Hoya Obscura Care Infographic

The Hoya obscura fast growing Hoya cultivar with intriguing growth characteristics. It is  originally found in the Philippine archipelago, that is why it has special requests to the humidity of the environment where it will be blooming.

This Hoya plant has a tantalizing fragrance of the Hoya Obscura flowers providing an amazing scent that spreads and lingers in the air.

Continue reading to learn how to properly take care of in addition to cultivate and propagate this hothouse beauty.

What Is Hoya Obscura?

The Hoya obscura plant is perfect for beginners and experts alike as it is low-maintenance and yet produces spectacular foliage and enticing perfumed scents. The flowers are strongly scented especially at night, emitting a spicy fragrance that many compare to that of cinnamon. 

Hoya Obscura Care

Caring for the Hoya obscura plant is remarkably easy as it is a low-maintenance plant that requires the simplest care. As long as you provide the plant with adequate growing conditions, it will reward you with cascades of striking foliage and perfumed flowers.

– Water Requirements

The Hoya obscura plantThe Hoya obscura plant requires a moderately average amount of watering. This means that the plant can be watered regularly but can never get overwatered.

You should allow the plant to dry out slightly between watering activities to keep its roots well-aerated.

Watering amount and frequency can also depend on the warmth, light, and humidity of your space. If you live in an area that is high in temperature, light, and humidity, you may need to water your Hoya Obscura plant more often than those in cooler areas with lower humidity levels.

The succulent nature of the Hoya obscura plant means that the leaves do not wilt when they are dehydrated. Due to this reason, there is no immediate visual sign that the plant requires water. What you can do to ensure that your plant remains well-hydrated is to check the potting medium.

If you are located in those regions where colder seasons exist, allow the plant to slightly dry out in between watering, especially during winter seasons. If the root system is exposed to too much wetness, root rot may start to happen.

– Light Requirements

Plants with leaf-changing colorations tend to have a preference for the sun, and the Hoya Obscura is no exception. The plant loves the early morning sun as well as locations that face south.

While the Hoya Obscura plant can tolerate some shade, the sunlight does not harm them at all. The right amount of sunlight can actually cause the plant to showcase its foliage and produce its famous flowers.

If you are unsure about immediately exposing them to sunlight once you have your plant from the nursery, you can place them in partial shade in the meantime. Over time, you can slowly move them to areas with higher levels of light to slowly introduce them to sunlight exposure without causing any plant stress or trauma.

– Soil Requirements

The Ideal Hoya obscura soil is light, well-draining, yet retains some moisture without staying constantly wet. As an easy-going plant, it prefers soil mixes with more porous and chunkier materials. You can make your own potting medium for your Hoya plant by using a quality potting mix with equal amounts of orchid bark, perlite, and horticultural charcoal.

Keep the pH of the soil slightly acidic at around 6.5, or neutral which is 7.0. Refrain from making your soil mix alkaline as it could harm the plant and its root system.

– Temperature Requirements

The Hoya obscura plant grows best when it is located in areas where temperatures range from 85 to 90 F during the warmer seasons and 55 to 60 F during the colder seasons. The warm-loving plant prefers high temperatures over colder ones and will easily perish if exposed to low temperatures.

The Hoya obscura plant is best grown in USDA zones 10 to 12 as it is hardy in these zones. If you live in an area where colder temperatures can occur, it is advisable to bring your plant inside to overwinter. You can bring out your Hoya plant once the outdoor temperatures turn warmer.

– Humidity Requirements

The Hoya obscura plant prefers to have a high humidity level of around 60 to 80 percent. The warm humid forests of the Philippines have made it acclimated to areas with high levels of air moisture content. By providing your Hoya plant with this condition, you emulate its native habitats and encourage it to grow better.

If you live in an area with low humidity levels, you may try to increase the air moisture content in your space by constantly misting the areas around your Hoya plant to increase the humidity. 

In addition, you can place a shallow tray filled with gravel or pebbles under or near your Hoya obscura plant and pouring water into the shallow tray. As the water evaporates, the air moisture content in the immediate vicinity of your plant instantly increases. Also, by using commercial humidifiers to boost the humidity of the space near the plant.

– Fertilizer Requirements

The Hoya obscura plant is not a big feeder although it enjoys being fertilized during its growing period. Despite its epiphytic nature, this Hoya cultivar appreciates regular feedings on a monthly or weekly basis. It is best to use a balanced organic source of fertilizer to ensure healthy growth.

