Hoya Grey Ghost Plant & Care Guide

Hoya Grey Ghost

The Hoya Grey Ghost is also called the Hoya Carnosa Grey Ghost as it s a variety of the Hoya Carnosa. And you’ll easily notice the similarity once the plant blooms.

Its flowers look almost identical to that of the Hoya Carnosa even in color.

As always, some people will spell grey as gray and vice versa. So, both the Hoya Grey Ghost and the Hoya Gray Ghost refer to the same plant.

In any case, the Hoya Grey Ghost is a very rare plant.

It is best known for its gray colored leaves. Although if you look closely, they’re not actually gray in color. Instead, they are green but have a silver sheen over them. This causes the silver/gray layer which produces the gray colored leaf effect.

As such, the plant has lots of silver speckles covering just about the entire leaf.

This makes it very unique and much sought after.

Hoya Grey Ghost Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Hoya Grey Ghost can tolerate different lighting conditions. But for the best growth, it needs bright, indirect light. This will allow it to grow faster and produce more foliage.

That said, you do want to keep it away from more than 1-2 hours of direct sunlight as it cannot tolerate very intense or strong exposure on a daily basis.

The other thing to keep in mind is that there’s a difference in the type of light it can tolerate indoors and outdoors.

That’s because indoors, there’s less light. This is due to the ceilings and walls inside your home which block out the sun.

Therefore, houseplants generally need more bright light when kept indoors. And if you keep them away from windows, they should be able to tolerate low light conditions.

But the opposite is true outdoors.

So what does this mean?

It means that indoors, the Hoya Grey Ghost will thrive near an east or west window. Because of its silver sheen, it will appreciate a little direct light. Although, it is important that this light is gentle (morning or late afternoon sun).

Avoid mid-day sun which is very harsh. This can eventually burn its leaves if you leave it under this kind of light for more than 2 hours a day.

It will likewise do well in a norther exposure. Although, you do want to check if there is enough light. That’s because for the Hoya Grey Ghost to flower, it needs to kept in a well-lit location.

On the other hand, outdoors, the plant is best suited under partial shade. It will be happy under the protection of a tree, balcony or patio.

 

Temperature

As with other hoyas, the Grey Ghost is a tropical plant. This means that it enjoys temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, it is important to note that these plant can come from a number of habitats. Some live in lowlands while others in higher elevations. Thus, if your Hoya Grey Ghost does not flower despite giving it lots of bright, indirect light, fertilizer and the proper care, you may want to try keeping it somewhere the nighttime temperature is cooler.

Higher elevation causes the temperature to be cooler especially at night. So, plants that come from there will enjoy a drop of around 15 degrees at night compared to daytime weather.

The most important this about the Hoya Grey Ghost’s temperature is to keep it out the cold.

It is not accustomed to frost or snow. Therefore, it has little resistance to this kind of climate. As such, try to keep it away from anything that is lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Besides the outdoors, this also means avoiding air conditioning, cold vents or areas with breezes and drafts.

If you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11, you can likewise grow the plant outside and keep it there all year round. It will be happy in a pot or the ground since the weather is sunny even during winter and the temperature stay moderate even between December and March.

 

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Humidity

Humidity is another aspect of Hoya Grey Ghost care to consider. However, like temperature it is not very difficult to accommodate the plant because it can tolerate average room humidity to a certain degree.

To explain, the plant enjoys humid conditions. Its ideal humidity is between 50% and 70%.

But because it has thick leaves it is more amendable to regular household humidity.

This feature allows it to store moisture in its foliage so it can tolerate longer periods of dryness. Similarly, it lets it withstand lower humidity as well.

As such, the Hoya Grey Ghost should do well in most homes. Although if you live in a desert environment or where the summers get really dry and hot, it may need some help.

To know this, monitor the plant’s leaves.

If the air gets too dry, the leaf tips will get crispy, brown or dry.

You can mist the plant or place it on a pebble tray to help it along in case this happens. Another option is to invest in a humidifier.

 

How Often to Water Hoya Grey Ghost

Water your Hoya Grey Ghost once the soil looks dry. This is the easiest way to tell. Ideally, you want to wait until the soil to 50% dry between waterings.

Of course, you can water earlier as well provided that you allow the top later of soil to dry before doing so. Some people will likewise wait until all the soil dries before adding more water.

