Hoya Verticillata Care & Varieties

Hoya Verticillata

The Hoya Verticillata is also known as Ridley’s Hoya. It is know for its beautiful thick, green leaves and lovely, fragrant flowers.

However, it is worth noting that there are many Hoya Verticillata varieties around. And each of them have different leaf shapes, tips and colors. Similarly, while they all shar similarities in their blooms, these also have varying colors.

Some of the popular varieties of Hoya Verticillata include:

  • Hoya verticillata Albomarginata
  • Hoya verticillata variegata (variegated Hoya Verticillata)
  • Hoya verticillata splash
  • Hoya verticillata Green Button
  • Hoya verticillata Laos
  • Hoya verticillata Bogor

As you can see, many of these varieties and cultivars are named after the patterns of their leaves, the color of their flowers or where they come from.

I just wanted to clarify this because you might come across a few Hoya Verticillata varieties that are labeled as the same plant. This is where confusion starts.

This way, you know that it is likely that they are different varieties or cultivars of the same Hoya species.

With that out of the way, the Hoya Verticillata is an epiphytic climber that is found in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. It is native to parts of India, Malaysia and Indochina. As such, it is a tropical plant that likes warm, sunny and humid weather.

It features beautiful vining stems that have firm, light green leaves and even lighter colored veins. Some of the foliage will also have a few flecks on them.

Similarly, the plant produces white/cream colored foliage with red middles. These grow in clusters and will last several days.

Hoya Verticillata Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Hoya Verticillata will grow best in bright indirect light. it also appreciates morning sun. Both environments not only allow it to grow faster and produce more leaves, they also allow it to produce peduncles from where its flowers will grow.

This is why sufficient light is very important for the plant if you want to see its blooms.

In low light or if there is insufficient light, the Hoya Verticillata is unlikely to blossom. And if it does, it will only do so after a long time and you’ll likely see only a few umbels.

Thus, its ideal lighting conditions is bright morning sun and afternoon shade. It can likewise take a few hours of direct sunlight in the mornings as the sun’s rays are very gentle.

However, you want to be careful with mid-day sun. The rays of the sun are the strongest between 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Therefore, try to keep the plant away from this as it can cause sun damage.

Too much intense light or direct sun no only discolors the leaves but also can scorch them.

Note that this applies to both sunlight and artificial lighting. So, avoid mid-day direct sun as well as leaving the plant too close to the grow light bulbs. With the latter, keep a distance of at least 8 inches between the bulbs and plant.

 

Temperature

The Hoya Verticillata grows on trees in the rainforests of Southeast Asia including India and Malaysia. This means that it is used to warm to hot weather.

However, because it does get shaded by the forest canopy, it is more used to moderate to warm environment.

Thus, indoors, its ideal temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is optimal for the plant and will allow it to grow well and produce blooms.

It also likes consistency. So, avoid places where the temperature can fluctuate a lot or do so significantly.

This means keeping it from rooms with air conditioners, radiators, fire places, heaters and other similar appliances. Also, open windows with cold drafts or breezes coming in are no-no’s.

That’s because the plant does not tolerate the cold too well.

Southeast Asia does not have winters. By that I mean they have the same sunny, warm weather from December through March.

As such, the Hoya Verticillata is not used to snow, frost or freezing temperatures. In fact, its growth will slow down once temperature gets to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

This means that its enjoys the outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11 because the weather is as close as you get to tropical conditions.

If you live in colder areas, make sure to bring the plant back indoors once the temperature approaches 50 degrees.

 

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Humidity

Another aspect of topical climate is high humidity. And Southeast Asia is known for being hot and sweaty because in addition to the having high temperatures, it is exacerbated by the humidity.

As such, summers easily maintain heat indices of 90 to over 100 degrees heat.

As a result, the Hoya Verticillata loves humidity especially between 60% and 80% where it will grow optimally.

Unfortunately, these levels are not easy to maintain unless you live in the tropics, have a greenhouse or grow cabinet.

But, things do get better. Due to the Hoya Verticillata’s thick, succulent-like leaves, it is able to tolerate lower humidity. This makes it much easier to keep it healthy and happy indoors.

Nevertheless, try to keep humidity at 40% and above if possible.

hoya verticillata

source: wikimedia commons

 

How Often to Water Hoya Verticillata

How often you water your Hoya Verticillata will depend on the time of year and what’s happening with the plant. Therefore, it is not a good idea to use a fixed watering schedule.

Instead, be ready to adjust based on what the plant is telling you.

Why?

During the warmer months, the plant will need more water. This is its growing period. And like adolescents, they need more sustenance, including both hydration and nutrients. So, make sure to keep the soil moist.

Additionally, the warm weather and more sunshine means the soil dries faster.

So, watering every 5 to 8 days is usually needed. Once the top 2 inches of soil is completely dry, you can water again.

This is especially true if the plant is flowering. Blooming hoyas as thirsty. But you don’t want to overdo it as leaving the soil soggy, wet or mucky will cause more problems.

On the other hand, you want to let the plant dry out a bit more in the winter. That’s because the plant will take a break from growing once the cold weather grows. Therefore, it won’t need as much water. This is also why you don’t feed the plant during this time (more on that below in the Fertilizer section).

Then there’s the cold weather and the shorter days (which means less sunshine). These will cause soil to stay moist longer.

And because the Hoya Verticillata is an epiphyte, it is susceptible to overwatering.

Therefore, in the winter, you want to allow the soil to just about completely dry out between waterings.

On average, this means watering about once every 2 or 3 weeks depending on how cold it gets in your area.

 

Hoya Verticillata Potting Soil

The kind of soil you use for your Hoya Verticillata can help or harm the plant.

