(image credits, IG: hoya_anonymous)
I have often wondered if the whole Hoya genus got the name “Wax plants” because of this one specific species, Hoya bhutanica. The blooms look uncannily close to wax molds with their smooth translucent white star-shaped flowers.
Hoya bhutanica care entails growing it in a well-draining mix using ingredients such as peat, compost, mulch or humus, plenty of chunky bark as well as perlite and pumice. Grow these houseplants in bright indirect or filtered light. Water like you would a succulent. Once a week max and only if the soil is perfectly dry. Keep in moderate to warm temperatures in a range between 65°F – 90°F (20°C – 32°C). Keep humidity above 60%.
Gardening enthusiasts grow Hoya bhutanica for their perfectly spherical umbels. The flowers are fragrant but I must warn you that the scent of this species is rather very strong. If you grow Hoya bhutanica indoors the flowers are surely going to fill up the room with a thick sweet perfume.
I grow Hoya bhutanica for the foliage too, because I happen to love the emerald green colour, the small perfectly elliptic shape, and their snappy cardboard-like feel.
The growth pattern of this Hoya is perfect for hanging baskets and for indoor growing. Once you have some Hoya bhutanica care hacks up your sleeve, this is a worthy collectors’ piece to have in your garden.
- 1 HOYA BHUTANICA PLANT CARE GUIDE
- 2 HOYA BHUTANICA PROPAGATION STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
- 3 COMMON PROBLEMS WITH HOYA BHUTANICA
- 4 TIPS TO KEEP HOYA BHUTANICA PROBLEM-FREE
- 5 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOYA BHUTANICA
- 6 CONCLUSION
HOYA BHUTANICA PLANT CARE GUIDE
The best way to grow Hoya bhutanica is to treat it like an epiphytic succulent that nature drawing nutrients from the air, rain, water, or from debris accumulating around the roots.
You need to grow Hoya bhutanica in a well-draining soil mix dense in organic nutrients and very porous.
The substrate needs to be moisture-retentive but excess water must drain swiftly and thoroughly.
A combination of peat, compost, mulch or humus, plenty of chunky bark, and some drainage material such as pumice or perlite makes for a great mix.
If you have trouble organizing these components, an effective Hoya bhutanica care hack is to purchase a high-quality succulent mix and orchid mix and mix them 50/50. You could add perlite for extra aeration.
Try to grow Hoya bhutanica in slightly acidic soil with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 6.6. The more the organic content, the more likely the soil is acidic.
The thick green leaves suggest that Hoya bhutanica care requires plenty of light exposure, but also must be protected from direct rays. They are found in the eastern Himalayan forests where they grow in the undergrowth of big trees. Grow in bright indirect or filtered light.
If you grow Hoya bhutanica in a pot then keep it huddled in the midst of other plants. Both these arrangements work great to filter light.
If you grow Hoya bhutanica in the northern zones give them a sunny east window in winters perhaps in your kitchen where there are warmth and humidity for cooking pots!
Particularly since you grow Hoya bhutanica for the blooms, it’s worth noting that this plant needs prolonged light exposure and a long growing season to induce blooms.
You should move your plant indoors for outwintering; they’ll do fine even under LED grow lights for 10-12 hours a day.
Succulence is the keyword when it comes to Hoya bhutanica care. They are highly sensitive to overwatering compared to other hoyas and they will not tolerate waterlogging.
Proper Hoya bhutanica care begins with the right soil conditions. If you’ve nailed the well-draining chunky texture of the soil and also made sure there’s less of the soil mix altogether, then you’ll likely not make disastrous watering mistakes.
If your plant is very young it is more susceptible to root rot. A large mature plant can cope with over-watering mistakes. yellowing leaves and dropping flower buds is a sign of overwatering in Bhutanica.
The right moisture balance for Hoya bhutanica care is to water deeply and dry out the soil partially between waterings. Once in a week to 10 days is usually sufficient even in summers.
A word of caution: a lot of internet material will advise you that Hoyas like moisture. This is a misleading statement because Hoya species differ widely in their care requirements.
Hoya bhutanica care resembles succulent care. They can hold water very well in their fleshy stems and leaves.
Most in the genus require intermediate-range temperatures 60°F – 90°F (16°C – 32°C) like Hoya Imperialis.
Then there are the warmth-loving types that need continual temperatures above 70°F (21°C). These plants will be the happiest at temperatures of 95°F (35°C) for extended periods of time. They are not frost tolerant.
In my experience, Hoya bhutanica care needs something in between the intermediate to warm conditions. This best reflects the conditions in Bhutanese foothills where they hail from. Optimal temperatures lay between 65°F – 90°F (20°C – 32°C).
One Hoya bhutanica care recommendation is to keep it indoors or in a plant house in comfortable room temperatures if you live in cold regions. Growth may slow down but it’ll survive.
Hoya bhutanica care needs plenty of humidity. This is perhaps the most crucial element. Due to succulency the plant can store water and tolerate low soil moisture levels. But in the wild, they grow in high humidity zones. Humidity is more important than watering when you grow Hoya bhutanica.
