The Encyclopedia of House Plants

Click a link for description, or click a picture to see a larger image


Family: Asclepiadaceae.

Hoya carnosa Common name(s): Wax plant Hoya bella
Hoya Genus of over 200 species of evergreen, climbing and shrubby perennials, some epiphytic, from coastal bluffs, stram margins, escarpments, and rainforest in the warmer regions. Hoyas are found in tropical Asia such as in areas of the Philippines that include 7,000 tropical islands, East Indies, Japan, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Malaya, India, Bali, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, Himalayas, Thailand, Indo China, Indonesia and Siam. The largest concentration of hoyas are in New Guinea, the 2nd largest island in the world… 400 miles wide by 1500 miles long with mountains up to 16,400 feet. The Hoyas are climbers or trailers with fleshy leaves and clusters of waxy, star-shaped flowers which appear from May to September. Its stems can reach 15 ft or more, and they must be trained on wires, trellis work or on a moss stick. New stems are bare - the leaves which later appear are fleshy and green. The Miniature Wax Plant (Hoya bella) needs more heat and humidity but less light - it is best planted in a hanging basket. Do not disturb the plant once buds appearand, do not remove ald flower stalks, because new inflorescens develop on them. Hoya
Growing conditions Watering and misting Propagation
Average warmth in summer - minimum 50 F in winter.Semi-shade or bright light. Keep well away from direct sunlight. Keep compost moist at all time. Water sparingly in winter. Misting is necessary. Take semi-ripe stem cuttings in summer. Layer in spring or summer. Sow seed at 66-75 F (19-24 C) in spring.
Hoya multiflora (Shooting star)
Slow growing shrubby perennial with leathery leaves. Hoya multiflora (Shooting star)

User-submitted additions and corrections:

