Hoya Parasitica Care (Varieties, Propagation, Water, Soil & Light)

Hoya Parasitica

The Hoya Parasitica is also known as the Hoya Parasitica Green. It is an epiphytic vine that’s native to Southeast Asia. It is known for its fast growing natura and thick, succulent-like leaves. These have a heart-shape and are green in color, measuring about 4.5 inches long and 2.25 inches wide.

Like other hoyas, it produces stunning flowers that are fragrant as well. These grow in parachute-shaped clusters called umbels with as many as 40 flowers per umbel. And each stem can have multiple umbels as well.

Hoya Parasitica Varieties

Note that the Hoya Parasitica has many varieties and cultivars. As such, the look of the plant you get will depend on the variety you have.

Some have variegated leaves while others have splasher. Similarly, the colors of the variegations can differ as well from white/cream to yellow.

Probably the most popular Hoya Parasitica variety is the Hoya Parasitica Black Margin. This plant is sometimes called the Hoya Parasitica Black Edge as well.

Its leaves have different shade as they are oval and more pointed at the tips. Of course, its most distinctive feature is the black margins around its green foliage.

The plant produces orange star shaped flowers that produce a sweet aroma.

Other Hoya Parasitica varieties include:

  • Hoya Parasitica Splash
  • Hoya Parasitica Lao
  • Hoya Parasitica Heart Splash
  • Hoya Parasitica Pink
  • Hoya Parasitica Var Citrina
  • Hoya Parasitica Variegata (Variegated Hoya Parasitica)
  • Hoya Parasitica Chantelle

As mentioned , each of them have leaves that look different. In many cases, the shapes of their foliage will vary. Similarly, the colors and appearance of their blooms are often different as well.

And as you can see from their names, most are derived by describing the patterns in their leaves, the colors of the flowers or where the plant was initially found.

 

Hoya Parasitica Plant Care

Light Requirements

Hoya Parasitica can tolerate a wide range of lighting conditions. However, if you want it to achieve its best growth and more flowers, give it bright, indirect light.

The plant loves light. And the more light it gets the faster it will grow. Additionally, it will also produce more leaves and increases its chances blooming.

However, there’s such a thing as too much light.

Since the Hoya Parasitica is native to the forests of Southeast Asia it lives under the branches and leaves of very large trees. These trees also block out the harshest rays of the sun.

As such, the plant is not used to taking very strong or intense light.

This is why it is best suited for indirect, filtered, dappled or diffused light.

More important, if it is exposed to long hours of direct sun on a regular basis, you’ll see its leaves get discolored and possibly scorch.

The plant will be okay. But, you’ll be left with sun-damaged leaves that you’ll eventually need to prune. These won’t recover and won’t turn green again.

The good news is, once you move the plant to a location with less intense light, it will recover and start growing green foliage again.

On the other hand, the plant will likewise do well in medium and low light. The key is to keep it in a well-lit room. This is why I don’t recommend leaving it in low light.

The reason is that while it will be okay there, it is less likely to produce flowers there. And if it does, it will take longer before you see them.

 

Temperature

Temperature is another important factor in Hoya Parasitica care. Like light, it is fairly easy because the plant will tolerate a wide range of climate conditions.

That said, you want to be more careful here.

That’s because the plant cannot tolerate the cold. Thus, keep it away from temperatures below 50 degrees.

It is hardy to USDA Zones 10 and 11 where the weather stays relatively moderate even during winters with sunshine and no snow.

So, if you live below these regions, be sure to bring the plant indoors once temperatures get close to 50 degrees.

Indoors, the Hoya Parasitica thrives in temperatures between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Its weather preference stems from where it comes from. The plant is native to Southeast Asia where the weather is warm to very hot depending on the time of year.

Winters are similarly warm as the coldest it usually gets is about 55 degrees Fahrenheit or so. The region also gets perpetual sunshine except during the rainy season between August and October.

As such, the Hoya Parasitica enjoys moderate to warm environments and is not tolerant of the cold.

 

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Humidity

The Hoya Parasitica’s humidity preference is likewise influenced by where it comes from. In addition to being warm, Southeast Asia is very humid.

in general, humidity there runs from 55% to 90% depending on the time of year. The stays on the higher end of that range when the rains come. But on average humidity usually stays above 60%.

