Growing & Caring for Hoya Macrophylla (Wax Plant)

The Hoya macrophylla is a beautiful vining plant that’s produces large green leaves with yellow edges. They are likewise known for their clusters of creamy white star-shaped flowers.

It is a climber that’s found in Asia and Australia, but is often grown indoors in the states because it cannot stand freezing temperatures.

There it grows to about 5 to 7 feet tall and makes for amazing houseplant. While it is relatively easy to care for, there are 1 to 2 points that you need to figure out to make sure that it grows optimally.

Similarly, it will bloom when specific conditions are met. As such, you to include theses in is living environment so you can enjoy its lovely flowers.

Hoya Macrophylla Plant Care

Hoya Macrophylla Light

P Hoya macrophylla needs plenty of bright light in order to thrive. While it won’t mind medium light or even low light conditions, the latter can cause its growth to slow down.

That said, you want to keep it under indirect or filtered sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight.

While it won’t mind 2 to 3 hours of direct sunlight daily, it cannot tolerate long hours under this condition. Similarly, it won’t be able to take hot summer or peak afternoon sun.

Indoors, this means keeping it away from the sun’s rays.

East-facing window. Here is can take a couple or so hours of sunlight in the morning. But, not a lot more than that on a regular basis.

North-facing window. If you live in a warm, sunny region, this amount of light from here may be enough to keep it happy.

West and South-facing windows. Keep it a few feet from the windowsill. Or, place some kind of curtain or blind to filter some of the sun. You want to be aware of direct sun in these locations because the afternoons can get very intense.

 

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Hoya Macrophylla Temperature

Your Hoya macrophylla likes temperature conditions that are similar to what humans enjoy. This means there’s no need to do anything special if you keep it indoors.

Its ideal living temperature runs between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And, it is not particular fond of extremes. Although, it is better able to tolerate hotter climates than it is cooler ones.

In the winter, it won’t mind if the temperatures go down to between 55 and 60 degrees.

It is hardy to USDA zones 10 and 11. So, if you live below region 10, you’ll want to keep it in a container so you can bring it outdoors during the summer.

However, if you live in a cooler region where it freezes during the winter, it is a good idea to bring the plant indoors before the temperature drops below 55 degrees.

 

Humidity

The plant is actually more particular about humidity where it prefers high humidity. But, it can tolerate medium to a little lower humidity.

In most cases, it will be able to adapt to indoor household humidity without any problems. But, if your home is particularly dry, it is a good idea to mist it a few times a week or give it a shower under the sink.

This will help keep it happy.

As such, while is does best when humidity is over 70% or more, as long as you keep household humidity to 40% or higher, it will do fine.

On the hands keeping humidity really high, even over 90% will keep it happy.

 

Watering Hoya Macrophylla

In it native habitat, Hoya macrophylla grows in tropical conditions and doesn’t get a lot of rain. This means that is it better off with less than more water.

Also, it is important to keep in mind that the plant is epiphytic. So, it lives in the forest clinging onto bigger trees and larger plants. It also doesn’t grow in soil. Instead, its roots absorbs nutrients from the air.

As such, you want to mimic these conditions.

To do so, allow the soil to almost dry before watering. This is very important because it is susceptible to overwatering. And, keeping it in this condition will eventually lead to root rot.

Instead, always be mindful of how wet or dry the soil is. Regularly checking the soil, especially before watering ensures that you don’t water when the soil is still moist.

I always like to stick my finger into the soil. In this case, you want to feel that between 1 to 2 inches beneath the surface, the soil is dry before watering. If it is moist in any way, wait before testing again.

In the winter, scale back on watering.

When you do water, water thoroughly. The goal being to allow water to soak the root ball so it reaches the bottom. Thus, slow watering is best since dumping lots of water will cause it just spill down the sides of the container through the crevices between the soil and pot.

Once the plant starts dripping, stop watering and allow it to completely drain. Don’t return the plant to its spot if is still dripping at the bottom. You want all the excess liquid to come out.

This way, you’re sure the plant isn’t sitting in water.

 

Soil

Since it cannot tolerate wet feet, well-draining soil is best.

Similarly, its epiphytic nature make sit prefer loose and well-aerated soil. This allows air to pass through easily to get to the roots of the plant.

It also enjoys mildly acidic to neutral soil. Thus, soil pH levels between 6.1 and 7.5 are best for it.

As such, using a combination made from the following recipe works.

  • 2 parts peat
  • 1 part perlite

This lets you create an easy do-it-yourself potting mix. The perlite allows it to retain moisture so that plant is able to stay hydrated. It also keeps the potting mix slightly acidic.

The perlite provides the looseness and moisture draining ability.

