The Hoya Lanceolata is also known as the:
- Miniature wax plant
- Miniature hoya plant
- Wax flower
- Mini wax leaf hoya
As you can probably guess, these common names come from its smaller size (compared to most hoya species). The plant usually maxes out at 18 inches or so.
Nevertheless, this does not take anything away from the beauty of this evergreen perennial ornamental plant.
If you’re into hoyas, you’ll probably be more familiar with its most popular cultivar, the Hoya Lanceolata Bella (better known as the Hoya Bella).
In case you prefer variegated versions instead of solid green foliage, you can consider the Hoya Lanceolata Variegata, which is also known as the Variegated Hoya Lanceolata.
Alternatively, if you prefer the Hoya Bella, you can go with a variegated form of that plant as well, the Hoya Bella Louis Bois.
In any case, the Hoya Lanceolata gets its name from its lance-shaped leaves that are light green in color. It likewise has orange-colored stems.
The leaves are succulent-like which means they hold moisture. This allows the plant to tolerate some dry periods.
Of course, you should not miss its beautiful flowers which grow in ball-shaped clusters. Each flower has a star shape with a pink-purple middle. These are likewise very fragrant having a candy scent.
The Hoya Lanceolata is native to the tropical parts of Asia including Vietnam, South-central China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and the Himalayas. The varieties in higher elevations take a bit more caring as they experience different climate conditions which I’ll discuss below.
Hoya Lanceolata Plant Care
The Hoya Lanceolata thrives on medium to bright indirect light. It can tolerate a little bit of direct sun as well although if you do give it this kind of exposure it is better to give it morning or later afternoon sunlight.
Both are not as harsh as that of the mid day.
In fact, because the Hoya Lanceolata needs a good amount of light to bloom, it will actually appreciate this and reward you with a better chance of flowering.
However, be careful with too much strong light or direct sun.
Leaving in for long periods of time between 11:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. regularly or during the summer can eventually burn its leaves. if you want to do this, try to gradually acclimate it.
Also make sure it gets good watering and humidity which will prevent sun damage.
It is worth noting that the plant itself can tolerate this kind of exposure. So, it won’t die or get sick. However, its leaves will eventually become ugly as they lose their waxy look and you can end up with scorch march.
That said, the Hoya Lanceolata needs at least 5-6 hours of bright, indirect, diffused or filtered light daily to grow its best. And this will also allow it to bloom.
Therefore, an east facing window is ideal along with either a northeast or southeast location.
You can likewise leave it in the west although be more careful with the afternoon sun. Keep the plant a few feet from the window or filter the light with sheer curtains or something similar.
The north can work as well. But be careful with too little light as this can reduce its chances of flowering.
Outdoors, the Hoya Lanceolata does best in partial shade. Thus, somewhere under a tree or a bit of cover to give it morning sun and afternoon shade is ideal.
It can likewise tolerate full shade. But without 5-6 hours of bright, indirect light, it will not flower.
The Hoya Lanceolata enjoys indoor temperature of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And between this range, it will grow faster and produce more foliage.
It feels very comfortable in this climate because this is similar to its native habitat. The plant is prevalent in the tropical regions of South Asia living under larger trees in the forest.
Therefore, it is used to warm to hot weather. However, because it gets the shade of the tree branches and leaves overhead, this helps moderate the temperature.
However, note that some variations come from higher elevations like the Himalayas. These are a bit different and require a little bit extra care.
Because it is colder the mountain ranges, these species of Hoya Lanceolata prefer cooler nights. Therefore, they do better when the nighttime temperature is about 10-15 degrees lower than daytime conditions.
So, if you notice the plant is not flowering despite good amounts of light, try keeping it somewhere that’s cooler at night.
But be careful not to place it anywhere that’s too cold. Avoid temperatures under 50 degrees as the plant is not frost hardy.
Outdoors, the Hoya Lanceolata prefers USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11 where there’s lots of sunshine and warmer winters. This will let them live happily outside throughout the entire year.
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Humidity is another well known feature of tropical regions. As such, the Hoya Lanceolata enjoys humid environments preferably between 60% and 80%.
However, thanks to the Hoya Lanceolata’s waxy and fleshy leaves, it can tolerate average household humidity. That said, you do want to try to maintain humidity of 40% and above if possible.
This will prevent any dry, crispy or brown leaf tips. It will also help the plant grow optimally.
Note that with the Hoya Lanceolata varieties that come from higher elevations, humidity is less of a problem.
That’s because humidity drops about 4% for every kilometer higher you go. Thus, these plants are better at tolerating average room levels.