That is why it is important to follow the directions of the manufacturer to make sure that you do not overfertilize your plant. If you would like to stay on the safer side, you may even dilute your fertilizers even more especially if your fertilizing activities are frequent to provide better blooming for the plant.

Even if your feeding schedules are not frequent, it is best to keep your fertilizers more diluted than overly strong to prevent plant stress and shock from too much fertilization.

– Pruning

You have to be cautious when pruning any seemingly dead parts of the Hoya Obscura plant. Some parts that often get pruned needlessly are the peduncles of the plant. A peduncle is the section of the plant where flowers have been produced or are produced.

The peduncles of the Hoya Obscura plant, just like most Hoya plants, continuously flower even when the older blooms have faded. This means that when you cut off a peduncle, the plant has to expend its energy to create more peduncles. This can delay the production of flowers although this could also spur the plant to produce more leaves.

If you have to prune it, prune off any stems that you are sure will need pruning, and do not cut off any peduncles. Use sterilized tools, shears, and cutters when pruning to minimize the risk of fungal and bacterial infections. Wear protective clothing and gloves as the sap of the plant can be irritating for some people with exposed skin.

Do not cut more than a third of the plant, and only cut off leaves that look to be unhealthy. Many gardeners are tempted to prune the Hoya obscura plant even though it is not as unruly as other Hoya cultivars. The plant may tend to look like it has dead stems and twigs, but experienced gardeners know better than to prune recklessly.

 

Propagation

The Hoya obscura plant is easy to propagate, even for beginners and novices. Here are the steps in how to properly propagate your Hoya plant:

  • Cut off four-inch long stems below the node using sterilized shears, scissors, or cutters.
  • Remove any leaves at the lower end of the stem. This allows the roots enough space to absorb nutrients once they develop.
  • Place your cuttings on the appropriate potting medium similar to the mother plant.
  • Water the cuttings as you would do with the mother plant.
  • The cuttings can take anywhere from three to four weeks to produce roots.

Problems

The Hoya obscura plant encounters some issues from time to time, although a healthy plant rarely gets plant concerns. Here are some possible problems that you might encounter when caring for the Hoya obscura plant:

– Aphids

Aphids create havoc in plants by sucking out the sap of the plants, leaving them with wilted, yellowing, or curled leaves. Aphids are often found on the underside of leaves, and if you suspect your plant has aphids, check for them. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil solutions to eliminate aphids from your plants.

– Mealybugs

Mealybugs are harder to spot as they prefer to hide under leaves as well as in the nodes of plants. These white, fuzzy, soft-bodied pests are sap-suckers and can easily ruin any plant by making it suffer from poor nutrients, wilting yellow leaves, and deformed leaves. You can use insecticidal soaps or neem oil solutions to combat mealybugs and eliminate them from your plants.

– Scale

Scale insects can be frustrating to eliminate as their hard shells protect them. However, you can remove them by hand and use pesticides, insecticidal soaps, or neem oil solutions after.

– Spider Mites

Spider mites can cause Hoya obscura plants to become yellowish and sickly. If you suspect your Hoya obscura plant is infested by spider mites, check for signs such as the presence of web-like structures. You can use pesticides, insecticidal soaps, or neem oil solutions to remove and eliminate them from your plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

– Where Does the Name Hoya Obscura Come From?

The Hoya Obscura plant was first collected at Mount Bulusan, Sorsogon Province by Adolph Daniel Edward Elmer. The plant was then published in Leaflets of Philippine Botany Volume 10 on page 3586 in 1939.

However, the publication failed to meet the requirement of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. This was due to the plant being given Latin diagnoses for names that Dr. Elmer published after 1934. The description was later published in English three years later after the requirement to publish in Latin was eventually adopted.

At that time, the particular epithet “Obscura” was given to the plant since little information was known about the plant. As the Latin word for “obscure” the epithet indicated that further studies were needed on this particular Hoya plant cultivar.

– How Big Does the Hoya Obscura Grow?

When the Hoya Obscura plant is given the optimal growing conditions, it can grow as large as six to eight feet in length. As a quick-growing plant, the Hoya Obscura can easily reach its full potential size even when it is not repotted.

Despite its medium size, the Hoya Obscura plant has a surprisingly rapid development of its stems, leaves, and flowers. The stiff stalks of the plant also do not wrap around each other, making this particular Hoya plant look quite orderly.

