Hoya multiflora is a “must-have” house plant that produces flowers that resemble a shooting star.
This is the plant that you need if you want to add a bright glow to your home. It is one of the best options for your shaded container garden on your porch or windowsill.
In this article, we will unleash the secrets that professional florists apply in order to take excellent care of Hoya multiflora.
Know Your Hoya Multiflora
Hoya multiflora is a plant that belongs to the Apocynaceae family. It is native to tropical Asia, where this epiphytic plant usually grows on trees. The name “Hoya multiflora” is derived from the many flowers and frequent blooming patterns of the plant.
Hoya multiflora is also known as the hoya shooting star, porcelain flower, and wax plant. The leaves of this plant are large, dark green, prominently veined, and lined with a leathery and waxy appearance, making the plant look so attractive.
The uniqueness of Hoya multiflora is mainly due to its type of bloom. When this plant blooms, it produces flowers that have five gorgeous waxy petals that are arrow-shaped. These petals bend backward along a large stamen column.
The overall shape of the white-yellow flower of Hoya multiflora then looks similar to a shooting star, and this explains why the plant is nicknamed the “hoya shooting star.”
Hoya multiflora produces its heavily fragranced flowers anytime between early spring and late summer. Each bloom does not last more than 12 days. The old flowers fall off, while the new ones develop on the old flower stems of the plant.
You should, therefore, keep the old stems (spurs) so that your hoya shooting star will keep blooming. The fruiting period of Hoya multiflora is in autumn.
Hoya Multiflora Growth
Hoya multiflora can grow as a twining climber on other plants. It looks fantastic and gorgeous in hanging baskets as well. The hoya shooting star can grow up to about 98 inches. However, you can prune it to maintain the height that you prefer.
The hoya shooting star does not naturally branch. The nectar-producing flowers of Hoya multiflora have sizes that range between 0.63 and 0.80 inches.
Hoya Multiflora Care
Taking care of Hoya multiflora is quite fun, but only if you know how to take good care of the plant. Learn more on how to take proper care of the hoya shooting star here.
Hoya multiflora thrives best under bright, indirect light. Placing it under the full morning sun is equally good because it allows the plant to store its energy for producing spurs. Without well-developed spurs, the plant’s blooming is negatively affected.
Hoya multiflora can also grow well in relatively low light conditions. Placing your plant under the bright midday sunlight can scorch its leaves. As a result, a dull yellow color will replace the dark green vigor of your Hoya multiflora.
Relatively moist soils are conducive for the proper and healthy growth of the hoya shooting star. Therefore, you should regularly water your plant during its growing season but be sure not to make it sit in water. Soggy soils will cause the leaves of your plant to turn yellow. Your plant may also become susceptible to root rot and later die.
To avoid overwatering, let the topsoil dry before you can give your plant its next drink. When you water your plant, thoroughly do so until the water begins to drain through the holes of the plant’s pot. Please note that your plant will need more water when it’s about to flower.
We recommend that you reduce your watering frequency during winter because the growth rate of your plant is slower. Never leave your plant to sit in a saucer that has standing water, unless it’s for saturating the soil, which should not exceed an hour.
During the day, your plant will thrive well in temperature ranges between 70 F and 80 F. Lower temperatures between 60 F and 65 F are conducive during the night.
Hoya multiflora is not a hardy plant, and so extreme cold temperatures will burn and kill it. Therefore, do not expose your plant to temperatures below 60 F. Temperatures above 95 F are also too hot for the hoya shooting star to survive.
In natural settings, Hoya multiflora grows on trees, decayed organic matter, and rock formations. Hoya multiflora requires well-aerated soils that drain properly and fast. If the soil that you have is very heavy and compacted, you can add some sand to loosen it up.
To prepare a good soil mix for your hoya shooting star, get these ingredients: 1/3 good quality potting, 1/3 perlite, 1/5 orchid bark, and 1/5 sand or horticultural grit. After mixing these ingredients, you will have a soil mix with air pockets that allow for root growth, aeration, and good drainage.
The roots of the hiya shooting star will attach to the orchid bark as they would to a tree in natural settings. The hoya shooting star requires pH conditions that are either acidic or mildly acidic.
Hoya multiflora is a relatively slow grower, so there is no need to repot it regularly. You can even leave the plant alone for as long as possible. However, if the plant becomes rootbound due to drainage issues, you should consider repotting. We recommend that you repot your plant at least once every year if need be, preferably during the spring.
