How to Care for Hoya Krimson Queen Indoors & Outdoors

The Hoya Krimson Queen is a cultivar of the every popular Hoya carnosa (Wax Plant). In fact, it is basically the variegated version of that plant. As such, some people will call it Hoya Variegata or Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’.

In addition, make sure not to confuse it with the Hoya Krimson Princess, which is a completely different (but very similar) plant.

  • If you look closely, you can quickly tell that the Hoya Krimson Queen has white, sometimes pink variegations that appear on the leaf edges. In some cases, the entire leaves are this color.
  • In contrast the Hoya Krimson Princess has more yellow, sometimes pink variegations that are located in the middle of its foliage.

Thus, the key to differentiating them is to know what you’re looking for.

That said, the Hoya Krimson Queen is an epiphyte that lives on trees in its natural habitat (Southeast and East Asian forests). There it can grow to 20 feet long. Although, its size if more limited indoors. This makes it more manageable as a houseplant.

As with many other hoyas, it is treasured for its beautiful looks and stunning blooms. It is likewise fragrant during blooming season. Although, the scent is more distinct during the evenings.

Best of all, as a houseplant, it is fairly easy to grow especially if you know how to handle the moisture, which I’ll go through in depth below.

Hoya Krimson Queen Plant Care

Hoya Krimson Queen Light

The Hoya Krimson Queen thrives when given plenty of bright light, indirect or filtered light. It can likewise stand a little bit of direct sunlight. This comes out to about 2 or 3 hours daily without any problems. In fact, it needs some direct sun in order flower.

That said, direct sunlight is best during the mornings. You want to keep the plant away from long hours of intense sunlight. This includes that in the afternoon as well as during the hot summer months.

If it is exposed to one of the two (long hours or very hot, intense direct sun), its leaves will sustain damage and get scorched.

The other thing to consider is that the Hoya Krimson Queen is a variegated plant.

Variegation means that the non-green portions of the leaves do not contribute in photosynthesis. As such, they need to have more light to produce the same results as their counterparts that have solid green foliage.

So, when choosing a spot for the same plant but one is variegated and the other is not, the one with variegation will always need more light.

It will likewise struggle more in low light compared to the solid green leaved plant.

The other thing to consider when choosing lighting is that indoor light is always less than outdoor lighting.

So, bright, indirect indoor light is equivalent to something like partial shade outdoors. This is because most of the light in your home is blocked out by walls and ceilings. Thus, unless you have s sun roof or glass overhead ceiling, light only enters through windows which are fairly small relative to the walled section of the home.

As such, you always need to provide more light indoors compared to outside.

If you can’t find a suitable spot, you can use grow lights to supplement or completely replace natural light. But, always remember that artificial light is limited in its spectrum range. So, the plant will need longer hours of exposure to match natural sunlight.

What all this means is that your Hoya Krimson Queen will do okay with medium to low light outdoors. But, indoors, you want to test medium light to see how it responds. Odds are it won’t do as well as you probably expected. It also won’t be able to flower due to the lack of illumination.

Finally, the last thing to keep in mind is that light in different parts of the country or the world is likewise different. For example, bright light in Canada which is much farther away from the equator is not nearly as bright as its counterpart in say Singapore, the Philippines or other tropical country that’s near the equator.

This means if you live in the norther part of the country, you won’t get the same light as the regions in the southern part of the nation like Florida, Texas, Louisiana or California.

So, if you live in the warmer regions your Hoya Krimson Queen will be happy with an east facing window. But, if you live far up north like Minnesota for example, to get the same light, you’ll need a spot a few feet from the west or south facing window.

 

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Hoya Krimson Queen Temperature

Hoya Krimson Queen are often grown as houseplants or somewhere indoors because they are not frost tolerant.

That said, if you live in USDA Hardiness zones 10 to 12, you have the luxury of keeping them outside all year long. This makes it easier to fulfill its need for plenty of bright light, provided that you keep it away from too much direct sunlight.

When it comes to specifics, the plant will do well as long as temperature stays between 60 and 95 degrees. Ideally, keeping it between 65 to 80 degrees produces the best results. But, you get extra leeway to make it easier to care for the plant.

As you can see, it can tolerate more heat than it will cold. However, it doesn’t like extremes on either side. It also doesn’t appreciate temperature fluctuations.

So once the temperature drops under 60 degrees, you want to move it somewhere warmer. Similarly, keeping the plant in the 90s for months at a time won’t kill it. But, the plant won’t be as healthy or strong either.

 

Humidity Requirements

Your Hoya Krimson Queen is native to Southeast and East Asian countries. As such, it is sued to tropical conditions which are not only moderate to very hot but also humid.

This means that it does best when indoor humidity is kept between 70% and 80%.

The good news is, they are adaptable to lower humidity. As long as you keep humidity at 40% or higher, they will be okay. However, keep in mind that not all homes have this kind of humidity.