There is another cultivar called the Hoya obscura major, which is a larger version of the Hoya Obscura plant. All attributes are similar to the plant, except that the leaves are noticeably larger.

Though both cultivars are typically displayed as hanging plants, they can easily become climbers where their stems come into contact with trees or any form of the support structure.

– What Do the Leaves of the Hoya Obscura Look Like?

Hoya obscura leaves are intriguing and extremely fascinating due to their color-changing characteristics. The leaves of the plant are initially green when placed in shade but begin to turn into shades of red when exposed to high levels of sunlight.

While under the shade, the green leaves have pinnate veining. When exposed to high levels of light, the plant veins turn even more dramatically against the dark crimson leaves of the sun-exposed plant.

The leaves are elliptical or oblong in shape, measuring about one to three inches in length. The typical leaf has a round petiole, while the leaf blade has mid and lateral venation that can range in color from cream to yellow.

The Hoya obscura leaf is usually glossy and wax-like in appearance. When given fertilizers that are high in phosphorus, the leaf can turn a deeper shade of ren with bronze hues on the leaf blade or on the leaf margins. The striking dramatic contrast of the scarlet leaves and green veins make this Hoya plant beloved for its foliage.

– What Do the Roots of the Hoya Obscura Plant Look Like?

The roots of the Hoya obscura plant are fine and thread-like, as most epiphytic plants are. These aerial roots can thrive even in tight places as they hang on to trees in their native habitats. Being an air plant, the root system is incredibly capable of absorbing moisture and nutrients from the air and surrounding area.

The roots system of the Hoya obscura plant can spread easily if mounted on trees and slabs. When placed in containers, the root system can coil inside the container and become root-bound. Root-bound Hoya Obscura plants do not require repotting unless the root system is cracking open the container.

– What Makes the Flowers of the Hoya Obscura So Desirable?

The Hoya obscura flower is usually found in shades of cream, pink, or salmon with a yellow center. Colors can depend on the amount of light the flowers are exposed to. The stronger the light, the lighter the colors.

These flowers are borne from clusters, with each cluster of Hoya obscura bloom approximately two inches in diameter. The plant is extremely floriferous, meaning that the plant constantly produces flowers under the right growing conditions. As a result, the plant does not have a true period of dormancy in its native habitats.

The flowers tend to be more during the warmer seasons of the year and usually last for two days. The cluster of flowers tends to face downward, which is called a geotropic umbel among horticulturists.

Some people describe the scent of the flowers as a spiced honey fragrance or a mix of lemon and lavender perfume. Others even describe the aroma as the smell of buttered cinnamon rolls.

Whichever the case, the scent is strongest at night, indicating that pollination is often done by nocturnal visitors like moths and other nighttime insects. Once pollinated, the Hoya obscura plant produces fruits that are linear in shape and around three inches in length. These fruits eventually produce seeds that can be for reproduction.

– Where Is the Hoya Obscura Usually Found?

The Hoya obscura plant is found in the riverine forests and mixed tropical hardwood forests in the Philippines. The warm and humid environment of these areas encourages the rapid growth of this Hoya cultivar. The plant can be found growing and climbing freely in nature on trees and other plants as support.

In cultivation, the Hoya Obscura plant has gotten quite popular among Hoya enthusiasts for its easy cultivation, dramatic foliage, and intoxicating aroma. The plant can be found hanging in many gardens in the Philippines and has spread in popularity over the world/

Conclusion

Having in mind that this fragrant plant is easy to keep because it doesn’t require constant attention in addition to how beautiful it looks outdoors, here is a quick overview of what we have learned so far about the gorgeous Hoya Obscura plant:

  • The Hoya obscura plant prefers high amounts of sunlight, high temperature, and high humidity.
  • Water your Hoya obscura plant only when its well-draining substrate or soil mix is dry.
  • When the Hoya obscura plant is in bloom, it produces strongly perfumed flowers amidst a cascade of dramatic red and green leaves.
  • The Hoya obscura plant can be easily propagated from cuttings.
  • You may encounter some pest concerns with your Hoya obscura plant but they can be easily resolved using insecticidal soaps or neem oil solutions.

The Hoya obscura plant grows beautifully contrasting foliage and produces a heady mix of fragrant flowers. Add these with the surprising ease in cultivation, you will be sure to have a wonderful time growing the vibrant and tropical Hoya Obscura plant!

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