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How to: Grow hoya

The best known hoya is the one shown here, Hoya carnosa, which perhaps you know as ‘wax plant’, or even, ‘that weird thing Gran had in the glasshouse’. This shining beauty is just one of the 250 different species in the family, and it’s the one that most gardeners start with.

It is undemanding and rewards even the most off-hand gardener with gorgeous globes of scented flowers that last and last. Once hooked you’ll want some more, for the extraordinary foliage diversity and for cascades of flowers.


Gorgeous globes of scented flowers that last and last. Photo - Seksan44 / Shutterstock


Plant them

Most hoyas are epiphytic so they want a free-draining soil, very slightly on the acid side of the spectrum. They are ideal for hanging baskets and pots, and like trailing or climbing up a support.


Light them

Hoyas grow in filtered light by choice, and though they will grow well in shade, they won’t flower unless given enough light. Morning sun or dappled light is best as hot summer sun can burn them. Frost and cold tender hoyas do well indoors in a brightly lit spot.


Pendulous and perfect. Photo - Jiggo_thekop / Shutterstock


Cramp them

Hoyas are mostly epiphytic and like growing in a tight spot. Only pot them up when drastically root bound, and then only into a container one size up.


Feed them

Light is the big key to flowering, but feeding helps. Give them a half strength feed of foliar fertiliser every fortnight through summer. Water in very hot or dry conditions through summer, but don’t water in winter.


Yes, as fragrant as it looks!. Photo - Ti-Santi / Shutterstock


Buy them

There are lots of unnamed or misnamed hoyas sold, so it’s safest to buy from an expert. Wes and Lorraine Vidler grow more than 90 species at their nursery, Weslor, in the Noosa hinterland. They sell mailorder from, and will have a stall at Collectors’ Plant Fair, April 9 and 10, Hawkesbury race Club, Clarendon, where you will be able to quiz them. More at



Bring potted plants indoors when they are in flower to enjoy the blooms, but don’t pick them. Flowers bloom at the same bud node each year, so if you cut them off, you lose that flower node forever.


Some other varieties. Photo - Erik-E.-Cardona / Shutterstock

About this article

Author: Robin Powell