What’s the best soil for hoya? This is something I’ve been asked at least a few times due to the hoya’s popularity as a houseplant.
So in the article below, I’ll go through all your different choices when it comes to hoya soil and potting mix options. In fact, you’ll probably be surprised as to how many choices there are.
This makes it both easy and hard since you can pick from so many different bagged soil and DIY hoya potting mix recipes. But at the same time which one do you get.
In most cases, I say the simpler the better. And I’ll show you what kind of soil you can use for your hoya depending on what ingredients you already have for your home garden.
Can You Plant Hoya in Soil?
In their natural habitat, hoyas either grow as epiphytes on trees and other plants, or they grow terrestrially in soil or rock formations.
Most fall under the first category. As such, these don’t require soil.
Although, they will grow quite well in soil. And this allows us to keep them in pots and hanging baskets.
However, to keep them healthy and happy, you need to make sure that you use well-draining soil that allows sufficient airflow. This way, they enjoy a similar environment (or as close as possible) to what they are used to in the wild.
What is the Best Potting Soil (Mix) for Hoya Plants?
The good news is that the because hoyas are very versatile, they will tolerate many different kinds of soil. As such, if you ask 10 gardeners, you’ll likely end up with anywhere from 7 to 10 different potting soil recommendations for your hoya plant.
And the thing is, all those recommendations will work.
This makes it easy to find great soil for your hoya plant.
However, the one thing you want to avoid is soil that retains too much moisture. Dense or heavy soils like clay are no-no’s as they will hold too much moisture which is problematic for an epiphyte like the hoya.
Instead, the best soil for hoyas is lightweight, airy and has good drainage. Thus, the main features you’re looking for when choosing the best potting mix for your hoya plant are:
- Drains excess moisture quickly
- Does not stay wet or soggy
- Will not get compacted
- Has good aeration so the roots get enough oxygen.
In the next sections, I’ll go through the different hoya soil options you can go with. They’re basically divided into 2 categories:
- DIY potting mix for hoyas – these you make at home. So, you’ll need specific potting mix recipes for your hoya plant. From there, you get the necessary components needed and follow the recipe to create the final hoya soil mix.
- Bagged soil for hoya – these are commercially sold and you can buy them off the shelves, open the bag up and start using them.
As I’ll explain below, each of these have their pros and cons.
And I’ll lay them all out for you including the choices and DIY Hoya potting mix recipes so you can choose for yourself.
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Best DIY Potting Mix for Hoya Plants
I like to make DIY potting mix recipes. So, this is what I prefer doing.
Of course, it takes a bit more trial and error as well as experience to figure out how different potting mixes work. So, like most home gardeners, I started out with bagged soil as well.
Over time, as I learned more and started experimenting, it became more fun to make my own soil. I’ve also found that it helps you understand each plant better.
As mentioned above, the best soil for hoya plants needs to have good drainage, airflow and is lightweight.
However, note that different kinds of hoya will have slightly different requirements. Although, they fall under a general umbrella. This is why making your own DIY potting mix goes a long way.
You can easily adjust the components and amount of each as you go depending on how the plant responds.
Let’s start with the easiest ones first.
If you have peat moss at home, you can use a combination of:
- 2 parts peat moss
- 1 part perlite
You can likewise substitute coco coir for peat moss if you want to be more environmentally friendly (since it is more sustainable).
Similarly, you can replace perlite with pumice. Some gardeners will recommend sand as well which should work in terms of drainage. However, my problem with sand is that it can get compacted over time.
Therefore, if you want to use sand, it is a good idea to refresh the soil once a year or so.
On the other hand, if you already have potting soil at home, you can go with:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part perlite or pumice
These make up the base of the DIY hoya potting mixes.
I do like to add some compost and activated charcoal as well for good measure. Although this is optional.
Finally, I like topdressing the soil also. This eliminates the need for fertilizer, or you can use less fertilizer since the plant is already getting organic matter incorporated into the soil.
A 1/4 inch layer of worm compost works well. And just refresh it once a year during spring.
Below, I’ll also add a few other DIY potting mix recipes for hoya you can use. This way, you have a few choices to try out and see which one or ones you prefer to use.
- 1 part cactus mix with 1 part perlite and 1 part orchid mix
- 1 part potting mix, 1 part orchid mix and 1 part perlite
- 1 part potting soil with 1 part coconut coir
- 1 part potting soil with 1 part succulent & cactus mix
- 1 part potting soil with 1 part orchid bark
Again, I only list them so you have options. This way you can go with the components you already have at home.
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Best Bagged Potting Soil for Hoya Plants
If you prefer just picking up bagged soil from your local nursery or garden center, then here are some good choices.
- African violet soil is something I’ve seen quite a few hoya growers use
- You can also use succulent soil but choose one that is well-draining
These require less “work” compared to DIY potting mixes because when you get them commercially, you can just open the bag up and start using the soil.
In contrast, with DIY potting mixes, you have to get each of the ingredients one by one. Then figure out the recipe that works for you by combining the right ingredients and amount for each component.
As such, many beginners start out with bagged potting soil as it is very convenient.
The downside is that, it does cost more compared to making the potting mix yourself. Also, because everything is pre-mixed, you’ll can’t remove any of the ingredients in there.
Thus, customization of the soil (if you need it) is more difficult as you can only add and not subtract. This also means that you can’t make different kinds of mixes.
So, if you have many different houseplants (of different species), you could end up with bags and bags of different kinds of potting soil.
In contrast, wit DIY potting mixes, you can use more or less similar components to create new recipes that will work well for different plants.
Can I Use Cactus Soil for Hoya Plants?
Yes but from experience I’ve found that using it on its own, just like succulent soil often does not provide enough drainage for hoyas.
Therefore, it is a good idea to amend the soil.