As such, the Hoya Parasitica enjoys humid conditions.

Given a choice, it is happiest when humidity stays between 50% and 80%. Luckily, its thick, succulent-like leaves allows it to tolerate lower humidity.

This lets it tolerate indoor humidity of 40% and higher. Thus, as long as you can keep air moisture levels at this level it will grow well.

If you live somewhere with dry air, I highly suggest getting a digital hygrometer. This way you can track how much humidity drops depending on the time of year.

This way, you can you mist the plant when humidity drops low enough. You can likewise invest in a humidifier.

hoya parasitica

source: wikimedia commons

 

How Often to Water Hoya Parasitica

The Hoya Parasitica has low water requirements. In part, this is because it is an epiphyte. But another reason is that its semi-succulent leaves store water to help it through dry periods.

As such, you want to be careful with too much water as the plant is susceptible to it.

Like other epiphytes, its roots like to breathe. This means if they’re left standing in water for long periods of time, they’ll eventually be put at risk of root rot.

So, how often should you water your Hoya Parasitica?

In general, once a week during the warm months (give or take a few days). And once every 2 to 3 weeks in the winter.

The important thing its to wait until part of the soil has dried before adding more water. This way you avoid overwatering.

Therefore,

  • If you are aggressive in watering, try to wait until the top 2 inches of soil is dry between waterings.
  • If you are busy or find yourself late or forgetful with watering, try to water once the soil gets to between 50% to 75% of the way dry.

Anything in between this range works well.

 

Hoya Parasitica Potting Soil

Potting soil plays a complementary role to watering. The reason for this is that If you use dense or heavy soils that retain moisture, it won’t matter that you waited until part of the soil dried before watering. The soil will retain much of the water you pour onto it which eventually puts the roots at risk of standing in too much water or waterlogging.

Therefore, avoid this kind of soil for your Hoya Parasitica. It may be good for other plants, but it can eventually kill your Parasitica.

On the other hand, the best soil for your Hoya Parasitica is well-draining potting mix. This will help get rid of excess moisture to make sure the roots get enough to drink but don’t end up standing in water.

You can use any of the following DIY potting mixes for Hoya Parasitica below.

  • 1 part cactus mix with 1 part orchid mix and 1 part perlite
  • 1 part potting soil and 1 part perlite or pumice
  • 1 part potting soil with 1 part orchid bark

In addition to using the right kind of soil, there are a few other things to remember.

  • Avoid overly large pots – the bigger the pot, the more soil it will hold. When this soil volume gets wet during watering, there will by much more water around the roots. It also takes much longer for the moisture to drain or dry.
  • Drainage holes – once the soil drains the excess water, that liquid needs to exit the pot. If your pot does not have holes at the bottom, the water will pool. Eventually, the soil will re-absorb this moisture so you end up where you started.
  • Throw any water that collects below the pot – if you keep a saucer or anything else to catch the moisture that drips from the bottom of the pot, make sure to throw that water away. Allowing it to collect will eventually let it make its way back into the soil as well.

 

Fertilizer

Feed the plant once a  month to once every 2 weeks during the spring and summer. This is all the fertilizer it will need as the Hoya Parasitica is not a heavy feeder.

You can use a balanced liquid fertilizer with an N-P-K formulation of 15-15-15 and dilute it by half strength by adding water before you apply.

This will give the plant all the nutrients it will need. It also has a good amount of nitrogen which will encourage leaf growth.

Don’t feed the plant in late fall and winter as the cold weather will make it rest more than focus on growing.

That said, if you live in a tropical region, the plant will continue growing throughout the year because of the sunshine and warm climate. In this case, you can keep feeding the plant.

This is why they fertilizer their plants all year round in Southeast Asia.

 

Flowers / Blooms

One of the most attractive features of the Hoya Parasitica is its flowers. And this is something you should not miss if you own the plant.

Once you’ve seen its flowers, you’ll want it to keep blooming. Additionally, with proper care, you will see multiple umbels grow at the same time.

To explain, the Hoya Parasitica produces small, gorgeous white star-shaped flowers that are about half and inch to 0.6 inches. The have pink colored centers, which are somewhat larger than other hoyas making it distinct.

