Last Updated on August 17, 2023 by Sophie
If you’re looking for an easy to grow indoor plant with sweet smelling flowers, then you need to look no further than the Hoya Carnosa. Characterised by its waxy semi-succulent like leaves and vining growth pattern, here’s a Hoya Carnosa care guide, including watering tips and how to care for this stunning houseplant.
Please also note that this indoor plant is also often referred to as the ‘wax plant’ or ‘porcelainflower’ on account of its waxy leaves and pretty flowers respectively. Occasionally, the Hoya Carnosa is even referred to as the ‘honey plant’ or ‘wax vine’.
Originating in Australia, India, and Southern China, the plant is part of the Apocynaceae family and is typically grown in a hanging pot due to its vining nature.
Occasionally, the plant is also grown up a trellis or other supporting pole, though this is not as common due to the fact that the Hoya Carnosa is a rather slow growing vine in comparison with other Hoyas such as the Hoya Australis.
Due to the fact that the hoyas are one of the easiest houseplants, it was incredibly popular in the 1960s and is only now making a true comeback. Indeed, there are over 900 known varieties and cultivars of hoyas. With this being said, the Hoya Carnosa is one of the easiest to care for, making it one of the most common houseplants.
Hoya Carnosa Cultivars
In cultivation for well over two centuries, this has given rise to a number of cultivars. As such, there are a number of different varieties of Hoya Carnosa, each with their own individual leaf patterns, shapes, and appeal to the indoor gardener.
Krimson Queen – My favourite of all the Hoya Carnosa varieties is that of the Krimson Queen. White leaves are framed with a ring of green and the vines tend to be pink in their shade. New growth on the leaves often start out as pink before fading to white as the leaf matures.
Hoya Carnosa ‘Compacta’ – One of the most popular of Hoya Carnosa cultivars is that of the ‘copmpacta’. As you might imagine from its name, the plant is characterised by its tightly compacted leaves, which trail in a pretty manner.
Hoya Carnosa Plant Care & Watering Guide
Watering your Wax Plant
For many indoor gardeners, with the exception of pests, one of the most common causes of houseplant death is overwatering. As a general rule of thumb, the Hoya Carnosa should be watered every week or so, and perhaps even less frequently during the winter.
I personally let my plant dry out between waterings and only water it again when the top couple of inches of soil are dry. As with many houseplants, and especially epiyphytic plants, it is better to underwater as opposed to overwater your hoya plant.
Best soil conditions for the Hoya Carnosa
Like most houseplants, hoyas are prone to root rot and so don’t like sitting in wet soil for extended periods of times. As such, be sure to pot your plant into a well-draining soil mix.
Most garden centres sell soil which is specifically created for houseplant varieties. When it comes to fertilisation, hoyas aren’t all that fussy and need only fertilising every month or so during the growing season (spring and summer).
Best light conditions for the Hoya Carnosa
Though the Hoya Carnosa is often advertised as tolerating lower light conditions, it prefers bright indirect light in order to truly thrive. Brighter light conditions will also ensure that the full colour of the variegated cultivars is truly realised. Not only this, but in order to encourage your Hoya to bloom, you’ll want to give it as much bright, indirect light as possible.
Lower light conditions will lead to slower growth. In turn, lower lighting levels during the winter months means that the growth of the Hoya Carnosa slows considerably during the colder months of the year. In order to maintain even growth, you’ll want to rotate your plant after each watering.
Wax Plant Propagation
There are actually a number of different ways to propagate hoyas, which I will dive into more fully in a future post. With this being said, the easiest and most effective way to propagate your hoya carnosa is to take plant cuttings with at least one node and root them in water.
Once they have developed a root system that is a few inches long, you can pot up the cutting. When watering the rooted and planted cutting, be wary of overwatering.
Hoya Carnosa Pests
Due to the waxy nature of the leaves, Hoyas are particularly susceptible to mealybugs. These white fluffy houseplant pests are easy to spot and look like pieces of white fluff on your houseplant.
They typically are found on the underside of leaves and can be wiped off with rubbing alcohol. If one of your plants is found with mealybugs, then be sure to isolate it from the rest of your plants as best as possible until you are sure that the infection has been dealt with.