The Hoya Rebecca is an epiphytic climber that is native to Southeast Asia. It features dark green leaves that grow on long vining stems. This makes it perfect for growing in hanging baskets which is what many houseplant owners do.
Although in the wild, the plant is known to be a climber which it will happily do if you give it a trellis or a shaped wire.
The plant itself is known for its wavy dark green colored foliage and beautiful fragrant flowers.
If you look closely, you’ll likewise notice that the undersides are red in color.
This is something that makes people want the plant. Additionally, its leaves also turn into a reddish hue when exposed to bright light.
On the other hand, its flowers are small and grow in bunches. They are pink and yellow and color and are most fragrant during early evenings.
Because of its looks, the Hoya Rebecca is commonly mistaken or confused with the Hoya Sunrise. However, it is important to know that they are two different plants.
Here’s how to distinguish one from the other.
Hoya Rebecca vs. Hoya Sunrise
The Hoya Rebecca and the Hoya Sunrise have quite a few similarities. That have the same growth habit in that they have long stems that grow all over the place and can get messy.
This makes them beautiful in hanging baskets.
They also feature small leaves that populate their vining stems. Heck, even their parents are very similar.
However, here’s how to tell the difference between the Hoya Rebecca and Hoya Sunrise.
- Hoya Rebecca – comes from crossing the Hoya Lacunosa ‘Langkawi Island’ with the Hoya Obscura. The plant’s leaves are inherited traits from its parents. It has the small foliage size of the Hoya Lacunosa and the reddish hue of the Hoya obscura. However, this combination appears such that the colors of the leaves are dark green in front and reddish on the undersides. The Hoya Rebecca also produces light pink flowers with yellow middles.
- Hoya Sunrise – comes from crossing the Hoya Lacunos var. pallidiflora and Hoya obscura. This plant features larger leaves that comes from Hoya Lacunosa variants (which is what its parent is) and features a pinkish color from the H. obscura. The combination appears in the plant’s dark green foliage with flecks of red and pink along with light green veins. Its flowers have a cream color with yellow centers.
Hoya Rebecca Plant Care
The Hoya Rebecca enjoys being in a well-lit room. And you do want to keep it in this environment for a few reasons:
- It will grow faster
- The plant will produce more leaves
- Its leaves will also have better color
- It is more likely to bloom
Do take note of that last one especially if you want to let the plant flower. As it will not do so when left in low light. Instead, it needs a lot of bright light.
However, keep it away from direct sun and very intense light. This is something that the plant cannot tolerate for long periods of time. Thus, avoid mid-day sun as well as that during the peak of summer.
Instead, position it where it receives bright, indirect, diffused, dappled or filtered light.
That said, some growers intentionally put the sun in very bright locations to cause sun stress.
Its leaves turn into a pinkish-red color that’s stunning to look at. And while this is beautiful, you don’t want to overdo this as it you go past what it can tolerate, its leaves will eventually get scorched by the intense light.
The Hoya Rebecca is commonly found in Southeast Asia. As such, its climate preference is highly influenced by this.
Ideally, the plant prefers temperatures to stay consistent between 60 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
It does not mind the heat as it comes from a tropical region.
To give you an idea, Southeast Asia embraces the equator. Therefore, the countries there experience warm to very hot weather most of the year.
Summers are brutal as you’ll regularly see temperatures between 90 and 100 degrees (or higher sometimes).
On the other hand, they don’t have winters. As least not the snowy, freezing winters that’s often associated with that time of year.
Instead, climate in Southeast Asia between December and March is balmy with lots of sunshine. Temperatures dips to as low as 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, sometimes to 50 degrees, but almost never below that.
So, as you can imagine, the plant is more used to warm than cold environments. And it does not tolerate conditions below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
As such, it is better off in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11 where there is sunshine all year round (if you want to grow it outdoors).
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Similarly, what makes Southeast Asia weather hot and sweaty is not just the temperature but also the humidity that comes with it.
