Hoya Odorata or the Wax plant is a common and easy-to-grow perfumed plant that is perfect for all the beginner gardeners out there.
It is popular for its sweet and fragrant flowers that give the plant a beautiful appearance. Learn all about its care needs from our care tips and tricks prepared just for you by experts.
- What Is Hoya Odorata?
- Hoya Odorata Care
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Hoya Odorata?
Belonging to the family Apocynaceae, Hoya Odorata is a non-twining shrub-like plant native to the Philippines. It also bears white, perfumed flowers with one of the most fragrant flowers among all Hoya species. Hoya Odorata scent is sweet and citrusy, often getting stronger over the evening.
Hoya Odorata Care
This Hoya is a low-maintenance, resilient plant with little care needs. Provide the plant with the right growing conditions and it will reward you with gorgeous blooms. Read on to know the details about its growth requirements.
– Light Requirements
This Hoya species can grow well under both direct sunlight and bright, indirect light. However, avoid keeping your plant in direct sunlight, especially in the afternoon as it can burn the leaves. A north or east-facing window where indirect light reaches the plant throughout the day works well for its growth.
Do not place the plant in a dark spot as low-light conditions make the plant leggy. If you cannot find a spot in your home with bright indirect light, grow your plant under artificial grow lights.
– Water Requirements
This Hoya species has low to moderate watering needs. It prefers to be watered occasionally unlike tropical plants. Water it when the soil feels dry to touch and does not stick to your finger.
Watering has to be more frequent in dry weather conditions as compared to tropical areas. Avoid over-watering the plant as it is prone to root rot. This plant cannot stand water-logged soil conditions for longer periods. Each time you water your plant, make sure that it drains out of the bottom drainage holes and that there is no standing water in the pot.
– Soil Requirements
This Hoya is an epiphyte and prefers a well-draining soil medium that is rich in organic matter. You can use a readymade, rich indoor potting mix to grow it. However, if you want to prepare your mix, mix potting soil with compost, worm castings, and some fir bark or perlite for extra drainage.
You can grow this Hoya in a container or baskets. The cascading stems look great, especially in hanging baskets. Make sure your soil mix has good drainage, as this epiphytic plant cannot survive in compact soil settings.
– Temperature Requirements
This Hoya prefers to grow in warm temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not cold and frost-hardy and needs to be shifted indoors when the temperature outdoors falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is a tropical, warmth-loving plant that needs a bright, warm spot to grow more leaves and flowers. In summers, you can expand it outdoors in partial shade or full sunlight, and however if the winters in your area are too cold, we would recommend keeping the plant indoors in a warm place.
Do not expose your plant to temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit as in very hot weather conditions, the leaves turn brown and the plant runs at risk of dying due to excessive heat. Mist the plant regularly and keep it surrounded by other plants to regulate the temperature.
– Humidity Requirements
This Hoya thrives in moderate to high humidity conditions. In low humidity conditions when the air is too dry, the leaves start to turn brown and crisp from the edges. Maintain the humidity levels above 60 percent to keep the Hoya healthy.
Mist the plant regularly to keep the moisture levels around the plant high. But do not mist the plant so much that it leads to fungus growth and the plant foliage dies. Be sure never to mist the flowers and the buds of the plant.
You can use a humidifier or a humidity tray to improve the humidity levels around the plant. Prepare a humidity tray by filling it with some pebbles and water. Place the potted plant above the tray and as water evaporates, it will absorb the moisture.
With high humidity, it becomes essential to keep good air circulation around the plant. Lack of air movement with very high humidity increases the chances of the plant facing rot conditions and fungal growth.
– Fertilizer Requirements
Feed the Hoya once a month with a well-balanced, liquid fertilizer in spring and summer when the plant is growing actively. Use a liquid fertilizer that is balanced in all the essential nutrients. Maintain a regular fertilization schedule to prevent nutrient deficiency.
Do not fertilize the plant in winters as it goes dormant and feeding it at this time causes a salt build-up in the soil which further leads to root burn. Similarly, do not overfeed the plant to avoid the problem of mineral build-up in the soil. A sign of salt or mineral accumulation in the soil is a white layer on the topsoil.