The Hoya Verticillata needs rich, light, well-aerated soil with good drainage. This allows the roots to breath and quickly drains excess moisture. Additionally, it enjoys soil pH of 6.0 to 7.5.

Being in epiphyte, the Hoya Verticillata does not live in soil in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. Instead it clings onto trees.

This means that its roots get a lot of oxygen. And when they get wet from the rain, they dry very quickly because they get good air circulation from the wind.

As such, avoid dense soil and those that retain lots of moisture.

This will put the plant at risk as it causes waterlogging and overwatering which leaves the roots standing in water. When this happens, the roots are deprived of oxygen.

The good news is, you can easily make your own DIY potting soil for your Hoya Verticillata at home. This is not only cheaper but also lets you customize and adjust the components as needed.

Here are some DIY potting soil recipes that work well for the Hoya Verticillata.

  • 2 parts peat moss and 1 part perlite
  • 1 part cactus mix with 1 part orchid mix and 1 part perlite
  • 1 part potting soil with 1 part coconut coir and 1 part perlite
  • 1 part potting soil and 1 part orchid bark

Additionally, don’t forget to use a pot with drainage. This will allow any excess liquid that drains from the soil to find its way out of the pot.

 

Fertilizer

The Hoya Verticillata is a light feeder. Thus, give it a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during its growing season. Dilute the application by half strength. You can easily do so with liquid formulation as all you need to do is add more water.

As the weather gets colder, the plant’s growth will slow down. As such, you don’t need to feed it during winter.

The only exception here is if you live in a tropical climate. When there is sunshine all year round, the plant will continue to grow.

This is why they feed their plants throughout the year in Southeast Asia.

 

Flowers / Blooms

The Hoya Verticillata has beautiful blooms. Therefore, it would be a shame not to encourage it to flower.

And once you see these grow, you’ll want the plant to keep producing it.

In general, the Hoya Verticillata produces clusters of small white flowers with red centers. However, your plant may produce different colored waxy blooms because the Hoya Verticillata has many varieties.

As such, while these do have similar star-shaped flowers that grow in bunches, the colors of the flowers and their centers will vary considerably.

In most cases, they will have a white, cream or off white color. But the exact shade can different. The middles are more variable.

Blooms last for a few days (up to 5 or so day). But you will see multiple clusters grow at the same time. Each umbel can have anywhere from 30 to 50 flowers.

They are also quite fragrant.

The important thing here is that if you want your Hoya Verticillata to produce flowers, it is important that it gets bright, indirect light or a few hours of gentle morning sun.

 

Pruning

The Hoya Verticillata is a fast grower. So, depending on whether you want to keep its vines short and neat or allow them to grow out, you may or may not need to prune often.

In either case, the plant can take a good pruning without any problems.

That said, avoid cutting more than 30% of the plant in one go.

In most cases, you’ll only need to do some light pruning here and there.

The most important part of pruning is not with its leaves but has to do with its flowers. That’s because the Hoya Verticillata’s blooms grow on flower stalks called peduncles.

These are perennial therefore you don’t want to cut them off. As such, deadheading is a no-no. The reason is that these peduncles will re-bloom. And they are where new flowers will grow.

Thus, if you cut them off, you need to wait for new ones to grow before any flowers can show up.

 

How to Propagate Hoya Verticillata

The most common ways of propagating the Hoya Verticillata are from stem cuttings and seeds.

Stem propagation is the most efficient way to go about it for home growers. On the other hand, because shops and commercial operations need scale to make money, they will usually grow from seed.

To propagate the Hoya Verticillata from stem cuttings:

  • Talk a healthy stem that is around 3 to 6 inches long. Make sure there are at least 3 leaves on each stem cutting you take. You can take multiple stem tip cuttings or split up one long stem into several cuttings if you’re planning to grow multiple new plants.
  • Once you have the cutting, you can choose to root it in water, sphagnum moss or plant it directly into soil.
  • Most home growers prefer propagating in water since you can use a glass container and see the roots as they develop. However, I like to go straight into soil so I don’t have to transfer the cutting from water to soil later on.
  • Whichever you decide to go with, keep the cutting in a moderately warm spot with good humidity and bright, indirect light. This will allow it to grow quickly during the initial stages.
  • In about 4 to 6 weeks, you should have a good amount of roots that are grown to some length.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Hoya Verticillata

Repot your Hoya Verticillata once every 2 years. There’s no hurry to do this as the plant likes being snug it a slightly tight pot.

This condition helps it flower which is why many owners will underpot the plant.

That said, you don’t want to leave the plant too long in a very tight container. This will eventually cause enough stress to affect its health and growth.

The best time to repot is during spring and early summer. This is when the plant is growing. Thus, it is able to overcome any transplant shock that happens and recover quickly.

Use a pot that is one size larger when repotting (2 inches wider). Avoid very large containers as thee excess soil will increase the risk of overwatering once wet.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Hoya Verticillata is not toxic to pets and people. Although it is not considered edible either. So, avoid letting cats, dogs and small children accidentally ingest its leaves or stems.

 

Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

The Hoya Verticillata’s succulent-like leaves make it pretty, allow it to tolerate lower humidity and some drought. However, it also makes the plant attract sap sucking insects. The most prevalent of which are mealybugs.

That said, aphids, thrips and scales can likewise com around.

When there’s excess moisture, fungus gnat risk also increases.

 

Diseases

Part of proper care involves being mindful of moisture. Since the plant is fond of humidity, you’re already at a slight disadvantage from the get go.

As such, avoid excess moisture by all means. And staying on the drier side of things is always safer as far as the Hoya Verticillata goes.

That’s because too much water, especially in the soil can cause root rot.

So, while the plant is relatively resilient to disease, overwatering puts it at risk.