For most of the year, humidity there runs between 55% and 75%. During the rain season which happens around last July to early September, it can easily reach 85% or higher.
Thus, the Hoya Rebecca loves humidity and it prefers levels between 60% and 80% if possible.
Here is will grow faster and produce larger leaves.
However, this is something that is hard to maintain unless you live in the tropics, have a greenhouse, keep the plant in a terrarium or a grow cabinet.
In the northern hemisphere, most homes have humidity between 30% and 50% depending on where you live and what time of year it is.
That said, humidity will be higher in some states and it will likewise be the case if you live near lakes or other bodies of water.
In any case, this means it is a good idea to keep an eye out for humidity when caring for the Hoya Rebecca. While it can tolerate average home humidity because its leaves do store some moisture, you may need to mist it regularly or use a humidifier.
Thus, monitor its leaves to see if they get dry or crispy on the tips. These are signs that the plant wants more moisture in the air.
How Often to Water Hoya Rebecca
The Hoya Rebecca is not a thirsty plant. Therefore, while it does regularly need watering, you want to be careful not to overwater it.
That’s because its roots don’t like standing in water. And if this happens long enough or often enough, it can lead to root rot.
As such, excess water is the biggest threat to your plant’s health and survival.
One average, the Hoya Rebecca needs to be watered once every 5 to 8 days during the warm season. This will vary depending on the size of the pot you use, the soil it is in, how much sunlight it gets, the temperature and humidity.
In winter, make sure to cut back on your watering routine as it takes longer for wet soil to dry. Often, watering is only needed once every 13 to 22 days (or every 2 to 3 weeks). Again, this depends on how cold it gets and how much sun the plant received.
The important thing is to wait until part of the soil has dried before adding more water.
- If you’re aggressive with water (or like to water your plants more often than not), please wait until the top 2 inches of soil dries out before watering again.
- If you tend to be late in watering or often forget, try to water the plant by the time 75% of the soil is dry. Avoid letting the soil go bone dry for extended periods of time.
So, in general, anywhere between these two levels is an ideal time to water the plant.
I know some growers who will lift the pot to tell whether it needs watering or not. A light weighting pot means the soil is dry while a heavier pot means the soil is still moist.
Others like to rely on a moisture meter. Of course, you can just use a wooden stick to gauge the water level as well.
Whichever method you want to use, the important thing is to let part of the soil dry but avoid letting the entire root ball dry for prolonged periods of time.
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Hoya Rebecca Potting Soil
In addition to knowing how often to water the Hoya Rebecca, you also need to use the right kind of soil.
The best soil for the Hoya Rebecca is lightweight, fast draining and well-aerated potting mix. It also enjoys soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0 which will allow it to optimally absorb nutrients from the soil.
You want to avoid heavy, dense soil and those that retain too much moisture. Also, don’t use soil that tends to get clogged up or compacted as this will prevent oxygen penetration.
Since the Hoya Rebecca is an epiphyte, its roots like a lot of air. So, leaving them standing in water or in waterlogged soil will increase the chances of root rot.
This means you can use a few different kinds of soil that will keep the plant happy and healthy.
If you want something you can get commercially, try African violet soil or fast-draining succulent soil.
If you prefer making your own mix (which is cheaper and gives you more control), you can use any of the following:
- 50% potting soil and 50% perlite
- 33% potting soil, 33% coco coir and 33% perlite
- 50% potting soil and 50% orchid bark
- 67% peat moss and 33% perlite
Your Hoya Rebecca also needs fertilizer. And you can use organic fertilizer like compost or worm castings if you wish.
Most growers I know will just go with a liquid, balanced fertilizer and dilute it to 50% the suggested strength. This works really well as the plant is a light feeder.
Feed the plant once every month or every 2 weeks. You can start with once every 4 weeks and see how its growth goes. If it is slow, up the frequency to bi-weekly.
That said, you want to be careful and avoid to overfeed the plant. That’s because too much chemical fertilizer can damage its roots over time as salts build up in the soil.
