Hoya longifolia is not an easy plant to get access to since it is originally from China. Its grass blade like leaves and richly scented flowers make it a must-have plant in any Hoya collector’s collection.
Even if you are a novice in houseplants, this guide will help you care for a Hoya better than most seasoned gardeners.
- What Is Hoya Longfolia?
- Hoya Longifolia Care
What Is Hoya Longfolia?
Hoya longifolia is native to China and is also known as Hoya shepherdii or the Bean hoya plant. It produces elongated, thin, waxy foliage along with ball-like clusters of flowers that bloom during the spring. These flowers are star-shaped, waxy, and scented.
Hoya Longifolia Care
Look after Porcelain flower hoya by giving it plenty of indirect bright light and a warm environment. This houseplant grows best only under very high humidity levels.
– Water Requirements
The Hoya soil needs to dry somewhat between two waterings to promote flowering. You must ensure it has dried at least 25 percent from the top. The easiest method is to put a barbeque skewer two to three inches down. For perfectionists, a moisture meter will tell you exactly how dry the soil is.
On average, you will need to water twice a week in summer because the soil dries faster. If the plant is kept indoors and under low light, it might need to be watered less. The same goes for wintertime when the soil dries very slowly.
The hoya wax plant is not particularly sensitive regarding your water type. We always go for distilled water because it is the safest for our houseplants. If your area gets rain regularly, then it is best to collect it for use later on.
It is a misconception that you must water the entire plant from top to bottom. This is, in fact, an unhealthy practice that predisposes the plant to powdery mildew, leaf spot, and other fungal infections. Hence, only water the soil very slowly until it begins to come out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
– Light Requirement
This plant likes six or more hours of indirect sunlight every single day. It cannot tolerate direct sunlight, but its flowering also suffers in case of low-light conditions.
It is much safer to grow it indoors because you have much more control over light there.
Picking the right window to keep your longifolia near is very important. An eastern-facing window might be the safest because it receives direct light only for a couple of morning hours. Don’t worry because your Hoya will be able to tolerate this much direct light, at least.
The western-facing window receives direct light for a few hours later in the day, during which time it’s best to place a curtain over this window. The southern-facing window receives harsh and direct light all day long and is not a good option to keep this plant near. Shift the container three feet away from this window to keep it safe.
The northern-facing window receives no direct light at all. Your Hoya might even struggle to get the amount of light it needs to flower. In such a case, you need to take help from artificial grow lights that are either LED or fluorescent. Turn them on for at least 10 to 12 hours a day to be properly effective.
– Soil Requirements
Begin by taking one part orchid potting mix as Hoya grows best in this type of mix. Its chunky consistency allows the roots to grow freely without any hindrance. Next, add one part of coarse sand to the bark and mix well. You can also use fine sand, but it might not be easy to handle.
Add one part perlite ball to this mixture for better porosity. Instead of perlite, you can also use vermiculite. Once everything has been well mixed up, you can add a piece of charcoal to absorb any impurities or pathogens present.
You might have noticed how barren of organic ingredients this soil is. A Hoya doesn’t need a lot of nutrients in its soil. You can add a handful of compost or manure to give the roots an extra boost if you like.
After thoroughly mixing all these ingredients, your soil should be loose and chunky with a lot of airiness. Fill your choice of the potting container with this soilless potting mixture. To make the soil more water retentive, add a two inches thick layer of mulch on the topmost layer.
– Temperature Requirements
A range of 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit is what you need to maintain for Hoyas, such as Hoya longlingensis and longifolia. This is another major reason why we urge you to keep it as an indoor plant.
Within a house, see that it receives no direct draft of chilled air from the air conditioning vent. Don’t keep it anywhere where there are regular cold air drafts during winter. Don’t even place it near a radiator because very hot temperatures will cause its leaves to burn.
You can keep this plant outdoors only from spring to summer when the temperature is warm during both day and night. Unless you move this plant indoors after summer, it will most likely die of frost shock. You will find that it has shed all its leaves and stopped growing indefinitely.
