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Hoya, the heart of our grandmothers


Hoyas are very popular plants, reputed to be fast growing and hardy - with relatively low maintenance requirements. Together with the genus Sansevieria (mother-in-law), we could classify hoyas among the retro houseplants that were almost a necessity in the homes of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers. The return of this plant species to the limelight is not a surprise, and many interesting things, care and species are mentioned in our next article.

Meet - Hoya

Hoya , or simply Hoja in Czech, represents a large species of vines and shrubs, numbering over 200 different species. This plant species was named by the British botanist Robert Brown after Thomas Hoy for his merits as a grower. Close plant relatives are species of candlesticks and dischidia.

Hoye belongs to the Apocynaceae family and most of these plants come from Asian countries (China, Philippines, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Polynesia, New Guinea) or Australia. These are perennial climbing plants, vines or shrubs that are most often found in nature as epiphytes. An epiphyte (from the Greek epi "to" and phyton "plant") refers to an organism that lives non-parasitically on another plant and therefore does not root in the soil. Hoyas can appear in nature as dense bushes that gradually attach themselves to trees with their roots. As a result, their original roots in the soil die and the plant continues to live as an epiphyte.

It's not a wax like a wax

Hoyas have conquered the world of houseplants in addition to the forests. In Czech, hoyas were originally referred to as common perluhs, but nowadays the popular name Voskovka is more common. A bit of botanical inaccuracy is associated with this nickname. The name Voskovka (genus Cerinthe) hides another plant genus of herbs from the borage family, which includes, for example, the well-known forget-me-not.

Hoye, however, deserve their nickname Voskovky with their appearance. Their leaves can be smooth and shiny on the surface, giving a waxed impression. It is therefore clear why the popular name Voskovka has taken so much, not only in the Czech Republic, but also abroad. In English, Hoy can be found under the names Waxplant, Waxvine or Waxflower, where wax means "wax".

Good relations with ants

In addition to humans, hoyas have managed to gain the favor of another animal species, namely ants. Many hoyas live in a symbiotic relationship with ants. These species were able to adapt the shape and appearance of their leaves to such an extent that they formed hollow bowls (similar to the previously mentioned related dischidia) that shelter ants climbing trees. For example, Hoya imbricata or Hoya darwinii maintain good relations with ants.

Hoya Wayetii

Photo: Hoya Wayetii

A large family indeed

Hoyas are a very diverse plant genus. Some species are characterized by thick leathery leaves that resemble succulents, while other species have thin to translucent leaves. In general, we can say that these are evergreen plants that, with the help of a suitable support (e.g. a tree), grow up to 18 meters. Their leaves grow in an alternating pattern on thin stems and can be smooth or hairy.

Popular and therefore widespread hoyas include the evergreen Hoya Australis with oval leaves or Hoya Longifolia China Beans with elongated leaves. Arrow-shaped leaves with interesting veining and texture belong to Hoya Black Margin . Variegated cultivars include Hoya Krimson Queen or Hoya Tricolor and Hoya Australis Lisa with hints of pink. A variegated variant, but with elongated and narrow leaves, is presented by Hoya Wayetti Tricolor . On our e-shop we can also find other typical varieties that are characterized by irregular silver spots on longer leaves such as Hoya pubicalyx or Hoya Memoria Gracilis or, on the contrary, on small arrow-shaped leaves that Hoya krohniana Eskimo is proud of. 

Among the less common varieties on the market, we can include hoya with narrow, linear leaves (they may resemble needles) - Hoya Retusa. Leaves in the form of bean pods, on the other hand, belong to Hoya Shepherdia. An interesting species is the Hoya Hindu Rope or Compacta, which has twisted and wavy leaves that make its stems resemble rope or rope. Hoya Obovata, on the other hand, produces relatively large and round leaves.

Hoya full of love

A very popular variant is represented by hoyas with large leaves in the shape of an inverted heart, namely the evergreen Hoya Kerrii or the variegated Hoya Kerrii Variegata - this species is sought after for its unusual appearance, which is a decoration of many interiors. In addition, for lovers (not only maids), it also represents a poetic way of gift that comes directly from the heart (whether for an anniversary, Valentine's Day in February or May Day).