Flowers / Blooms
One of the most beautiful features of the Hoya Rebecca is its flowers. These often bloom during the warmer months and produce strong scents.
Their fragrance is milder during the day but strong at night.
The flowers themselves are very small but colorful. They have a rounding shape and look a bit different to most hoyas which have more prominent star-shaped flowers.
The blooms have a light pink color and yellow center. They also grow in clusters which makes them look more beautiful. Often, you’ll see anywhere from 10 to 25 of these small flowers in each cluster.
And they can last for 2 to 3 weeks long.
If you want your Hoya Rebecca to bloom, here are a few important tips to keep in mind:
- The plant needs to mature before it can produce flowers (this takes about 2 years from a young plant)
- It needs a lot of bright, indirect light to bloom. And it won’t flower in low light
- Keeping it underpotted increases the chances of flowering. So, don’t hurry to repot.
- Don’t move the plant when it is flowering as this can cause the flowers to drop or abort.
- The flowers will grow from spurs. After they blooms and drop, leave the spurs alone and don’t cut them off. Hoya will flower again from old spurs.
The last tip from the previous section is so important that it bears repeating.
Don’t cut the old spurs as these are perennials. As such, they will keep producing flowers year in and year out with the proper living environment.
And if you prune them off, you’ll stop the growth from that stalk.
More importantly, you’ll need for new spurs to grow first before you’ll see flowers again.
The plant itself is an epiphytic vine that will grow long over time. While it is a slow grower, it can reach lengths of 6 to 8 feet indoors.
This makes it perfect for climbing a trellis or shaped wire. It is also why many growers hang it in a basket.
That said, the vines can get too long or messy over time. This is where pruning comes in.
There is no rule here as it is all about aesthetics. So beyond removing yellow, damaged or dead leaves, how often you trim will depend on the shape and size you want the plant to have.
How to Propagate Hoya Rebecca
When you do prune the plant, don’t throw away all the stems. You can use the stem cutting to propagate the Hoya Rebecca.
This is the most effective way to grow more new plants from home for free.
It is easy and straight forward.
Plus, you can choose to root the stem cuttings in water, sphagnum moss or in soil.
The latter is the direct way since you don’t have to move the cuttings later on as they’re also ready in the potting mix.
- If you propagate in water, you’ll place the cutting in a glass container filled with water. This will allow the roots to develop from the leaf nodes. They will grow enough roots and get long enough within 4 to 6 weeks. And at that time, you can move the cuttings into potting soil.
- If you propagated in sphagnum moss, keep the moss moist and plant the cuttings so the nodes are buried under the growing medium. After the roots grow to 1-2 inches long, you can pot them up into soil.
How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Rebecca
Repotting is not a big deal when it comes to the Hoya Rebecca. However, you do need to repot it once it gets too pot bound.
On average, it takes about 2 years for this to happen. But a lot of the time, owners will keep the plant in the pot after that.
Because the Hoya Rebecca enjoys being underpotted. And when its root bound, the chances of the plant flowing increases as well.
Therefore, there’s no hurry to repot.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Hoya Rebecca is not toxic to cats, dogs or humans. While it is not a good idea to ingest or consume parts of the plant, it does not have poisonous components that will put you, your kids or pets in danger of toxicity.
Hoya Rebecca Problems & Troubleshooting
The Hoya Rebecca can experience mealybugs, spider mites and thrips. These bugs will go after the plant’s leaves and take as much sap as they can.
As such, as they grow in number, the pose a threat to your plant because they will rob it of water and nutrients which is passed throughout the plant via the sap.
You can use neem oil or horticultural oil to treat these pests once you notice them.
Root rot is the most serious kind of disease. And you want to avoid it.
However, other problems like blight, mold and leaf spot can likewise happen. Therefore, be on the lookout for damaged, discolored or markings on the leaves.
You’ll want to cut back on moisture to avoid them from spreading.