Obviously, it is harder to compare the blooms as you need to have proper timing.
In any case, here are the most common Hoya Caudata varieties you’ll likely come across.
- Hoya Caudata Sumatra
- Hoya Caudata Big Green Leaf
- Hoya Caudata Silver
- Hoya Caudata Splash
- Hoya Caudata Borneo
Hoya Caudata Plant Care
The Hoya Caudata likes good lighting. Ideally, keep it in moderate or bright light without direct sun exposure.
In its native habitat, the plant is used to getting overhead protection from the forest canopy. Thus, while the sun shines brightly in the tropics, the Hoya Caudata does not bear the brunt of it.
Therefore, it can tolerate some full or direct sun but avoid leaving it there for more than 1-2 hours daily. This will cause its leaves to turn yellow, look dull and lose their waxy surface. If the light is very intense, it can also burn the foliage.
Thus, the best lighting for the Hoya Caudata is gentle morning sun from an east facing window and partial shade in the afternoon.
So, as far as positioning goes, the best spot is to keep it near or a few feet from an east facing window. You can likewise place it in an northern window as long as it does not get too dim during the wintertime.
As for the west and south you want to be more careful because these directions get sunlight from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. when the sun is strongest.
Therefore, keeping it a few feet from the window or placing sheer curtains will keep it from getting too intense exposure.
The ideal temperature for your Hoya Caudata is between 60 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It is used to this kind of climate because of where it comes from.
Southeast Asia has warm to hot weather all year round. And the countries there get sunshine the entire year with the exception of the rainy season between August and October.
This makes the plant favor moderate to warm weather. And it does not have issues with 90+ degrees weather either.
However, that Southeast Asia does not get is winter.
In fact, you will be happy to go to the beach there during winterime because the weather is warm and balmy. It is not as hot as the rest of the year. Nevertheless, you won’t need anything more than a shirt and shorts there between December and February.
Because of this the Hoya Caudata is not used to the cold. And its growth will slow and stunt if you leave it in below 55 degree temperatures.
This means keep it away from the outdoors during winter as well as air conditioners and drafty windows.
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In addition to being hot, the other aspect of Southeast Asian weather is humidity. Humidity stays high making the heat index soar to over 100 degrees during the summer.
This obviously does not help with the heat. But it is something that the Hoya Caudata appreciates.
In fact, the plant thrives when humidity stays between 60% and 80%. Although because it does store moisture in its leaves, it will tolerate average humidity as well.
This makes it easier to care for indoors especially in countries like the United States, Canada and in Europe (which are farther from the equator).
That said, you do want to be wary if where you live has dry air. Similarly, very hot summers and cold winters will dry the air.
Therefore, if you notice dry, crispy leaf tips or browning foliage, it means the humidity is too low and you need to give the plant a hand.
Misting or using a humidifier are the most common ways to increase humidity. However, you can move the plant to the bathroom, group it with other plants or place it on a pebble tray. All these methods help to varying degrees.
As such, I like to keep a digital hygrometer around to easily tell if humidity is high enough.
How Often to Water Hoya Caudata
Again, the plant’s thick leaves and their moisture storage ability come in to play here.
This allows your Hoya Caudata to tolerate dry periods better than other plants. However, avoid letting the soil go completely dry for extended periods of time.
On the other hand, because it is an epiphyte and it already stores some water, it is easy to overwater the plant.
Its root system is fairly small and delicate. More importantly, they are used to getting a lot of air because the plant spends its time clinging onto and climbing trees in the wild.
This means you want to avoid overwatering the soil.
In most cases, once a week watering is ideal during the warmer months. And cut back to about once every 2 weeks or even more during the winter depending on how low the temperature gets.
The more sunlight and the warmer the weather, the more often you’ll need to water (as is the case during summertime). During winter when there’s less sun and it is colder, it takes much longer for soil to dry.
To make sure you avoid overwatering, let the top 1-2 inches of soil dry before adding more water.
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Hoya Caudata Potting Soil
The Hoya Caudata needs loose, airy and well-draining soil. This allows its roots to get enough oxygen which the plant likes.
More importantly, avoid letting the soil get mucky and soggy. This is what happens when you add water too often or the soil does not have enough drainage.
Both will harm the plant as the roots end up standing in water.
If this happens for too long or often enough, it can lead to root rot.
You can use any of the following potting mixes for the Hoya Caudata. They all work and provide ample drainage to keep the plant healthy and happy.
- 1 part peat with 1 part orchid mix and 1 part perlite
- 1 part orchid mix with 1 part cactus mix and 1 part perlite
- 1 part potting soil and 1 part succulent & cactus mix
- 1 part potting soil with 1 part coco coir and 1 part perlite
You can likewise add a few handfuls of worm compost and charcoal afterwards. Use the worm compost as topdressing while the extra charcoal will help with drainage and aeration as well.
Try to keep soil pH between 6.0 to 7.5 (slightly acidic to neutral) to allow the roots to absorb as much nutrients as possible.
