The Hoya Glabra is one of the larger species of the genus. What makes it distinct are its relatives big leaves.
These have a somewhat rounded shape and crinkly surface. They grow to the size of your hands or bigger.
Note that its complete scientific name is Hoya Glabra Schlechter.
The plant is native to Southeast Asia particularly Borneo. As such, some growers will refer to it as the Hoya Glabra Borneo.
How to care for the Hoya Glabra? The plant needs plenty of indirect light, warm temperature and high humidity to reach its full potential.
Bright, indirect light is ideal, although you can supplement with artificial lights indoors as well. Outdoors, partial shade is best. Feed with a fertilizer to help it grow.
Hoya Glabra Plant Care
The Hoya Glabra thrives in bright, indirect light. Ideally, supply it with natural light from the sun especially in the mornings.
This will fuel it growth, large leaves and increase its ability to flower.
Lighting is important as this is one of the larger hoya varieties you’ll find. Its leaves are likewise huge relative to other hoya species.
Thus, it needs sufficient light not just to achieve that size but also to support its many leaves which are big as well.
Of course, giving the plant plenty of light also lets you enjoy its stunning blooms which I’ll talk more about below.
The good news is that you can grow the plant indoors or outdoors.
Indoors, an east or west facing direction is ideal. You can keep it towards the south but make sure to either distance it away from the sun’s rays or filter the light coming in the window with something.
While the plant will tolerate a northern exposure, I don’t recommend it especially if you experience less light during the winters from that direction.
The plant grows slower in low light. And this environment also reduces its likelihood of flowering.
Outdoors, partial or semi-shade works best.
Try to give it light shade which is still bright but protecting the plant from the sun’s rays. It cannot take full sun for more than a few hours a day.
Also, avoid full shade since it will have a hard time flowering there.
The Hoya Glabra has an ideal temperature range of between 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a warm-weather plant that enjoys moderate to even hot conditions.
This makes it very easy to care for indoors since it does not need to adapt given that most homes have temperatures to what the plant likes.
Outdoors, you do need to be a bit more careful.
It thrives in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. These are the southern coastal states including California and Florida.
The plant enjoys this kind of weather because they are warm and sunny all year round. They don’t have winters. And their proximity to the water keeps humidity in these areas fairly high.
As such, it is very similar to its native habitat.
However, if you live in colder regions (Zones below 9), snow, winter and freezing temperatures become an issue.
The plant has low tolerance to cold climates. And it struggles with temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
This means it is not a good idea to leave the plant outdoors once the colder months arrive. Make sure to bring it indoors before then.
During winter, keep it warm and cozy indoors. If you need to use a heating mat or heat pack and place it under the pot to keep soil temperature warm.
Unfortunately, the winter cold and induce the plant into dormancy. This is when the plant does not grow at all.
Although, the plant is okay and alive. So, don’t throw it away or neglect it.
Instead, take care if it during this time. And it will come back to life once spring arrives.
This is why you want to avoid the cold or cooler areas of your home.
If this happens, make sure to cut down on watering. This plant will become more susceptible to overwatering due to the cold and the fact that it is not drinking much.
Winters make the air dry, so keep humidity up as well. You can use a humidifier or a pebble tray.
One way to avoid the plant from going dormant during winter is to keep it warm indoors. Additionally, give it artificial lights.
The cold and lack of light are what lead to dormancy.
So, you can avoid them by employing these two things. If the plant gets good lighting and warmth, it will keep growing during winter. It may even flower then.
The Hoya Glabra is native to Southeast Asia which is known for its notoriously hot and humid climate. As such, the plant enjoys humidity of 60% and above.
That’s the usual everyday humidity you can expect in that region (60% to 75%).
Although, this hoya species is highly adaptable. And it will tolerate 50% humidity and slightly lower.
Therefore, it can do well in many homes provided that the air is not too dry.
However, optimal growth usually happens at 60% humidity and higher. And during the summer, you’ll want to increase humidity if you can since this helps the chances of the plant flowering.
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How Often to Water Hoya Glabra
Watering your Hoya Glabra is important. And it prefers moist soil. On average, it needs watering about once a week.
But this will change depending on how hot your summers get and how cold the winters are where you live.
This is why it can get tricky. Additionally, the plant does not like too much water. Nor does it like going completely dry.
So, the name of the game is finding that balance in between.
Thus, don’t use a fixed watering schedule.
Instead, feel the soil and to know when to water the plant.
I like to just touch the soil every 3-4 days to feel for moisture on the surface. This method takes but a few seconds to know if it is time to water the plant.
If the soil is wet or moist on the surface in any way, shape or form, don’t water yet.
But if it feels dry, then stick your finger into the soil down 1-2 inches. This is around the area between the first and second knuckles in your index finger.
When you take out your finger, check your fingertip.
If it feels wet, moist or has some soil sticking to it, don’t water yet. But if your fingertip feels dry or only soil dust is left there, it is time to water.
By waiting until the top layer of soil to dry out between waterings, you cut down the risk of overwatering the plant.
Hoya Glabra Potting Soil
Ideal soil for the Hoya Glabra is well-draining, airy and light. This combination keeps the plant from sitting in too much water.
The reason this is important is because the plant has semi-succulent leaves. You’ll notice its leaves are thick. That’s because they hold water to sustain the plant through dry periods.
Additionally, it is an epiphytic plant.
This means in its native habitat it does not live in the soil. Instead, it climbs up and clings onto trees and larger plants.
Therefore, its roots are suspended in the air.
This lets them get a lot of oxygen. Additionally, when the roots get wet from the rain, they’ll dry quickly since there is plenty of light and good air circulation.
Therefore, you want soil that provides the plant this same conditions.
Thus, good drainage and aeriation are essential to avoid excess water retention.
