Hoya hoarders are always looking for new Hoyas with unique features. Hoya Affinis, or the Red Wax plant, is an extremely gorgeous plant with red flowers. The typical star-shaped flowers in red with lush green foliage make this a very bright and pleasing houseplant.
This robust plant is native only to the Solomon Islands, Oceania. Their homeland is famous for its remarkable biodiversity that has thousands of species.
Hoyas flaunt their fragrant blooms like no other species, which are the reason for their popularity as a wax plant. This vast plant genus is named to honor the famous botanist Thomas Hoya by his friend Robert brown.
This furry Hoya is my favorite hanging Hoya plant. It is a must-have with large, rosy-red blooms. This plant is hard to find variety; it is always in high demand because of the attractive blooms.
Hoya Affinis comes from the Apocynaceae plant group, which is one of the largest flowering plant groups. This guide is prepared for you to understand the plant requirements for Hoya Affinis.
Basic Plant Instructions for Hoya Affinis
The Red Wax plant grows well in the average temperature range of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 27 degrees Celsius). It likes being planted in an African violet or bark mix. It also needs filtered sunlight for good growth.
When choosing soil for Hoya Affinis, go for a moist, light, and well-draining mixture such as an African violet mix that has been amended using perlite.
You can also choose a barky mix with perlite to protect your plant from overwatering. This plant will not thrive with soggy roots; therefore, ensure that you plant it in a well-draining mix only.
For outdoor growth, the optimum USDA hardiness zone is 10.
This plant needs to be watered regularly, especially when grown in high sunlight. I water mine 3-4 times a week in summer, depending on the dryness of the potting mix. In winter, it mostly needs water once a week.
Avoid overwatering your Hoya Affinis because this is one of the most common ways to destroy and kill your Hoya.
This Hoya species requires a bit more sunlight. I would suggest keeping it in 70-90% full sun. Based on the light requirements, I would recommend growing this plant in a sunny window where it gets plenty of sunlight.
Mine is located in a north-facing window and has no lighting issues.
As high sunlight is recommended for this plant, you have to make sure you mellow the sunlight using blinds or sheer curtains. This is because Hoyas are sensitive to direct sunlight. Even the sun-loving varieties like Affinis prefer indirect sunlight.
Hoya Affinis is a warmth-lover that thrives in a temperature range of about 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 27 degrees Celsius) in the day.
At night you should maintain the temperature from 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 18 degrees Celsius). The minimum winter temperature for the Hoya Affinis is 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).
This species is very adaptive and non-fussy; it can thrive in average humidity. This is because of its natural habitat, where it’s accustomed to low humidity.
I am growing my Affinis in 60% humidity on average. My plant is thriving happily with this level of humidity.
This plant is not a heavy feeder, but it admires monthly feeding. I would suggest adding an organic fertilizer once every month in spring and summer. Organic fertilizers are my top choice because they are gentle on the plants and have no harmful side effects.
Organic fertilizer is highly suitable for flowering plants. These fertilizers have lower solubility and nutrient content compared to the synthetic ones. So you will have to apply them in high quantity to ensure all necessary nutrients.
Make sure you give special attention to the uniform distribution of organic fertilizer throughout the soil.
You can even utilize an orchid fertilizer if you do not want to buy a separate fertilizer for this Hoya. During the blooming phase, you can add a phosphorus-based fertilizer. It will facilitate and encourage more blooms.
I would highly suggest that you carefully read about the ingredients in your soil. Or you can test your potting soil to know the pH and nutrient levels. This will help you decide on an accurate fertilizer and organic matter for your soil.
In winter, Hoya Affinis will go dormant so avoid adding any plant food.
If you want your Hoya Affinis to bloom repeatedly, keep it slightly pot-bound. It can be repotted after 2 to 3 years with a new pot and a fresh potting mix. You can repot earlier if your plant is diseased or has any other major issues.
I suggest that you replace your potting soil every year in spring to avoid a compact soil mix.
Prune your Hoya Affinis for size control and appearance. I start by cleaning my tools with rubbing alcohol and wearing protective gloves.
You should prune this plant lightly by removing the yellow or dying foliage. You can also remove the faded or spent flowers. Remember, removing unhealthy parts helps your plant to conserve energy and nutrients.