Still, the best way to know this is to monitor your plant. It does help to have a digital hygrometer around so you can track what humidity levels the plant starts acting up.
That way, you know when to expect the effects the next time it happens. In doing so, you can prepare ahead of time.
Misting is the simplest way to help keep air moisture up. But it is temporary only.
A humidifier does a better job of being precise and more consistent. However, it does cost more and requires some maintenance as well.
Therefore, grouping the plant with other houseplants or placing it in a water tray on top of rocks are often simpler free options.
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How Often to Water Hoya Lanceolata
The Hoya Lanceolata grow as epiphytes. This means they don’t need a lot of water, have smaller root systems that they use for climbing more than absorbing water from the soil.
Additionally, the plant’s semi-succulent leaves also allows it to tolerate dry spells well.
Thus, it is best to allow the soil to dry out a bit before watering.
This means waiting until the top 2 inches of soil gets dry before adding more water. Alternatively, you can also allow the soil to dry up to 50% or 75% between waterings.
Both work really well.
The most important thing is to avoid watering too often. This will keep the water wet and leave the roots standing in liquid, which it does not like. If this happens too long or too frequently, it can cause root rot.
As such, how often you water will depend on the time of year.
The sunnier and hotter the weather, the more often you’ll need to water. And the colder the climate with shorter days, the longer the interval between waterings.
Similarly, because of the plant’s epiphytic natures, the best way to water is to drench the soil until the liquid starts dripping from under the pot. Then allow the soil to completely drain.
This mimics how the plant’s roots (which is uses to climb on trees) are watered in the forest. They get soaked when the rains come but will dry quickly before they’re not in soil but get a lot of airflow.
Hoya Lanceolata Potting Soil
From the previous section, you already know that the Hoya Lanceolata does not need soil to survive. So, you can grow it on wood or tree trunks if you wish.
However, most houseplant owners will keep them in pots or hanging baskets. Therefore, soil is the best way to give the plant’s roots water and sustenance.
So, the key here is to mimic the way it is watered when it rains in the forest.
Above, I mentioned the process. And the second part of it requires that the soil completely drains.
For this to happen, you need to provide it with well-draining soil that is light. This allows the excess moisture to quickly drain.
In contrast, avoid dense soils that retain a lot of moisture. This works well for other plants but not the Hoya Lanceolata as it will leave the roots sitting in water.
The good news is there are many ways to achieve this. The important thing is to use components that will help the potting mix drain quickly. Things like perlite, pumice, charcoal, pine bark, vermiculite, orchid bark and coco coir are some good options.
Here are some effective potting soil for Hoya Lanceolata that will keep the plant healthy and happy.
- 1 part potting soil with 1 part perlite and 1 part orchid mix
- 2 parts peat moss and 1 part perlite
- 1 part potting soil with 1 part perlite and 1 part coco coir
- 1 part potting soil and 1 part orchid bark
Use any of these potting mix recipes and see which ones your plant responds to the best. You can also adjust the components to customize it for the way you water, how much sun the plant gets, temperature and humidity in your area.
Feed your Hoya Lanceolata with a high nitrogen fertilizer as it is a foliage plant. However, be careful not to overdo it as the plant is a light feeder.
Therefore, a balanced houseplant fertilizer with N-P-K of 15-15-15 diluted to 50% strength works really well. Only fertilize the plant in spring and summer unless you live in a tropical region (where you can feed it all year round because there’s sunshine that will let it keep growing).
In colder regions, let the plant rest during the fall and winter. It will not need to be fed during this time.
When the Hoya Lanceolata is about to bloom, you can use a bloom fertilizer to encourage it to blossom. This will also prolong the flowers. You can use a product with N-P-K of 7-9-5 or a bloom booster.
Flowers / Blooms
The Hoya Lanceolata’s blooming season happens during spring and summer for the most part. I’ve seen it flower in the fall but this happens only on few occasions.
In general, the plant enjoys the warmer weather and the healthy amount of sunlight. Thus, you want to give it a good amount of bright, indirect light during these times.
Depending on the variety of Hoya Lanceolata you get, the colors of the flowers will be different.
However, they do have similarities.
These feature small, star-shaped white and cream flowers that are waxy in appearance. The centers can have colors with shades of purple, pink to red in the center.
What makes them beautiful is that they grow in umbels that form a shape of a ball. So you have many flowers in each of these umbels making them very attractive and unique looking.
That said, letting the plant flower is another story.
It will not just bloom on command. Instead, it needs to mature before it can flower. This takes more or less 2 years so you do need some patience.
Additionally, bright, indirect light is crucial.
The amount of light, intensity, length of the day will all affect its ability to bloom. Also, some varieties prefer cooler temperatures. So, you do need to experiment a bit.
