How to Grow & Care for Hoya Imbricata

hoya imbricata

The Hoya imbricata is a fairly large climbing epiphyte that grow to between 8 and 10 feet. It also features large dark green colored leaves that are nearly a foot in size.

At first glance, you can easily tell that it looks somewhat different from most hoyas.

It is most commonly found in the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. Thus, it enjoys warm, humid conditions.

In its natural habitat, you’ll see it climbing onto trees although many growers keep it in hanging baskets since they also look amazing draping downwards with their long stems.

Hoya Imbricata Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Hoya imbricata enjoys plenty of bright light. But, it prefers indirect or filtered light compared to direct sunlight as the latter can scorch its leaves.

You especially want to make sure it received enough sunlight during its growing season (spring and summer) to achieve the growth it usually makes.

Although the plant can tolerate about 2 or 3 hours of direct morning sun, it won’t be able to do more than that on a regular basis. As such avoid mid-afternoon exposure or that during the peak of summer.

Instead, keep the plant somewhere there’s lots of light but with some shade to protect it as well.

This makes an east facing window ideal. You can likewise go with a north or northeast exposure.

With the west or south, you do want to do something about afternoon sun.

You can use sheer curtains or drapes to block part of the sun or keep the plant about 3 to 6 feet from the window. Both method work albeit they do different things.

If you can’t find a suitable naturally well-lit spot, you can likewise use grow lights.

 

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Temperature

Your Hoya imbricata is native the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Asia. Thus, it prefers warm weather to cold.

And, as you would expect, it will tolerate more heat than cold.

In fact, the plant cannot take freezing temperatures. And, it is hardy to USDA Zones 9 to 11.

So, if it snows in your area during winter, it is best to keep the plant indoors as the weather drops.

Ideally, you want to avoid temperatures of 45 degrees or less which can damage the plant. Similarly, levels below 50 degrees will cause it stress.

That said, many growers tow the line because hoyas tend to bloom more when exposed to cooler nights. As such, you want to experiment a bit. But, do so gradually to avoid placing excess stress on the plant due to the cold.

You can start with 55 to 60 degrees and take things from there.

For optimal growth, the plant enjoys moderate to slightly warm conditions, ranging from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Humidity

Similarly, your Hoya imbricata favors humid conditions. Ideally, it does best at 60% or higher.

Here, it is able to grow well and produce vibrant colored foliage.

Again, this love for high humidity stems from its native tropical habitat. In Southeast Asia, humidity runs between 57 and above for most of the year. There are likewise days when the humidity runs between 70 and 75%.

As such, this is “normal” for the plant.

However, it isn’t more most homes in here in the states where household humidity often runs between 30% and 50%.

Thus, you do need to mist it on a regular basis or place it on top of pebbles in a water tray to increase humidity around the plant.

Alternatively, you can likewise use a humidifier if you have many plants.

hoya imbricata

source: wikimedia commons

 

How Often to Water Hoya Imbricata

Water is an important aspect of caring for your Hoya imbricata. That’s because the plant is epiphytic in nature. And, it has succulent leaves.

The former means it has relative smaller roots that don’t particularly depend on soil for sustenance. Instead, they get nutrients from the air and debris from the larger plants it clings onto in the forest.

Meanwhile, the latter means that the plant stores moisture in its leaves. This allows it to get through dry spells without any problems.

So what does this have to do with watering?

It means the plant is susceptible to overwatering. Because of the structure of tis roots, it is easier to overwhelm it with too much water.

Also, its ability to store water means it is likewise easier to give it too much moisture.

Thus, you want to allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings. Ideally, wait until at least the top 2 inches of soil is dry before watering again.

 

Soil for Hoya Imbricata

Using the right kind of soil will also help you avoid overwatering or waterlogged soil. Unfortunately, the wrong kind of soil will do the opposite.

As such, avoid heavy soils or any kind that will retain moisture.

Instead, look for something that is well-draining. Ideally, it I loose and air to allow oxygen to easily circulate as well.

You can use 2 parts peat to 1 part perlite or sand to achieve this.

Another option is to use 1 part peat, 1 part perlite and 1 part orchid mix.

 

Fertilizer

Feed your Hoya imbricata during the spring and summer. It does not need fertilizer during fall and winter.

You can use an organic fertilizer if you want to reduce the mineral residue left behind in the soil. But, I’ve found that synthetic fertilizer works well. It is also lighter on the wallet.

The one you want to avoid are cheap and low quality ones. These might look like they offer good value but they leave lots of salt residue in the soil. Once it accumulates, it can damage your plant.

I like a balanced formulation for hoyas as it gives them enough nutrients. Do check for micronutrients since some produces only focus on the macros (N-P-K).

I apply once every month during the spring and summer diluting the dose to half the recommended strength.

If you find that it is not producing much flowers, you can switch to a bloom booster (high phosphorus blends) when the plant is about to blossom. This will help it produce more flowers.

 

Pruning

The Hoya imbricata is a fairly large plant with the ability to grow to 10 to 12 feet. It will grow upwards if given a tree or another vertical structure to climb. Or, you can let it drape down form a hanging container.

Similarly, leaving on a container will let it overflow and sprawl out and around the perimeter of the pot.

The plant is a creeper. As it crawls outward or upward, you’ll see its large leaves get all over the place.

It is actually one of the messier looking plants if you don’t keep it in check. So, a bit more pruning is needed here.

You can likewise leave it to grow on its own if you prefer a jungle-y look.

 

Hoya Imbricata Propagation

In case you want to propagate your Hoya imbricata, the easiest way to take stem cuttings and grow them into new plants. This will give you identical replicas of the parent plant.

The best time to do this is during spring or summer.

Make sure to choose stems with at least 2 leaf nodes. These are the locations where the new roots will start growing from.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Take a stem cutting that is about 3 to 6 inches long. You want a healthy looking stem with at least 2 to 3 leaves on it.
  • Cut the stem right below a leaf node.
  • Remove the leaves at the bottom of the plant.
  • Fill a small pot with fresh potting mix.
  • Then plant the cutting into the soil
  • Cove the plant with a plastic bag to increase humidity.
  • Leave the plant under bright, indirect sun and water the soil to keep it moist.
  • It will take about 3 to 4 weeks to the lant to root.

 

How to Repot Hoya Imbricata

You’ll need to repot your Hoya imbricata about every 2-3 years or so.

These are not the fastest growers, they also have small root systems due to their epiphytic nature. Plus, they enjoy being root bound.

As such, only move them to a larger pot when needed.

When you do, choose a container that is about 2 inches wider than the current one. Make sure it has drainage holes as well at the bottom.

You can use a terra cotta pot to allow more air to get in and out because it is porous. Also, this helps a bit with drainage.

Another options is to use a plastic container with holes in the sides as well as the bottom. This makes it easier for water to escape and get better air flow.

 

Toxicity

The plant is not toxic. As such, you can keep it around young children and pets around the home or garden without risk of accidental poisoning.

 

Pests and Disease

Your Hoya imbricata can experience problems from mealybugs, spider mites and aphids. These are all problematic and you want to spot them as early as possible to avoid large infestations.

Always isolate the affected plant to avoid infecting the others.

Ideally, you regularly clean and inspect each plant since this lets you notice changes when they’re just starting.

You can use neem oil or insecticidal soap. Some people like using alcohol swab but I’ve found it monotonous to take them out one by one.

On the other hand, the plant’s love for humidity makes it prone to diseases as well if you don’t control watering properly.

Too much water increases the risk of root rot and fungal disease.

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