You may have heard of the hoya lacunosa, a fun wax plant that has waxy leaves, belonging to the Hoya family.
This plant is originated from the tropics, and because of that, it’s used to lots of humidity and bright lights! Since it’s from the tropics, its trailing nature makes it a beautiful desk plant that gives an island vibe to any room.
I will be tackling what you should know about the hoya lacunose, from where it comes from down to what to do for healthy and successful growth.
What is a Hoya Lacunosa?
If you are a huge fan of fragrant flowers, then you will love the hoya lacunose because of the pleasant scent it emits. It is an Indonesian native plant from the Apocynaceae, or Dogbane Family, under the genus of Hoya.
– Size and Growth
The hoya lacunose is one of the smaller plant varieties under the Hoya family. It gets its name from the foliage’s sunken veins!
Its stems would grow to 5 feet long, which is half the length of the rest of the popular plant varieties. But with its compact size, it grows moderately fast, provided it is in optimal conditions.
This is an evergreen perennial vine that bears small, green, and oval-shaped leaves that would grow from thin, trailing vines. Each mature leaf would grow up to 3-4 inches in size and are semi-succulent, growing in close and alternate patterns.
– The Beautiful Flowers
Once it starts to grow more, you can find umbels of tiny white and cream flowers that bloom, producing a strong and mesmerizing fragrance all year long. There are clusters of flowers that would grow throughout the spring to fall seasons, but they can bloom throughout the year in warmer seasons.
There would be 15-25 small flowers that are 0.25cm long, joining to form an umbel. Its average lifespan is around 5 days, with the flowers containing little to no nectar at all. It has a pleasant cinnamon scent that can fill a whole room; hence it has other names such as the ‘cinnamon-scented’ hoya or wax plant.
– Toxicity Levels
If you are worried about toxicity, this plant belongs to the milkweed family, so it would have white latex running in the foliage, which is toxic. Because of this, it’s best to keep pets and kids away from the growing vines.
With that in mind, the ASPCA deems this plant safe for pets, though it is still best to keep them away from the plant, more so if they are most likely to chew or eat them. Furthermore, pets or people may be allergic to natural latex, causing irritation.
– Where You Can Grow Hoya
You can grow the hoya lacunose in both indoor or outdoor areas, may it be in pots, hanging baskets, or containers. When grown outdoors, they will grow and form expanded vines around the open land.
– About the Genus Hoya
This is a very popular genus with around 700 hoya plant varieties, evergreen flowering species that continues to grow. Two of the most prominent features of the hoya plants are its waxy, glossy leaves, and its bunches of beautiful and colorful seasonal flowers. In terms of growth habits, they are epiphytic climbers that can grow as tall as 3-6 feet.
How to Care for Hoya Lacunosa
Now that you know more about the hoya lacunosa, how will you be able to care for them properly?
Here are its nutritional requirements so you can have your plant grow amazingly:
– Light Requirements
Similar to the other members of the Hoya family, Hoya Lacunosa will do well under bright light sources. If you are in northern Europe or North America, then your plant will do excellently under direct light. For those who live closer to the equator or in areas with strong sunlight, then do place the plant under shade to prevent foliage damage.
The reason why they require bright light is because of their waxy leaves, which can take on a lot of light. They need the light so the leaves can grow and encourage flowers to bloom.
If you plan to grow these plants indoors, mimic the light conditions of their natural habitat so you can expect lush growth and improved flowering. Use artificial lights when indoors and when outdoors, you can place them in the bough of your tree or by your well-lit porch. Allow it to grow in medium to high light conditions.
– Water Requirements
Typically, you should water your hoya lacunosa once a week, though the frequency would vary depending on the season and weather. Hoyas do not like to sit in wet soil but can survive with regular waterings. Just make sure that the soil will dry out between waterings, then water the plant thoroughly.
Furthermore, make sure that the pot or container you grow your Hoya in has an adequate amount of drainage holes. If there is no place water can go after watering, then your plant would sit in soggy soil for days, which can negatively affect its growth. Let the water run through drainage holes and once the plant stopped dripping, return it to where you usually place it.
During the rainy months, you can water it less frequently, as the soil around the roots will stay moist or wet, never waterlogged, provided that it has well-draining soil. If the potting mix and planter drain well, then water it regularly, particularly during the dry season. But take note that intermittent dryness is great for the Hoyas so it induced flowering.
Come winter, cut back on the watering, only enough for the plants to maintain moisture. While it won’t grow, it will survive the cold season.
– Where to Plant
This plant will grow well on a trellis, cascading from windowsills or handing baskets. Gardeners would opt to hang the plant on the porch come summer, transferring it indoors when winter comes.
