How to Care for Hoya Obscura

The Hoya Obscura is a beautiful foliage plant that produces similarly gorgeous flowers. IT is a fast growing vining plant that likes to climb

More importantly, it produces lots of foliage and fragrant flowers. So, if you enjoy a full plant with lovely blooms, this is a good choice.

However, keep in mind that it will grow long, up to 6 to 8 feet in length. So, pruning will eventually be needed to keep the plant’s size, shape and tidiness in check.

It is epiphytic in natura and thrives in warm, humid conditions. This is because it is native to the Philippines where the climate is tropical in nature.

The plant enjoys being root bound and does not mind being on the dry side. As such, it means less maintenance on your end.

However, you do need to provide it with ample support to climb up against, otherwise it will just spill over the pot and sprawl around the it.

Knowing how to care for your Hoya Obscura will allow you to enjoy its prolific blooms and wonderful green foliage.

Hoya Obscura Plant Care

Light Requirements

Hoya Obscura love the sun. They thrive on plenty of bright light, ideally 6 or more hours a day. And, unlike many houseplants that cannot tolerate direct sun, they don’t have a problem with it.

As such, you can place them near any window around your home that gets sunlight for many hours a day.

You can likewise keep the plant in partial sun or shade which it won’t mind.

That said, you Hoya Obscura has variegated leaves although not as heavily as other patterned houseplants. This means that it won’t be able to tolerate areas where the light is too low or dim. Otherwise, it will lose its beautiful colors.

 

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Temperature

Since the Hoya Obscura is a native of the Philippines, it enjoys warm weather. It enjoys climates between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although, during the summer, it has no problem with temperatures running from 86 to 100 degrees. This type of weather is normal during the warmer months in that country as well as other Southeast Asia countries like Singapore and Thailand.

Another characteristic of the weather there is that they receive a good amount of rainfall between August to November which is about their rainy season.

On the other hand, summers are very dry.

As such, the plant has become accustomed to and able to tolerate these extremes.

But, the one thing it cannot withstand is the cold. It is hardy to USDA zones 10 to 12. And, cannot take freezing conditions or frost.

As such, keep it away from temperatures below 55 degrees.

 

Humidity

As with the aspects above, the Hoya Obscura’s preference for humidity is likewise influenced by its native habitat.

Thus, I enjoys high humidity. And, it grows best while producing the its most beautiful leaves and flowers in this kind of environment.

So, if you can, keep humidity around the plant at 60% or higher.

That said, it does not have a problem with average room humidity. This makes it easy to care for. And, you don’t have to jump through hoops to keep it happy like some other houseplants where high humidity is a must.

That said, you do want to be careful with too low humidity. If air moisture consistently runs in the low 30s or below, you might see the plant’s leaf tips turn brown. Similarly, it may also lose foliage.

If this happens, it is a good idea to mist the plant 3 times a week or place it in a water tray on top of small stones.

Another options is to get a humidifier.

As a preemptive measure (especially if you have many tropical plants at home), you can get a digital humidifier. This will let you know wat the humidity is in different areas of your home so you’ll know where each plant is better suited to.

And, if needed, increase humidity in that area.

 

How Often to Water Hoya Obscura

Your Hoya Obscura has moderate water needs. Thus, it does not require frequent watering.

And, because it is semi-succulent, you do want to be wary about overwatering. This means it is important to avoid wet, soggy or waterlogged soil.

I like to allow the soil to dry between waterings to be safe since the plant is bothered by this condition as long as you don’t leave it dehydrated for very long periods of time.

By doing, so, you avoid watering too often which can result in the plant sitting in water for long periods of time. Eventually, if you do this too often, it will develop root rot.

Similarly, soggy soil is a breeding ground for fungal infection which will likewise damage the plant.

Thus, you want to be wary about watering in the winter as the soil takes longer to try. During this time, allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

And, make sure to keep the plant under plenty of sunlight to help reduce the risk of wet soil.

If you live in parts of the country where it snows, try to find a spot near the south window which recievs the most sunlight.

However, you might need to move the plant come summer when the weather goes the opposite way.

During this time, you want to water more regularly to keep the soil moist.

The plant is actively growing during spring and summer. As such, it needs plenty of sunlight, water and fertilizer for optimum growth.

However, you still want to avoid overwatering.

Summer is also when it blooms. As such, if you want to repot the plant, do so in the spring before all the growth and flowering occurs.

 

Soil for Hoya Obscura

When it comes to soil, your Hoya Obscura prefers well draining soil that is light and chunky. This allows water to easily penetrate and reach the roots. And, makes it easy to excess moisture to drain as well.

Similarly, the chunky nature allows air to easily flow through the roots to supply the plant with oxygen it needs to survive.

While the plant is not overly picky about the soil it is in, it is a good idea to amend regular potting mixes you find in stores to achieve the characteristics above.

You can add perlite, orchid bark and charcoal to good quality potting soil to do this.

 

Fertilizer

The Hoya Obscura appreciates fertilizer during tis growing season (spring and summer). This helps it grow faster and produce more foliage.

