The Hoya Kentiana is a rare vining plant that’s unique looking. This is because it has a shaggy appearance that looks amazing when hung from a basket or when allowed to climb up a support.
The regular Hoya Kentiana has smooth, green leaves and produces beautiful red-pink fragrant flowers during the warmer months (spring and summer).
However it is worth noting that there are many Hoya Kentiana varieties. And each of them can have different colored foliage and flowers. In some cases, the shapes of the flowers vary as well.
Here are some of the Hoya Kentiana varieties that I have come across during my travels to the Philippines.
- Hoya kentiana Variegata (Hoya kentiana Variegated or Variegated Hoya kentiana)
- Hoya kentiana Green
- Hoya kentiana Lori
- Hoya kentiana Albomarginata
- Hoya kentiana Tricolor
- Hoya kentiana Butterscotch
In addition to being a native of the Philippines, you’ll also see the plant in other neighboring Southeast Asian countries.
What Is the Difference Between Hoya Wayetii and Hoy Kentiana?
One of the things I’ve noticed is that many people will group these 2 plants together or use their names interchangeably to refer to one or the other plant.
However, the Hoya Kentiana and the Hoya Wayetii are 2 different and distinct plants.
Although they look similar, if you know what to focus on, you’ll be able tell one from the toher.
- Leaves – the Hoya Kentiana has longer leaves. Also, the colors may vary depending on the Hoya Kentiana variety you have.
- Peduncles – these are the flowering stalks where the blooms grow from. If these are available, you’ll notice the Hoya Kentiana has darker colored peduncles compared to that of the Hoya Wayetii.
Because of the different varieties and cultivars, it is easy to confuse one for the other as even with in the varieties of Hoya Kentiana you’ll see quite a few that don’t look alike.
Hoya Kentiana Plant Care
The Hoya Kentiana thrives when placed somewhere with medium to bright, indirect light. It appreciates a well-lit location which makes an eastern or western exposure ideal.
However, it can only tolerate up to a certain level.
This is means you want to watch out for very intense light or direct sun. This includes that of mid-day from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. when the sun is the harshest. The same it true for summer sun.
Also, if you use artificial grow lights, make sure to keep the plant 8-12 inches from the bulbs as these emit heat as well.
Too much exposure to strong light will eventually cause the leaves to lose their waxy feature. And with prolonged exposure, it can lead to sunburn spots and damaged foliage.
As such, if you live in sunny climates and want to keep the plant outdoors, make sure it stays under partial shade. This can be under a tree, in a bright, covered patio, deck, balcony or terrace.
Keep it away from the rays of thes un.
The Hoya Kentiana enjoys warm temperatures preferably between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is its sweet spot. Although it can tolerate a bit more heat if needed as it comes from tropical Southeast Asia.
That said, avoid very hot conditions as the heat stress will eventually stress the plant and affect its growth.
This is especially true during summers if you live somewhere the climate can get to the 90s or higher.
However, the more important thing to watch out for is the cold.
Since the Hoya Kentiana is native to the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries, it does not need frost, snow or freezing temperatures.
There are no winters there. In fact, the coldest time of the year (December through February) only goes down to about 55 degrees Fahrenheit or so.
Thus, the plant is not well suited to environments below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And if left there it will eventually experiences cold injury.
Outdoors, the plant is best suited to USDA Hardiness Zone 10 and 11 since this is as close as you get to tropical weather. The winters are likewise mild, sunny and with no snow in these regions.
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The ideal humidity for the Hoya Kentiana is between 50% to 75%. Again, this stems from the plant’s origin.
The Philippines is not only hot, but it is very humid as well. Most days having humidity between 55% to 75%. This also goes up to 85% (sometimes higher) when it rains.
As such, the Hoya Kentiana enjoys humid conditions.
Unfortunately, unless you live near a body of water or in a tropical location, it is not easy to maintain these levels inside your home. The other option is to keep the plant in a greenhouse, terrarium or grow cabinet.
However, in most cases, these are not practical options.
So, you can invest in a humidifier if you wish. Other options are to mist it regularly, keep the plant in the bathroom, group it with other plants or place it over rocks in a water tray.
Doing any of these will help increase humidity. Although depending on how dry the air gets where you live, some methods may not provide enough of a boost. So, you have to test and see which ones work for you.
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How Often to Water Hoya Kentiana
The most important thing with watering your Hoya Kentiana is to allow the soil to dry between waterings. That’s because the plants’ roots don’t like wet feet.
And if left standing on water for long periods of time, the will eventually develop root rot.
As such, always check the soil to make sure that at least the top 1-2 inches is dry before you add more water.
There are a few ways to do this.
- Stick your finger into the soil – this is the simplest way. If the top 2 inches of soil feels dry, you can water again. But avoid doing so before that.
- Lift the pot – moist soil feels heavier, while dry soil is very light. So, with some experience, you can tell how much moisture there is in the soil.
- Wooden stick – you can stick a wooden skewer or chopstick into the soil all the way down to the bottom of the soil. When you take it out, you’ll see the wet and dry levels in the wood. This gives you an idea of how dry the soil is.
- Moisture meter – this is an inexpensive device you can get. And it will tell you if the soil is dry, moist or wet.
By doing this, you’ll be able to adjust when you water based on what the soil is telling you. In the process, it automatically adjusts to the warmer or colder months.
