Desired for its rarity, Hoya Macrophylla is a beautiful plant that can easily be identified by its thick green leaves with pale yellow margins. If you have one in your indoor garden, this guide will help you properly rear Hoya Macrophylla.
Caring For Your Hoya Macrophylla
The Hoya Macrophylla plant is a favorite among indoor gardening enthusiasts around the world. Often affectionately called the Wax Plant for its thick green leaves, Hoya Macrophylla is quite sturdy and easy to care for.
This succulent vine was first discovered in the Austral Asia region, where it had as many as 500 different varieties! Unfortunately, due to bad environmental practices and deforestation, many of these Hoya species have already gone extinct, and many others are labeled as endangered.
For this reason, Hoya plants are hard to come by and fetch quite a lot of money in the gardener’s market. And so, if you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of these, you must make sure you are caring for it the right way! Here is everything you need to know to keep your Hoya Macrophylla healthy, happy, and flourishing.
How To Care For Your Plant
Hoya Macrophylla plants are of the hardiness zones 10 and 11. They love temperate to slightly warm environments, and cannot grow too well in the cold. If you are trying to rear this succulent in a colder region, you must pay special attention to maintaining the surrounding temperature.
Unlike most other indoor plants you may have around the house, Hoya Macrophylla likes sweet, alkaline soil. This means that the plant will flourish in limestone and eggshells, and absolutely hate it if you use peat moss in the potting mix.
A basic potting mix for Hoya Macrophylla should contain organic cactus mix, perlite, and organic orchid mix in equal amounts. This composition is well-draining and super aerated – two things your Hoya Macrophylla will greatly appreciate.
While Hoya Macrophylla enjoys plenty of sunlight, make sure that it is not directly overhead. Too much sun exposure can leave your plant burnt, while not enough can make it look leggy. The best place to put your pot of Hoya Macrophylla is therefore in front of an east-facing window.
As you would expect from a succulent, you do not have to water Hoya Macrophylla very frequently. However, when you do give it water, you must ensure there is plenty of it.
You will know that it is time to water your plant when the top layer of the soil feels dry to touch. In most areas, this will mean watering once weekly, but it can vary from place to place due to the change in weather and humidity. When watering, keep on pouring until you see excess water flowing out the drainage holes. This will ensure that the moisture penetrates each layer of the soil.
As we have already mentioned, Hoya Macrophylla does not like acidic conditions. If your tap water has a low pH, avoid using it to water your plant. Instead, use aquarium or rainwater for extra nutrients, and if that’s not possible, distilled water is the way to go.
In terms of withstanding a wide range of humidity levels, Hoya Macrophylla is a pretty hardy plant. In its natural habitat, the Macrophylla plant enjoys high humidity levels of 90 percent or more. Even so, the plant maintains its foliage and blooms at humidity levels as low as 40 percent.
To replicate the natural environment of Hoya Macrophylla, you can use techniques such as misting the plant every now and then or using a humidifier. However, we would not recommend crowding your Hoya Macrophylla pots to indirectly raise the humidity levels – these plants are especially vulnerable to fungi and molds, and placing them close together facilitates the spread of disease from one plant to the other.
The Austral Asia region enjoys a lot of sun, and it is quite hot all around the year. If you are growing your Hoya Macrophylla in an area that enjoys similar weather, you have nothing to be worried about. But if you live in colder regions, maintaining the temperature becomes a necessity. The ideal temperature to grow Hoya Macrophylla is around 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the winter hits, you might have to move your Hoya Macrophylla to a terrarium. However, even then, the plant might go into dormancy if a temperature above 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit is not maintained. So if you see your Hoya Macrophylla stop growing and blooming during the winter months, do not fret! As soon as Spring comes around, your Hoya Macrophylla will be back in its full bloom!
Hoya Macrophylla is quite slow to grow, even during its active growth period. But if you are patient with your plant and consistent with your care and attention, the reward is absolutely mesmerizing.
In its natural habitat, Hoya Macrophylla can reach an impressive 66 feet in height by the time it is 10 years old. When grown indoors, however, the average plant is only about 4 to 6 feet tall. The maximum height of your Hoya Macrophylla will depend most on how well you are caring for it.
Because Hoya Macrophylla is an epiphyte, its tendrils go out in search of supporting structures to hold on to as the plant grows. In the wild, this support is provided by the vegetation growing nearby. In your home, you will have to introduce a moss pole in the Hoya Macrophylla pot to provide the support that it needs to grow taller.
If your plant looks a bit sad, you can lift up its spirits by feeding it some good organic fertilizer. We recommend that you do it at least once a month during the growing phase, and then take a break for the winter months when the Hoya Macrophylla goes into a dormant stage.
