How to Care for Hoya Sigillatis

Hoya Sigillatis

The Hoya Sigillatis is an unique looking epiphytic plant that is also known as Flecked Leaf Hoya and the Hoya hasseltii. So when you see any of these names on labels, they are referring to the Hoya Sigillatis.

That makes the plant beautiful are its many narrow green leaves that have silver/gray speckless.

When they get a lot of bright sun (or get sun-stressed) the leaves will turn reddish or burgundy in color.

Like other hoyas, it will climb when give the opportunity. However, many growers and owners will grow it as a hanging plant because it looks amazing this way.

While very lovely, the Hoya Sigillatis’ leaves are actually small ranging from 1-3 inches long and a little over half an inch wide.

It is native to Southeast Asia, specifically to Borneo and Malaysia.

Hoya Sigillatis Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Hoya Sigillatis prefers medium to bright light which will allow it to grow at its best. But avoid direct sun or very intense light. Instead, keep it somewhere with indirect or diffused light.

The reason for this is the plant is commonly found in the forests of Southeast Asia were lives under the canopy provided by larger trees.

So, while the region’s environment provides for very sunny weather. The overhead shade provided by the leaves, branches and larger plants keep the plant under semi-shade.

As such, too much strong light will harm its small leaves. And you’ll see them turn reddish in color which some growers like. Although this is a sign that it is sun stressed.

Therefore, you don’t want it to stay in this kind of environment for too long even if its colors look beautiful.

As such, an east or north facing window is ideal. With the latter, make sure that there’s enough light. This is very important especially if you want your Hoya Sigillatis to produce its lovely blooms.

The plant needs a lot of light for this to happen.

 

Temperature

The Hoya Sigillatis is native to Southeast Asia. And you’ll find the plant especially in Malaysia, which happens to be smack right on the equator. As such, it stays warm to very hot depending on the time of year.

This is the kinds of climate the plant is used to. However, thanks to the forest canopy, it does goes some protection from the brunt of the heat.

Therefore, it has gotten used to more moderate conditions. It does best in temperatures between 60 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, one thing the Southeast Asian countries don’t experience is snow or freezing temperatures. In fact, you can enjoy the slightly cooler weather in your t-shirt and shorts between December and February. The coolest weather they get there is about 60 degrees or so.

And this is why the Hoya Sigillatis has problems under 55 degree Fahrenheit. Try to avoid leaving in anywhere that gets cooler than this for long periods of time.

 

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Humidity

Humidity is another aspect that the Southeast Asian countries have in common. Average humidity runs between 55% to 75% on a regular day. When it rains, humidity can reach 85% or a bit higher at times.

The actual levels vary throughout the year.

This is why it gets really hot in that part of the world. The warm temperature coupled with moderate to high humidity causes the heat index to soar especially during the summer when temperature feels 100 degrees or higher a lot of the time.

Thus, the Hoya Sigillatis likes high humidity, ideally between 65% to 85% if you can give it that. This is where it grows at it best.

Unfortunately, unlike other hoyas, the Sigillatis has thinner leaves (and thinner stems as well). This means it does not store as much water as the other varieties. Therefore, you want to try to keep humidity closer to 50% (or at least 40%) indoors.

This will keep it healthy and happy. It will also prevent browning leaf tips and crispy edges.

Misting is probably the easiest way tin give your hoya some moisture. However, its effects are temporary so you do need to regularly do this.

In contrast, if you don’t have that much time or tend to forget, you can group it with other plants or put a pebble tray under the pot.

Of course, you can likewise go with a humidifier if you want to be able to precisely control humidity levels.

 

How Often to Water Hoya Sigillatis

The Hoya Sigillatis is an epiphyte. Therefore, its roots are used to drying quickly and getting a lot of air.

This also means that the plant does not appreciate standing in water. And it is susceptible to root rot if you leave it like this.

Therefore, the best way to water the plant is to let part of the soil dry out before you add more water.

The easiest way to do this is to insert your index finger into the soil down to your second knuckle. This comes out to about 2 inches from the surface of the top soil.

If the soil at that depth is completely dry, then you can water. But avoid doing so any time before that. Otherwise, you’ll be adding more water when the soil is still moist.

Eventually, this will lead to soggy, wet soil that has too much moisture. Doing so will leave the roots sitting in water (which will deprive them of oxygen they need). Thus, the risk of root rot significantly increases.

Following this, you’ll likely end up watering your Hoya Sigillatis once every 7 or so days during the warmer months and once every 2 weeks (give or take a few days) depending on how cold it gets.

The reason is that the more sun it receives and the hotter the temperature is, the faster the soil will dry. And the colder the climate gets and less sunlight there is, the longer it takes for soil to dry.

 

Hoya Sigillatis Potting Soil

The other aspect of preventing overwatering to keep your Hoya Sigillatis healthy and happy is using the right potting soil.

Ideally, use a well-draining mix that is light and air.  It also does best when soil pH stays between 6.0 and 7.0.

Again, this stems from the plant’s preference for having a lot of air circulation for its roots. It also helps prevent the risk of overwatering and waterlogging as this kind of soil is designed to drain excess moisture.

Fortunately, it is easy to create this kind of soil. And you can get it at the store as well if you don’t like making your own potting mix at home.

If you prefer commercial “out of the box” products, you can go with:

  • African violet soil
  • Well-draining succulent mix

If you prefer making your own potting mix at home (which comes out cheaper and allows you to customize or adjust things later on), here are a few options that work well:

  • Combine potting soil with perlite, charcoal and pine bark
  • Orchid mix with Cactus mix and perlite
  • Potting soil and succulent mix
  • Coco coir and potting mix
  • Potting soil with perlite and coco coir

Use the one you feel works best or the one with the ingredients you already have.