Because the Hoya Caudata has both foliage and flowering features, it is important to know what fertilizer to use at any given time.
For the most part, you’ll be using a liquid balanced or all-purpose fertilizer. The goals is to have a high nitrogen product to boost foliage development.
Apply this once a month during the spring and summer diluting it to half strength upon application. You can easily do so with liquid plant food by adding more water to the watering can before pouring onto the soil.
The Hoya Caudata does not need to be fed during fall and winter.
But then once you notice the plant is about to bloom, switch form the nitrogen fertilizer into one with high phosphorus. By doing so, you’re making the plant turn its focus on flowering instead of leave development.
An orchid bloom booster is a good product to go with although there are other options as well. The key is to make sure it gets enough phosphorus for flower development.
Flowers and Blooms
As mentioned, the Hoya Caudata will flower. And, it will produce beautiful clusters of pink, red and white blooms that have star-shapes.
Each cluster will have between 8 to 15 small flowers clumped together which makes them look amazing. The plant is most likely to flower during the warm months and they’ll stay around between 3 to 4 weeks.
Like other hoyas, they have a strong fragrance which is milder during the daytime but more obvious during the mornings and evenings.
The Hoya Caudata grows faster than most other hoyas. Nevertheless, since hoyas tend to be slow growers, it still grows at a fairly slow rate compared to other houseplants.
That said, it can reach 8 to 10 feet long if you let it. In the wild it can grow up to 30 or 40 feet in length when climbing.
This means that you do need to do some regular light pruning especially because the vines do get quite a bit messy.
Regular trimming will let you keep it looking neat and tidy. And it will likewise allow you to control the size of the plant depending on where you keep it.
In addition to pruning the leaves, the other thing to know is not to prune the peduncles of the flowers even after they’ve faded.
Deadheading which works for many other plants, it not a good idea with the Hoya Caudata as its new blooms will grow from the old peduncles.
So, if you do cut these peduncles off, they need to regrow before any flowers can be produced. As such, you end up missing on one growing season.
How to Propagate Hoya Caudata
You can propagate the Hoya Caudata in a few ways. Although the easiest way to do so is via stem propagation.
Here, you will take a stem cutting, allow it to root and then grow into a new plant. You can do this by using a soft stem cutting or a woody stem cutting.
Once you have the cutting you can likewise use water propagation or soil propagation to root the cutting.
Here’s how to do it step by step.
- Cut a stem that’s about 4 to 6 inches long. Ideally, choose a stem with at least 1-2 nodes and a few leaves on it.
- Remove any lower leaves and leave the top ones intact.
- Then decide if you want to propagate the cutting in water or soil. With water, you’ll need to move the cutting to soil later on. But water propagation allows you to monitor the roots as they grow. This is something you won’t be able to do with soil propagation because they’ll be buried under.
- With water propagation, place the cutting in a glass container filled with water. It is important to let the nodes be under the water. But remove any leaves that go in the liquid. Change the liquid once a week.
- With soil propagation, plant the cutting into a pot with moistened, well-draining potting mix. Ensure that the nodes are buried under the soil but remove any leaves that go under. Water regularly to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
- Place the pot or water container in a warm location with bright, indirect light.
- In about 4 or so weeks the roots will grow and get longer.
- You can move the cuttings from water to soil once the roots are 1 to 2 inches or longer.
How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Caudata
Repotting is a low maintenance task with the Hoya Caudata. That’s because it is not a fast grower and it enjoys being root bound.
Therefore, you can leave the plant there anywhere from 2 to 4 years.
That said, if you want the plant to grow and get bigger, do move it to a larger container after it becomes pot bound. This will give its roots more room to grow.
When repotting, be careful as its roots are delicate. Also, choose a pot that is 2 inches wider. Avoid something that’s much bigger as the excess soil increases the risk of overwatering.
After repotting, allow the plant to settle into its new home before you water.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Hoya Caudata is safe to keep around cats, dogs and kids. It is not toxic although its sap be cause irritation if you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies.
That said, this affects only a handful of people. But if you want to play it safe, you can wear gloves.
Problems & Troubleshooting
As with any houseplant, you want to monitor your Hoya Caudata for pests. The most common ones that attack the Hoya Caudata are mealybugs, spider mites, thrips and scale.
You can keep them away by applying neem oil or horticultural oil on the foliage. This will keep these sap suckers away.
That said, it is time consuming to do this is you have a whole collection of plants.
Similarly, the Hoya Caudata can experience bacterial and fungal diseases. These will affect the leaves and the roots of the plant.
So, if you see any odd colors, discoloration, spots, stripes, lesions and malformations in the leaves, it likely has an infection.
On the other hand, root rot is the most dangerous plant problem and will turn healthy roots into black, brown and much.
Diseases are almost always caused by excess moisture. But your plant can already have the problem when you get it from the store. So, always quarantine any new purchases to monitor it before moving it alongside your other houseplants.