Underfeeding the plant can have consequences like leggy growth and scattered foliage. Fertilizing in appropriate quantities at the right time helps keep the plant healthy. Make sure you fertilize it regularly in spring and summer, draining the soil with water to avoid mineral build-up.
– Pruning Requirements
Pruning is crucial for encouraging new growth and helps control its size to keep it compact. While pruning, make sure that you do not cut the plant portion that has a spur on it because flowers will grow from spurs. Cutting off the spurs does not kill the plant, but it should be avoided if you want your plant to produce more flowers.
Pruning helps in giving the plant a fuller and denser appearance. Prune the plant in spring when it resumes growing after the winters. It becomes easy for the plant to adjust. Remember to never prune more than one-third of your plant.
It does not need to be shifted to larger pots very often and grows well in compact and pot-bound conditions. Do not worry about repotting it every year. Instead, shift it when the soil mix dries out faster than earlier or when the plant roots start coming out of the bottom drainage holes.
While repotting, never choose a very big pot. Move only one size up which is about two inches bigger than the previous one. Planting the Hoya in a large pot makes it susceptible to root rot and fungus growth.
Since its stems have chlorophyll, it becomes a lot easier to root these and propagate the plant. In the spring and summer months when it is growing actively, propagate the plant using these stem cuttings. Prepare a well-draining soil mix using sand, perlite, and vermiculite.
Moisten the soil and plant the stems in the soil. Each stem should be four to five inches long and must have two to three leaves. Remove the bottom leaves leaving only the top one to two on. After planting the stem, keep the soil mix moist at all times until they fully root.
Before planting the stems, you can dip them in a rooting hormone for faster root growth but this step is optional. Do not overwater the cuttings as they are susceptible to rot. Place them in a bright, warm spot away from direct sunlight. Within a few weeks, the roots will develop, and you can spot some new leaves.
– Root Rot
Root rot due to overwatering or poorly drained soil is one of the most common problems faced by Hoya plants. If your pot does not have an adequate number of drainage holes, the plant roots suffer and rot. If you ignore the problem for long, the plant can die.
Make sure that you use a well-draining potting mix to grow your plant. If the soil seems too compact, replace it by preparing a new soil mix composed of fir bark chips, compost, and perlite. Water the plant only when the top few inches of the soil have significantly dried.
– Beached Foliage
Bleached and burnt leaves are caused by direct sunlight. If you keep this plant in the scorching sunlight, the leaves start to turn yellow and eventually burn due to excessive heat. Sometimes, yellowing and bleaching in the foliage are caused due to an irregular watering schedule.
Maintain a proper watering schedule and keep the plant in a spot that is away from direct sunlight. A warm area with bright, indirect light is the key to keeping the plant happy. The bleached leaves cannot turn back green. It is better to remove the affected leaves so that the plant can focus its energy on the rest of the parts.
– Root-knot Nematode
Root-knot nematode is a parasite that thrives in climates that are dry and hot with short winters. These parasites target the root system of the plant and damage the roots by developing root-knot balls that drain the plant’s nutrients.
It can become difficult to solve the problem if a very young plant catches this infection. But if your plant is mature, then pick the stems and foliage from which you can start a new plant. Remove the infected plant and its soil and grow a new plant.
Using biocontrol agents such as insecticides does not have a high success rate in getting rid of these nematodes. It is better to get rid of the infected plants than control the infection.
Mealybugs are sap-sucking insects that cause yellowing and curling up of the foliage. They target the stems and leaves of the plant and leaving the plant unchecked increases their population. They multiply rapidly when the plant is kept indoors in winters.
In case of a light infestation, rub alcohol on the leaves and stems. Spray a fungicide or an insecticidal soap solution on affected areas. Shift to organic sprays like neem oil solution.
Aphids are quite common in this Hoya species and cause fungal diseases. Aphids leave a sticky residue that attracts fungus and other harmful insects. This sticky residue that is capable of attracting lots of insects and ants leads to deformed growth in the plant.