The most important thing with pruning is not to cut the spurs (or leafless stalks). These are perennial and the flowers will bloom on old growth. Therefore, you want to avoid removing these spurs as they will slow down or reduce the chances of blossoms.
In the best case, you’ll need to wait at least one growing season for the new spurs to grow before they can produce flowers again.
The other part of pruning is to keep the plant from getting excessively long and untidy. Like other hoyas, the Lanceolata is vining plant that will grow long climbing or trailing stems. As such, these will need regular pruning.
The plant can tolerate hard pruning but you want to limit this as much as possible as you can end up taking the spurs where the flowers bloom from as well.
Instead, light trimming every so often is a better option. You can prune any time of the year although the best time to do so is after blooming. You don’t want to bother the plant when it is flowering.
In addition to cutting off excessive growth, you will also need to remove damaged, discolored or deal leaves and stems.
The Hoya Lanceolata has a slow to moderate growth rate. It is smaller than most other hoyas..
Nevertheless, if you want to limit its size, pruning is a good way and keeping it in a smaller pot. I’ll discuss more of this in the repotting section below.
Note that the most popular variety of the Hoya Lanceolata is the Hoya Lanceolata Bella or the Hoya Bella. This is a much smaller plant that grow to between 1 to 1.5 feet (12 to 18 inches).
Thus, its size makes it a favorite for houseplant owners in addition to its looks and ease of care.
How to Propagate Hoya Lanceolata
You can propagate your Hoya Lanceolata in a number of ways. These include stem cuttings, air layering, seed and separation.
The simplest and most effective method is via stem propagation. And because the plant has a lot of training vines, it is easy to grow news plants from these.
You can likewise use the stems you cut off while pruning to propagate new Hoya Lanceolata. Therefore, don’t throw them away if you want to do this.
Here’s how to propagate Hoya Lanceolata from stem cuttings.
- Cut a health stem. You can cut a few of them if you want to grow more than one new plant.
- Take a cutting that is between 3-6 inches long with at least a few leaves on it.
- Remove the lower leaves to expose the nodes. You will want to submerge the nodes in water or bury them under soil (depending on whether you use water propagation or soil propagation).
- If you’re rooting the cutting in water, place the cutting in a container with water. I like to use glass so you can watch the roots as they develop.
- If you’re rooting the cutting in soil, place the cutting in a pot with well-draining soil (you can use 1:1 ratio of peat and perlite).
- Leave the new plant in a bright, well-lit spot with no direct sun. Ideally, it should have moderate to warm temperature and high humidity.
- This is why spring and early summer is the best time to propagate since you get a good amount of light and the right climate conditions.
- In about 4-6 weeks the roots should grow in volume in length.
- Once the roots reach around 1-2 inches long, you can move them from water to potting mix.
- You don’t need to move the cutting you planted straight into soil until it is time to repot the plant.
How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Lanceolata
The Hoya Lanceolata is much like other hoyas in that it enjoys being slightly pot bound. This condition improves its ability to flower so you’ll find the plant underpotted in most cases.
In addition, its roots don’t get too large, deep or extensive. Combine this with its slow to medium growth means that you don’t need to repot the plant often.
On average, it only needs to be repotted once every 2 to 4 years.
The only time to do so is when you see the roots coming out from the bottom of the pot. When this happens, you can take your time before moving it as well.
Never move the plant when it is blooming as this will cause the flowers to stop growing or fall off. It is best to leave it alone during this time.
When repotting, choose a container that is 2 inches larger. Replace the soil as well with fresh potting mix.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
No, the Hoya Lanceolata is not toxic even when ingested. This makes it safe for cats, dogs and humans so you can leave it anywhere around the house even if you have pets and young children.
Problems & Troubleshooting
Aphids and mealybugs are the most common pests that will try and attack your Hoya Lanceolata. Spider mites can also occur but they’re less common for this plant.
If there’s a good amount of excess moisture, fungus gnats can likewise appear.
In general, try to avoid damp soil because it not only attracts pests but also increases the chances of diseases.
The plant is less susceptible to diseases. Nevertheless, these can still occur especially when there’s a lot of moisture.
This is why it is better to keep the Hoya Lanceolata on the dry side than give it too much water.
The most serious problem it can encounter is root rot which happens when its roots are left standing in water for long periods of time.
Therefore, overwatering is a no-no. And you want to use well-draining soil to avoid waterlogging as well.
On the other hand, keep the leaves dry as well.
Wet leaves that don’t dry are prone to blight, mold and leaf spot. Other bacterial and fungal infections can likewise happen.