A humidity level above 60% may be needed to grow Hoya bhutanica properly.
In summer months an occasional wash down of the leaves is advisable. Just make sure you do it on a watering day and only in the mornings.
Huddling it up with other Hoyas to create a microenvironment of humidity is also a good Hoya bhutanica care hack.
For indoors, use a humidifier if it’s desert dry in your growing room. The plants take well to occasional misting with soft water, especially during dry weather.
The ideal Hoya bhutanica care hack is to stick to an organic feeding routine. Include rich organic manure in the soil mix and to replenish the topsoil in the growing months. I normally don’t feed my Hoyas much.
I wouldn’t recommend chemical fertilizers for succulent epiphytes but if your substrate and nutrient deficient or the plant look chronic dull, you could go for a good quality orchid fertilizer, triple diluted than what’s prescribed.
So, for example, if the Rx ratio is 5ml per gallon of water, make it 5ml per 3 gallons of water. Once in 4 to 6 weeks is sufficient. Make sure you drench the soil deeply to avoid any chemical buildup.
One Hoya bhutanica care tip is to go for liquid feeds which are easier to dilute and don’t cause build-up of harmful salts in the soil.
You can propagate Hoya bhutanica from their herbaceous stem cuttings quite easily. If you observe the vines of this plant you’ll notice tiny little knobs all along – these are aerial roots.
Although I prefer propagating Hoyas through layering because of its non-intrusiveness, this method isn’t suitable for Hoya bhutanica. The vines are too thin.
I’ve made a surprisingly positive discovery with respect to propagating Hoya bhutanica through water rooting. It takes a lot of patience but has a high success rate. More details later.
Professional growers are known to allow pods to dry on the plant, break open to collect seeds, and propagate them through germination. But the seeds do not store well and need to be sown as soon as possible.
Bhutanica is a moderate grower reaching about a meter long in 2 years. They don’t compete with neighboring plants and grow in their own little niche. You can grow Hoya bhutanica perfectly well in small containers for your tabletop or in hanging baskets for your patio or window side.
They need stakes or trellises to climb on. Twist new stems back around the trellis or the older stems when they are still young. These stiffen up fast as they get older and tend to break very easily. Because of the long internodes it helps to wrap the plant around itself to give a more bushy, compact look.
If you grow Hoya bhutanica expecting a lot of action you’re in for a surprise. The plant, like true tropical, only grows in the summer months. It needs all that warmth, light, and humidity to really break into a growth spree.
Even though these are technically “climbing vines”, I grow Hoya bhutanica in a hanging pot because I love hanging vines.
Hoya bhutanica flowers only if you’re able to give it a longer growing season and plenty of humidity. You can extend the season by using LED grow lights ensuring mugginess around the plant.
PRUNING AND FLOWERING
When you grow Hoya bhutanica you’ll observe that it throws out a few bare vines like tendrils. Basically, if they are alive and herbaceous you can let them remain. But if they look dried up it’s best to prune them off.
Careful not to prune the peduncles of dried flowers of a Hoya because the plant produces new flowers from the old peduncles. This plant lives to bloom. By cutting away the flower stalks you’re making it work extra hard to produce fresh flower heads.
Like most varieties of Hoyas, Hoya bhutanica care would need a root bound condition. Don’t grow Hoya bhutanica swimming around in a large pot. A smaller pot ensures less water.
Rootbound doesn’t mean cramped! You can’t grow Hoya bhutanica with any success if the roots are suffocating. The potting environment needs to provide ample aeration.
A good Hoya bhutanica care hack would be to pot the plant in a netted pot placed inside a liner pot. The netted pot ensures thorough drainage. Once the roots grow out a lot you can simply transfer this netted pot into a bigger netted pot. This way you completely avoid stressing the plant during repotting.
The stems are delicate and tend to break while repotting. Therefore, I prefer not to repot this plant at all. Instead, I propagate abundantly.
If a plant looks overgrown in its pot I simply carry out a plant division and separate it into two of three different pots.
HOYA BHUTANICA PROPAGATION STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
Propagate Hoya bhutanica through stem cuttings:
- Wait until June, just ahead of the growing season in the tropics. Use a healthy herbaceous tip cutting from a bug-free mother plant.
- It must have about 3 leaf nodes. Pluck off the leaves from the lower node.
- Let the cutting rest for a day until the cut forms a callous.
- You can use rooting hormone powder but it normally sprouts even without.
- Pop it in a good soil mix with good draining (can’t stress draining enough). 50/50 peat and perlite is a simple and effective rooting soil mix.
- Keep the mix moist but not wet and never let it dry out. Keep the cutting in shade or under grow lights until the plant is established.
- This plant needs humidity. You can cover the cutting with a big transparent ziplock bag with a few holes.
- Don’t disturb the cutting until established.
Propagate Hoya bhutanica through water rooting:
This method has proved to be quite successful for Hoya bhutanica given its thin vines and aerial roots.
- Take a few fresh cuttings of a healthy step tip with about 4 to 5 leaves.
- Take a tall glass jar that’s 3/4th as tall as the cutting – a jam jar works.