Hoya Kentiana Potting Soil
The ideal soil for Hoya Kentiana needs to be well-draining, lightweight and have good aeration. This will allow excess moisture to drain while keeping the roots dry yet hydrated. They’re likewise able to get the oxygen they want.
As such, you can use:
- 2 parts peat moss
- 1 part perlite
If you have potting soil, you can likewise use that instead:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part perlite or pumice
Similarly, you can use orchid bark as well with potting soil:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part orchid bark
In general, I like to make my own potting mix because it lets me customize the ingredients as needed. If you need more drainage or aeration just add perlite, pumice, charcoal, orchid bark, pine bark or fir bark.
Additionally, don’t forget to use a pot with drainage holes so the drained liquid has a way out of the container.
Ideally, use organic fertilizer to feed the plant.
You can use compost or worm castings and top dress the potting soil. Then just add a new layer each spring. A ¼ inch layer of organic fertilizer works very well and will keep the plant healthy and happy.
Of course, you can always go with store bought products as well.
Since the Hoya Kentiana is not choosy about what kind of plant food it gets, you can use synthetic fertilizer, fish emulsion or slow-release fertilizer.
That said, most growers go with synthetics (at least that’s what I’ve noticed). This is because they’re easier to use (all you need to do is follow the label).
You can go with a balanced or general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. A liquid formulation is the easiest to work with as you can simply add water to dilute it to half strength.
Apply once a month during the spring and summer.
Avoid adding fertilizer when the soil is dry as this can lead to root damage. Similarly, don’t overfertilize since the plant is not a heavy feeder.
Flowers / Blooms
The Hoya Kentiana has very attractive flowers which appear after the plant has matured. So, if you start out with a young plant, don’t expect it to bloom right then and there.
Instead, it usually takes 1.5 to 2 years for a young plant to mature before it will produce blossoms.
These are stunning to look at as they feature a roundish shape with pink-red colors and yellow centers.
The flowers also grow in umbels so you’ll see them bunched up with multiple blooms per umbel.
Note that because there are many different Hoya Kentiana varies around, you’ll see flowers of different shapes, colors and appearances.
Some have more star-shaped blooms while others tend to produce rounder flowers.
Their colors will vary significantly as well. And this is the simplest way to differentiate one variety form another if the leaves are not very distinctive.
Like other hoyas, the Hoya Kentiana produces fragrant blooms. In this case, they smell like butterscotch.
The most important thing about pruning your Hoya Kentiana is not to prune the spurs (or peduncles) from which the flowers grow from (even after the blooms have faded).
That’s because new flowers will grow from old spurs. As such, you want to keep these flowering stalks around so they can produce more blossoms season after season.
Also, note that while the flowers don’t last very long, it takes a while for the spurs to develop. So, you’ll see then start growing around January or February even if the Hoya Kentiana does most of its blooming during the warmer months of the year.
As for pruning the plant itself, this is something you’ll need to do on a regular basis. Although light trimming every now and then is more likely.
That’s because the leaves grow in different directions. As such, they look a little shaggy. This make it appear messy without trimming.
At it gets longer and bushier, its dense appearance also makes it seem untidy.
That said, if you let the plant climb or hang it in a basket, you won’t need to trim as much.
It looks amazing both ways as well.
How to Propagate Hoya Kentiana
You have a few options when it comes to propagating your Hoya Kentiana. The simplest and most efficient of which is propagate via stem cuttings.
That said, you can start from seeds as well.
But stem propagation is not only easier, it takes less time and produces higher success rates.
Here’s how to do it.
- Use a sterile pair of scissors and cut a healthy stem that is about 3 to 6 inches long. You’re looking for a stem with at least 1-2 nodes and a few leaves on it.
- One you have the cutting it is time to decide if you want to do water propagation or soil propagation.
- With water propagation, place the cutting in water ensuring that the nodes are submerged. Remove any leaves that touch the water. You can leave the top leaves as they’ll help with photosynthesis.
- With soil propagation, dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Then plant the cutting in a small pot with moist, well-draining potting mix.
- Leave the cutting in a bright location with good humidity and moderato to warm temperature. This will let it grow faster in the initial stages.
- It takes about 3-6 weeks for the roots to develop.
How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Kentiana
The Hoya Kentiana does not have a large or extensive root system. This is why it is a good idea to water it thoroughly or from below (to help the roots dig deeper to establish themselves in the soil).
Because of this, the plant does not need frequent repotting. It also enjoys being slightly root bound.
Therefore, repotting once every 2 to 4 years is usually the norm.
The key is not to keep the plant in an overly tight pot to the point that it is stressed.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Hoya Kentiana is pet-safe. It is also non-toxic to humans. Therefore, you can keep it around the house even if you have curious cats or dogs around who might chew own the ingest part of the plant.
Hoya Kentiana Problems & Troubleshooting
The most common pests that will come attack the Hoya Kentiana are spider mites and mealybugs. However, aphids and thrips can also show up.
These sap sucking bugs are attracted to the plant and will try to rob it of its moisture and nutrients.
This is why they become damaging as they grow in number.
Therefore, it is very important to check for these insects regularly and immediately treat them with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
With diseases, root rot is always something to watch out. It is a serous problem that is often left to spread since you don’t see the roots.
Therefore, by the time the symptoms show up in the leaves and stems, there’s some damage already sustained by the roots.
The problem is, the more roots that are affected, the less moisture and nutrients the plant can absorb from the soil. So, if too many roots are damaged, it won’t be able to support the entire plant.
Thus, the only way to save the plant it to prune it significantly to reduce its size.