12th Apr 2007
My curly leaf Hoya is 20 years old, is in a west-facing window in my kitchen, extremely pot-bound and in constant flower. My kitchen is extremely fragrant.
20th Jul 2007
My Grandmother had a hoya that she got from my Grandfather's family years & years ago (40 maybe). She always commented on the flowers it would have. The plant was in a west window with no curtians. A few years ago I inserted Dow rods into the pot and wound the vines up and around the rods. I also made the mistake of cutting off the little dead things I saw on the plant. I didn't realize that I cut off the flowers. That year it didn't blooom, and she commented on that too! (LOL) It did bloom again the following year. Last December my Grandmother passed away. I got the Hoya. When I got the Hoya to my house, the dow rods holding the vines were dishelveled. I put the plant on a wire bakers rack and wound the vines through and around the rack. I looks awesome. The only thing wrong is it hasn't flowered this year. Hopefully, it is just taking some time to adjust to a new environment and will bloom next year.
She had another hoya hanging up that my aunt had given her (30 years ago) that never bloomed.
11th Aug 2007
I my Hoya is probably about 30 years old. The wonderful woman that had it before me said it was 15 years before it bloomed. This year hanging in a West window it has bloomed not stop since early may. One bloom consists of 15 to 20 small flowers that look like they are made of wax! When there are 10 or more at a time the room smells sickly sweet.
6th Nov 2007
My grandmother-in-law put her hoya out on a shady patio each summer and the hummingbirds loved the nectar.
23rd Apr 2008
I have a plant that I started several years ago and is now huge. I was recently told it is a hoya plant. It has white star shaped flowers with tiny pink stars in the center of the white star. I find the more I fertilize it on a regular basis the more it blooms. It seems to like a North or East window, it doesn't like being away from the window as it drops leaves profusely. I have not noticed that it has a fragrance. What type of hoya is this? Thanks
15th Jul 2008
I have a Hoya plant that my mother gave me. It bloomed all the time until I moved 5 years ago. Then it stopped even though I had it placed in the North window like it was before I moved. It suddenly started blooming a bit last fall and then now in June it has begun blooming and it just does not want to seem to quit at all. There are many clusters of blooms on it right now. I found it likes the North window the best. It is close to the window where it gets lots of light but not direct sunlight. I have one vine that has no leaves yet but several groups of flowers on it. This is the first time I have seen that. Have to say that I do enjoy the flowers and the scent of it when it does bloom.
British Columbia
23rd Mar 2009
Over 25 years ago I took a slip from my mothers plant which was then well over 30 years old. My plant has flourished for 26 years in the same house. It likes lots of light, likes to be pot bound and doesn't like to be moved. This year has been the most successful with several blooms appearing over the last few months. Not sure why except that I've been fertilizing and watering more regularly.
28th Mar 2009
Iwas introduced to hoyas about 40 years ago. I have a small collection thatgive me blooms all year long. I have found that most of the people at the larger garden centers, don't have a clue about them.
One thing that I have to keep telling my grandkids (they love the taste of the sap)is that they cannot touch the tips of the plant. I have seen lots of beautiful plants look mangey after an attack by small hands. The tips will die back if handled too much, some of the more tender plant only once.
I really love the variety in the colors, sizes, and scents. Happy is she who grows hoyas!
Judy Munroe
Nova Scotia, Canada
2nd Jun 2009
My Hoya plant is flowering like crazy this year, only two blooms last year and that was the first time, the plant is years old. My problem is that at night the strong scent is quite overpowering. I have to stay away from it as I have eye allergies. I am excited that the plant is blooming but the night time scent is killing me. The plant never had the smell before it flowered.
20th Jul 2009
It took me a while to find the exact name of this plant. My grandmother had this plant and she had received it from her mother. I now have it, so I am thinking it is very, very, very old. For as long as I can remember, my grandmother called it Mary's Tears or Weeping Mary. She told me that it would bloom with these pink flowers around Easter time. The flowers would drip a sticky substance as she would refer to as Mary's Tears. I am glad that I have finally figured out the 'proper' name for this plant.
Wisconsin, USA
26th Aug 2009
I only just identified my hoya -- inherited 3-4 years ago, and has grown up from a few stumpy stems into a LONG vine crawling up the side of a bookshelf near a south-facing window (but not IN the window). It flowered for the first time this year - and what flowers! All up and down the vine. And smelling of BLEACH! The smell was most pronounced in the evenings, and we could not sit anywhere near it or develop headaches. But such beautiful blooms. They are gone now so we will have a break, I hope!
26th Sep 2009
When I became manager of my current pharmacy, I inherited a plant which I don't believe was very well cared for. Not having a green thumb myself, I began watering it every couple of weeks and watched it thrive. I was truly surprised today to find a pink bloom. I guess that's my reward for watering it and cleaning its leaves. I was glad to finally identify my foster-plant.
11th Oct 2009
I have a Hoya plant that was given to me by a dear friend. I find the plant best ignored most of the time, never repotted and allowed to throughly dry out between waterings. My dear friend has own of her own that has never blossomed, but my blossoms several times a year. I tell her she is giving it too much care.
julia bonnette
25th Oct 2009
A dear friend gave me a green wax-like plant which did not grow at all for about 4 yrs. I moved it to a window (north facing), and it took off. The vines took over my huge picture frame window. I needed no drapes for privacy. I decided to cut the plant away from the soil, and place it in water to facilitate travel. I did not want to lose my beloved plant. About 3 months later, I awoke to a wonderfully sweet fragrance. To my utmost surprise and delight my plant had rewarded me with pink starburst blooms. I was told that it was a porcelain plant. There was a hard glass-like star in the center of each flower in the starburst. I now know it was a hoya. I hope to find it again. I left it in the window when I moved. My plant seemed to bloom non-stop. Its been 12 years, and I never stopped missing that plant.
14th Aug 2012
My curly leaf hoya did not bloom the first 5-6 years when it was new and not pot bound. It was in a south west facing window with partial light. Once moved to my front porch which faces north, it began to bloom. Now multiple blooms fill the porch with a wonderful chocolate-like aroma! My curly leaf has done so well on the porch I placed my long leaf hoya in the same window and it blooms. The hoyas are watered with a weak ferterlizer and allowed to dryout between waterings.
These materials are freely provided for instructional and educational purposes. Any duplication or publication of text or images herein for commercial gain without explicit written permission of the owner or photographer constitutes breach of trust and violation of copyright.
Copyright © Galka Okhapkina 1998-2024