Because hoyas are known for their flowers as much as their leaves, you have a few options when it comes to the type of plant food.

I like to use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength once a month during this time of the year. I don’t feed it during the fall and winter.

However, if you feel that the plant is not producing as much leaves as it normally should, you can up feeding to once every two weeks with no problem.

Additionally you can use a high nitrogen blend if you want to increase foliage growth.

On the other hand, if you’re happy with its leaves but feel that it is not producing enough flowers, you can switch to a high phosphorus formulation. Something where the middle number, the P, is higher than the N will work.

You can likewise opt for a slow release formula if you wish.

All of these will work but does require a bit of experimenting, experience and adjustments.

 

Flowering

The Hoya Obscura produces unique looking flowers that are gorgeous to look at. As such growing and caring for them means allowing them to flower beautifully as well.

Depending on the variety you have, you’ll see different kinds of flowers. But, these are all small and grow in grounds that form a ball-like shape.

Each of these tiny flowers are also round with a form of a star on the front side.

In most cases, the flowers you’ll see are pink-purple in color with yellow stars. But, you might also see yellow-orange ball-shaped flowers as well.

Either way, they are beautiful to look at.

These produce a strong sweet scent as well.

They blooms best in warm weather. Thus, summer is when you’ll see the most appear.

 

Pruning

Your Hoya Obscura will grow to become a big plant. In a container, you’ll want to give it a vertical pole to climb up on. Or, you can opt for a hanging basket to allow it drape downwards.

After it matures, it is capable of growing to as much as 6 to 8 feet long.

Like many hoya species, the Obscura is a vining plant. This means that it will grow longer and get denser over time.

Along the way, it will likely look messy and untidy as well  since the vines and leaves will grow all over the place.

While this will take time to happen, it also means you’ll eventually need to prune it.

But, unlike many vining foliage plants, you want to be careful when you do.

That’s because you want to keep its flowers, which is not the case for many foliage houseplants.

As such, watch out for the spurs on the branches. And, avoid cutting them because that’s where the blooms grow out from.

They flower from both old and new spurs. As such, you want to leave the spurs intact with he vines as much as possible for a more prolific flowering plant.

That said, there’s no harm in pruning branches with these spurs other than you reduce the amount of blooms.

But, avoid being too aggressive when you trim. At most only take off about a third, nothing more each time you trim the plant.

 

Hoya Obscura Propagation

The best and easiest way to propagate your Hoya Obscura is via stem cuttings. Because of its many vines, you can actually take many cuttings to grow more than one plant easily.

And, the method produces fairly good success rates as well.

The best time to propagate the plant is right before it starts growing new leaves in the spring. Of course, you can likewise do so during spring and early summer.

To propagate Hoya Obscura through stem cuttings:

  • Take a few stem cuttings. Choose healthy stems with at least 2 or 3 leaves on it.
  • Cut the stems just below the leaf node using a sterile pair of scissors or pruning shears.
  • Remove the lower leaves since they’ll go into the water or soil (depending on whether you propagate in water or soil).
  • With soil, allow the cuttings to dry.
  • Then dip the cut end in rooting hormone.
  • While waiting for it to dry, prepare a small container and fill it with fresh, well-draining potting soil.
  • Then plant the cutting into the soil.
  • Water and keep the soil moist.
  • Place the plant under bright indirect sun and watch it grow

It will take about 3 to 4 weeks for the plant to root. Then a few months to produce shoots and leaves.

 

How to Repot Hoya Obscura

Like other hoyas, you don’t have to repot your Hoya Obscura often. In fact, it is not fond of being moved from its home and will experience stress when you do.

So, avoid doing so unless necessary.

I find that you only need to repot the Hoya Obscura every 5 to 10 years. There’s really no need to do so in between. It also likes being pot bound which increases it blooms.

That said, there are a few instances when you may need to pre-emptively do so. These include:

  • The soil keeps getting wet or soggy. You can try refreshing the soil or using better draining soil. If that does not work, repotting is your only option.
  • The soil dries out very quicky.
  • Pest infestation
  • It isn’t growing properly and you’ve tried adjusting light, watering, temperature, humidity and fertilizer.
  • You want to check the roots for any problems

Beyond these, you can let the plant happily grow in its container.

 

Toxicity

The plant is safe to keep around kids and pets. Your Hoya Obscura is non-toxic so there’s no risk of accidental poisoning in case they ingest parts of the plant.

 

Pests and Diseases

Keeping your Hoya Obscura healthy and giving it the proper living conditions is essential to keep pests and diseases away.

However, like other houseplants the risk of these problems never goes away.

And, if pests do occur, they are likely to be mealybugs, aphids, scale or spider mites. These are the most common critters that are attracted to the plant.

On the other hand, moisture is your Hoya Obscura’s number one enemy when it comes to diseases. Root rot, leaf spot and fungal infection are all caused by too much moisture.

Because it is fond of humid conditions, the risk of this increases.

Thus, I like keeping the plant on the dry side of things since it has no problem with it.

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