The Hoya Sunrise is a hybrid that was bred from the Hoya lacunose (pallidiflora) and Hoya obscura.
It is a rare, climbing cultivar that lives as an epiphyte in the forests of Southeast Asia.
The plant is best known for its teardrop-shaped green foliage that turn red or reddish pink when sun stressed. As such, many owners intentionally leave it under more light to produce this effect.
Its is most beautiful when sporting these red-colored leaves as the light green veins stand out. Together, the colors are not only unique but also stunning to look at.
In addition to its beautiful foliage, it also features lovely white and yellow flowers.
Hoya Sunrise vs. Hoya Rebecca
Because of its leaves’ ability to turn red under sunlight, the Hoya Sunrise is often confused with the Hoy Rebecca, which is another hoya that’s known for this feature.
In some cases, stores will label one for the other. So, it is important to be able to identify the two and know the difference between the Hoya Sunrise and Hoya Rebecca.
Both are vining plants with stems that eventually will get longer. They also have relatively small leaves covering these vines.
So, they somewhat look alike. However, it is easy to tell the difference between them. Here’s what to look for.
- Leaf size – the Hoya Sunrise has larger leaves compared to the Hoya Rebecca. So when you place them side by side, it is easy to tell just from this. However, it is worth noting that both have relatively small foliage even when compared to other hoya species.
- Leaf Color – the Hoya Sunrise has dark green leaves with slightly visible light green veins. It also has a few red-purple specks on its foliage. The Hoya Rebecca have light green foliage with red-purpose undersides. Also, I’ve noticed it takes less light to turn the Hoya Rebecca’s leaves red-purple. And in many cases, some leaves will be half green and half purple, which make it lovely as well.
- Flowers – the Hoya Sunrise has white/cream colored flowers with yellow middles. On the other hand, the Hoya Rebecca has pink-purple colored blooms with yellow centers.
Hoya Sunrise Plant Care
The Hoya Sunrise enjoys medium to bright indirect light. It also appreciates a few hours of gentle direct sun in the morning which accelerates its growth and increases its ability to produce flowers.
As such, positioning it near an east facing window is an ideal spot.
One thing you’ll probably notice is that some Hoya Sunrise are green colored and others have red leaves.
Why is this so?
That’s because some growers and owners intentionally sun stress the plant. When the Hoya Sunrise gets a lot of bright light or is kept in a sunny location, its leaves will turn into a reddish color.
It does not take much for this to happen.
And because the plant looks gorgeous when its foliage turn red, many owners intentionally do this.
When sun stressed, the red colors bring out the light green veins making them stand out. This not only makes the Sunrise Hoya gorgeous but also very unique looking.
However, be careful with overdoing this.
Too much direct sun or very intense light will eventually burn its leaves as well. So, you do need to tow that line a bit and find that balance where the leaves turn red but don’t get scorched.
Outdoors, the plant will grow best in partial or bright shade. it does need protection from the sun’s rays. However, it needs a good amount of light to grow optimally.
Both indoors and outside, it is very important to note that if you want the plant to bloom, you need to supply it with bright indirect light.
In addition to a good amount of light, the Hoya Sunrise also likes moderate to warm weather. This is due to is tropical origins being a native of Southeast Asia.
To give you a short backgrounder, Southeast Asia is located on the equator with some countries right on it while others just above or below it.
As such, the region experiences warm to very hot climate all year round. There are no winters in the sense that you can wear a shirt, shorts and flip flops, and still be comfortable during December through February.
As such, the Hoya Sunrise enjoys this kind of weather.
Indoors, it will do best when temperature is kept between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. More importantly, it does not have much of a resistance to the cold. Therefore, avoid leaving it anywhere under 50 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods of time.
At this level, its growth will slow down. And the longer its stays there or the lower the temperature goes, the more its growth will stunt.
Outdoors, it is best suited for USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11 since these regions have moderate to hot temperatures. They also have sunny winters with not frost or snow.
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The Hoya Sunrise prefers humid conditions. But it can tolerate regular household humidity for the most part. Its ideal humidity range is between 40% and 60%.
Therefore, you should have no problems leaving it indoors unless where you live has dry air.
As such, if you live in one of the lower humidity states like Arizona or Nevada, you may want to monitor how the plant is doing. The main symptoms of lack of humidity are dry, crispy leaf tips and edges. The leaves can also turn brown.