While this plant can take full sun exposure, avoid placing it under strong and unrelenting sunlight. Place it in a shaded area where it can get a lot of indirect light instead. You can place it on the windowsill for this reason, though it depends on the strength of the sun from your area. If you live in an area with low to moderate sunlight, your plant will do well near the window sill.
Just make sure that you do NOT place it on the radiator, air conditioner, or any heat source, as the heat would cause soil to quickly dry out. Plus, the hoya lacunose prefers high humidity levels, doing poorly when in dry conditions.
– Humidity Levels
The Hoya plant would survive in most humidity levels, though they may not grow well when in drier and more arid conditions. Because this plant variety comes from tropical lands, it’s used to humid environments, growing better when in higher humidity levels.
If you live in an area with low humidity levels, then you may want to use a plant mister or humidifier to provide proper moisture. A humidifier is highly recommended for optimal growth. To be more exact, hoya lacunosa plants thrive in humidity levels above 60%.
– Soil Type and Fertilizer Needs
The Hoya Lacunosa is used to growing on other plants. Because of that, you wouldn’t want dense soil mix with poor drainage.
It’s best to have well-balanced and loose soil, adding perlite for more aeration. Besides perlite, you can also try other organic substances such as peat moss, pine bark, among other materials that can make the soil more airy
To make it easier to prepare the soil, invest in a basic orchid potting mix that’s readily available in gardening stores. If you plan to use hanging baskets, use those made of coco fiber liners that can hold the potting mix well.
As for its fertilizing needs, it’s best to fertilize your plant during its growing months, using a well-balanced fertilizer. Dilute your chosen fertilizer so it won’t be too strong for your plant, feeding it only once every fortnight.
After the growing season is over, stop fertilizing and continue watering the plant, as usual, beginning the cycle again come spring season.
If you choose to not fertilize your plant, that’s fine, too! Provided that they grow in rich soil with organic manure and other helpful decomposed leaf and bark matter, the plants will still thrive. This may be favored over-fertilization since the Hoya is slow-release epiphytes.
– Temperature Requirements
Hoya Lacunosas are hardy and temperature tolerant, though they won’t be able to survive very chilly weather. Because they have slightly succulent leaves and fleshy stems, it’s best to maintain a temperature of 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit, nothing below 50 degrees F.
Those living near the equator can grow the plant outdoors all year long. If not, keep it indoors and at room temperature during the fall to the winter season. The majority of Hoya plants would be hardy in USDA growth zone 11, anywhere above 40 degrees F.
You should prune the plant only as needed so you can maintain a preferred size. It’s best to prune the plant after it stops blooming, since buds would form on newer growth.
Do not deadhead spent flowers, as its spurs would produce new blooms the year after. When pruning, remove all unhealthy leaves during the spring and summer. That way, your plant will look healthy and maintain its freshness throughout the year.
You can grow the hoya lacunose in hanging baskets, containers, or shelf pots, provided that they have drainage holes. Fortunately, they don’t need repotting often, as they like being rootbound. Instead, just change the soil every 2 years or so to make sure your plant gets the right amount of nutrition.
How to Propagate Hoya Lacunosa
There are two methods of propagating it, which are:
1. Stem-Tip Cutting
When performing this method, follow these steps:
- With a sharp knife, cut a 5-8 inch long stem cutting from the plant’s growing end. The cutting end will need to be around a quarter of an inch below its node. Furthermore, there need to be more than 2 nodes in the cutting. Cut 3 or more cuttings for a better propagation process and to have a busher plant.
- Remove leaves from the stem’s lower end, leaving the upper ones.
- Plant cuttings in moist and quick-draining soil.
- As the plant grows, they need a warm spot with medium indirect light. Maintain moist soil by watering soil using a spray, allowing it to become 70% dry before watering again.
- Wait for 3 weeks or so, and you will see the cuttings develop baby roots. After 5 weeks, it will develop shoots, then well-grown vines in about 3 months.
Follow this method by:
- Plant the cuttings in water by taking a water pot, filling it up with tap water. Allow it to stay overnight so the chlorine settles.
- Dip your cuttings around 4 inches deep, letting the nodes go underwater.
- You will begin seeing the development of the plant’s root system. After 3-4 months, you can transfer the plant to rich soil, or allow it to continue growing in water until it grows to a vine.
The Hoya Lacunosa is fairly easy to grow but also has a few issues you need to prepare for. Fortunately, they are preventable!
These are what to watch out for before you grow a hoya plant:
1. Plant Goes Limp
If your plant goes limp, this may be due to root rot. One of the important parts of caring for a hoya lacunose is proper watering and quality soil. While the plant likes moisture, it doesn’t like sitting in water. The plant’s soil needs to be well-draining or it would result in root rot.
Another reason is from lack of water, which causes root rot or death. Unfortunately, you can’t reverse a plant that has gone limp from underwatering.