So, if you live in a dry location or experience cold winters, you’ll want to check different areas of your home to see which spots are best suited for the plant.

This is why you’ll see a lot of Hoya Krimson Queen living in home bathrooms, which tend to be the most humid areas in the house.

That said, if you have the time to experiment, you’ll quickly see that moving it from somewhere with 40% humidity to a location with 70% humidity or so will drastically improve its growth and vibrancy.

Thus, even if the plant is doing well in lower humidity you still may want to employ some humidity-increasing measures.

This can include:

  • Misting on a regular basis. But, be careful here not to mist too much as its leaves are susceptible to fungal infection when left wet for periods of time.
  • Keeping it on top of pebbles in a water tray. Make sure not to get any part of the plant or pot wet.
  • Using a humidifier to increase humidity.
  • Grouping it together with other plants, provided that you leave enough space between them for air to flow through. This will help dry any moisture on the leaves.

 

Watering Hoya Krimson Queen

Hoya Krimson Queen has thick, fleshy leaves that allow it to store water. This lets it tolerate drought much like succulents. This means you can let the soil dry out a little bit without fear of that the plant is dehydrated or not getting enough water.

On the other hand, knowing this feature allow keeps you from overwatering it. Since the plant stores water, you don’t want to keep soil moist which will cause it to have too much moisture.

Similarly, high humidity means there is more moisture in the air. So, you can let the soil dry up a little more.

So, during its growing season, water the plant regularly since the weather will be warm. Allow the soil to slightly dry out between watering sessions.

You can do this by testing the top 1 to 2 inches of soil using your finger. This will let you know how dry or damp the soil is. If it is dry at this depth, it is time to water. If there any moistness, hold off a day or two then test again.

When watering, water the soil thoroughly then allow to drain completely.

Also, if your tap has hard water, you may want to use rainwater or allow tap water to sit overnight at room temperature first to allow the chemicals to evaporate before using it on your plant.

Scale back on watering during the winter.

Like temperature, your Hoya Krimson Queen doesn’t like extremes when it comes to watering. It is susceptible to root diseases so overwatering is something you always want to avoid.

You also never want it to go completely dry for long periods. It will be able to tolerate short times of this like when you forget to water and go on vacation. But, leaving it to dry for more than a couple of weeks or even months is a no-no.

 

Soil

When it comes to soil, your Hoya Krimson Queen needs something well-draining. That’s the number one thing to consider. In addition to that a light, well-aerated mix is likewise important.

To achieve that, you can use a combination of different ingredients. These will include orchid bark, peat moss, vermiculite, perlite and coconut husks.

I don’t like using coarse sand although it will work to improve drainage because over time it can get very compact. This is will prevent the mix from being light or airy.

Obviously, you don’t need to use all the ingredients. All you need is a few. Here are combinations that have worked for me.

  • Use 2 parts peat moss and 1 part perlite or pumice

Here, the perlite and pumice keep the soil loose and allow for better drainage. Peat moss helps retain enough water to keep the plant happy.

Another option if you want to use a commercial product is:

  • African violet mix with perlite and orchid bark.

African violet mix is a good option for hoyas because it is light and airy. This will let the soil stay moist without getting too soggy or muddy.

The orchid bark and perlite keep the soil from compacting and improve drainage.

The key to both potting soil mixes is that they allow excess moisture to drain. Your Hoya Krimson Queen doesn’t like wet feet. Allowing it to sit in water for long periods of time will result in root rot.

So, avoid this at all costs.

 

Fertilizing

The Hoya Krimson Queen does not need a lot of fertilizer. In fact, like other hoyas, if you give it rich soil or use compost, you may not even need to feed the plant.

That said, fertilizer does help it grow better. And, with the right product, allow it to flower better.

However, be careful not to overfeed your Hoya Krimson Queen.

Like watering, too much fertilizer will cause more damage that good. It will likewise prevent flowering.

So, more of a good thing is not always good.

Because the plant is a light feeder, all you need to do is feed it once a month with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer (15-15-15).

You can likewise go with something with more phosphorus, less nitrogen and potassium. Phosphorus (P) helps blooming and flowering.

On the other hand, nitrogen (N) is more for promoting vegetative (foliage) growth. And, succulent-like plants don’t need a lot of potassium (K).

So, something with an N-P-K ratio of 7-9-5 will work as well.

Only feed the plant during the spring and summer when it is actively growing. You don’t need to fertilize during the winter.

 

Flowering

When it comes to your Hoya Krimson Queen and other hoyas, growers put in a lot of time and effort to making them bloom.

That’s because of two things:

  • Hoyas produce uniquely beautiful clustering flowers. While the flowers themselves are small, they pop up in bunches. And, they all have stunningly amazing looks and colors.
  • The flowers are not guaranteed. The plant has to be 2 or 3 years old at least. And, they need specific preferences to help them bloom. Even then, they may not choose to do so.

That said, you can help it along by giving it a few things. When they do flower, you’ll instantly know that the time and effort you put in were well worth in.