– Humidity Requirements
Maintaining the right humidity levels is your hardest challenge as a Hoya carer. This plant has humidity needs as high as 70 to 90 percent annually. This is a very high humidity level to maintain daily inside the house.
A humidifier is the only way to maintain such high air moisture levels. You can easily find a good humidifier within the price range you can afford online.
Running this humidifier 24/7 inside the house will rake up your electricity bill, though. Consequently, the air inside your house will become too humid for you to breathe.
That is why we prefer to improve humidity only around the plant itself and not the whole room. One such way is to lightly mist the Hoya or wipe its leaves using a damp cloth. Take any container and fill it with water to be kept next to the Hoya pot. The evaporating water from this container will slowly add more moisture to the air flowing around the Hoya leaves.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Hoya longifolia is not too fond of feeding and fertilizing. However, a monthly feeding of any organic fertilizer such as fish oil emulsion or compost tea will help its leaves grow faster and better.
When planting it in new soil, add a fistful of compost to the soilless potting mix to provide the newly potted plant with some help.
You can also add a few pellets of slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of spring. It will last your plant all through spring bloom as well as the upcoming summer.
Not much pruning will be needed since Hoya plants like Hoya linearis and longifolia are relatively small and slow-growing species. You can pinch one inch off the flowering stems’ growing ends every spring. It promotes the branching of other stems and the production of more flower buds.
Sometimes, people use too much force during pinching stems by hand. This crushes the pinched part and instead stopping further growth. Unless you are a seasoned plant gardener, we suggest pruning using shears instead.
It is important to wash your shears before use and also after it. During pruning, you risk contacting the plant’s toxic sap. Don’t forget to don a thick pair of rubber gloves and clothes that don’t leave the skin exposed. Trust us; you don’t want to deal with a Hoya-induced skin rash.
Propagating longifolia is extremely easy whether you use leaf cuttings or stem cuttings. Like all other Hoyas, you can carry out its propagation in early springtime.
– Leaf Cutting
Propagation doesn’t get any easier than taking a couple of leaves from your grown plant and using them to grow new ones.
- Use your fingers gently to snap off three or four healthy leaves and their petioles from the stem.
- For the next step, you will need a sharp and disinfected knife. Use the tip of this knife to make a few shallow cuts on the underside of these leaves. Each cut needs to involve at least one vein passing through the leaf.
- Apply the gel form of rooting hormone to these cuts to prevent the growth of bacteria there.
- In a shallow tray, lay a flat well-soaked layer of sphagnum moss. The moss must stay submerged in clean water for at least an hour before you can consider it well-soaked.
- Lay your cut leaves on the tray with their undersides in intimate contact with the moss. You need to only press them in lightly using your finger.
- Put a transparent cover over the tray before it under partial or indirect bright light.
- If the propagation has been successful, a new plant will grow out of each cut you made in the leaves. This will take about three to four weeks, during which you should keep watering the moss lightly whenever it becomes dry.
– Stem Cutting
We admit stem cutting propagation is often more successful than using leaf cuttings. Many of our readers will also find it to be easier.
- Some people can use their hands to pinch off a three to five inches long piece of Hoya stem. For the rest, a secateur or pruning scissors are more effective choices.
- Leaf nodes are those rounded dark spots from which leaf petioles grow. Your cutting needs at least two of these to grow roots from.
- Fill a small-sized transparent container with filtered water and place it someplace bright. Remove all leaves from the cutting before placing them in water.
- Keep changing water in the container every fourth to the fifth day until new roots emerge and grow two to three inches long.
- After this, you can plant the stem in a soilless potting medium within a pot.
Whether growing a Hoya glabra or longifolia, you need to know how to deal with problems common to these plants. These comprise toxicity, overwatering, falling flower buds, and infections like botrytis blight and sooty mold.
– Botrytis Blight
Botrytis blight is identified by the appearance of grey-black fungal mold on the center or the edges of the affected leaves. Eventually, the various mold spots grow larger, merge and turn the whole leaf mushy. The leaf then droops down under its pressure and eventually falls off.