All of these work well, the key is to allow part of the soil to dry before giving it more moisture.

That’s because the plant is susceptible to overwatering. And if you leave its roots soaked or standing in water, they will eventually rot.

This is why watering is the most important part of Hoya Grey Ghost care.

Incorrect watering can eventually kill the plant.

I like to wait until the soil is halfway dry. This keeps you from watering too early (before the top 2 inches of soil dry out) or let the plant go dry (if life gets in the way or you forget this can easily escalate into dehydration after a while).

Now that you know when to water, it is also important to know how to water the plant.

The best way to water the Hoya Grey Ghost is to soak it so that the soil gets saturated. Essentially, this is deep watering.

By flowing the root ball, you allow the roots to get the moisture they desire. But, once water starts trickling from the bottom of the pot, start letting the soil drain.

You want it to completely drain so the roots dry and not sit in water.

Doing this will keep the plant’s root system healthy and well-hydrated without the risk of overwatering or root rot.

 

Hoya Grey Ghost Potting Soil

From the previous section, you can already guess how important it is to have the right potting soil.

In order to allow the moisture to drain quickly after you flood the root ball you need the right kind of potting mix. Ideally, I don’t like to let the roots stay wet for more than 15 minutes. This is when problems start happening.

So, the best soil for Hoya Grey Ghost is loose, airy and well-draining.

This ensures that any excess moisture is quickly drained by the soil so the roots are able to breathe. Remember, a plant’s roots need a balance of water and oxygen.

If it gets too much water, it runs the risk of root rot as the roots suffocate (because they’re unable to breathe).

If the roots get too much air, it means they will eventually get dehydrated because they’re not getting any water.

Both air and water are essential (in balance).

To achieve well-draining, lightweight soil with good aeration, you can use any of the following DIY potting mixes. They all work well for the Hoya Grey Ghost.

  • 2 parts peat with 1 part perlite
  • 1 part potting soil with 1 part orchid bark
  • 1 part potting soil with 1 part perlite

Also, don’t forget to make sure that the pot you use has drainage holes. This way, the water that drains from the soil is able to escape from the bottom of the pot instead of pooling there.

 

Fertilizer

The Hoya Grey Ghost is a light feeder so you don’t need to give it a lot of fertilizer. Nevertheless, the plant does need nutrients to grow optimally.

So, feeding is an important part of its care especially if you want it to bloom.

You can use a regular houseplant fertilizer as the Hoya Grey Ghost is not picky about the kind of plant food it gets. The important thing it is gets it nutrients (and that it is not overfertlized).

Since it is a foliage plant, you’ll primarily be using a high nitrogen fertilizer. This will encourage leaf growth. If you want you can go with a balanced houseplant fertilizer (an N-P-K of 15-15-15 is a good choice).

Once it starts blooming or shows signs that it is about to flower, you can use a blooming fertilizer (some brands will call this a bloom booster). This has higher phosphorus content which promotes flowering.

A N-P-K of 7-9-5 is a good choice although anything with higher phosphorus will do the job.

This will help it flower more and let the blossoms last longer as well.

The last thing to keep in mind is to only fertilize during spring and summer. There’s no need to do so in the fall and winter as the plant’s growth slows down in cold weather.

 

Flowers / Blooms

The Hoya Grey Ghost blooms are similar to that Hoya Carnosa. This does make sense given that the plant is a variety of the Carnosa.

As such, when it flowers, you’ll see lovely small, star-shaped white-pink flowers with dark pink/reddish centers.

These grow in clusters as well which makes them beautiful to look at.

One thing I’ve noticed is that they don’t seem to bloom as easily as the H. Carnosa. It takes a few years for this to happen, which is a bit longer than most other hoyas.

That said, it does need the same ideal environment to bloom. This includes:

  • Good amount of bright, indirect light
  • Blooming fertilizer
  • Slightly pot bound
  • Don’t cut off the leafless stalks from where the flowers were. In short, don’t deadhead them after they’ve faded.

 

Pruning

The reason why you should never cut off the peduncles is that that the Hoya Grey Ghost blooms on old growth. As such, these peduncles are perennial in nature.

So, if you cut them off, you’ll eliminate any possibility of future growth.

