How to Care for Hoya Ciliata

Last Updated on April 14, 2022 by Admin

The Hoya Ciliata is a rare plant with beautiful vining stems and green leaves. But it is best-known for its star-shaped dark maroon colored flowers which look almost black.

These have yellow centers that give the flower amazing contrast.

They blooms are small but they grow in groups. However, each bunch does not have as many flowers as most other hoya varieties do.

How do you care for the Hoya Ciliata? Bright, indirect light is ideal for blooming. You will also need to prune it regularly to keep the stems from getting too messy.

The plant thrives in warm, humid conditions. It also likes moist soil but cannot tolerate wet, soggy environments. Avoid overwatering as it can eventually destroy the plant.

Hoya Ciliata Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Hoya Ciliata needs medium to bright indirect light to thrive. This is primarily because it needs plenty of light in order to bloom.

Since the plant is well-known for its dark purple star-shaped flowers, this is something worth considering.

Additionally, the Hoya Ciliata is a tropical plant. As such, it is used to sunny, warm to hot climate conditions.

While the plant can tolerate low light, note that it is less likely to flower there.

But the plant itself will be fine in less light. The only thing is that growth can slow depending on how little the light is.

On the other hand, too much light is not good for the plant.

Since it is a gap plant in the forest, the light it gets is dappled since they come from the small gaps in the leaves and trees overhead.

Thus, the Hoya Ciliata does not experience strong, direct sunlight.

Leaving it in this kind of conditions for long periods of time will burn its leaves. Or at the very least cause them to turn yellow or brown depending on how long they’ve been there and how intense the sun is.

Therefore, avoid too much direct sunlight indoors.

This means being careful with a south facing window which gets a ton of light especially during the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.

Instead, keep the plant in the east or west.

If you want it to flower, you may want to avoid the north facing window unless your home gets a lot of light from that direction.

Outdoors, the Hoya Ciliata will thrive in partial shade. Keep it away from full sun.



The Hoya Ciliata likes warm weather thanks to its tropical nature. In fact, it does best when the weather stays fairly consistent in this kind of climate.

This is why the plant enjoys temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

It can likewise tolerate above and below this range.

However, it will easily withstand higher temperatures than it does the lower ones. In fact, try to keep the Hoya Ciliata away from temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

It tends to struggle there.

So, while this isn’t much of a problem for most homes because humans enjoy 65 to 75 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, it could be if you bring the plant outdoors.

The Hoya Ciliata will appreciate summer weather outdoors as long as you keep it away from direct sunlight there.

But you want to bring it back indoors come fall once the temperature drops near 55 degrees Fahrenheit. And keep it in a warm place indoors through the winter.

Avoid leaving it outside in frost or freezing temperatures.

It is also worth noting that even indoors, if things get cold enough during the end of the year, your Hoya Ciliata can go dormant.



The Hoya Ciliata prefers high humidity, ideally between 60% and 80%. However, it can tolerate humidity down to around 50% or so.

Unfortunately, this can still make it challenging to care for in most homes.

That’s because depending on where you live, the humidity can range from 20% to 50%. Of course, if you live in a tropical region, have subtropical weather or have a large body of water nearby, this will be less of a problem.

Therefore, it is a good idea to keep an eye out of humidity levels in your home.

When the humidity is too low for the plant, you may see the plant develop brown leaf edges and tips. In some cases, its leaves can also drop.

Both are signs that it needs your help.

If you have a humidifier, you can use that to increase humidity.

Otherwise, a quick fix would be to mist the plant or take it to the bathroom.

For a more hands-off approach that does not require hiding the plant from visitors, you can make your own humidity tray or pebble tray.




How Often to Water Hoya Ciliata

The Hoya Ciliata is a bit tricky when it comes to watering. That’s because it likes moist soil. But it is sensitive to too much water.

Therefore, balance is very important.

More importantly, the plant’s roots cannot tolerate sitting in water for very long periods of time. Otherwise, they risk root rot.

As such, you want to stay on the safe side of things and not water too frequently.

The best way to know when to water the Hoya Ciliata is to feel the soil. And only add water once the top 1-2 inches of soil has completely dried.

You can stick your finger into the soil down to between the first and second knuckles. Then feel your fingertip to see whether there is any moisture.

Try to avoid the temptation to water before the top 1-2 inches of soil has dried. This way, you reduce the risk of overwatering.

That said, avoid letting the soil go completely bone dry.

The plant will not appreciate this either.

If you’ve been having problems staying consistent with watering, you can try bottom watering as well.

Bottom watering is the opposite of the traditional way of watering where you water from above.

Here, you put the pot in a container with some water and allow the soil to absorb the moisture at its own rate through the holes at the bottom of the pot.

It usually takes 10 or so minutes before the root ball gets saturated.

Feel the top of the soil surface.

Once the surface of the soil feels a bit moist, remove the pot from the water container and let the soil completely drain. This will take about another 10 to 15 or so minutes.

As such, bottom watering takes longer. But it is safer to prevent overwatering.


Hoya Ciliata Potting Soil

The Hoya Ciliata needs well-draining soil that is light and airy. That’s because the plant’s roots don’t like sitting in water for extended periods of time.

Additionally, they like getting a lot of oxygen.

Therefore, good drainage and aeration are both very important.

Additionally, soil that’s rich in organic matter and with soil pH of 6.1 to 7.3 is ideal. This gives the plant added nutrients. The soil pH also allows it to absorb the minerals efficiently.

To achieve this kind of soil, you have a few options.