Once this happens, keep note of what humidity the plant starts to struggle. This way you can tell whether if it is just that time of year or not. Hot summers and cold winters usually cause a significant drop in air moisture, so you do want to watch out for that as well.
Depending on how low humidity gets and how often this happens, you can either mist the plant, place it on a pebble tray or invest in a humidifier.
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How Often to Water Hoya Sunrise
The Hoya Sunrise does not need a lot of water. However, the plant does like a good amount of watering.
So, how often you water is just as important as the way you water.
When to water your Hoya Sunrise?
The warmer the weather and the more sunlight it gets, the faster the soil will dry. Therefore, it usually needs to be watered once every 5 to 8 days during the warmer months depending on how hot it gets.
In the winter, frequency will go down as you want to avoid overwatering the plant. The cold weather and lower level of light due to shorter days means soil stays wet longer.
Therefore, you’ll only need to water once every 13 to 21 days depending on how cold it gets.
Ideally, wait until the top 2 inches of soil dry out before adding more water. In most cases, you can tell by looking at its leaves.
The plant has succulent-like leaves which means it stores water there. This allows it to tolerate some dryness. When the leaves start to pucker or lose their turgidity, it means the plant is short on water.
Some growers will lift the pot to tell when to water the plant.
A light pot means the soil is on the dry side while a heavier pot means the soil is still moist.
Hoya Sunrise Potting Soil
Since the Hoya Sunrise is an epiphyte, it does not need soil to survive. In fact, in its native habitat its roots take sustenance from the air, rain and debris that fall on the trees to which it climbs on or clings onto.
Thus, the plant’s roots enjoy a lot of air circulation and don’t like standing in water.
This means that the best soil for Hoya Sunrise is well-draining, loose and breathable. These features will allow the plant to enjoy a similar environment to which it is used to in the wild.
It also prevents overwatering and waterlogging, therefore, reducing the risk of root rot.
In order to achieve this kind of soil, you can use perlite, pumice, vermiculite, orchid bark, pine bark or charcoal. All of these help with drainage and allow more airflow to the roots.
You can use any of the following DIY potting mixes for Hoya Sunrise.
- 50% potting soil with 50% perlite
- 50% potting soil and 50% orchid bark
- 50% potting soil combined with 50% succulent & cactus mix
In addition to fast draining soil, it is very important to use a pot with drainage holes. This will allow any excess moisture that drains from the soil to drip out of the pot.
Doe the Hoya Sunrise Climb?
The Hoya Sunrise is an epiphytic climber in its natural habitat. This means you’ll usually find it clinging onto larger trees in the forests of Southeast Asia.
It does so to get more sunlight as it won’t get a lot of light living under larger plants. By climbing on trunks of bigger trees it is able to get closer the light source.
This allows it to grow faster and produce more flowers.
To help the plant along with its growth and development, it is important to give it fertilizer.
However, it is a light feeder, which means it does not need a lot of plant food. So, don’t overfeed it as this will eventually cause more harm than good.
As long as the Hoya Sunrise gets the nutrients it needs, it will grow happily along and be healthy.
Since it is a foliage plant, a nitrogen-rich fertilizer is ideal. You can use a balanced liquid product like N-P-K of 15-15-15, which works well for the Sunrise Hoya.
However, it is not picky about what kind of fertilizer it gets as long as it gets what it needs. So, it will be perfectly happy with slow release fertilizer, fish emulsion or organic plant food.
The other thing to keep in mind is flowering.
This is something you want to encourage. After all, the Hoya Sunrise does produce gorgeous blooms.
So, then it is about to flower, you can use a bloom fertilizer or bloom booster. This has a higher amount of phosphorus which promotes flowers.
Only feed the plant during spring and summer. Stop feeding around fall when the weather gets colder or the plant stops growing (whichever happens first). And don’t feed it in winter.
Flowers / Blooms
Speaking of flowers, the Hoya Sunrise produces small but beautiful round shaped blooms that are yellow and white in color. In some cases, you may see flowers that are yellow and pink.
Either way, this distinguishes them from many other hoyas which have star-shaped flowers.
But like many hoya species, its blossoms grow in clusters with as many as 35 per umbel. That said, these umbels are quite small in size. Each umbel is about the size of 3 fingers put together from the finger tips to the lowest knuckle or so.
Nevertheless, the combination of its leaves and flowers make it stunning to look at.
The most important thing about the Hoya Sunrise’s blooms is that they’re not a given. As such, without proper care, you may never seem them occur.
Thus, it is important to make sure to give the plant what it want to improve its chances of flowering.
