The Hoya Fitchii is a rare foliage plant that produces stunning flowers during the warmer months of the year. it is native to the Philippines which is why it is used to tropical climates.
The plant is best known for its oval shaped light green leaves which feature visible veins. it flowers come in bunches that form ball-shaped clusters. Each of these flowers are star shaped.
Although the most common color is a light pink with yellow center, you’ll also see it produce flowers with a yellow/copper shade and orange as well.
As with many other hoya species, the Hoya Fitchii is a climbing epiphyte that will happily wrap itself around shaped wires. This makes it beautiful to display indoors.
Hoya Fitchii Plant Care
The Hoya Fitchii will grow at its best with bright, indirect light. It needs a good amount of light to grow well and produce beautiful leaves. And although it will happily do so in almost any section of a well-lit room, you want to position it in a spot where it receives bright light.
That’s because this gives it the best chance to bloom. Lots of light is one of the major requirements for the plant to flower. And without it, you’ll be much less likely to see it produce any blossoms.
This is why although it won’t have a problem growing in low light, I don’t recommend leaving it anywhere with that kind of illumination (at least not if you want to see its gorgeous flowers).
However, with the Hoya Fitchii, there’s such a thing as too much light.
Therefore, you want to avoid strong, harsh light from any source. In most cases this will be direct sun and intense sun with summer heat.
The other thing to remember is that while the plant has waxy leaves (and many online resources say it is a succulent), the plant is not a succulent. So, you should not treat it like one.
For example, succulents will be happy under the strong sun in the middle of the day. However, the Hoya Fitchii cannot take that much intensity.
Instead, it needs protection from direct sunlight or you need to distance it from the sun’s rays during this time. Otherwise, its lovely foliage will eventually burn.
Instead, the plant prefers a healthy amount of morning sun and partial shade in the afternoon.
This is why an east facing window is ideal. You can likewise place it near a western exposure although avoid the sun’s rays there.
Meanwhile, in the north, the most important thing to consider is whether there is enough light.
Finally, the southern direction gets the longest and strongest amount of sun, including the time right before noon and through the afternoon. So, avoid heavy exposure here, And place the Hoya Fitchii at least 3-4 feet away from the window so the sun’s rays don’t get to it .
Ideally, the plant needs at least 6 hours of light (minimum per day). If you can’t get much natural light, you can use artificial lighting which works just as well. But it will need at least 10-12 hours of exposure daily.
The Hoya Fitchii is native to the Philippines, which is a country in Southeast Asia. In the world map, the Philippines is just above the equator which is why it gets warm to very hot weather through the year.
In essence, the country has tropical weather with the coldest times (December to February) going down to only 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit for the most part.
The rest of the year, weather usually runs between 78 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit. And it does hit 100 degree heat as well during summertime.
As such, this is the kind of climate that the Hoya Fitchii is used to.
However, since it grows in the jungle under the shade of the larger trees, it does enjoy a bit more moderation.
So, indoors, the Hoya Fitchii prefers temperature between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. And you want to avoid any spot where it can get cold. Anything below 50 degrees will affect its growth.
Therefore, try not to leave it in a place cooler than this or for long periods of time.
Outdoors, the plant is happiest in USDA Hardiness Zones 10-11 which are locales with balmy weather and lots of sunshine through the winters. This is much like its native environment so you can just leave it outside all year round.
But anywhere below zone 10, it is ideal to bring the plant back inside once the weather gets close to 50 degrees.
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One reason why Philippine weather regularly hits heat indices of 90 to 105 degree Fahrenheit heat is that it is very humid there.
On average, humidity runs between 55% to 75% on most days, reaching 85% or a bit more during the rainy season.
So, the Hoya Fitchii loves humid environments. And it is happiest when levels are between 60% and 80%.
Unfortunately, that’s not something that is sustainable in most parts of the northern hemisphere unless you live near a body of water, have a greenhouse, keep the plant in a terrarium or a grow cabinet.
But there’s some good news.
Its waxy, thick leaves do store moisture which allows it to tolerate lower humidity. Still, try to keep things at 40% or higher is possible.
