Hoya carnosa
Hoya carnosa

Grown for the wonderful waxy flowers as well as the foliage Hoyas are sought after by collectors as well as home gardeners. Grow them for the foliage, or grow them for the flowers, either way they are wonderful.

Aa group of tropical to sub tropical vines native to Eastern Asia and Australia used widely in hanging baskets. With over 100 species Hoya carnosa, Hoya kerrii and Hoya kerrii variegata are among the best known.

Mainly climbing or hanging plants, most are epiphytic. Some species do have an upright habit and flowers and foliage are variable.

The best tip to ensure that Hoyas flower well is let them become a little pot bound and to ensure good filtered light.


Most Hoyas are grown indoors or on patios in hanging baskets. They flower during summer and are sweetly perfumed.

Hoyas grow well in hanging baskets and flower best when they become a little ‘rootbound’. Do not overwater Hoyas, but don’t let them dry out. Hoyas prefer a brightly lit position and will often not flower due to lack of light.

Potting mix must be well drained, add some coarse material to ensure good drainage. You will also need to repot every two years as the potting mix breaks down and drainage becomes impeded.

Some gardeners use sulphate of potash to commence the the flowering mechanism. Hoyas do not really like low temperatures at night, so be careful with this in cooler climates.

Be a little careful not to over water, Hoyas do like moisture however they need to dry out a little between watering, and in winter watering needs to cut back even more.


With a number of species available for sale, seven of the best varieties are listed :

  • Hoya australis commonly known as waxflower .
  • Hoya carnosa is also commonly known as the ‘Wax plant’ or Wax Flower’. Used widely as an indoor plant best suited to hanging baskets. Long trailing green leathery foliage with vines white to pink flowers.
  • Hoya carnosa (Indian Rope plant) Hoya carnosa variegata (hoya rubra)
  • Hoya kerrii the ‘Sweetheart Hoya’ or ‘Sweetheart Plant’ with large heartshaped leaves. Hoya kerrii variegata is also popular.
  • Hoya publicalyx with white to pink flowers although some new cultivars have dark red flowers

Other species include:

Hoya odetteae (syn. H. tsangii)

Although this is a compact growing species, and the flowers are small as well Hoya odetteae is an excellent specimen for a hanging basket.

The flowers appear in clusters and are sweetly fragrant. Once settled in, Hoya odetteae will be covered in flowers from late spring through summer.

The foliage is small by Hoya standards, narrow and a mid green and fleshy in appearance, very attractive in a hanging basket. originally from the Philippines, the flowers are typically waxy and a golden yellow in colour.

Hoya odetteae Care

Best grown in filtered light, with not direct sun. Also best is a position protected from winds and frosts.

Like most Hoyas this is a semi tropical plant, it can be grown in temperate climates and will need to grown indoors or on a warm patio over winter.

Watering is required on a regular basis over spring and summer. In winter watering is required only when the growing medium begins to dry.

From spring to summer, an occasional application of 25% liquid fertiliser will be beneficial.

Hoyas do like a restricted root, so do not over pot. As the plant matures and outgrows its container it can be repotted and the best time to do this is in early spring as the weather warms a little.

Hoya mitrata

Hoya mitrata
Hoya mitrata

From Thailand, Sumatra, and Borneo this is a rare species in cultivation.

The flowers look like small crowns or teeth white with red centers and middle fragrant.

This is species that requires year round warmth, a temperature no lower than 50F (10C).

Hoya lacunosa

Another compact Hoya, this species is from Indonesia and Malaysia and Hoya lacunosa has been in cultivation for over 100 years.

This is a variable species, generally deep green foliage with white to pale creamy coloured flowers. Very fragrant, especially on a warm evening.

In a hanging basket, the flowers will hang down in terminal clusters. This is a species that prefers filtered light rather than shade.

Hoya heuschkeliana

This is species with a number of varieties and Hoya heuschkeliana is available with variegated foliage.

The species has rounded heart shaped foliage and flower colour varies with pink. yellow and red forms available from some growers.Flowers are fragrant with a caramel to butterscotch perfume, especially strong on a warm summers evening.

This is a species that requires more warmth and humidity than some others.


Older clumps can also be divided in spring.

Hoya plants available for sale from the following nurseries

Tropical plant nursery specialising in a wide variety of rare and unusual plants. Shipping is available to retail and wholesale customers nationwide. Our web site also contains lots of useful information on a variety of tropical plants (over 500 varieties) and a gardening guide. www.gardinonursery.com