To prevent the growth of aphids, avoid over-fertilizing the plant and if the plant is infested with aphids, cut off that part to control the spread. Always make sure that you wash the undersides of the leaves with water to remove any unwanted pests and insects.
– Fungus Gnats
Fungus gnats thrive in high humidity conditions where there is poor airflow. The gnats are more common in indoor plants that have high soil moisture and high humidity around them. If you notice small, flying insects around your indoor plant, they might be fungus gnats.
To prevent fungus gnats, avoid overwatering your Hoya. The more soggy the soil is, the higher the chances of a fungus gnat infestation. Using a mix of peppermint, sesame, and cinnamon oil helps create an environment where gnats cannot survive.
– Spider Mites
The indication of a spider mite infestation is when the plant gets dusty and unhealthy. Red, dusty leaves indicate the presence of red spider mites which are the most common of all spider mites. They target almost all parts of the plant and once your plant is infested, other plants around are highly susceptible to them.
To control spider mites, introduce helpful insects to your gardens such as ladybugs and lacewings. Use pesticides and insecticidal soap solutions in cases of heavy infestations. Use neem oil solution regularly as it is organic and helps prevent unwanted insects and pests.
Frequently Asked Questions
– What Is the Growth Pattern of Hoya Odorata?
The Odorata plant with a moderate to slow growth rate can get 8 to 12 inches tall with proper care. It is due to the slow growth rate that this plant lives for so long.
It has smooth, flexible, branching stems that become woody as the plant matures. The word Odoratum in Latin means fragrant and it is due to its citrus-like fragrant flowers that the plant is named Odorata. Each umbel has about six flowers and each waxy Hoya Odorata flower is yellow-green in the center.
The plant leaves are leathery, thin and pointed with their length going up to 3.5 inches and width up to 1.2 inches. The leaves are green on the top and light yellow on the undersides. The leaves, when young, have a grayish-brown coloration.
Although this Hoya looks like a vine, it is more like a shrub and has a similar growth pattern. It is somewhere in between a shrub and vine. Its stems either grow upright or cascading. The leafy stems give the plant a stunning look even when it is not producing flowers.
– How Long Do the Flowers of the Odorata Hoya Last?
The plant has a slow to moderate growth rate and the fragrant, white blooms of this Hoya are seasonal and bloom in fall. These waxy flowers can last up to a few weeks. The citrus-like fragrance can fill any space with a sweet aroma.
– Can I Mist the Odorata Plant in Winters?
Do not mist your plant in winters as in low temperatures, increasing the humidity around the plant can attract fungus gnats. Moreover, the risk of fungus increases due to too much misting. If you mist the plant, make sure that there is no water sitting on the foliage for longer periods.
– Why Is My Odorata Plant Not Flowering?
If your Hoya plant is not flowering as much as it used to earlier, it might be because the plant is not receiving enough light. Lack of bright light is the main reason behind less or no flowering. Shift your plant to a bright location so that it can produce more blooms.
When the temperature outdoors falls in the winter months, you can keep the plant in direct sunlight during the day but remember to shift it indoors at night when it gets cold and frosty. Sometimes, underfeeding the plant also leads to reduced flowering in the plant. Fertilize it regularly to avoid any such problems.
If you are looking for a blooming plant with amazing fragrance, then you must add this Hoya species to your home garden.
Let us sum up the crucial points that you must keep in mind before growing this beauty.
- Odorata Hoya is a shrub-like Hoya with fragrant white flowers and is native to the Philippines.
- It thrives in bright, warm locations with high humidity and well-drained soil conditions.
- Feed the plant monthly using a well-balanced fertilizer for best growth results. Avoid overfertilization and fertilizing the plant in winters to avoid root burn.
- Repot the plant only when either its roots start coming out of the bottom drainage holes or the soil dries out faster than usual after watering.
- For problems such as pests and diseases, treat the plant using insecticides and organic neem oil solution depending on the kind of problem.
We hope our comprehensive care tips helped you know all about this fragrant plant and you will add one of these to your plant collection soon!
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