The Hoya Meliflua is also called the Hoya Meliflua Blanco. It is an epiphytic vining plant native to the Philippines. Because of its long stems, you’ll often find it climbing onto a support or hung as a trailing plant in a basket.
It is worth noting the plant has a subspecies called the Hoya Meliflua fraterna.
The two are similar in nature but they are two different plants.
- Hoya Meliflua – has thick, succulent-like leaves that are green and glossy. They are oval shaped and grow to about 9 to 13 cm long and 6 cm wide.
- Hoya Meliflua ssp. fraterna – has larger leaves that are dark green in color. These can reach 45 cm long (1.5 feet), which rank among the longest as far as hoya species are concerned.
Just as importantly, do note that the Hoya Meliflua ssp. fraterna is different from the Hoya fraterna as well. This is something worth noting if you’re looking for the plant.
In any case, the Hoya Meliflua can grow to about 12 or 13 feet in length.
And like other hoyas, it produces beautiful flowers.
The Hoya Meliflua’s flowers have pink to red-orange colors. They come in a rounded star shape with a 5 visible nectaries in the center.
While relatively small in size, these flowers grow in umbels with about 10 to 30 blooms per bunch.
Hoya Meliflua vs. Hoya Treubiana: What’s the Difference?
A common question that comes up with the Hoya Meliflua often relates to the Hoya Treubiana.
Simply put, what is the difference between the Hoya Meliflua and Hoya Treubiana
The two are often confused for one another. And in many cases, mislabeled by shops as well.
Anyways, the you can easily spot the difference between the two in the size of the leaves and their flowers.
The Hoya Meliflua has shorter and narrower leaves when compared to the Hoya Treubiana. Similarly, the Hoya Treubiana’s flowers are slightly bigger in size compared to those of the Hoya Meliflua.
Similarly their blooms are different in that the Hoya Meliflua has darker colored flowers with red and pink hues. On the other hand, the Hoya Treubiana has cream/dirty white blooms with red/pink middles.
Of course, comparing flowers is harder since it is difficult to find them blooming at exactly the same time.
Hoya Meliflua Plant Care
The Hoya Meliflua grows best when it gets bright light, although it can tolerate low light as well. Outdoors it is happiest in partial shade. But again, it won’t mind full shade as well.
The only downside to low light is that while the plant will do okay, its growth will slow. More importantly, it is less likely to flower with insufficient light.
This is why I highly recommend placing it in a room that is well-lit. This will encourage it to grow optimally, produce more leaves and bloom.
In the winter when the days are shorter and the sun is weaker, it is best to give it as much exposure to light as possible.
However, is it also important to keep in mind that the plant’s tolerance to light has its limits. It cannot take direct sunlight for long periods of time. Instead, it is better off with indirect, filtered or diffused light.
If left in strong light like that of the mid-day sun, its leaves will eventually turn yellow. And in extreme cases, they will get sunburned as well.
The Hoya Meliflua prefers temperatures between 60 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Its sweet spot is between 68 and 77 degrees if you want to be very precise about it.
Similarly, because it comes from the Philippines which is a very hot and humid tropical country, it can likewise tolerate 95 degree weather. However, try not to keep it there or higher for extended periods of time.
After a while, it will experience heat stress which will slow its growth as well, especially if its does not get enough moisture by way of watering or humidity.
The most important thing to note about the Hoya Meliflua is that it is not hardy to frost. This means that while it can withstand temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, try to avoid anything below that range.
If it gets too cold below 50 degrees, the plant can sustain cold injury.
Outdoors, the Hoya Meliflua grows most efficiently in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 through 12. It can stay outside all year long in these areas as they don’t experience frost, snow or freezing temperatures during the winter.
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The Hoya Meliflua is also fond of humid conditions, preferably 60% and higher. Again, this stems from its native habitat as the Philippines is known for its humidity.
A typical day will usually have humidity between 60% and 75% while rainy days will get you as high as 85% humidity (sometimes higher).
Fortunately, the plant’s semi-succulent leaves do allow it to tolerate lower humidity.
