Hoya Latifolia Indoor Care Tips – Watering, Soil & Propagation

Hoya Latifolia

The Hoya Latifolia is a rare, epiphytic climber that it native to tropical forests of Southeast Asia specifically Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

It features a combination of beautiful green foliage together with stunning flowers. Although the blooms grow only when the conditions are favorable. Thus  it is very important to know how to care for the plant and give it the proper requirements to promote flowers.

That said, the first things you’ll notice are the Hoya Latifolia’s evergreen foliage which are about 0.4 to 1.1 inches long. The have an oval shape and are thick because they hold water. They also have a leathery texture.

However, note that while the plant has succulent-like features, it is not a succulent. Therefore, you do not want to take care of it as such. Instead, follow the care tips below.

As with most hoyas, many owners grow the Hoya Latifolia for its flowers. Its blooms come in clusters, giving you multiple small star-shaped flowers that have cream while color accompanied by pink to light green colors.

The flowers have a waxy texture and will last for several days.

Hoya Latifolia Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Hoya Latifolia enjoys a variety a different lighting conditions. And it will do well in low, medium or bright light provided that it is not direct sun or very strong, intense light. Instead, it prefers indirect or diffused light.

That’s because the plant is native to tropical forests where it lives in the understory. Therefore, while the environment provides for a lot of sunshine all year round, the shade from the larger trees and plant block the harshest rays of the sun.

Therefore, it is used to having some kind of protection.

This means you want to avoid the mid-day sun (11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) when the sun is the strongest. As such, keep the plant a few feet from an west or south facing window.

Too much exposure to the sun’s direct rays can dull the leaves and make them lose their waxy look. It can also burn the leaves leaving you with brown scorch marks.

Note that the plant will survive and be okay. But, you’ll be left with ugly leaves that you’ll need to prune off.

On the other hand, an east facing window is ideal as the morning sun is much gentler.

If you don’t get a lot of natural light indoors, consider using grow lights.

Outdoors, your Hoya Latifolia thrives in partial shade or semi-shaded areas.

The reason why I spent quite a bit explaining about light that is affects how fast the plant grows and how the color of the leaves will look. Too much or too little light will cause it to lose its luster.

Finally, if you want the plant to flower, it needs quite a bit of light to do this. Therefore, low light is not recommended for blooming.

 

Temperature

As mentioned, the Hoya Latifolia is a tropical plant that lives under some cover of the forest canopy. Therefore, it is used to warm weather and will tolerate hot climates as well.

However, due to the shade provided by the large leaves and branches overhead, it has gotten used to more moderate climates.

This is why the Hoya Latifolia’s ideal temperature is between 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Here, it will thrive and increase your odds of flowering.

You want to be careful about cold weather since that is not something the tropics have.

At their coldest, weather only goes down to about 60 degrees or so during December to February.

Therefore, the plant is not well-suited for condition that are under 55 degrees Fahrenheit. At this level, its growth will slow down considerably.

And the lower it gets or the longer it stays there, you’ll see growth stop altogether.

 

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Humidity

Another aspect of tropical weather is high humidity. On average, humidity stays between 55% to 75% on the average day. When the rains come, it can reach 85% or so.

This is why the Hoya Latifolia enjoys moderate to high humidity.

Thankfully, it does have thick leaves which store water. This allows it to tolerate lower humidity making it easier to care for in homes.

That said, you still want to try to keep humidity at 40% and higher if possible. The lower you go, the more you want to watch out for brown leaf tips and crispy edges. These are signs that the air is too dry for the plant.

If you live somewhere like the desert or where humidity tends to stay low, it is a good idea to use a humidifier.

You can likewise mist the plant regularly or place it on a pebble tray.

I’ve found that giving it a shower or wiping the leaves with a damp or wet cloth helps it. However, never leave the foliage dripping wet as this increases the risk of pests and diseases.

 

How Often to Water Hoya Latifolia

Because of its thick leaves, the Hoya Latifolia can tolerate dry periods. This also lets it tolerate months of low humidity like summer and winter.

However, this also means that it does not need a much water as other houseplants. And you want to be careful about overwatering it.

On average, the plant needs watering about once every 7 to 10 days. In the winter, that interval increases to about once every 2 or so weeks depending on how cold it gets.

The colder the weather is, the longer it takes for the moisture in soil to dry. In contrast, the hotter the summers are the faster it will dry.

Thus, it is not a good idea to maintain a fixes watering schedule throughout the year. Instead, adjust as the different factors including sunshine, temperature and humidity change.

The easiest way to do this is to feel the soil before watering. You can do so by inserting your index finger down into the potting mix until your second knuckle. This comes out to around 2 inches from the surface.

Once that level is completely dry, you can add more water. Avoid doing so before as this can increase the risk of overwatering.

 

Potting Soil for Hoya Latifolia

The best soil for Hoya Latifolia is well-draining, airy and light soil. That’s because the Hoya Latifolia is an epiphyte that climbs up trees. Therefore, its roots are used to a lot of air.

So, in order to mimic this as closely as possible, it is important to use soil that lets the roots breathe (or get a good amount of oxygen).

Roots need a balance of water and oxygen to thrive. Without one or the other it will either dry out (too little water) or drown and suffocate (too much water).

Again, because its leaves store moisture, it is better able to tolerate dryness. However, it is susceptible to root rot which happens when the roots stay too long in water (and don’t get enough oxygen).

Thus, the right potting mix complements your watering routine to avoid this.

Fortunately, there are many different ways you can achieve the right kind of potting soil for your Hoya Latifolia.

