Hoya carnosa, also known as the honey plant, porcelainflower, wax plant, or porcelain flower plant, has beautiful foliage and sweet fragrant flowers that make it one of the most appealing houseplants around.
They are relatively easy to care for, even for beginner indoor gardeners who don’t have a lot of experience in caring for plants.
The honey plant is one of the most rewarding plants you can grow indoors. You’ll experience year-round greenery and plenty of fragrant blooms if you know how to care for this delicate flowering vine.
Hoya carnosa is one of many beautiful indoor plants that are perfect to keep at home or in the office.
To help you keep your hoya carnosa looking and smelling amazing, here are some tips on how to care for your plant so that it thrives year-round in your home or office.
Origin and distribution
The wax plant or porcelain flower is native to Southeast Asia, and it is cultivated in other tropical and subtropical areas, such as Sri Lanka, Mexico, Brazil, and Florida.
Hoya carnosa requires bright indirect light but no direct sunlight. It can be grown outdoors year-round in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12, provided that temperatures do not drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
In cooler climates, grow hoya carnosa indoors. In all cases, keep your wax plant away from drafts and cold air vents.
Hoya carnosa propagation
What better way to grow more of your favorite hoya than to propagate a new plant from an existing one? Propagation is simple: all you need is a sharp, sterile knife and some basic gardening tools. First, cut off a stem from your hoya carnosa plant.
The stem will not be planted but will instead be used as a cutting for propagating. Next, remove any leaves that might have grown on your cutting. This will allow it to focus its energy on rooting rather than growing leaves. Finally, place your cutting in water until roots begin to form. Once roots are established, transplant your cutting into the soil.
You can either choose to repot it into larger soil or leave it in its original pot; however, if you’re transplanting it into a larger pot then make sure that there is plenty of room between each root so they don’t get tangled with each other.
Keep your newly-transplanted hoya carnosa plant in indirect sunlight and keep it moist. It should take several weeks before you see signs of growth. If you notice mold forming on top of your soil, try watering less frequently or move it to a drier location.
Hoya carnosa care information
Hoya carnosa care is easy. The plant thrives in humid environments and likes to be kept warm. Water it twice a week, letting water drain through, and keep it out of direct sunlight.
Fertilize with a diluted solution of balanced houseplant fertilizer every two weeks during spring and summer months when growth is active; less often during fall and winter months.
Hoya carnosa originates from Southeast Asia and parts of Australia, where it is typically found growing in tropical forests and other well-lit areas. The plant does not require a great deal of sunlight to grow indoors, but it will do better with a little more light than many other succulents.
Keeping Hoya carnosa by an east-facing window that gets direct sunlight for around five hours per day is ideal.
Hoya carnosa is a tropical succulent and thus does not require a large amount of soil. For indoor growing, use a small pot that provides ample drainage and a medium-sized porcelain flower plant mix.
In warmer climates, hoyas can be grown outside in larger containers or directly in-ground with well-draining soils.
Do not allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Water only when potting mixture feels dry to the touch, but do not let it sit in soggy soil. Water thoroughly, then allow the top 1/2-inch of soil to dry out before watering again.
If hoya carnosa has been allowed to wilt, it is important to take a few steps and save your plant. First, immediately begin watering your plant, allowing all excess water to drain from its pot. Second, place your plant in indirect sunlight for a few hours.
Third, return your plant to its original location and continue normal watering practices. With proper care following wilting, you should see new growth within one week.
Hoya carnosa is a succulent, so it needs very little fertilizer. In fact, too much can kill it. Add a small amount of organic fertilizer to your plant’s soil during the spring or summer months when its new leaves are forming. Water well and then let the excess water drain out of your pot before adding more fertilizer.
Too much fertilizer will cause leaf discoloration. If you’re not sure how much fertilizer to add, ask your local nursery for advice on how often and how much you should fertilize hoya carnosa plants.
Give your hoya carnosa porcelainflower room temperature (65-70 degrees F.) to heat and you should be good. The plant does like humid air, though not necessarily direct humidity from a shower or faucet.
If you choose to use a humidifier, make sure to place it far away from your hoya carnosa porcelainflower and avoid keeping water in or around it.
Keep in mind that your porcelain flower plant, like most tropicals, thrives in humid conditions. They will do best when they’re placed near a warm and humid source of water.
They don’t require constant saturation or tropical rainfall—just make sure there is a source of consistent moisture nearby. If you can keep them on a wet towel at all times it should be sufficient to meet their humidity needs.
The ideal humidity range is 70-80%. You can measure your hoya’s relative humidity with a simple hygrometer.
To prune your plant, cut away diseased, dead, or damaged stems with a sharp pair of clean scissors. Cut back stems to just above where healthy new stems are growing from (do not remove more than one-third of a stem at any one time).
Remove any large leaves that are blocking light and air circulation. The key here is moderation, you don’t want to remove too much foliage. You can also use a small paintbrush to remove dust and dirt from between your plant’s leaves. A gentle spray of water every so often will help keep the dust down as well.
When to repot
Repot your hoya when it has outgrown its pot. Look for roots pushing up or visible through drainage holes. Hoya carnosa plants should be repotted in spring and summer when temperatures are high.
Ideally, you should choose a new pot slightly larger than their current one to give them some room to grow after transplanting, but be careful not to overpot as they hate being overwatered.
Use a commercial cactus mix that drains well with no organic matter added. If using soil from your garden, sterilize it by baking at 250 degrees F for 30 minutes prior to use.
Like other tropical plants, hoyas prefer temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. It is not recommended to allow your plant to experience temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
If it does, keep it in a cool location with low light for approximately two weeks to avoid any potential winter damage.
Hoya carnosa flower & fragrance
There are many different varieties of Hoya, but they are all prized for their exotic, fragrant flowers. The flowers of hoyas typically last only a few days and then they are replaced by another flower, making them excellent candidates for growing indoors year-round.
Even when not in bloom, Hoyas make good decorative plants. Their dark green leaves have a glossy sheen and are often spotted with maroon spots.
The plant grows very slowly. It can take up to a year for it to reach just 12 inches in height. To speed up growth, you can move it outside during the spring and summer months.
Be sure to place it in an area with plenty of sunlight and water regularly. New leaves will grow every few weeks, so you’ll need to prune away old ones as they die off so your plant doesn’t become overgrown and crowd its container.
Hoya plants are non-toxic to pets and humans.
USDA hardiness zones
Hoya carnosa thrives in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. In other areas, you can grow it as a houseplant.
Pests and diseases
Watch out for pests and diseases, because they can infect any plant if you don’t keep an eye on them. In general, it’s best to repot your plant every year in order to make sure it stays healthy.
To do so, take a four-inch pot and put some new soil into it. When taking your plant out of its old pot, grab its main stem rather than pulling at its leaves or roots.
Wax plants are susceptible to mealybugs and spider mites; infestations should be treated immediately with insecticidal soap spray. Spider mites are also repelled by strong blasts of water from a garden hose. Mealybugs may be removed manually with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Some hoyas are propagated by cuttings rather than seeds.
The ideal environment for a hoya carnosa is to grow in filtered sunlight. The plant prefers growing medium moisture, so be sure to water regularly. Use specialized hoya carnosa fertilizer and a balanced pH-balanced water-soluble fertilizer if needed.
With proper care, your hoya carnosa will have shiny leaves and will flower during spring and summer.