This plant is difficult to propagate because of the fuzzy stem. However, you can follow the steps given below for better results.
- Hoya plants are my favorite for propagation. You should start by disinfecting your gardening tools and collecting all the necessary products. You will need a cutting with nodes, appropriate potting soil, a small pot, water, rooting hormone (optional), plastic covering, and a heating pad.
- I like taking my cuttings in spring or summer.
- The next step is to mix your medium. The cutting for this Hoya requires a chunky, well-draining mix for good growth. Mix 2 parts potting soil with 3 parts orchid bark and 2 parts perlite or charcoal.
- Soil propagation is a no-fail technique for expanding any species of the houseplant. I prefer this method because even with the famous water propagation method, you have to eventually place the cutting in soil. The transfer from water to the soil can shock the young plant, which basically wastes all your efforts.
- After separating the chosen cutting from the mother plant, you have to prepare it for further process. This is done by allowing the callus to form over the cutting. This will reduce the risk of stem rotting.
- If you are wondering how to callus a cutting, simply avoid adding water or soil to the cut and let it dry for 24 hours.
- At least one node is mandatory on the cutting because this point will develop roots. If you cannot find any node on your cutting, simply remove leaves from the lower region, and you will have a bare node.
- You should also dip the cut in rooting hormone. But if this is unavailable, you can use unfiltered honey or cinnamon powder.
- You should use a pot with a 1 or 2-inch diameter for this propagation. Fill one-third of the pot with the mix you have prepared.
- Now place the node in the center and cover the surrounding area with some more mix. Make sure the node is completely submerged in soil.
- Now add lukewarm water, keep adding until water starts pouring out of the drainage hole. The soil has to be consistently moist for cutting to root.
- Once the roots have started, you can reduce watering. The cutting should be grown in a warm and humid environment. I highly recommend covering your pot with plastic covering for better humidity.
- For faster rooting, you should place a heat mat under the pot.
Some gardeners recommend seed propagation for this species, but I have noticed that the plants propagated via seeds are not the exact copy of their parent plant. Seed propagation is extremely difficult because the seeds rarely germinate in an artificial environment.
Blooms on this species have a heavy texture and bigger size compared to the regular Hoya flowers.
The shiny, wax flowers have a beautiful and bright combination of red and yellow. The outer corolla is maroon, whereas the inner corona is golden yellow.
The blooms are highly variable in colors. The brightness and variation of the blooms increase with the intensity of the light. You will experience the lovely blooms mostly in either spring or summer.
Each cluster or umbel has 10-12 blooms, and each bloom is 2 inches (5cm) in size. The Red Wax plant demands patience because the vines have to grow 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) in length to start blooming. Therefore, you have to wait if you want to experience the true beauty of this plant.
The succulent leaves on the Hoya Affinis are green, shiny, and oval in shape. The leaves vary in light and dark green colors. This species has a fuzzy texture overall.
The stems and petioles are also green in color. This easy grower can produce long felted vines that can be wrapped around a trellis or hanging basket.
The leaves are 3.5 inches (9cm) long and 1.7 inches (4.5 cm) wide. With the right care, the vines can get 9 ft. (approximately 3m) long.
The secret behind more blooms on the Hoya Affinis plant is very bright, indirect sunlight. Humidity also plays a major role; try to keep your plant in at least 40 to 60% humidity levels. This level of humidity can be easily maintained within a house via misting; just add water to a spray bottle and use this to mist your Hoya frequently.
The last thing is to give them a small quantity of phosphorus-based fertilizer in addition to your regular balanced fertilizer.
Common Problems for Hoya Affinis
If you place your Hoya Affinis outdoors in summer and bring it inside for winter. There are chances that your plant will be infected with mealybugs. Therefore inspect it carefully to protect other plants from pests.
Mealybugs damage the Hoya plant by feeding on the sugary sap. A shiny, sticky substance called honeydew is the residue of mealybugs feeding.
To eliminate mealybugs, I would suggest doing the following:
- Spray your plant with a bug blaster to reduce the population of mealybugs.
- Trim infected areas of the plant and dispose of. Proper disposal is important else these bugs can spread to other plants.