  • African violet soil
  • Well-draining succulent mix
  • Potting mix with coco coir and perlite
  • Cactus mix with orchid mix and perlite
  • Peat moss with perlite

The African violet soil and well-draining succulent mix you can find in store shelves. These are good options if you want to go with something that’s “out of the box”. With the latter look for a mix that uses coarse sand or something similar to improve drainage.

On the other hand, the last 3 soil options are DIY potting mixes you can make on your own at home.

All you need are the ingredients.

Does the Hoya Latifolia Climb?

Yes, the Hoya Latifolia is a climber and this is how you’ll find it in its native habitat. As such, it will happily cling onto a support if you give it one.

That said, its climbing nature can be a bit different from Monstera and Philodendron plants. Unlike the two which go straight up, hoyas tend to do more wrapping around the support.

This is why they’re great when grown around shaped wires because they will take the form of the wiring. This also makes them amazing on trellis.

That said, the long vines of the plant make it amazing to look at in hanging pots and baskets which is why many growers will grow them this way.

 

Fertilizer

The Hoya Latifolia is a light feeder. However, it does need fertilizer to grow its best. Just as importantly you want to use the right kind of plant food depending on how it is growing.

To explain, for the most part, the Hoya Latifolia is a foliage plant. But, you never want to miss is blooms when they happen.

As such, use a high nitrogen fertilizer or a standard houseplant fertilizer during the spring and summer to help it grow optimally. Once a month feeding works really well and you don’t need to feed it during the fall and winter.

However, if you live in a tropical climate and the plant continues growing through the fall and winter (because there’s no snow but sunshine) you can fertilize all year round. This is what they do in Southeast Asia.

That said, once your Hoya Latifolia is about to bloom and when it is flowering, switch from the houseplant fertilizer (which has more nitrogen therefore focusing in foliage development) to an orchid bloom booster.

The latter contains more phosphorus which focus on flower development.

 

Pruning

In the wild, the Hoya Latifolia will grow into a large climbing plant. however, it does not grow anywhere near that indoors especially in a container.

How you grow it and the amount of pruning you do also affect how big the plant will get. You can keep it in a smaller pot to limit its growth.

In fact, I have a few friends who’ve kept their hoyas in the same pot for between 5 to 10 years.

Similarly, you can let it get longer if you keep it in a hanging basket or allow it to climb.

It takes the plant about 1-2 years before it will climb and fill out a support or drape in length with a hanging basket. Therefore, if that’s the look you’re going for, it won’t require a lot of pruning then.

But after that, shaping and controlling its size is where you’ll be doing the trimming.

The other important thing about pruning your Hoya Latifolia is to never prune the peduncles of faded blooms. New flowers tend to grow from old peduncles.

So, if you cut these off, it will take another growing season for the peduncles to grow before the plant can flower again.

 

How to Propagate Hoya Latifolia

The easiest way to propagate your Hoya Latifolia is though stem propagation. You can likewise grow them from seeds although the process is much longer. However, starting from seed is more practical for larger operations who want to mass grow the plant.

In the home garden setting, stem propagation makes more sense in terms of cost (it’s free) and after care.

Here’s how to propagate Hoya Latifolia from stem cuttings.

The best time to propagate the Hoya Latifolia is early spring to early summer. This will give the plant an entire growing season to get bigger before the winter arrives.

While this process is easy, it does require patience as it takes about a month for roots to develop and a few more months before you have some leaves. Then, 2 or so years from when you started you may finally see it bloom.

That said, watching the process is fascinating as the plant will look very different at each stage.

  • Begin by taking a 4 to 6 inch healthy stem cutting. Make sure it has at least 1-2 nodes and a few leaves on in.
  • Then dip the cut end into rooting hormone.
  • Plant the cutting into a pot filled with moistened well-draining soil. Remove the bottom leaves and bury the nodes under the soil.
  • Water regularly to keep the soil moist. Avoid letting it get too wet or soggy.
  • Place the cutting in a warm spot with sufficient light (avoid direct sun).
  • It will take 3 to 5 weeks for the roots to get established in the soil. During this time, just let it be.

You can likewise propagate the cutting in water by placing it in a glass jar.

  • If you do so, keep the nodes underwater but take off any leaves that end up wet.
  • Change the water once a week so it does not get murky.
  • Once the roots grow to about 1-2 inches move the cuttings to a pot with soi.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Latifolia

As mentioned above, you can keep the plant in the same pot for long periods of time.

On average it takes anywhere from 2 to 4 years before you need to repot. That’s because the Hoya Latifolia’s roots are not large, deep or extensive. And the plant also enjoys being root bound a bit.

Therefore, there’s no hurry to repot.

That said, if you want it to keep growing, moving it to a larger container once it gets root bound is a good ideal. This will allow it to keep growing.

However, avoid using a pot that is more than 1-2 inches wider than the current one as the excess moist volume will cause the plant to be swimming in lots of moisture once all that soil is wet.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Hoya Latifolia is not toxic to cats, dogs or humans. However, it is not edible either. Therefore, while there are no toxins that will poison your pets or young children if they consumer parts of the plant, it can still cause temporary unpleasant side effects similar to when you eat something you’re not supposed to.

 

Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

When it comes to pests, the Hoya Latifolia can experience a few common ones including mites, mealybugs, scale and aphids.

You can help keep these bugs away by using neem oil. Although it becomes a big hassle to do this if you have lots of plants.

Cleaning its leaves likewise helps as insects are attracted to dust.

If they do happen, it is important to quickly isolate the plant and start treatment as soon as possible.

 

Diseases

As far as diseases go, root rot is the most serious one.

Although in general, too much moisture in the leaves or soil will cause some kind of disease as it make the environment good for bacterial and fungal infections.

Thus, avoid letting the leaves stay wet for extended periods of time. And don’t overwater the soil.