When you repot your Hoya multiflora, use a pot that is about two inches larger than the previous one. Gently uproot the hoya shooting star from its original pot and shake off the soil from its roots. Check the roots to see any damaged, shriveled, or dead ones and remove them.
Transfer the plant into the new pot with a new growth medium. Water lightly to make the soil moist. Place it on a spot where it can receive bright, indirect sunlight.
You can apply fertilizer to your Hoya multiflora not more than once a month during its growing season. Fertilizers that are suitable for epiphytic plants are the best option for Hoya multiflora.
Since Hoya multiflora can grow leggy and untidy with time, you might need to prune it regularly. Pruning your plant will promote better growth while giving your plant a bushier appearance.
When you prune the Hoya multiflora, target the dead stems and cut them back. Also, check for the long and leggy stems and cut them at the nodes. Be careful not to cut off the plant’s flowering system so that you keep enjoying the bloom of the hoya shooting star.
Be sure to disinfect your pruning shears before using them on your plant. This protects your hoya shooting star from possible infections that might cause diseases.
Hoya multiflora is quite easy to propagate because it can develop new roots with less difficulty. The leaves of the plant can withstand the stress that comes with having no roots during propagation.
The easiest way to propagate Hoya multiflora is through stem cuttings, which is best done during the spring. Let’s go through the steps that are involved in propagating Hoya multiflora through cuttings.
Preparing the Cutting
Get your cutting from a healthy plant. Be sure not to use an actively growing plant or the one with immature leaves. These two will use up the resources that your cuttings need for them to survive as well as develop and establish roots.
You then need to identify a nod, which is where the leaves of your plant develop from. Ideally, you should cut from the last node with leaves below the cutting you have chosen.
Disinfect your scissors and use them to cut just above the mode that you identified. Be careful not to damage the leaves that you are going to leave behind on the original plant.
Place the cut end of the cutting into a rooting hormone. Please note that this is not always necessary because Hoya multiflora can easily root without much assistance. However, the rooting hormone prevents fungal infection and quickens the rate at which the callus forms on the cutting, so there is no harm in using it if you have it.
Now you have your cutting, any of the procedures that we will describe below will enhance root growth on your cutting.
The easiest method to propagate Hoya multiflora is by dipping it in water. Don’t forget to change the water regularly to avoid bacterial growth, reduced aeration, and subsequent root rot.
To carry out water propagation, add clean water in a clear container and dip the cut end of your cutting. Place the container on a bright and warm spot; the better if you can place it on a heat mat. Shoots will begin to emerge on your root within a few weeks.
In sphagnum propagation, the probability of root rot is close to nil because of enhanced aeration. However, one of the disadvantages of this method is that root growth only takes place where the cutting has contact with the sphagnum moss. You should regularly water the sphagnum to avoid drying and promote root formation.
The procedure for this method starts with finding a small pot that you will fill with sphagnum. Dip your cutting into the pot that you prepared and spray some water to moisturize the sphagnum.
Perlite propagation is one of the methods that we highly recommend for propagating Hoya multiflora cuttings. Perlite is relatively sterile and allows for proper aeration. It also requires less monitoring because there are few chances that the cutting will rot. However, perlite propagation requires more space compared to sphagnum and water propagation.
To carry out perlite propagation, get a plastic food container. Add about an inch of perlite to the container before pouring water to soak for a few minutes. Drain the water off so that the perlite remains damp. Put your plant on the perlite and cover the stems. Ensure that the leaves on the cutting are uncovered.
Prepare your pot and potting mix. After your cutting develops roots, you can then plant them in the pot, light, and water the cutting to keep the soil moist. Use a plastic bag to cover the container so that you trap humidity. Find a warm spot with bright, indirect light and place the container there.
Problems and Troubleshooting
While Hoya multiflora s an easy-care plant, there are some issues that you need to be on the lookout for to make sure that your plant does not die on you.
If the leaves of your plant are yellowing, it means that you are overwatering your plant. Reduce your watering frequency. Also, check the plant’s soil to see if it does not hold moisture for too long. If yes, then you should make the soil more draining by adding some sand or perlite.
If the leaves of your hoya shooting star are too thin, it shows that the plant is under stressful conditions. The soil might be too compacted and, therefore, waterlogging, less aerated, and poorly draining. Wrinkled leaves might be a sign that you are depriving your plant of water.
If you have constantly been watering your plant, wrinkling leaves are an indication of rotting roots. You can remove the Hoya multiflora from its pot and assess the condition of the roots so that you can confirm the cause of wrinkling leaves.