Although it can tolerate a bit drier conditions than this, the lower you go, the more at risk its leaves are to getting dry, crispy and brown tips.
Thus, if you notice that humidity is on the low side, it is a good idea to mist your Hoya Fitchii daily or once every other day. You can likewise use a humidifier or place it on top of a tray of water (keep the pot above the water).
How Often to Water Hoya Fitchii
Hoya Fitchii is an epiphyte. This means that in the wild it does not use its roots absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil. Instead, the plant uses them to climb.
Therefore, when they get doused by the rains, they quicky dry.
Also, because the plant has a relatively small root system, it has low water requirements.
This means you don’t need to water it daily or even every other day.
In the spring and summer, once every 5 to 8 days is ideal. How often will depend on how hot the weather is and how much sun the plant gets.
During this time, you want to give it enough water to keep the soil moist. But avoid getting the soil soggy or mucky as this increase the risk of root rot as the roots are susceptible to overwatering.
That said, the warm months are when the Hoya Fitchii is actively growing. Therefore, it needs moisture (and nutrients) to sustain this development. Additionally, you want to make sure it gets enough water to help it bloom (since is when the plant tends to flower).
Once the colder months arrive, start cutting back of watering.
It needs much less moisture during fall and especially winter. This also reduces the risk of overwatering since it takes much longer for soil to dry due to less light and colder climates.
To help make it easier to remember how much to water and when to water your plant, always feel the soil before you water your Hoya Fitchii.
You can easily do this by inserting your index finger down 2 inches into the soil’s surface. Only water once that depth is completely dry. Avoid doing so before then.
This will let you avoid overwatering.
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Hoya Fitchii Potting Soil
The other aspect of preventing overwatering is to avoid waterlogged soil. And the easiest way to do this is to avoid heavy and dense soils like clay. Basically, any kind of soil that holds a good amount of moisture is not good for the Hoya Fitchii.
Using this will only negate your efforts at good watering frequency since the soil will just retain what you poured into it.
Thus, the best soil for Hoya Fitchii is lightweight, well-draining and aerated soil.
This keeps the plant’s epiphytic roots happy as they get a lot of oxygen with this kind of potting mix.
The soil also quickly drains excess moisture so the roots don’t end up standing in water.
The Hoya Fitchii also appreciates soil pH between 6.1 to 7.5 which will allow it to optimally absorb nutrients from the soil.
Here are some soils that work well with the plant. I’m listing a few options so you can use the ingredients you already have. Also, you can try the different mixes and see which one works best given your home’s environment and conditions where you live.
- 1/3 orchid mix with 1/3 cactus mix and 1/3 perlite
- 1/3 potting mix with 1/3 perlite and 1/3 orchid mix
- 2/3 peat moss and 1/3 perlite
- 1/2 potting soil and 1/2 coco coir
- 1/2 potting soil and 1/2 orchid bark
The Hoya Fitchii will grow fastest will fertilizer. Although be careful not to overfeed the plant as it is a light feeder. Thus, it is more important that it gets fertilizer than to try and optimize or maximize the results of the nutrients.
You can use a balanced water soluble fertilizer during the spring and summer diluted to half strength. A produce with an N-P-K of 15-15-15 works really well.
You can likewise use a bloom booster (one which high phosphorus to boost flowering). In this case, a produce with 7-9-5 N-P-K is a good choice. This will help the plant produce its gorgeous flowers.
There’s no need to feed the plant during the winter.
Flowers / Blooms
The Hoya Fitchii’s blooms are among the most beautiful even when compared to other hoyas. They appear in bunches that form a spherical shape. Together, these small, waxy star-shaped flowers with yellow/copper and pink colors usually appear in the warmer months.
Therefore, you want to make sure to give the plant enough bright indirect light during this time. It will need this in order to bloom.
Of course, good watering and enough nutrients help as well.
I like to switch to a high phosphorus fertilizer (like an orchid food) once the plant is about to bloom. This will help it flower and extend their blooming period as well.
