The hoya obovata is an attractive plant that is often grown in hanging baskets or up a vertical structure. It is well known for its large, round, thick, dark green waxy leaves that store water.
This makes this epiphytic plant have succulent-like characteristics allowing it to tolerate drought.
That said, growers particularly like it because of its beautiful flowers. This takes a while to happen as the plant will not bloom until 2 or 3 years old.
But, their unique looks and bright color make the wait worthwhile.
The hoya obovate is likewise native to Thailand, Indonesia and India. Thus, it is used to tropical conditions. So caring for it will revolve around this and its succulent-like and epiphytic traits.
Hoya Obovata Plant Care
Hoya Obovata Light
The hoya obovata needs bright, natural light to survive. Ideally, it needs full sun (at least 6 hours a day).
The most important thing to consider when choosing a spot for your plant is consider how much light that location gets relevant to where you live.
The last part is very important. And I’ll explain what I mean.
The lower part of the country is warmer than the upper part of the country. You probably already know that since, areas like Florida, New Mexico, California and Texas don’t experience snow (or very little of it in some cities only).
On the other hand norther states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and New York have very cold winters.
So how does this tie with the sun?
- If you live in the warmer areas, or the desert regions, you want to keep it away from the intense sunlight, especially in the summer and afternoons. As such, and east facing window will be best for it. In the west and south, it will likewise be happy. But, keep it away from the sun during hot, sunny days and times of the day.
- If you live in a cooler region, the east and west windows will be perfect. The south may need a bit of protection during the hottest sun times and days because of the long hours of light there. But, it will be happier with more sun here since the intensity doesn’t get as strong. In wintertime, you want to move it to the brightest possible place (which is often the a south facing window).
Outdoors, you want to do the same. That is keep it away from the harshest sunlight. But, give it as much bright light as possible. It doesn’t mind direct sunlight as long as it isn’t overly hot. This will cause it to dry out faster.
Don’t forget to rotate the plant every month or two. This will allow all sides of the plant to get exposed to the sunlight.
To get the best chance of blooming, your hoya obovata needs as much bright light as it can get.
On the other hand, keep it away from low light. It can tolerate medium light. But, don’t expect it to bloom. It can likewise be a grow a little lackuster there.
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Hoya Obovata Temperature & Humidity
Temperature is one of the easiest aspects of caring for your hoya obovata. The reason for this is that it doesn’t mind average household temperature. As such, you don’t have to do anything extra to keep it happy indoors.
That said, the plant is tropical in nature. As such, it enjoys warm and humid conditions.
Luckily, it adapts well to home conditions. It also won’t mind if your home is hot as would be the case if you live in areas like Arizona or Las Vegas, where there’s a lot of desert.
It is also worth noting that hoyas are semi-succulent and epiphytic. Yes, there’s such a thing.
This means that they have succulent like qualities (thick leaves), whose relevance you’ll see when we get to the watering section.
As for being an epiphyte, it means the plant appreciates humidity. That’s because it gets it sustenance from the air. So, keeping the air moist helps.
Again, while it prefers high humidity, it doesn’t have a problem with household humidity. But, that can vary depending on which part of the country you live.
So, you do want to monitor how it is doing during different times of the year. If you live in a cold region, watch out for winter when the air gets notoriously dry.
If you notice the plant exhibit stress from lack of humidity, you can group it with other plants or place it over pebbles in a tray or saucer of water.
Misting can likewise help.
source: wikimedia commons
Watering Hoya Obovata
As mentioned, hoya obovata are semi-succulents. So, they have succulent-like characteristics. But, are not actually succulents.
This makes them drought tolerant. Thus, easier to care for as a houseplant since watering is once of the things you need to keep doing. Unlike soil and light, once you get them set, you can leave them for a long time.
Watering doesn’t work that way.
However, it is not a good idea to let your hoya obovata dry out for too long periods either. While they do store water in their foliage, this amount runs out as well.
Given this feature, you can wait until the soil dries out before watering again. The easiest way to do this is to stick your finger 1 to 2 inches into the soil. If the soil at that depth is still moist, even a little, then wait before you water. You do not want to overwater the plant.
If it feels dry at that point, it is time to water.
In warmer regions, you’ll likely need to water once a week. In the winter, scale back a bit to once every 2 weeks. But, in cooler regions, frequencies will be slightly longer.