Still, try to maintain 40% or higher as it will only be able to withstand levels below that for short periods of time.
source: wikimedia commons
How Often to Water Hoya Meliflua
The Hoya Meliflua can tolerate periods of dryness but only to a certain degree. It is only somewhat drought tolerant, so you don’t really want to push its limits on this.
Leaving it bone dry for prolonged periods of time can damage the plant.
During the summer, it is best to keep the soil moist. That’s because the plant is actively growing during this season and will need moisture to keep it going.
Additionally, the warmer weather and brighter sun will dry the soil faster as well.
That said, the keep it mind that the plant is susceptible to overwatering. Therefore, while you want to keep soil moist, avoid adding water too frequently. You don’t want to leave the plant is damp conditions where there are pools of water around or the soil is soggy.
This not only encourages fungal infections and attracts fungus gnats, it also puts your Hoya Meliflua at risk of root rot.
In the winter, allow the soil to dry more between waterings. The cold weather, lower levels of light and the plant’s state of rest means that it does not need much water.
And adding moisture too often increases the risk of overwatering.
Hoya Meliflua Potting Soil
The Hoya Meliflua needs well-draining soil that provides good air circulation. This is because it is an epiphyte. As such, its roots don’t like staying in damp soil. Instead, they like getting lots of oxygen.
As such, good drainage is the most important thing to keep in mind. It will also highly appreciate soil pH between 6.1 to 7.5.
In order to provide the plant with sufficient drainage, you can use perlite, orchid bark, charcoal or even LECA balls.
Here are a few simple DIY potting mix recipes you can make at home that are perfect for the Hoya Meliflua. They are inexpensive. And you can easily tweak them as needed based on your home’s climate and environmental conditions.
- 1/2 potting soil with 1/2 orchid bark
- 1/3 cactus mix with 1/3 orchid mix and 1/3 perlite
- 1/3 potting soil with 1/3 coconut coir and 1/3 perlite
- 1/2 potting soil with 1/2 succulent & cactus mix
Doe the Hoya Meliflua Climb?
Yes, the Hoya Meliflua can be trained to climb and will do well when given a support to go up. You can use a trellis, wire or pole to go this.
Although it is not as big as climber as some other hoya species it will happily do so.
Note that over time as the plant gets longer and bushier it can get heavy. Therefore, make sure the support is sturdy enough to take on the weight brought about by future growth.
in most cases, you’ll likely see the Hoya Meliflua hanging from pots and baskets. This is the most popular way to grow it as it looks beautiful when displayed this way.
The Hoya Meliflua needs fertilizer during its growing season to grow at its best. While it does not need a lot of it (the plant is a light feeder), it does need the nutrients.
As such, give it a balanced liquid fertilizer during spring and summer. Dilute the application to half strength by adding water to the mix.
Once the weather gets colder around fall, you can stop feeding the plant. It also does not need any extra nutrients during the winter.
In general, the Hoya Meliflua is not choosy about the kind of fertilizer it gets. So, you can use fish emulsion, a slow release fertilizer or other organic products.
Flowers / Blooms
For me, the Hoya Meliflua produces one of the most beautiful blooms amongst hoyas.
They feature stunning shades of pink to reddish orange in a rounded star-shape. The center has a smaller star with some white and pink colors as well.
These grow in ball-like clusters with about 10 to 30 flowers in each group. The plant primarily blooms in the spring and summer although it will likewise do so in the fall.
Note that you do need a mature Hoya Meliflua to flower. Therefore, if you get a very small or young plant, you may need to wait 1.5 to 2 years before it will start blooming.
That said, they are worth the wait. And they will bloom for long periods of time.
Another interesting thing about the plant’s flowers is that they’ll initially produce a weird glue-like smell. But after a while, this scent will turn into the sweetness of chocolate fragrance.
The most important thing when it comes to pruning your Hoya Meliflua is not to deadhead the faded flowers. in short, you don’t want to cut the peduncles (flowering stalks) even after the flowers are gone.
That’s because these stalks are perennial and the new blooms will grow from old peduncles.