What you can do is ask the store for cactus or succulent soil with good drainage. Some products will have ingredients that will let them drain better.
However, once you get home, the best thing it to try it out and see how the plant responds. If you notice that it is retaining too much moisture for your hoya plant, amend the soil with some perlite, orchid bark and charcoal.
You can likewise cactus mix with orchid mix and perlite as this combination works well for hoyas.
Another option is to use equal parts of regular potting soil with cactus & succulent mix.
What Kind of Pot Do Hoya Like? (Plastic or Terra Cotta)
In addition to the kind of soil for your hoya, it is also important to choose the right pot for your plant.
Of course, you want to use something that is aesthetically pleasing since the allure of hoya plants is their attractive leaves and flowers.
For the most part, home growers will either keep their hoyas in one of three different methods:
- Hanging baskets or pots – this is probably the most popular especially for vining varieties
- In a pot and allowing the hoya to climb – often a trellis or shaped wire is used. Although some will use a moss pole and let the plant climb straight up as well.
- In a pot – often they’ll either keep the plant neat and trim. Or, they’ll let it get bushy and long allowing it sprawl on a countertop or table.
When it comes to the kind of container for your hoya, it usually comes down to plastic, terra cotta or clay.
Plastic pots is how most common way commercial growers keep their hoyas. At home, you can likewise use plastic pots without any issue.
However, some growers will recommend using terra cotta or clay because the materials are more porous. As such, they allow moisture to seep out from the sides of the pot. This helps reduce the risk of overwatering or waterlogging.
On my part, I haven’t really seen a big difference between the two to tell you terracotta or clay is better than plastic.
So, I go for practicality instead.
If you want to save money, want something lighter and easier to store away, use plastic. It you like the look of clay pots and terra cotta, and are willing to deal with the extra weight, space and breaking potential (if you drop them), then go with the latter two.
For me it is all about preference here.
That said, there are a few things that are non-negotiable for me when it comes to choosing a pot for your hoya plant. And this applies to potting and repotting.
Both have to do with moisture and drainage. Thus, they’re very important because they can help or hinder when it comes to overwatering.
- Drainage holes – in addition to well-draining soil, it is essential to use a pot with drainage holes at the bottom. This way, the excess water then drains from the soil does not end up just pooling at the bottom of the pot. Instead the holes, allow the liquid top drip out.
- Don’t overpot – overpotting means using a much larger pot. From a logical standpoint some beginner gardeners think that by jumping to a much larger pot when repotting will let them avoid repotting for a long time or help the plant grow bigger as it eliminates the limits. Unfortunately, a bigger pot also means a more soil. And when you water, it also means a lot more moisture. This not only takes longer to drain it also means the roots drown in more liquid. As such, it increases the risk of overwatering and root rot.
Do Hoyas Like Small Pots?
Yes, hoyas actually enjoys being a little bit rootbound. Therefore, they like smaller pots or being underpotted.
That said, there are pros and cons to this. So, you want to use it in moderation.
By moderation I mean don’t overdo it to the point that the plant is in a very small pot.
This will cause it stress as the roots end up bound together. Also, the smaller the pot and the more roots you have means there’s very little space for soil.
Lack of soil also means that there’s little space for water and nutrients. As such, the plant will not get enough moisture or nutrients to stay healthy.
It also means the soil will dry up so quickly that you need to keep watering it.
If you notice this happening, it means, it is time to repot.
So how small can a pot be for your hoya to stay happy and healthy?
As long as the pot is slightly bigger than the root ball, it will do well.
Can You Start a Hoya Cutting in Water?
This is a question I get a lot. So, while it is not directly related to hoya soil, it is indirectly related to it.
That’s because when you propagate your hoya from cuttings, you have a few choices on how you want to root the plant.
Therefore, you can start your hoya cutting in:
- Soil (potting mix)
- Sphagnum moss
For me, starting in potting mix is the simplest because I don’t have to transfer the cutting anymore (at least not until the new plant needs repotting).
This makes it more efficient.
However, the most popular way to root hoya cuttings is in water. And you can just place the stem cutting in water to do so.
That said, your hoya stem cutting needs at least 1-2 nodes for it to root. And these nodes need to be submerged into water for them to do so.
Also, if your hoya has aerial roots, try to include them with the cuttings. By submerging the aerial roots into the water they will likewise grow new white roots. And they’ll do so faster than the leaf nodes.
The downside of starting hoya cuttings in water is you need to transfer them to soil at some point in time.
The minimum is after the roots grow at least 1-2 inches long. The maximum can be over 1-2 years, maybe more.
The downside is, based on experience is that once you get past the 12 month mark so in water, you’ll start seeing more roots rot due to the duration they’ve been in the water. As such, you’ll need to prune them every so often.
Fertilizer is another aspect of care that’s closely related to hoya soil.
In general, hoyas are light feeders. And they’re not choosy about the kind fertilizer they need.
As such, you can use organic fertilizer, fish emulsion, slow release or synthetic and it won’t mind.
Organic fertilizer is the way to go since you can incorporate this or add it onto the soil. As such compost or worm castings are great for this.
However, in most cases home growers will use store bought fertilizer.
Here, you can go with general purpose or a balanced fertilizer. A liquid formulation lets you dilute the dose to half strength easily.
Apply once a month (or once every 2 weeks) during spring and summer. You can extend a bit into the fall if the plant keeps growing.
But once the cold weather comes in stop feeding. There’s also no need to fertilizer in winter.
Hoya soil or hoya potting mix plays a very important role because it is closely linked to moisture. Since hoyas are prone to overwatering, the kind of soil is essential in helping or harming the roots of the plant.
Therefore, whether you want to make your own DIY soil for hoya or pick a up bagged product from the store, it is important to known what kind of soil for hoya plant works best.