Luckily, it is easy to make this kind of soil. And you have many different options.
The simplest way is to combine:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part coco coir
You can also use a soil mix from:
- 1 part potting mix
- 1 part orchid mix
- 1 part perlite
If you don’t like making your own soil and prefer just getting it from the store, that works too.
Just ask for African Violet mix.
Fertilizer is very important for the Hoya Glabra to help it grow big, produce lots of large leaves. This, along with sunlight are responsible for most of the growth.
So, you want to optimize them especially during the warmer months.
That’s when the plant is actively growing.
However, it is important never to overfeed the plant as you can end up damaging its roots.
Instead, use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month during spring and summer. Dilute this to 50% strength each time.
Stop feeding once fall arrives. And only start again when spring comes back around.
That’s all you need.
It is also worth noting that the Hoya Glabra will produces beautiful flowers. And with sufficient sunlight, warm temperature and good humidity, the balanced plant food will be enough.
However, if your priority it letting the plant bloom and flower, then you may want to take an extra step.
Here, you have a couple of options.
When the plant is about to bloom, switch to an orchid fertilizer. This contains higher phosphorus content which will boost blooming.
Or another option is to add a phosphorus-based fertilizer which serves the same purpose. Then go back to your balanced formulation after.
Flowers / Blooming
The Hoya Glabra usually blooms during the warmer months of the year.
However, its flowers can vary significantly.
While I haven’t seen all of the different variations, I’ve seen enough to know that you won’t know the color of the Hoya Glabra’s flowers until they appear.
So far, I’ve seen blooms that are pink and yellow. Other Hoya Glabra have light purple and pink or light purple and yellow centers.
There was once with white flowers and pink centers as well.
Their similarity was that the flowers were all small. And they grow in clusters of about 20 per bunch forming a sphere-like ball.
They also emitted a mild, citrus fragrance.
The Hoya Glabra can grow to 8 to 10 feet high. It likes to climb so it is a good idea to give it a pole or trellis to go up on.
The kind of vertical structure you supply it will dictate its shape.
Thus, I’ve seen Hoya Glabra that go almost straight up a pole while others not only climbed up but also expanded sidewards.
Its leaves are just impressive, easily growing to more than 6 to 8 inches long.
When young, the leaves can reach about the size of your palm. But they will get bigger than your hand in time if you give the plant enough space to grow.
Because the Hoya Glabra can get bushy, you will need to prune it.
But how often will depend on the look you’re going for.
That said, you can likewise prune it to encourage more growth if you think it looks a bit sparse. Also, don’t forget to remove any old, dying, damaged and discolored leaves.
How to Propagate Hoya Glabra
Hoya Glabra propagation is usually done through stem cuttings. Fortunately, the plant has lots of stems. It also has long ones.
As such, you can choose to use a stem tip or take a longer stem and divide that into several cuttings.
The best time to propagate the plant is spring to early summer.
Since you’ll be using cuttings, you can coordinate this with the same time you prune the plant. That way you don’t have to throw the stems you trimmed off.
However, note that there’s a big difference when you cut to prune and when you cut to propagate.
This has to do with the nodes.
When pruning, you want to leave the nodes with the plant since that’s where new leaves will grow out from.
But when propagating, you want to cut the stem under the node so the cuttings have the nodes. These nodes are where the new roots will grow from.
This is why the nodes are the most important part of stem cuttings.
To take stem cuttings, make sure each cutting has at least 1-2 nodes and several leaves. If there are no nodes, propagation will fail.
Propagating Hoya Glabra from Stem Cuttings
Here’s how to propagate the Hoya Glabra from stem cuttings.
- Choose healthy cuttings based on the criteria above.
- Then take a sterile pair of scissors or pruning shears then cut just below the node. You can take one stem cutting or several depending on how many new plants you want to grow.
- In a small pot, add well-draining potting mix.
- Plant the cuttings into the soil. Then water until the soil is moist.
- Leave the pot in a warm, humid spot with bright, indirect light.
It takes around a month for the cuttings to develop roots that will begin to establish themselves into the soil.
How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Glabra
Only repot the Hoya Glabra when needed. It does not like repotting. And this can stress the plant as well.
The only time you need to repot is when it has outgrown its pot.
Also note that the plant likes being root bound. This actually helps it flower. So, there’s no hurry to move it to a new home unless needed.
In most cases, it takes between 2 to 4 years before you need to repot the plant.
Although, you can refresh the soil annually or every 2 years to keep it from getting compacted.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The plant is non-toxic. This makes it safe around young children, cats and dogs. However, it can still pose as a choking or gagging hazard if they consume any part of it.
So, you still want to be careful.
Hoya Glabra Problems & Troubleshooting
Spider mites, aphids, scale and mealybugs are the common pests that will come to feed on the plant. They are attracted to its succulent-like leaves.
These are all sap sucking insects. Therefore, they will rob the plant of its internal juices which supplies the leaves and other parts with moisture and nutrients.
For this reason, it is important to eradicate them as soon as possible.
Additionally, they grow very quickly in number. This allows them to inflict more damage.
The best way to keep this from happening is to inspect the plant regularly. And if you spot any insects, immediately treat it.
I like to spray them with water which dislodges them from the plant.
It takes a few repetitions of this with a few days in between. But it is simple and a quick fix.
Of course, you can spray them with insecticidal soap or neem oil as well.
Overwatering is the main thing to avoid. This involves watering too often as well as getting the leaves all wet when you water the plant.
This can lead to root rot. Or it can cause bacterial and fungal diseases as well.
Root rot is very serious as it can kill your plant. However, depending on the kind of bacterial infection that it gets, it could suffer the same fate as well.
Therefore, be mindful of when you water and how you water.
Only water when the soil is partially dry. And water directly on the soil not over the leaves.