Suppose the disease progresses to the stems; that is even worse news. When the stems become mushy, the whole plant falls to the floor. The fungal spores that cause this disease easily spread from one plant to the next. They can also occasionally cause infection when inhaled by humans.
There are several good fungicides that you can use to eradicate this fungus – formulas containing zinc, liquid copper, mancozeb, and thiopentone work effectively. You must follow the instructions given on your chosen fungicide agent carefully. Only then will they be able to treat this infection.
– Scooty Mold
Scooty mold is a fungal infection that causes a black and grey cotton-like material to form all over the surface of the leaves. It mostly occurs when the plant is already under attack by pests such as mealybugs, aphids, or spider mites. These pests secrete a sticky digestive juice called honeydew that attracts and traps sooty mold spores and hyphae.
Scooty mold no doubt looks horrible but is not that harmful. All you need are a few household kitchen items to help you get rid of this mold and the pests responsible for it.
One such item is neem oil, which acts as an effective antifungal agent and a pesticide.
Put a few drops of neem oil on a paper napkin and wipe the leaves. The mold will easily come off using this method. Then bathe the plant using a bar of strong insecticidal soap and water to wash away the pests. Then you need to make a neem oil foliar spray and use it every week for at least a month to prevent a recurrence.
– Falling Buds
If you have been consistently lazy regarding your watering regime, your Hoya flower buds will fall off even before they form completely. This can happen in the case of both over and underwatering conditions.
The sad part is that you can do nothing to help the plant at this stage. That is why it is important to start caring for your plant early on, not just during the flowering season.
The most important aspect of this care is that you water your plant on schedule and provide it with adequate light.
Longifolia, like most other Hoyas, has a toxic while-colored sap flowing through its veins. This is important to note during pruning and propagation when the skin might come in contact with bare skin. Normally, this leads to the development of itchy rashes and urticaria on the skin. In some cases, severe allergic reactions might develop as well.
Keep a pair of thick rubber gloves nearby and wear them whenever you look after this plant. Cover your arms, too, by wearing full-sleeved clothing. Wash the pruning shears or any other tool you use thoroughly afterward.
Curious children and pets are also at risk of exposure to the toxic white sap within a Hoya. Signs of ingestion toxicity include vomiting, nausea, and a severe burning sensation in the mouth and lips. Give the affected pet or child milk to alleviate burning, and immediately take them to an emergency room.
If your leaves look swollen and feel watery to the touch, they are being overwatered. Your soil will also appear runny with water, and if you lift the container, it will feel heavier than usual. This could be because you have not checked if the soil is sufficiently dry before watering.
Overwatering needs to be corrected as soon as possible. First, stop watering the plant further until the soil dries about 25 percent.
Meanwhile, spend some time inspecting whether there is a problem regarding the soil drainage or the pot.
This is very important because if a plant is left overwatered for a long, then its roots become rotten. These roots are then at risk of several fungal and bacterial infections. The flowering of your plant will also get negatively impacted.
How do I stimulate Hoya Longifolia to bloom?
To stimulate Hoya Longifolia blooming, ensure bright indirect light, moderate watering, use a balanced fertilizer, and maintain temperatures around 65-75°F (18-24°C).
What kind of pot does Hoya Longifolia like?
Hoya Longifolia prefers a well-draining pot with good airflow, like a terra cotta or porous ceramic pot.
How cold is too cold for Hoya Longifolia?
Hoya Longifolia is sensitive to cold temperatures. Avoid temperatures below 50°F (10°C), as it can harm the plant.
This is all the information any first-time Hoya parent needs at their disposal.
The key care tips you need to keep in mind are reiterated below.
- This Hoya needs only partially bright sunlight or artificial grow lights to make food for itself.
- Use a moisture meter to determine when the soil dries enough to be water.
- Hoyas are notorious for their extreme humidity demands. This one, in particular, needs 70 to 90 percent daily.
- The range of 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit is what the plant needs to maintain healthy growths for Hoyas as as Hoya longlingensis and longifolia.
Hoya longifolia is a Hoya from the Chinese mainland that produces gorgeous Hoya shepherdii flowers that are popular worldwide. After reading this guide, you can also add this one to your Hoya collection.
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