  • Light is the first thing to consider. Once your plant is nearing 3 years old or just past it, light will be the top priority. It needs a lot of bright light. But, limited direct light. It prefers filtered or indirect light.
  • Pot bound. Next is keeping the plant slightly root bound. It likes its roots bunched up together in order to flower. To achieve this, you also don’t want to keep moving or repotting it.
  • Don’t cut the stalks. Your Hoya Krimson Queen blooms on new growth. As such, pruning these short stalks means they need to grow again before being able to produce flowers. That will set you back quite a bit of time.

The extra benefit of flowering is that their blooms are nectar-rich. So, if you keep it outdoors, expect pollinators to come visit your garden.

 

Pruning Hoya Krimson Queen

As mentioned, the first thing to consider here is not to deadhead the flowers. After they bloom, the flowers will fade.

When this happens, resist the temptation to trim them back. Instead, let them fall on their own and clean things up later. You won’t want to cut the peduncles as that’s where the flowers will grow from again next season.

As such, hard pruning is a no-no.

Besides this, pruning is pretty much a low maintenance task for your Hoya Krimson Queen.

For the most part, trimming will be done to control the plant’s size and shape.

Additionally, you also want to prune the dead, damaged or other unhealthy leaves.

 

Hoya Krimson Queen Propagation

Hoya Krimson Queen is best propagated through stem cuttings. This is a fairly simple way to reproduce the plant since it allows you to grow a clone of the mother plant.

Also, it takes a lot less time and effort compared to other methods.

That said, the best time to propagate is during the spring and early summer. This gives the new plant a chance to quickly grow right off the bat.

When propagating via stem cuttings, you can opt between starting in soil or water.

Water is an extra step as you’ll need to move the plant to soil later on. But, since it will be placed in a glass jar, you can see the roots grow. This makes it easy to tell if things are going well or something’s off.

Similarly, the cutting will root faster in water. Typically you may see something start as early as 10 days. Although for the most part you can expect things to happen between 2 to 3 weeks.

With soil, the chances of success is lower than water. Plus, rooting takes longer as well. Often, it is closer to 1 month or so. But, there’s no extra step as you skip going through water. Without water, you also eliminate the risk of rotting.

How to Propagate Hoya Krimson Queen through Stem Cuttings

  • Start by choosing a healthy stem. You want the it to be a soft (not woody) stem with at least 2 nodes.
  • Use a sterile pair of pruning shears or scissors to cut a 4 to 6 inch stem.
  • Dip the end of the stem (the cut end) in rooting hormone. This step is optional. But, it speeds up the rooting process and increases success rates.
  • Insert the stem cutting into moist soil.
  • You can likewise start in water and wait for the roots to grow to about an inch. Then move it to potting soil.
  • Make sure to keep the plant in a humid place. You can cover it with a plastic bag to achieve this purpose as well.
  • Water as the soil is about to dry.
  • Keep the plant where it can receive bright, indirect light.
  • Soon, the plant will root. You can tug on it lightly about a month in to test if it resists. Resistance to the light tug means roots have started to develop.

 

Hoya Krimson Queen Transplanting & Repotting

I follow a simple rule when it comes to repotting the Hoya Krimson Queen.

Don’t do it, unless it is necessary.

Necessary means that the plant is already experiencing some trouble because of being pot bound. Often, this comes in the form of stress symptoms like slow growth or yellowing leaves.

It can likewise be things like watering drying up too quickly. This will happen when the plant’s root system have taken over the soil. When there’s more root than soil in the pot, the plant will drink water so quickly because the little amount of soil can only hold so much water.

This increases its risk of drying up too quickly.

One symptoms like these occur, it is time to repot.

The best time to repot is during spring and summer. And, never repot when the plant is blooming. This will cause the blossoms to fall off.

When you do move it to a container that’s at most 2 inches larger. Since the plant likes being pot bound, you don’t want to  place it in an overly large pot, which also increases the risk of overwatering.

Always make sure the new pot has drainage holes at well.

In general, you can expect to repot once every 1 to 2 years.

 

Toxicity

Like other plants in its genus, the Hoya Krimson Queen is not poisonous. But, its sap is toxic. So, while the plant itself is not toxic to humans, dogs and cats, ingesting it means you end up taking in some sap as well. This will cause some irritation and probably result in vomiting.

 

Pests and Diseases

One of the few things the Hoya Krimson Queen needs maintenance on is pests. Much of this involves inspection and prevention if possible. But, if pests do happen, then the goal is treatment and limiting it so no infestation happens.

The most common invaders include mealybugs, scale and spider mites. All are not only bothersome but also damaging to your plant in the long run.

So, the earlier you spot them, the earlier treatment can begin.

Ideally, you want to avoid infestation which makes it much more difficult to eradicate.

The other thing to look out for is diseases. For the most part, root disease is the big problem. But, it is completely preventable because this has to do with overwatering.

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