To get the most out of your hoya obovata, provide it with rich, well-draining soil. it also enjoys soil pH of between 6.1 to 7.5.
Keep in mind that well-draining means that it can hold moisture just enough to let the plant get moisture and nutrients. But, not too long that the soil becomes waterlogged.
Because the plant is a epiphytic it likes loose, airy soil. Similarly, its succulent-like characteristics means it doesn’t like sitting in water.
To achieve this, you can use a combination of Succulent & Cactus mix and add perlite or pumice to it. This gives the something that is loose and well-aerated, that’s likewise well-draining as well.
You can likewise uses orchid bark of you want to improve drainage more. And, some coco coir if you feel the mixture is not retaining enough water.
Your hoya obovata is a light feeder. So, like water, you want to err on the side of being more conservative with fertilizer.
That said, these plants as fast growers. And, to get them to bloom at their best, they need feeding during the spring and summer to reach their top potential.
The exception here is that if the potting mix you get already comes with fertilizer. Make sure to check before feeding it. If you do, you can double the dose.
This is not good as it is like overfertilizing. As s result, you’re causing fertilizer salt residue to build up in the soil which will burn the plant’s roots.
It is also worthwhile to note that if you use compost, you may not need to feed your hoya. I have a friend who never feeds your hoya obovata. Yet, they’re as healthy as can be.
When it comes to feeding, you want to use a product that has high nitrogen to encourage foliage growth. Once the plant is about to bloom, switch to one that is higher in phosphorus to help it flower better.
For the most part, you hoya obovata is a foliage plant. But, its unique flowers are very tempting to grow because of their lovely looks and color. As such, many growers take the extra time to help their hoyas along in flowering.
Here are a few things you can do to improve its chances of flowering.
- Lots of light. The more light it receives, especially indoors, the better chance it has at blooming.
- Pot bound. It likes living in tight quarters. This situation actually helps it flower.
- Don’t expect the plant to flower soon. It needs to age first. And it will only blooms after it reaches 2 or 3 years old.
- No deadheading. Don’t cut off the faded blooms. They will come back in the future.
- Winter dormancy. Allow the plant to rest in the winter. Less water and no feeding during this time.
Pruning Hoya Obovata
Hoya obovata is a fast growing plant. As such, you will want to prune it to control its size as it grows. This allows you to limit its size especially indoors.
It is also a good idea to remove any dead or discolored leaves. This will help the plant grow better as it won’t expend resources on deteriorating parts.
Trimming parts of the plant also helps them grow better. This allows you to have a fuller, bushier plant.
The one thing you do not want to do is deadhead flowers. You may also want to stay off any of the shoots where flowers emerge from. That’s because after the flowers fade, then tend to rebloom on the same stalks the next season.
So, hard pruning is not a good idea as it will delay flowering. If you keep trimming the short stalks, you’ll limit your chances of seeing your hoya obovata bloom.
Hoya Obovata Propagation
Hoya obovata can be propagated via stem cuttings or air layering.
Most growers propagate using stem cuttings because it is quicky and easy. Here’s how.
- Take a 6 inch long cutting with at least 2 or 3 leaf nodes. You want to choose a healthy stem since that’s what will grow into your new plant.
- Place the stem in a glass or jar or water. Be sure to remove any leaves that will get submerged into the liquid.
- Change the water every few days to keep it clean and fresh.
- After a few weeks, you’ll see roots begin to develop.
- Wait until the roots get to about an inch long. Then, repot it to soil.
- Water the soil and place it in a warm, humid place with lots of sun.
Hoya Obovata Transplanting & Repotting
Hoya obovata likes being slightly pot bound. In fact, you want to keep it there because that increases its chances of blooming.
That said, once the container becomes too crowded, it is time to move it to a bigger container. Most of the time, this will take 2 to 3 years or even longer, depending on how quickly your plant grows.
So, there’s really no need to worry about repotting much.
The plant isn’t too fussy about what kind of pot you use. So, just go with the one you prefer.
The plant is not toxic to people and pets. So, it is safe for young kids, dogs and cats to play around them.
Hoya obovata is susceptible to pests. The most common of them include mealybugs, aphids and scale. All of them are very bothersome. More importantly, they are damaging to your plant as they chew or suck on its sap and leaves to drain it of its sustenance.
As such, you want to spot them as early as possible. This limits the damage and keeps your hoya from getting weaker.