If you prefer just picking up a bag of soil mix from the store, you can use African Violet soil. I know many gardeners who use this with great success.

On the other hand, if you don’t mind making your own potting mix at home, you can use either of the two recipes for the Hoya Ciliata below.

  • 1 part potting mix
  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part orchid mix

Or if you prefer something more minimalist, you can use:

  • 1 part peat moss
  • 1 part perlite

The good news is that there are many different kinds of soil mixes you can use for your Hoya Ciliata. Just make sure that you have enough drainage and there’s enough aeration.

This is one reason I don’t like using sand for this plant.

Sand tends to fill in the small pockets of air. That’s not something perlite does. In dong so, sand will block airflow.

Also, over time sand is likely to get compacted which increases the risk of root rot.

So, you’ll need to refresh the soil annually or once every two year if you do use it.



The Hoya Ciliata is a light feeder. Therefore, while it does benefit from the nutrients, it is important to avoid over fertilizing the plant.

When choosing plant food for this species, you can go two different directions.

Some growers like using a balanced mix. This will give you even amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to make sure the plant grows well in all aspects.

Other growers prefer focusing on more flowers.

Therefore, they will choose a high phosphorus fertilizer. You can easily figure this out by looking at the N-P-K figures which are usually very prominent in the label.

With high phosphorus fertilizers, the middle number or the P in N-P-K is the higher number among the three.

Phosphorus promotes flowering which is what many growers are seeking when it comes to the Hoya Ciliata.

Whichever you selection, make sure to only feed the plant during spring and summer. It does most of its growing in the warmer months. Don’t feed it during the colder months.

Once a month or once very 2 weeks is sufficient.


Flowers & Blooming

The Hoya Ciliata has small but showy, fragrant flowers. These blooms are only between 1-2 inches in size. But they’ll bloom as a cluster so you’ll see more than one of them bunched up togher.

The flowers smell like peanut butter which makes them very appealing.

They also have a unique color to them.

Each flower has a very dark purple or maroon color that’s shaped into a star. They almost look black in color due to the dark hues.

Their centers are yellow and white.

The Hoya Ciliata will usually bloom from summer all the way to fall. Most of which happens late in summer to the early fall period.

As such, you want to make sure to give it enough light to encourage blooming. The plant needs plenty of bright, indirect light to flower.



The Hoya Ciliata will happily grow outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 to 12. Although, if you live in a cooler region, it is better to keep it as a houseplant.

As with other hoya varieties, the Ciliata will develop long vining stems as it grows.

These can reach 15 to 20 feet long.

As such, the plant is usually displayed in hanging baskets and allowed to trail down. In some cases, you’ll see it in pots and given a wire, trellis or something else to climb.

As such, don’t be surprised to see a Hoya Ciliata climbing 4 to 6 feet indoors.

As you would guess, as the stems get longer, they can get tangled and messy. I know some growers who like this look.

However, you can likewise prune it to keep it looking neat and tidy.

Pruning will also let you control how long the plant gets.


How to Propagate Hoya Ciliata

The Hoya Ciliata is a fairly easy plant to propagate. And you can grow many new plants at the same time since it responds well to stem cuttings.

Here, you can take stem tip cuttings or you can take a longer stem and split it up to several cuttings.

The most important thing is to get the cuttings right.

This means each stem cutting should have at least 1-2 nodes and a few leaves on it. Don’t get stems with flowers on it either.

Only get healthy stems as well.

Here’s how to propagate Hoya Ciliata from stem cuttings.

  • Once you’ve chosen the stem cuttings, cut them at an angle just below a node. Use a sterile pair or scissors.
  • Next, prepare the soil mix. You can use any of the ones above in the Potting Soil Section.
  • Fill a pot with the soil mix.
  • Then plant the cuttings in the soil. You can plant one cutting or multiple cuttings in a pot then separate them later. Or you can grow several cuttings together to make the plant bushier when it develops.
  • Water the soil and keep it moist but not wet.
  • Place the pot in a warm spot with bright, indirect light.

It will take about a month or so for the cuttings to root.

Since they are already in soil, the only time you need to repot is when the plant outgrows the container.


How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Ciliata

The Hoya Ciliata does not need frequent repotting. In fact, it likes being slightly root bound so many growers will keep it in its container for a while.

As long as the plant does not get overcrowded and does not show side effects from being root bound it will be fine.

For this reason, it usually takes 2 to 4 years before the plant needs to be repot.

Just as importantly, avoid overpotting the plant since this increases the risk of overwatering.


Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Hoya Ciliata is non-toxic to both humans and animals. This makes it safe to keep indoors in your living room or areas where your kids, dogs or cats like running around.

That said, while it is not poisonous, you still want to discourage your pets from eating the plant since it can cause them to throw up or gag after.


Hoya Ciliata Problems & Troubleshooting


The Hoya Ciliata is not known for attracting pests. And when healthy, it has fairly good resistance to bugs.

However, this does not mean that it will never experiences pests.

Like all houseplants, bugs and insects are always a threat. So, you need to inspect the plant regularly, which can be a hassle as it gets bigger and longer.

That’s because it has lots of leaves and small ones at that. This can make it tedious.

The most common pests to bother the plant are mealybugs and aphids.



Overwatering is the biggest thing to watch out with the Hoya Ciliata.

That’s because it can lead to root rot. Additionally, it can also cause bacterial and fungal infections.

Therefore, you want to avoid excess moisture at all times.

Given the plant’s love for high humidity, it is easier to add too much water.

Always be mindful on when you water and how you water. Both the soil and leaves can get too much moisture that can lead to problems.

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