- Fill it up with dechlorinated water or RO water and add a single drop of a good liquid rooting concentrate.
- Place your cuttings in this jar and keep it undisturbed in a place where the temperature is maintained between 75°F – 95°F (25°C – 35°C)
- It takes anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks for the roots sprouting out of the nodes.
- Once the roots are about an inch long and strong transfer them into potting soil.
A smart Hoya bhutanica care hack is to keep propagating your plant and producing several baby plants as and when possible. Not every attempt will be to be successful. But this is your best hedge against winter losses.
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COMMON PROBLEMS WITH HOYA BHUTANICA
Individual leaves or stems shriveling and falling off: Examine the underside of the leaf. If you see fuzzy white bugs stuck to the leaf this is a mealybug infestation. Your best defense against these bugs is to keep checking the plant regularly, especially the underside of the leaves. I just spray a fine jet of water and blast the bugs off the plant.
Now if you’ve managed to let the bug spread into an infestation, the first step is still to clean the plant thoroughly with a water jet. Things to watch out for – don’t drench the potting soil, don’t contaminate nearby plants with blasted bugs.
So it’s best to carry out this operation far away from everything else. After your plant is thoroughly cleaned up with no visible mealy bugs anywhere, you can treat it with a commercial insecticide or an organic soap spray.
If the infestation is limited, use an alcohol swab with an earbud and apply to each bug. Time-consuming, but effective.
White dusty webby coverings along leaves and stems: This is due to spider mites which thrive in dryness. One preventive measure is to keep up the humidity around the plant.
Choose a watering day to give your plant a thorough bath, washing down all the leaves and stems. Do this in the morning and leave the plant in a well-ventilated spot to dry out during the day.
Hoyas are fairly resistant to pests but I would recommend regular application of horticultural oil or neem sprays as part of the Hoya bhutanica care routine just as a preventive.
Leaves discolor and fall off suddenly: This could be due to cold exposure. Just bring the plant indoors.
The plant goes limp: The most likely cause of this is root rot. The soil has to necessarily be well-draining otherwise you’ll likely end up with root rot. The second reason is the opposite of the first one which is that the roots died completely due to the lack of water.
Old leaves turn yellow and the plant looks dull and slow-growing: Your plant is telling you that it isn’t getting enough nutrients. Give it a light balanced fertilizer to improve the NPK levels for a few weeks.
Rainwater misting regularly is also helpful. If it’s a mature plant, you can repot it with a lot of good slow-release organic manure.
Buds dropping off: This could be due to a variety of stress conditions, but must often due to overwatering. Low water, low nutrients and low humidity are also causes of bud dropping.
TIPS TO KEEP HOYA BHUTANICA PROBLEM-FREE
- Hoya bhutanica needs a little more warmth and humidity compared to other Hoyas
- They are succulent in nature and need limited watering
- The soil mix should be clunky and organic along with draining material like perlite.
- Feed the plant additional fertilizers only in summers.
- Don’t expose it to cold drafts or direct sun.
- The roots of Hoya bhutanica like it root-bound.
- If you want to repot, do it in May/June during growing months.
- A shower once a month helps the plant stay bug-free.
- Dry out the leaves after misting or spritzing.
- In winters manage the humidity using humidifiers and cut down watering and feeding but don’t stop completely.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOYA BHUTANICA
Is Hoya bhutanica a succulent?
The plant has leaves that are slightly thick like succulents, but they are essentially epiphytes. Most of their needs are like succulents with the difference that they need more humidity than succulents.
How to grow Hoya bhutanica to look bushy?
I’ve had good results twirling the stems back into the soil inducing more shoots to spring out from the sides improving the volume of the foliage.
Can you grow Hoya bhutanica under artificial light?
They can grow under fluorescent light kept on for about 12 hours a day.
Can you prune the tendrils on Hoya bhutanica?
If the tendrils are green and alive then you can keep them. Otherwise, it’s good to shear them off.
Why do buds drop?
Well, there could be multiple reasons for this. Often young plants that aren’t ready for flowers drop off the buds. Too much or too little of a multiple factors like water, sunlight, humidity and fertilizers can stress the plant enough for the buds to drop off.
Patience is the key with Hoya bhutanica care. Observe your plant behaviour and make small adjustments. And finally, just be patient. Your plant should bloom if it’s over 2 years old.
Should I mist my Hoya bhutanica?
Misting with rainwater is an effective form of foliar feeding recommended in Hoya bhutanica care. Make sure you mist only in the mornings so that leaves have time to dry out, or they become susceptible to infections.
Welcome to the Hoya-lovers club! The sheer variety in color, form, and texture across the genus is simply spectacular, both in terms of foliage and flowers.
Hoya enthusiasts spend whole lifetimes collecting and growing different varieties. If you are successful with Hoya Bhutanica care, then I’d recommend that you add more varieties to your Hoya collection.
For example, you can grow Hoya Imperialis for large magenta blooms on a fast-growing vine, or Hoya Obscura for lovely bronze-tinged foliage and salmon-pink blooms. Feel free to explore the detailed care guides we’ve got for different Hoyas. Happy growing!
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.