Additionally, by pruning them, it means you need for new peduncles to grow before the plant can flower again. That’s at least one growing season wasted.

For the plant itself, the Hoya Grey Ghost is a slow grower initially. Thus, if you get  a young plant or a cutting and start from there, don’t worry if it develops slowly.

Once it establishes itself, its growth rate will pick up and the plant will grow faster.

This means that you’ll only need to prune on occasion. In most cases it will be to trim off any excessive growth or stems that o wayward.

In general, pruning is a low maintenance task when it come to the Hoya Carnosa Grey Ghost.

 

How to Propagate Hoya Grey Ghost

Stem propagation is the best way to grow more Hoya Grey Ghost from home. Plus, it is free.

Of course, you can grow new plants from seed, use air layering or separate a larger Grey Ghost into 2 or more smaller plants if you wish.

Commercial operations and shops usually start from seeds because it allows them to grow a lot of plants simultaneously. This lets them fill their shelves and fulfill customer demand.

However, for home growers, the extra time and effort needed when growing seeds is seldom practical, especially if you have better options like stem propagation.

Propagating from stem cuttings is not only faster, but it is also easier and has higher success rates. This is why it is very popular among home growers.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Cut off a 4-6 inch stem cutting. Choose a healthy stem with at least 3 leaves.
  • Remove the lower leaves to expose the nodes.
  • Place the cutting into moist well-draining soil. Make sure to plant the nodes under the surface as they need to be buried in order to root.
  • Remove any leaves that end up in the soil.
  • Keep the cutting in bright, indirect light. It will grow fastest in this environment especially if the location has moderate to warm temperature and good humidity.
  • In about 4 weeks or so, the roots will have grown and grabbed hold of the soil. You can test it by lighting pulling on the plant. It should resist your pull if the roots have grown.

Another option to soil propagation is water propagation. Here, you’ll be rooting the cuttings in water.

  • This is similar to above, but you’ll insert the cutting into water instead of potting mix.
  • Change the water once a week so it does not get murky.
  • In a few days, you should see some white sections of root grow.
  • It will take another 3 to 4 weeks for enough roots to grow and get long enough.
  • Once they reach 1-2 inches long, you can pot them up into soil.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Grey Ghost

In most cases, you will need to repot your Hoya Grey Ghost once every 2 or 3 years.

A lot will depend on how quickly it grows. Although because it has a small root system, the plant will never need a large pot.

That said, how often you’ll need to repot will vary considerably depending on the growth rate. And this in turn will depend on how much sunlight it gets, the weather, humidity, feeding, watering and other factors.

Thus, it is best to check the plant to know when you need to repot.

Once it gets root bound, you can wait a while as it likes being slightly pot bound. This also improves its ability to flower. So, you can take your time and keep it underpotted.

However, you do want to repot it before it shows signs of stress. After a point, the pot will get too tight and literally cramp its growth and make it stress out.

This means you need to move it to a larger pot.

Choose a container that is 2 inches larger at most. Avoid going any bigger as the excess soil will increase the risk of overwatering once wet.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Hoya Grey Ghost is non-toxic to dogs, cats and people. Although its sap can cause skin irritation in come people. So, if you have sensitive skin or allergies, it is a good idea to wear gloves when you handle the plant including pruning.

 

Hoya Grey Ghost Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

The Hoya Grey Ghost is prone to some pests. The most common of these are mealybugs which look like small cottonlike balls. In many cases, they will travel in groups so you’ll see small white, cloud-like things on the leaves of the plants.

Mealybugs like to hide behind the leaves so don’t forget to check there.

Other bugs like aphids, scale and spider mites can also attack the plant. So, it is important to inspect regularly.

This allows you to treat them early when they are few in number. Once they become in infestation, they can quickly damage your plant as they can suck more of its sap.

You can watch these insects off with stream of water. Then use neem oil or horticultural oil spray.

 

Diseases

In addition to pests, excess moisture and damp environments are something you want to avoid. This condition is perfect for bacterial and fungal disease to grow.

And by leaving the plant’s leaves wet, you’re inviting these pathogen to cause infections. The most common include mold. Blight and leaf spot. But there are lots of other leaf problems that can happen as well.

Similarly, overwatering the soil increases its risk of root rot.