Similarly, using a terra cotta or clay pot allows some of the excess moisture to seep out of the container because these are made from porous materials.

But, if you’re already using well-draining soil, you always want to observe how the soil and plant respond.

Using clay pots can sometimes cause the soil to drain a little too quickly. And, I’ve had to revert back to plastic containers for some of my plants, which provided in better results.

So, do test and observe. Then adjust.

 

Fertilizing Hoya Macrophylla

You don’t need to feed your Hoya macrophylla a lot. It isn’t a heavy feeder.

So, applying fertilizer once a month is enough during its growing season. Make sure to dilute it to half strength or even quarter strength.

Like water, you want to be care full about giving it too much. Overfeeding can result in root and leaf burn. That’s because plant food leaves salt residue. And, over time this buildup is harmful for your plant’s roots.

Thus, you don’t want to use cheap fertilizers which leave a lot more salt and minerals.

If you do (to save money), make sure the flush the soil on a regular basis to get rid of these salts.

 

Pruning Hoya Macrophylla

As with other hoyas, the macrophylla is low maintenance when it comes to pruning. Outdoors, the plant will easily grow to 12 feet or even longer. Indoors, it is a little more contained to about 4 to 6 feet in height.

But, its vines like to climb or trail. As such, you don’t really have to mind too much about their length in these conditions as they look better with a little more size.

That said, pruning helps keep them in check. It also lets you control the shape of the plant based on how you display it.

If you see some stems get leggy, trimming is a good way to fix this problem by allowing fresh growth to start over.

You also want to get rid of dying, yellow or damaged foliage.

 

Hoya Macrophylla Propagation

Spring and summer are the best times to propagate the plant. You can do so when you prune it.

This will let you do two things at once since you’ll be trimming stems anyway when you prune.

Stem cutting is the easiest way to propagate Hoya macrophylla. And, it works quite well.

Here’s how.

  • Choose a healthy stem with at least 2 nodes.
  • Use a sterile pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears and cut a stem that’s about 6 inches or so long.
  • Dip the end of the stem (the cut side) into rooting hormone. This is optional. But, is speeds up the rooting process.
  • Place the stem cutting into moist, well draining potting mix.
  • Over with a plastic bag with a few holes (for air circulation). This will keep conditions humid, which helps speed up development.
  • Place the pot in a warm area with bright, indirect light. Water when the soil is almost dry.
  • After about a month, check to see if it has started growing roots. You can do so by very gently tugging on the plant. It should resist the pull. This means roots are growing.
  • Alternatively, you can root the plant in water. That way, you can see the roots grow through the glass. Once the roots develop a bit, you can move it to a container with potting mix.

 

Transplanting & Repotting Hoya Macrophylla

As the plant grows, you will need to repot your Hoya macrophylla between 2 or 3 years.

One basic rule here is if you don’t need to move it, leave it alone.

That’s because it doesn’t mind being root bound. Similarly, it is not a fan of being moved.

So, the only time you’ll need to repot is when it is crowding the container. This often means a few things.

  • The roots are staring to block the drainage holes.
  • Its roots are crowding the soil. As such, the soil dries very quickly since more roots absorbing a fewer water from less soil.
  • The plant is beginning to exhibit signs of stress. While it likes being pot bound, overly tight spots will eventually cause stress, which in turn makes it prone to pests and diseases.

 

Toxicity

According to the ASPCA, hoyas are not toxic to cats and dogs. This means you can keep them near animals. It is likewise not poisonous to people.

But, like all plants, ingesting any part can cause choking or other issues than can result in vomiting or discomfort.

 

Pests

In most cases, you won’t likely experience any problems with your Hoya macrophylla. But, they can be attacked by pests once in a while.

The most common of which are mealybugs. You may also see aphids and spider mites as well.

Each of these are different. But, they all cause damage to your plant in the long run.

You’ll likely see their damage in the form of yellow or curling leaves as well as brown and yellow spots on foliage. As they get more nutrients by sucking on the plant’s sap, it negatively affects growth even if you give it enough sustenance as it is being robbed of it.

As such, you want to get rid of pests as quickly as possible. Isolating the affected plant is likewise important because pests can move to other plants as well.

Treatment often consists of spraying with insecticidal soap as this allows full coverage. In contrast, trying to wipe or remove one pest at a time is tedious and time consuming.

 

Diseases

When it comes to disease, overwatering and letting moisture site on leaves are the biggest culprits.

This can lead to root rot as well as other diseases.

Mold and fungus are likewise problems due to the plant’s love for humidity. Excess moisture, be it from the environment or man-made (watering and wetting the plant) can result in these problems.

As such, always be mindful of wetness. And, keep the plant somewhere there is good air circulation. This will help excess moisture dry faster.

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