The most important things are:
- Give the plant sufficient light. it needs a good amount of bright, indirect light. This means at least 6 hours of natural light daily. If you use artificial light, you’ll need between 14-16 hours exposure at the least.
- Do not prune its peduncles. Peduncles are the plant’s flower stalks. This is where the blooms will grow from. And like other hoyas, the Sunrise’s flowers grow from old peduncles. Therefore, you don’t want to cut them off after they’ve faded.
- Don’t move the plant when it is about to bloom or blooming. Adjusting the light every so slightly or repotting are no-no’s as this can cause the flowers to abort.
- Similarly, other things can cause the blooms to abort although sometimes it is not in your power. The good news is, if this happens, don’t sweat it as the plant will bounce back in no time.
The most important thing about pruning your Hoya Sunrise is not to cut off its flowering stalks, which I mentioned above. These are perennial in nature so deadheading flowers after they’re done blooming is not a good idea (unlike with some other plants).
Beyond that, there isn’t a lot of cutting you need do do witht eh Hoya Sunrise.
The plant is a vining epiphyte which is usually grown in a hanging basket or allowed to climb. In both cases, the stems will get longer over time which means you will need to do minor trimming here and there to keep it neat and tidy.
However, it does not get overly messy so this is low maintenance.
But if you keep it in a pot, you may need to trim it more often depending on the look you’re going fo.
How to Propagate Hoya Sunrise
Propagating your Hoya Sunrise is easy and straightforward. The plant roots well from stem cuttings and it has many stems what will grow long. This allows you to grow multiple new plants simultaneously if you wanted to.
Additionally, stem propagation has a very high success rate when it comes to the Hoya Sunrise.
- All you need is to take a healthy stem cutting. You can take a stem tip or a longer vine then split that into multiple cuttings to start more than one new plant.
- The important this is to make sure each cutting has at least 3 or more leaves. This will give you the leaf nodes you need.
- You can root the stem cutting in water, sphagnum moss or plant it directly into soil. They all work. but the difference is that you’ll need o move the cuttings and sphagnum moss to soil later on.
- Water propagation is by far the more popular method with home growers as it allows you to see the roots develop on a daily basis.
- I’m a bit lazier so I just plant the cuttings straight into soil. That way I only need to move it when it gets big enough and needs to be repotted.
- It takes between 3 to 6 weeks for the cuttings to develop enough roots that are long enough to survive on soil. So, once the roots get to about 1-2 inches, you can move them from water to potting mix.
How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Sunrise
Like pruning, repotting is a low maintenance task when it comes to the Hoya Sunrise. You will need to repot it when the time comes, but this only happens once very 2 or 3 years depending on your plant’s growth rate.
Because it is fond of being slightly pot bound, you can leave it snug in a pot for while before you repot. This means there’s no hurry especially since the plant is more likely to bloom in this kind of environment.
This is why most growers keep their hoyas underpotted.
When repotting, you’ll want to prepare a container that is 2 inches wider than the current pot. Avoid overly wide or deep containers as the Hoya Sunrise does not have a large root system.
Thus, it will never need a big pot.
- Also be gentle and take your time when unpotting it. Its roots are small and delicate so you don’t want to be very aggressive or rough with them when taking them out of the plant.
- Make sure to have some fresh well-draining potting soil on hand as you’ll be filling the new pot with this (until about 40% or so).
- Then insert the Hoya Sunrise’s root ball into the new pot and backfill with fresh potting mix.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Hoya Sunrise is not known to contain any toxic substances. Therefore, it is safe to keep around cats, dogs and young children. This makes it easy to position the plant wherever you want to in your home with the peace of mind that it won’t put your pets or kids at risk of any poison or toxins.
Problems & Troubleshooting
The Hoya Sunrise can be prone to pests. Mealybugs like its succulent-like leaves. So, these are the most common bugs that you’ll likely encounter with this plant.
If there’s a good amount of moisture, fungus gnats will invite themselves in as well. So, try to keep the plant on the drier side as much as possible.
Additionally, other sap sucking insects will try to prey on your plant. Aphids, thrips, scale and spider mites top this list but they are seldom compared to mealybugs.
Overwatering is the biggest threat to your Hoya Sunrise as it can ultimately destroy the plant. Too much water will suffocate the roots and prevent them from getting enough oxygen. After a while, it can lead to root rot.
Similarly, excess moisture also causes bacterial and fungal problems that will lead to various possible infections, both affecting the roots and foliage.