Do your plant’s new leaves drop? New leaves that drop are an indication of water stress. Try reshuffling your watering schedule to cut down on the length of the period between waterings.
Misshapen leaves are usually due to the stress that the plant went through during leaf production. Some of the factors that cause stress during production leaves are extreme temperatures, overwatering, or moving the plant to a new environment.
Sooty mold is one of the common concerns when you grow Hoya multiflora. The hoya shooting star produces nectar, which gives the mold a platform that it can cling to as it spreads. To identify sooty mold, check for black molds on the leaves of the plant.
These are small, oval, and flat pests with a brown or tan shell-like covering, which accounts for their name. Warm and dry conditions are conducive for the survival and multiplication of scale bugs. To scout for scale on your plant, check on the underside of leaves and joints.
If you cannot notice scale bugs at an early stage, your plant’s leaves will begin to turn yellow and even fall off. You might also see a sticky sap on the surface of the leaves. This is because scale bugs are sucking pests that survive on drawing the plant’s sap.
Plants that are rarely affected by scale produce new growth and may ultimately die if nothing is done to control the pests. Smaller infestations of scale bugs can be dealt with by dabbing them with a cotton ball saturated with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.
Insecticides such as Neem oil are also very effective, especially for more prominent manifestations. You can get better results with pesticides if you target the crawler stage of scale bugs because it is more susceptible to insecticides; repeat treatment every week to increase the effectiveness of your efforts to control scale bugs.
Mealybugs appear as tiny, white insects that are often hideous, which explains why they are usually difficult to notice. Like scale bugs, mealybugs destroy the plant by sucking its sap.
The eggs and grown mealybugs can be easily controlled using 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. To prepare your alcohol, dilute every 70 milliliters of isopropyl alcohol with 30 milliliters of water. Be careful to target the insects and their eggs when you use this method because the alcohol may burn or chill your plant.
As the infestation increases, insecticides such as Neem oil are a more sustainable option. Neem oil is also safer for your Hoya multiflora as it does not burn the plant.
Constantly check your plant for white, cotton-like masses on the leaves and stems of your hoya shooting star. These wingless, soft-bodied pests are called spider mites. The damage by these sucking pests is usually not significant when the infestations are small. However, it is better to manage them at that stage because they will be easier to control.
Higher numbers of spider mites on your plant can cause yellowing and curling of leaves. The activity of spider mites on Hoya multiflora can cause honeydew that promotes the development of sooty mold.
To control mealybugs, you can hose them off using a stream of cold water. You might need to combine this method with natural soapy insecticides that you can spray on the plant. Neem oil clogs the airways of mealybugs, making it difficult for them to breathe. This makes this insecticide an effective option for destroying mealybugs at all stages of their life cycle.
Aphids are one of the most notorious insects that may attack your plant. These tiny sucking pests can multiply so quickly if you do not take the necessary action early. Aphids can affect flower production, so it is best to control them before your plant begins to bloom.
Use a garden hose to wash aphids away with cold water. You can also dust your Hoya multiflora with flour to get rid of higher numbers of aphids. Doing this constipates the aphids. Insecticidal soaps and Neem oil are effective in controlling aphids.
There you are! You now have all the information that you need to take care of your Hoya multiflora. It’s time to get practical but before then, let’s sum up the main points again.
- Hoya multiflora is an epiphyte that belongs to the Apocynaceae family.
- This plant is unique for its white-yellowish, strongly fragranced flowers that appear like a shooting star, hence the name Hoya shooting star.
- Overall, the hoya shooting star can grow up to 98 inches, while the flower size ranges between 0.63 and 0.80 inches.
- Hoya multiflora thrives well in bright, indirect light.
- This plant grows properly in well-draining, aerated soils that can slightly hold moisture.
- Temperatures between 70 and 80 F are conducive for the growth of the hoya shooting star. Avoid extreme temperatures below 60 F and above 95 F because they can kill your plant.
- Hoya multiflora does not require frequent repotting because it grows slowly. However, you can repot when the plant becomes root-bound.
- You can add a soluble fertilizer once every month during the plant’s growing season.
- Take time to prune the hoya shooting star regularly to promote better growth and appearance.
- Propagate your plant through cuttings.
- Be prepared to control sooty mold, scale bugs, spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs.
The touch that Hoya multiflora gives to your home is one like no other. Enjoy the “shooting star” uniqueness by applying the care tips that you learned from this article.
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