Hoya flower

Photo: The flowers of the Hoya plant are fragrant and, under good conditions, they also bloom in home souvenirs

Surprise - beautiful flowers, strong fragrance

It is obvious that hoyas are a really large family in terms of leaf diversity. But this is far from the only aspect by which we can choose hoya for the home. Hoyas also have different colored and fragrant inflorescences, which usually appear between June and October.

Hoyas have small flowers, the appearance of which can resemble small stars. The flowers grow in clusters that are relatively permanent. They are rarely spilled and at the same time they can bloom from the same place repeatedly - that's why we don't remove the spent bunches!

Inflorescence differs in color and size. Color variations range from the most typical shades of white to pink, but there are also species with richer shades of orange, red and even black or green. The size of the flowers varies from small ones in the order of millimeters to almost centimetres. Hoya flowers usually have an intensely sweet smell, but even within the scope of the intensity of the smell, the species also differ individually.

Pollinators in natural conditions include moths, flies and the well-known ants. It can happen, but it is really more of a miracle that even in domestic conditions it will take root and pollination will occur. The relatively light seeds are then spread by the wind in the form of silky fluff.

Hoya care

Hoye is one of the fast-growing houseplants, which can also be classified as less demanding, suitable even for complete beginners, for example. However, it is true that the hoya will repay you for proper care with the aforementioned sweet-smelling inflorescences.


Hoyas need a lot of bright, indirect light to get the word out about their speed. The sharp direct light could burn their leaves, on which unsightly brown or black spots would form. In addition, Hoya does not like changes - therefore it is not advisable to shoot its pot behind the light, for example for uniform growth. It can react to a change in light conditions, for example, by dropping the current inflorescence.


As some species have fleshy leaves in which hoya retain water, the plant does not need to be watered often. However, the plant will certainly appreciate the regularity and moderation of watering, and they will tolerate water even more. She definitely won't like it in waterlogged or completely dry soil.

Additional care

As for humidity or air temperature, hoya does not have specific preferences and we can say that it is already very well adapted to home conditions. Of course, this does not mean that she cannot freeze in the winter like other maids. Misting the air is also not necessary - the plant will be much more pleased to wipe the leaves from dust once in a while.

Propagation and cuttings

Like other houseplants, hoyas can be propagated by cuttings of their stems, on which aerial roots grow. There are different ways of seasoning, but let's keep in mind that hoyas are really not fast when it comes to seasoning. They take quite a while, so you have to be careful about rotting, which can occur especially when using a water medium. A proven method is to let the plant season in soaked perlite.

Don't cut - I'm still growing!

Important information, especially for first-time hoya growers, is that the plant will first form a long and bare stem, on which leaves will begin to form over time. Therefore, do not be fooled by the sad-looking shoot and definitely do not cut the bare stems! The leaves will surely appear soon!

For rapid growth, it is advisable to provide a support for the hoyas, along which they can - similarly to nature - wind themselves. It is therefore common for hoyas to be wrapped around hoops of various shapes and sizes. We can, however, let them grow freely, like an overhanging houseplant.

Substrate and transplanting

Hoyas have no direct reservations about the substrate, they will thrive even in an ordinary mix of substrate for indoor plants with perlite or substrate for orchids - a certain degree of airiness of the substrate is important for them. Therefore, it is also advisable to think about drainage - a layer of pebbles that will allow excess water to drain away, which prevents rotting.

In addition, this plant will appreciate if it can be squished and lightly squeezed in its pot. Therefore, it is advisable to transplant the hoya approximately once every two or three years - which is just another feature that ranks on the list "Why is the hoya so popular and popular".

Hoya Black Margin

Photo: Hoya Black Margin

The almighty hoy, or from pets to clean air

As we have already mentioned above in the text, hoyas are a very diverse family that differ in their leaves and inflorescences. It is also typical for this family that the individual species are not toxic to humans or pets !

However, one member of the family is also found with other characteristics and not only with its leaves and inflorescences. Hoya carnosa, a species that includes Krimson queen or Tricolor, according to the findings of the University of Georgia, is excellent at purifying the air from which it removes pollutants.

"Personally, I am very fond of hoyas - wax dolls. They are not demanding and yet grow quickly. They make me so happy all year round and they are simply real holders that can be relied on!”

Author: Jana Beránková

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