But like other hoya species, its blossoms grow as a cluster called umbels. And you can have as many as 40 blooms in each umbel.

The Hoya Parasitica’s flowers also have a nice spicy fragrance which is mild during the day but more intense after dusk.

Each flower typically lasts about 5 days.

But as beautiful as its blooms are, they are not a sure thing.

By that I mean it will only flower under the right circumstances. This is why it is important to keep it under bright, indirect light. Lack of light will deter the plant from produce any flowers.

As a final note, the flowers you see on your Hoya Parasitica will vary in color depending on the variety you have. So, if you see other colors come out, odds are you may have one of its many varieties or cultivars.

 

Pruning

The other important thing about the Hoya Parasitica’s flowers is that you don’t want to prune the peduncles from where the flowers bloom (even after they’ve faded).

With some plants, you want to deadhead the flowers after they’re done blooming. Don’t do that with the Hoya Parasitica.

You want to keep the peduncles (spurs) intact because they are perennials.

By that I mean, new flowers will grow from old peduncles. So, if you cut them off, you essentially cut off its ability to produce any more flowers.

Additionally, doing so means you’ll need to wait until new peduncles grow before it can flower again.

As for the plant’s leaves, there’s not a lot of pruning needed.

In general, the Hoya Parasitica is a fast grower. And it will grow long vining stems over time. However, if you allow the plant to climb or place it in a hanging basket, then, you’ll only need to do light trimming when there is excessive growth.

 

How to Propagate Hoya Parasitica

The Hoya Parasitica is very easy to propagate. The best part is you can do it at home for free.

The most effective way to grow more of the plant is by stem propagation.

Of course, you go use seed, do air layering or separate the plant as well.

But as far as efficiency goes, stem cuttings works best. It is simple, straightforward, gives you the fastest results and has very high success rates. Plus, you can grow many new plants simultaneously.

Here’s how to propagate the Hoya Parasitica from stem cuttings.

  • Use a sterile pair of scissors and cut off a healthy stem with at least 3 or more leaves on it. Try to get a cutting that is around 3 to 6 inches long which will make it easy to put part of the stem in water or plant in soil.
  • You can propagate the cutting in water or in soil.
  • If you want to put it in water, fill a container with water and place the cutting in the water. Remove nay leaves that end up in the water and make sure the nodes are submerged in the liquid.
  • If you want to propagate in soil, prepare a small pot and fill it with moistened well-draining soil. Plant the cutting into the soil. Keep the soil moist by watering it regularly.
  • For optimal growth, place the cutting in bright, indirect light, avoid direct sun. It will also appreciate a worm spot with high humidity.
  • It about 4-6 weeks, the roots will develop in volume and get longer.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Parasitica

The Hoya Parasitica likes to be slightly root bound. Therefore, there is no hurry when it comes to repotting.

Keeping it in this state actually helps it flower. This is why many growers will keep the plant underpotted.

This also means that you want to avoid moving to a very large container when you do repot the plant. The excess volume of soil increases the risk of overwatering.

Instead, choose a container that is one size larger (2 inches wider) that the pot you have.

Also, make sure the new pot ahs drainage holes to allow the moisture to get out.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Hoya Parasitica is not toxic to dogs or cats. It is also safe to keep around kids. This will allow you to place it anywhere around your home with the peace of mind that the plant is both child-safe and pet-safe.

 

Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

Mealybugs are the common pests that will come and attack your Hoya Parasitica. They like the waxy, succulent-like foliage of the plant.

And these sap suckers will try to steal as much nutrients and water (which is what’s in sap) from your plant. If they grow large enough in number, they will cause more damage.

In addition to mealybugs, spider mites, thrips and scale insects and come around as well.

 

Diseases

Leaf diseases and root rot are the most common diseases to watch out. Al of these are caused by excess moisture. Therefore, you want to be careful with wetting the leaves and overwatering the soil.

Waterlogged soil not only attracts some pests like fungus gnats, they also increase the risk of root rot as the roots don’t get enough oxygen.

So, make sure to allow the soil to dry between waterings, use well-draining soil and a pot with drainage.