An easily available fertilizer that your plant will be grateful for is fish emulsion. Though a bit smelly, it has all the essential nutrients that Hoya Macrophylla needs to grow to its full potential. Take care to not put your plant in direct sunlight immediately after feeding it fertilizer, as this leaves Hoya Macrophylla vulnerable to burns.
Unlike many other houseplants, Hoya Macrophylla does not really become root-bound. This allows you a significant period before you are required to change the pot you are growing your Hoya Macrophylla in. You can go quite a few before without replacing the pot of your Hoya Macrophylla.
However, things change if your potting mix contains orchid bark. Remember how we said Hoya Macrophylla absolutely loathes acidic soil? Well, the orchid mix gets pretty acidic with time. So you will need to repot your Hoya Macrophylla more often in this case – we recommend doing it at least once every two years.
Have small children or pets running all over your house? Don’t worry. Hoya Macrophylla is completely safe and non-toxic. This is one exotic plant you can put around the house without constantly fearing a trip to the hospital or vet.
We have already discussed that Hoya Macrophylla is pretty rare and super hard to come by. Hence, wanting to preserve your plant’s legacy is quite natural. Luckily, doing so can be surprisingly simple and easy.
The best way to propagate your Hoya Macrophylla is via cut tendrils. The growing Hoya Macrophylla shoots out tendrils from the central stem to seek support from adjacent structures as it gets taller. To multiply your Hoya Macrophylla, make a diagonal cut through a well-formed tendril that has a couple of nodes and a few healthy leaves – take care that you are not slicing off a budding tendril.
Wrap the cut end in some damp sphagnum moss or place it directly in water. Cover the cutting with a plastic wrap to promote humidity, warmth, and moisture – these factors will help your cutting to root. In a few weeks, you will start seeing new roots sprouting from the cut end. At this point, you can plant your cutting in an already prepared pot and wait for the cutting to stabilize.
Usually, Hoya Macrophylla does not need a lot of pruning. The only times you will need to touch those shears is if you think your plant is getting too big for your space, or if you see a few dead or diseased leaves.
Growing Tips and Guide
While the above directions are enough to ensure the survival of your Hoya Macrophylla, some additional care can make it thrive. Here are a few tips to remember when growing Hoya Macrophylla, which can help prevent a lot of problems.
- When choosing a pot for Hoya Macrophylla, go for terracotta. These purpose pots have superior drainage and can reduce the effects of overwatering your plant, such as root rot.
- When propagating Hoya Macrophylla, do not take your cutting out of water and plant into the soil right away. Instead, gradually add soil to the water until all of the water is replaced by the potting mix. This facilitates the cutting to adapt to its new atmosphere readily.
- If you notice dirt or dust sitting on the leaves of your Hoya Macrophylla, gently wipe it off with a damp cloth. A clean plant does not only look great, but it is also easier for it to breathe.
Common Problems and How to Treat Them
Though Hoya Macrophylla is quite a hardy plant, it too is not immune to pests like mealybugs and aphids.
A mealybug infestation usually presents as yellowing, curling leaves. You may notice them huddled together on the leaf as a tuft of cotton. Similarly, aphids can be found on the underside of the leaves and feed on the sap of the plant, stealing its nutrition. A simple solution to the pest problem is a store-bought pesticide or insecticide. For a DIY organic option, you can also apply neem oil to the leaves.
Mold and fungus
When there are mealybugs on your Hoya Macrophylla, there is bound to be some mold and fungus on there too. Mold can also occur in high humidity with little or no ventilation. These infections can cause great damage to your plant and can make your Hoya Macrophylla look debilitated.
To prevent these, you must keep mealybugs away with the use of insecticides. In addition, you can place an oscillating fan nearby to promote air circulation and make the environment less favorable for the growth of mold.
Why are the leaves of my Hoya Macrophylla yellowing?
Yellow Hoya Macrophylla leaves most commonly mean that you are overwatering your plant. They may also be due to a mealybug infestation.
Does Hoya Macrophylla produce flowers?
Yes, Hoya Macrophylla produces small, round clusters of star-shaped, creamy white flowers with a hint of pink in them. However, their smell is quite a controversial topic. While some say the flowers smell of a combination of sweaty socks and chocolate, others compare the fragrance to the scent of hyacinths.
However, even without blooms, Hoya Macrophylla is quite beautiful and a great option as a decorative indoor plant.
Wrapping it up
Though sourcing a Hoya Macrophylla can be hard, taking care of it is pretty easy. This succulent plant can survive in your home even if you don’t have a green thumb. As long as you are consistent with providing the few basic needs that it has, your Hoya Macrophylla will be forever blooming.