2. Leaves Discoloring
If you see your leaves are discoloring, it may be from exposure to cold weather. If this happens, place the plants indoors or away from the windows come wintertime.
For leaves that discolor, along with the plant looking dull and growing slowly, then it indicates that your plant doesn’t receive the adequate amount of nutrients. If this happens, give your plant light-balanced fertilizer, which will improve its NPK levels throughout the next weeks.
Another helpful tip to follow is to do rainwater misting regularly. For mature plants, repot it with high-quality slow-release organic manure.
Mealybugs are a common problem in a lot of plant varieties, including the hoya lacunose. It’s one of the biggest issues for most home gardeners as they are tough to remove.
The best defense against pest infestations is by checking your plants regularly, particularly under its leaves. If you notice tiny white bugs under leaves, then spray jets of water, blasting the bugs off the plant.
However, if it has become an infestation, get rid of it by cleaning the plant with a water jet and use the appropriate commercial insecticide. You can also use organic soap spray if you are worried about the chemicals.
Do NOT let the blasted bugs contaminate other plants and isolate your infested plant before washing it off with spray to prevent further spreading.
For limited infestations, you can spot clean your plant with an alcohol swap that has an earbud, applying it on every bug you see. While time-consuming, it is also effective.
4. Burns or Dry Patches on Leaves
These may be sunburns, caused by direct or harsh sun exposure. You need to make sure that your plant receives only the right amount of sun.
When you do encounter burned leaves, trim them out so the dry parts won’t catch fungal infections from humidity. Then place the plant in a shaded area with indirect light.
5. It Doesn’t Flower
We know how disappointing it feels to see that your plant isn’t flowering, especially if this is the main reason you grew them in the first place.
The most common reason behind this issue is too little light or its soil has poor amount of nutrients.
If your soil has an issue, then add balanced orchid meal to the potting mix, or use any organic fertilizer. For plants that don’t have enough light, place it in an area where it receives a lot of indirect light, and that should do it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know more about how to care for hoya lacunosa well, here are other frequently asked questions gardeners have asked:
1. Is the Hoya Lacunosa a succulent?
This plant has slightly thick leaves with protruding veins. It also has similar nutrient requirements and requires care similar to succulent plants.
However, they are epiphytes. Other Hoya plant varieties also have succulent-like features but are not necessarily succulents.
2. How long will it take before the plant blooms?
Once the plant has been grown from cuttings, the plant will be ready to bloom in 3 months since taking root. This hoya plant variety would bloom all year round, except if you are from a cold country, then there won’t be much action come winter.
Take note that flowering is dependent on the proper growing conditions more so that the plant’s age, so the timeline of the hoya lacunose blooming is based on how you care for it. So while all Hoya lacunosas can bloom, not all of them can, especially without the right amount of light.
3. Can I grow the plant with artificial lights?
Yes, you can grow hoya lacunose with artificial lights and expect them to bloom. They can bloom under fluorescent lights, as long as they are kept on for at least 12 hours a day. If ever your area doesn’t have as much sunlight as the plant requires, then artificial grow lights work just as well.
4. What pot size should I get?
If you have young cuttings, then opt for a small 4-inch pot, which would be good enough for around 6 months. Afterward, you can transfer the plant to a 10-inch hanging basket, which will thrive well for 2 years or longer.
5. How can I use the Hoya lacunose?
The hoya lacunose is great for its appearance, brightening up any room. It is also used in Chinese medicine for treating bug bites or other similar ailments.
This plant would also attract pollinators such as birds and butterflies, improving your garden’s environment.
6. Can I find the hoya lacunose anywhere?
Unfortunately, this is a plant that isn’t as common compared to other houseplants, being difficult to come by. They can be found in local gardening stores or bought online, but it might be more expensive than other Hoya plant varieties.
If you choose to purchase the hora lacunosa online, make sure that you choose a reputable seller and follow the appropriate steps to prevent transplant stress from the shipment.
We talked a lot about the hoya lacunosa, so let’s leave you with a few important points to keep in mind:
- The hoya lacunosa originates from the Indonesian islands coming from a species of hundreds of plants!
- This plant emits a sweet and spicy scent, which is used as a natural fragrance diffuser. It smells similar to cinnamon, with its flowers blooming generously all year long, depending on where you are from.
- When caring for the hoya lacunosa, make sure that you use a well-draining pot and soil rich in organic matter.
- Propagating this plant is easy, with two common methods you can follow, depending on what is more convenient for you.
- The hoya lacunosa has a few minor issues that can be preventable with proper care and maintenance and providing it with the right amount of light, water, and nutrients.
Hopefully, you have gained a lot of insightful knowledge on the hoya lacunosa, so you are well-equipped with information to start growing them. If you have prepared everything, begin the growing process to enjoy the beautiful vines and wonderful fragrance around your home now!
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