Thus, if you prune these off, you lose their bearing potential.
Similarly, you’ll need to wait for new stalks to grow before you can see flowers again.
As for the plant itself, the Hoya Meliflua can grow to lengths of 12 feet. It is a vining plant so its height primarily comes from the length of its stems.
Because of this, you’ll often find it climbing onto a support or in a hanging basket. This way, you’re able to take advantage of its beauty.
Doing so also reduces the amount of pruning you have to do since you can let the stems grow.
Trim off any dead, discolored or damage foliage. Similarly remove any leggy stems.
However, avoid cutting off more than 30% of the plant at any given time.
How to Propagate Hoya Meliflua
The Hoya Meliflua roots quite easily which makes it easy to propagate. The most efficient way to do this at home is via stem propagation.
Since the plant has long vines you can use its stem tips or cut longer stems and cut them into smaller sections.
The key is to make sure that each stem cutting has at least 1-2 leaf nodes.
If the cutting as air roots even better as this will allow the plant to grow new roots faster in water.
Here’s how to propagate Hoya Meliflua from stem cuttings.
- Cut a 3 to 6 inch stem with at least 3 or more leaves on it.
- Remove the lower leaves to expose the leaf nodes. These are where the new roots will grow from.
- Place the cutting into a container filled with water. I like to use glass so you can easily see the roots as they grow. Although, you can use any kind of container you want.
- Make sure to replace the water once a week.
- If the cutting you got has aerial roots, submerge them in the liquid along with the nodes. Avoid letting any of the leaves stay in the water as they will eventually rot if left to do so.
- For optimum growth, place the cutting in a well-lit location with good humidity and moderate to warm temperature.
- In about 3 to 6 weeks, new roots will have grown. They will usually come out first in the aerial roots which is why you want to take advantage of these woody roots.
- Because the cutting will eventually need to be moved from water to soil, wait until the roots are at least 1-2 inches long.
- You can likewise keep the cutting in water longer. But, once it passes 10 or 12 months, you’ll start seeding some root rot. If this happens, you can prune them off.
Similarly, if you don’t like to have to transfer the cuttings from water to soil, you can plant them straight into a container with potting mix.
They will likewise root in soil. But make sure to use well-draining potting mix and keep the soil moist.
How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Meliflua
The Hoya Meliflua does not mind being root bound. This means that you can keep it slightly underpotted. In fact some growers intentionally do this as it helps encourage flowering.
That said, once the plant outgrows its pot it is time to repot.
It usually takes between 2 to 3 years before this happens. Although the exact tine will vary as its growth will depend on how much sun, humidity, fertilizer, temperatures and other factors it gets.
- Carefully take the plant out of its current container.
- Check its roots to make sure there is no rotting or other disease.
- Brush off excess soil and dirt.
- Then prepare the new pot. Use a pot that is one size bigger than the current one (2 inches wider).
- Fill this with fresh well-draining potting mix up to about 40% of the way.
- The place the plant in the new pot and fill the remaining space with fresh soil.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Hoya Meliflua is not toxic to pets or humans. This makes it safe to keep around the home even it you have pets and young kids running around.
However, do note that like other hoya plants, its sap can cause skin irritation in a few people. This is especially true if you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies.
Therefore, if this is the case, it is a good idea to wear gloves when pruning or propagating the plant.
Problems & Troubleshooting
The Hoya Meliflua is susceptible to mealybugs. It can likewise get thrips, aphids and other sap sucking insects, which are attracted to its waxy foliage.
These pests are generally easy to get rid of when spotted early. But if you allow them to develop into infestations, then they can inflict more damage on the plant.
Similarly, they are harder to get rid of since they adults will keep laying eggs, which will hatch and grow into more insects.
The plant is quite resistant to diseases. However, it can experience them if overwatered. Too much water not only causes yellow leaves but also puts the Hoya Meliflua at risk of root rot and fungal infections.
This is a serious problem since rotting roots eventually mean that the plant won’t be able to absorb moisture or nutrients from the soil no matter how much you water or fertilizer it.
So, once this happens, it will eventually die.