- Use the help of biological insects like ladybugs. These are natural fighters against harmful pests.
- Use biological insecticides or prepare your own using pure neem oil. Spray your plant for 3-5 days using the neem oil. You can repeat the application depending on the population of mealy bugs.
Nitrogen deficiency is identified by chlorosis, otherwise known as the yellowing of leaves. Nitrogen deficiency is a common issue for indoor potting soil; it can hinder the plant’s ability to absorb phosphorus. So a nitrogen deficiency can even lead to a lack of phosphorus, which is extremely important for blooming.
Other symptoms include falling of lower/older leaves. The new leaf growth deprives the older ones of chlorophyll, so they turn pale or orangish-brown. The new leaves are curled and distorted because of a lack of nitrogen.
I would suggest you add foliar feeding. You can add a tablespoon of fish fertilizer to lukewarm water. Do not add this solution directly to the soil; instead, mist the leaves with a spray. This method of application is known as foliar feeding because you are transferring the nutrients via foliage instead of soil.
Most tropical plants receive their nutrients via foliar feeding in their natural habitat. Repeat this process until you see some improvement in leaf color and appearance.
Dry Flower Buds
This happens when you let your Hoya dry for too long in between watering sessions. Another possibility is when you allow the potting soil to remain wet for too long.
Both conditions are detrimental for flowering Hoyas or those who have entered their flowering phase.
If your buds open but fall within a few hours, these buds are exposed to cold air from a drafty window or air conditioner. This issue has a very basic solution; you just have to fix your watering.
Water your plant only when necessary, not every time you feel enthusiastic about caring for your plant.
Salt buildups are a major sign of over-fertilization. You should look for the followings signs:
- White, crusty powder on the soil surface.
- Terracotta pot has white powder on the rim and outer walls.
- Dry, crinkly leaves because of chemical burns.
- The stems are swollen and start splitting near the soil surface due to chemicals.
You can get rid of chemical salt buildups in two ways. First, by leaching the soil with water after every season. The second one is by repotting your plant in fresh soil. If you do not perform any of these, your plant can die because of all the excessive salts and chemicals.
Tips for Growing Hoya Affinis
- The red flowers will regrow from the old spurs; therefore, avoid removing them while pruning your plant.
- This plant prefers a slightly sunnier location with moderate to high sunlight, so position it accordingly.
- Before the blooming starts, add a foliar fertilizer to encourage more blooms.
- Remove dust from the leaves and stems since it encourages pest growth.
- In winter, you have to let the plant dry more but do not allow the leaves to shrivel.
- This plant prefers a short dryness period for better growth.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hoya Affinis
Will Hoya Affinis thrive in a hanging basket?
The Hoya Affinis has a vining growth habit, which makes it a perfect plant for a hanging basket.
What are some good companion plants for Hoya Affinis?
Hoya Bella, Hoya Australis, and Hoya Odorata are few plants that will complement this Hoya.
My Hoya Affinis has very pale colored blooms, what is wrong?
Your plant is in the initial phase of blooming; it will develop the red color as the flowers mature. Do not panic; this does not indicate any major issues. However, you can consider placing your plant in a location with more sunlight for better blooms.
Can I plant the Hoya Affinis in an African violet potting mix?
AV potting mix is appropriate for growing several Hoya plants, including this one. Just ensure your mix has a good amount of peat, perlite, and vermiculite.
What is the biggest consideration in potting soil for this variety?
This plant can thrive in a number of soils as long as you ensure fast drainage. The soil should never remain wet or soggy. Choose a light, airy mix that is not hard or compact because compact soil can also create drainage issues.
My Hoya cuttings take too long to root; what can I do for faster rooting?
The rooting period depends on the growth hormones within your plant. You can apply rooting hormone to your cutting before submerging it in the growing medium; this will speed up the rooting process. You can either get a custom made rooting hormone or prepare your own organic rooting hormone.
The red flower umbels make this Hoya a unique species with very bright features. This vigorous grower can be wrapped on a hanging basket or trained to grow on a trellis. It does not require tremendous attention from its owner.
I considered this species a fun plant because of the bright colored flowers that complement the green leaves very well.
Read our articles about Hoya Bella, Hoya Australis and Hoya Odorata
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Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.