Additionally, one of the most important things to remember with any flowering hoya is not to cut off the peduncles after the flowers have faded and dropped.
While deadheading is good practice for many plants, you want to be careful not to remove the spurs of your Hoya Fitchii. That’s because these are perennials.
So, new flowers will grow out of old spurs over the years. And if you cut them off, you lose all the blooming potential. And you’ll need to wait for new spurs to grow before new flowers can emerge.
Not cutting off the old spurs is the most important thing to keep in mind as far as pruning your Hoya Fitchii goes.
However, you may also need to do minor regular trimming to keep its stems in check.
The plant is a fast grower. Although it is not a tall plant as it only gets to about 2 or so feet long. It does like to climb so you can give it a wire to wrap itself around or set up a trellis.
Many owners prefer hanging baskets because the Hoya Fitchii looks amazing when displayed this way. Therefore, you can do that as well.
But for the most part, pruning is mostly a light task meant to keep the plant looking neat and tidy.
It also allows you to remove discolored, dead or damaged foliage.
For the most part though, trimming is for aesthetic purposes.
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How to Propagate Hoya Fitchii
There are many ways to propagate Hoya Fitchii. And you can do so by:
- Stem propagation / stem cuttings
- Air layering
- Leaf cuttings
Each method has its pros and cons. But I like to keep things simple.
And the most effective way to propagate the plant is from stem cuttings. Thus, I’ve had no reason to regular use any of the others.
Additionally, when propagating your Hoya Fitchii from stem, you can root it in water, sphagnum moss or directly into soil.
This gives you different options depending on what you prefer.
- Begin by taking a stem cutting. Choose a healthy stem with at least 1-2 leaf nodes. Try to get a stem that is between 3-6 inches long as this makes it easier to set in water or plant into growing medium.
- Plant the cutting into well-draining soil that has been moistened. Avoid overwatering it.
- Make sure the leaf nodes are buried in the soil. To do so, remove the lower leaves to expose the nodes. You can keep the upper leaves as they’ll help with photosynthesis.
- It takes about 4 weeks or so for the cuttings to root.
You can likewise propagate in water or soil. The process is similar although with these 2 methods, once the roots reach 1-2 inches or longer you can move the cutting to soil.
How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Fitchii
The Hoya Fitchii enjoys being pot bound. In fact, this environment allows it to produce flowers.
Therefore, don’t be in a hurry to repot it.
The only time you need to do so is when it outgrows its pot and you see roots coming out of the drainage holes.
In general, it takes about 2 years before you need to repot the plant. However, how quickly it grows will ultimately depend on its living conditions. So, don’t sweat it if your plant is growing faster or slower than other peoples’ Hoya Fitchii. Instead, focus on its health and enjoys its beauty.
When you do repot, remember that it is an epiphyte with a small root system.
Therefore, don’t go with a large pot. Instead, choose a container that is 1-2 inches wider than its current container. That will be enough to keep it happy.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
No, the Hoya Fitchii is not poisonous to humans, dogs or cats. It does not contain toxic elements that can force you to go to the ER or the vet due to accidental ingestion.
However, it is still not a good idea to let your pets and young kids consumer any part of the plant as it can cause choking or get stuck in their throat or esophagus leading to vomiting or other unpleasant effects.
Hoya Fitchii Problems & Troubleshooting
Sap suckers are the biggest pest problems your Hoya Fitchii will have. While they don’t happen a lot, they can do so at any time.
And the most common ones are mealybugs, aphids, spider mites and scale insects.
These are easy to get rid of if you spot them early and treat immediately. And the only way to do so is to regular inspect the plant including the undersides of the leaves and the joints between the stems and foliage.
These are where the bugs like to hide.
You can treat them with neem oil or horticultural spray.
Botrytis blight and mold are two common infections you want to watch out for. Fortunately, they are easy to treat.
However, the more serious one is root rot. And like other diseases, this is caused by too much water. However, because it affects the roots, the cause if overwatering the soil.
With the case of blight and mold, wetting the leaves too much without allowing them to dry is the main cause.
Therefore, limiting moisture and being mindful of when you water and how you water are essential here.