In addition to loose, well-draining soil, make sure the pot you use has ample drainage. This will usually come in the form of drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

Having these holes is important as it allows any liquid that drains from the soil to exit the pot. Otherwise, without the hole, the water will just pool at the bottom of the container.

When this happens, the soil will eventually reabsorb the liquid which brings you back to overwatering and water-clogged soil.

Does the Hoya Sigillatis Climb?

Yes, the Hoya Sigillatis likes to climb as this is how it naturally grows in the wild. As an epiphyte, it does not necessarily need soil as you’ll find it clinging onto tree trunks and climbing up to get more light in the forest.

That said, the plant looks most beautiful when grown in a hanging basket and you allow its long vining stems to trail downwards.

 

Fertilizer

The Hoya Sigillatis appreciates fertilizer and will grow faster if you give it plant food. Therefore, this is something you want to do.

That said, the plant is a light feeder. So, you can use a weak fertilizer or dilute the dose of the product you use. It is not particular about the kind of fertilizer as long as you use one.

Therefore, you can use a balanced formulation, an all-purpose one or a standard houseplant fertilizer.

Apply once a month during the spring and summer to help the leaves grow. And there is no need to feed during the winter as the plant will take a rest from growing.

The other important thing about plant food is you want to switch form the regular fertilizer you use once the Hoya Sigillatis is about to bloom or is flowering.

During this time, move from the standard fertilizer which is nitrogen rich (therefore promotes foliage growth) to a high phosphorus product.

I like to use an orchid bloom booster for my hoyas when they’re about the bloom. This will make them focus more on flower development as opposed to leaf growth (at least during the blooming period).

After that, switch back to your regular fertilizer.

 

Flowers & Blooms

Speaking of flowers, the Hoya Sigillatis produces beautiful creamy-white colored blooms. These are quite small when you hold them in your hand. But, they’re lovely to look at and grow in clusters.

You’ll can have as many as 20-30 blooms in an umbel which makes them look impressive.

The flowers themselves have an orange-yellow-brown color to them and will last about 7 days or so. They also produce a light, sweet scent that is kind of like butter scotch.

 

Pruning

In its natural environment, the Hoya Sigillatis will grow long its vines will develop to help it climb up large trees. Indoors, and in a pot, can still get quite lengthy in size but nowhere near what it reaches in the forest.

Therefore, without pruning the plant can reach between 8 to 10 feet in length. Although it is not a large plant as its length is primarily from its vining stems.

This is why it looks stunning in hanging baskets especially when you allow it to get a bit thicker and longer.

As you would expect, long vines require pruning.

But how often you trim will depend on how you grow the plant. When allowed to climb or drape from a hanging pot, you can let it get longer then just do minor trimmings to keep it looking neat and prevent it from getting overly long or tall.

 

How to Propagate Hoya Sigillatis

Stem cutting is the easiest way to propagate the Hoya Sigillatis.

Because it produces many stems, it is easy to take these and grow them into a new plant. You can likewise use the stems you pruned off for propagate the plant.

Here’s how to do it.

  • Take a stem cutting. Choose a healthy stem that is around 5 or so inches. You want at least 1-2 leaf nodes and a few foliage on the plant. Also, try to cut it so that there’s some stem at the bottom to make it easy to put in water or in soil.
  • Once you have the stem, you can propagate it in water or soil. The goal is to allow the cutting the root. And both methods work well but do so in different ways.
  • With water propagation, place the stem cutting in to a water. I like to use a glass container to make it easy to watch the roots grow. Don’t forget to replace the water once it gets murky. This will prevent pathogens from developing.
  • With soil propagation, plant the cutting into moistened, well-draining potting mix. Bury the nodes under the soil as this will allow them to root. Keep the soil moist but don’t overdo it.
  • It takes but a few days for new roots to start. And you’ll start seeing some white roots come out by 7 days or so. However, it will take closer to a month or more for them to grow in volume and get longer.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Sigillatis

The Hoya Sigillatis does not have a large nor extensive root system. It also likes being pot bound and is not happy when you move it a lot.

So, ideally, choose a location and leave it alone once you found a good spot for it.

For this reason I know some growers who have kept their Hoya Sigillatis in the same container for 5 years now.

In most cases, you can repot withing 2 or 3 years once the roots start coming out of the pot’s drainage holes.

But leaving it root bound actually does help it bloom which is why you’ll notice many hoya growers keep their plants under-potted.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

No, the Hoya Sigillatis is not toxic to people, cats or dogs. However, they are not edible either. So while it won’t cause any poisonous side effects, it can still produce the unpleasant gagging, discomfort or vomiting that happens when you eat something that’s you’re not supposed to.

But this effect if temporary.

 

 

Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

The Hoya Sigillatis is prone to mealybugs, mites, aphids and scale. Therefore, you want to keep it always be on the lookout in case any of them come around.

You can use neem oil to prevent them. And use it as treatment as well.

The important thing is to start treating for pests when there are just a few of them. It takes much longer to eradicate infestations.

 

Diseases

Unfortunately, the Hoya Sigillatis is prone to root rot. As such, you want to be very careful with overwatering.

Make sure to allow the soil to dry at least 2 inches from the top before adding more water. And if you want to play is safe, you can wait until the soil is 50% dry before watering.

This is a more conservative approach to prevent overwatering. And it will keep the plant happy as the roots still get the moisture they want.