A Comprehensive Guide to Caring for Hoya Carnosa Plants

Hoya Carnosa, also known as Wax Plant, is an easy-to-care-for houseplant that thrives on neglect. With its beautiful waxy foliage and the ability to produce stunning flowers, this plant is a popular choice among plant enthusiasts.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about caring for Hoya Carnosa plants, from their natural habitat to specific care instructions.

Hoya Carnosa in Nature

Hoya Carnosa is native to Eastern Asia and Australia, where it grows as an epiphyte. Epiphytes are plants that attach themselves to trees or other surfaces but do not take nutrients from them.

Instead, they absorb moisture and nutrients from the air and rain. This natural habitat provides important insights into the care requirements of Hoya Carnosa.

General Care Tips for Hoya Carnosa

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s go over some general care tips that apply to all Hoyas:

  1. Choose the right pot size: Hoyas prefer to be somewhat root-bound, so avoid using excessively large pots.
  2. Use well-draining soil: A soilless mix or a succulent/cactus mix with added perlite or pumice is ideal for Hoyas.
  3. Provide the right amount of light: Hoyas need bright, indirect light to thrive. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause leaf yellowing or burning.
  4. Water thoroughly and let the soil dry out: Water your Hoya Carnosa until water drains out of the bottom of the pot, then wait for the soil to dry out before watering again.
  5. Fertilize during the growing season: Use a complete fertilizer diluted with water and apply it with every watering.

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s explore each aspect of Hoya Carnosa care in more detail.

Hoya Carnosa Soil

Hoya Carnosa plants benefit from a light and coarse potting mix, resembling their natural epiphytic conditions. You can create a suitable mix by combining two parts of a soilless mix with one part fine-grained bark mix. Alternatively, a succulent/cactus mix with added orchid bark, perlite, or pumice works well for other types of Hoyas.

The addition of chunky ingredients helps aerate the soil, improve root oxygenation, and enhance drainage. These conditions are particularly favorable for epiphytic plants like Hoyas. If you prefer a ready-to-use soil blend, the Hoya soil blend from Oh Happy Plants is highly recommended.

Providing Adequate Light for Hoya Carnosa

Hoya Carnosa plants thrive in bright, indirect light. While they can tolerate lower light conditions, providing sufficient light is crucial for promoting blooming. If possible, place your Hoya Carnosa near a north or east-facing window. If you have a southern exposure window, ensure that the plant receives some shade to prevent leaf damage.

Observing your plant’s response to light is key. If the leaves start to yellow or burn, it may be an indication of excessive light exposure. Finding the right balance is essential for the optimal growth and flowering of your Hoya Carnosa.

Watering Hoyas: Finding the Right Balance

Proper watering is crucial for the health of Hoya Carnosa plants. While they are not succulents, Hoyas have thick, succulent-like leaves that allow them to tolerate some neglect. When watering your Hoya Carnosa, follow these guidelines:

  1. Thoroughly water until drainage: Water your plant until water drains out of the bottom of the pot. This ensures that the roots receive adequate moisture.
  2. Allow the soil to dry out: Wait until the soil is completely dry before watering again. This mimics the natural drying and wetting cycles of epiphytic plants.
  3. Avoid overwatering: Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues. It is essential to strike a balance and prevent waterlogged conditions.
  4. Provide a dry period in winter: Hoya Carnosa benefits from a 4-5 week dry period during the winter. This dry period stimulates blooming in the following spring.

By following these watering practices, you can maintain the health of your Hoya Carnosa and promote optimal growth and blooming.

Fertilizing Hoyas: Choosing the Right Approach

Fertilizing your Hoya Carnosa is important for providing essential nutrients and supporting healthy growth. During the growing season, dilute a complete fertilizer in water and apply it with every watering.

One highly recommended fertilizer is Dyna-Gro Grow, which contains all the necessary micro and macro nutrients for plant growth.

Mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Dyna-Gro Grow per gallon of water and use this solution for regular fertilization. However, it is crucial not to fertilize Hoyas during the winter months when their growth slows down.

Encouraging Blooming in Hoya Carnosa

Getting your Hoya Carnosa to bloom requires attention to several factors:

  1. Provide adequate light: As mentioned earlier, bright, indirect light is essential for blooming. Insufficient light can result in foliage growth without flowers.
  2. Keep the plant pot-bound: Hoyas tend to bloom more when slightly root-bound. Avoid repotting your Hoya Carnosa too frequently.
  3. Avoid deadheading: After your Hoya Carnosa blooms, avoid cutting off the flowers. The future blooms will grow from the “spurs” where the flowers were. Instead, gently brush off or let the petals fall naturally.
  4. Enjoy the fragrance: Hoya Carnosa flowers have a delightful fragrance. Take the time to appreciate the scent and the beauty of the blooms.

By following these tips, you can encourage your Hoya Carnosa to bloom and enjoy the stunning flowers it produces.

Propagating Hoya Carnosa: Creating New Plants

If you want to propagate your Hoya Carnosa, follow these steps:

  1. Take a cutting: Select a cutting with 2 or 3 leaf nodes, which are the points where the leaves meet the stem. Remove the leaves at those nodes, leaving the tip leaves intact.
  2. Use a rooting hormone: Dip the base of the cutting in a rooting hormone to promote root development.
  3. Plant in a suitable mix: Plant the cutting in a pot with a soilless mix to which you’ve added perlite or pumice to enhance drainage.
  4. Provide proper care: Water the cutting thoroughly and ensure the potting mix doesn’t dry out completely during the rooting process.

Using a rooting hormone like Garden Safe Rooting Hormone can improve the success rate of propagation. By following these steps, you can create new Hoya Carnosa plants and expand your collection.

Hoya Carnosa Varieties: Exploring the Beauty

While Hoya Carnosa is a popular variety, there are many other stunning Hoyas worth exploring. Here are a few examples:

  1. Hoya Obovata: Known for its round, succulent-like leaves, Hoya Obovata is a beautiful addition to any plant collection.
  2. Hoya Linearis: With its long, slender leaves, Hoya Linearis adds a touch of elegance to your indoor space.
  3. Hoya Kerrii: Also known as the Sweetheart Hoya, Hoya Kerrii features heart-shaped leaves and is often given as a symbol of love.
  4. Hoya Curtisii: Hoya Curtisii has tiny, silver-splashed leaves and produces clusters of delicate flowers.

Each variety has its unique characteristics and care requirements, providing an opportunity to expand your Hoya collection and enjoy the diversity of these remarkable plants.


Caring for Hoya Carnosa plants is a rewarding experience. With their ability to thrive on neglect and produce stunning flowers, they are a perfect addition to any indoor garden. By providing the right light, well-draining soil, proper watering, and adequate fertilization, you can ensure the health and beauty of your Hoya Carnosa. Don’t forget to enjoy the exquisite fragrance of the flowers and explore other captivating Hoya varieties. Happy growing!

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