The Hoya plant family has up to 300 species, and the Hoya Carnosa Compacta is one of the most popular species. There is also a popular variegated version of this plant called Hoya Tricolor or Hoya Krimson Queen.
This plant is an epiphytic evergreen semi-succulent vine that originated from East Asia and Australia.
It is a very versatile plant that grows slowly. With minimal attention, you can enjoy the magnificent lush green foliage for several years.
Like most other Hoya Species, the Hoya Carnosa Compacta is simple to care for. Use a fast-draining potting mix and provide bright indirect light for the Hoya Compacta.
Always allow the soil to dry completely in between waterings. The only problem for this plant is the houseplant pests that include mealybugs, aphids and spider mites.
The Hoya Compacta has solid, dark green or variegated leaves and is perfect for high locations such as ledges and hanging pots that show off the stunning trailing vines.
You can even add the beautiful hanging baskets on a balcony, deck area, or summer patio.
This unique plant has curly leaves and vines similar to thick ropes. The leaves of the Hoya Compacta have a glossy or waxy texture.
The Compacta Variegata has the same twisted and curled leaves as the classic Hoya Compacta, and the only difference is the leaves have creamy white or pink variegation.
Hoya Carnosa Compacta is known by several other names such as Porcelain Flower, Hindu Rope plant, Krinkle Kurl, or Wax plant.
Each name represents a unique feature of the Hoya Compacta plant.
The 200-year old popularity of the Hoya Compacta plant as a houseplant is attributed to its ease of care, distinctive appearance, and attractive sweet-smelling blooms.
When grown outdoors, its nectar can attract beneficial wildlife, like honeybees and butterflies.
- 1 Basic Plant care guide for Hoya Compacta
- 2 Common Pests and diseases for Hoya Compacta
- 3 Tips for an Unhappy Hoya Compacta
- 5 Frequently asked questions about Hoya compacta
- 6 Conclusion
Basic Plant care guide for Hoya Compacta
The growing period for the plant starts in mid-spring and continues throughout the summer season, and the plant needs special attention during that period.
This tough, robust houseplant can adapt to many different indoor living conditions.
This article has all the steps for Hoya Carnosa Compacta plant care to help it produce long-lasting foliage and blooms.
Grow the Hoya Compacta in a fast-draining mixture of potting soil that is lightweight and well-aerated. Choose a small pot with drainage holes that holds the roots of the Hoya Compacta tightly packed.
It is crucial to mention that due to the epiphytic nature of the Hoya Compacta, the roots need plenty of airflow for the plant to survive. Therefore the main criteria for a successful potting mix are good drainage and aeration.
This epiphytic plant can thrive in any general-purpose commercial potting mixture, but it cannot tolerate wet or soggy soil at all. You can add perlite to improve the drainage of the soil.
You can also create your own well-aerated potting mix by using 1/3 peat, 1/3 perlite, and 1/3 orchid mix(bark, perlite, or charcoal).
For humid climate, use a coarser potting mixture to ensure good drainage and drying conditions.
Whereas for a dry climate, use a finer potting mixture that will dry slowly and retain more moisture.
For healthy growth, you should refresh the soil every two or three years.
Hoya Compacta is mostly used as an indoor plant, but you can also plant it outdoors. For outdoor planting, a USDA hardiness zone 10-12 is recommended.
The Hoya Compacta is semi-succulent, so it can survive with minimal watering. You should maintain slight moisture in the potting soil. Inspect the top 2-3 inches of the soil before watering or use a moisture meter.
In summer and spring, the plant is actively growing; therefore, it needs sufficient water. It should be watered deeply and regularly in the growing season, but only when the soil is dry.
In winter, the plant is in its resting period, so you can reduce the watering.
To water, the Hoya Compacta use the flood and drain method, i.e., flood the pot with water and allow the excess water to drain out from the pot. If you are using a watering tray or sink, make sure you don’t leave the plant in water for more than 15 minutes.
Always allow the surface of the potting soil to dry out between waterings. The amount and frequency of watering also depend on the air temperature as well as humidity levels.
Drainage is critical for the Hoya Compacta; the plant may start dropping flower buds if the soil remains soggy.
At the same time, excessively dry soil for an extended period of time may also cause the plant to drop buds.
The plant can tolerate short dry periods because the semi-succulent vines are good at storing moisture. So even if you forget to water the plant once or twice, it still has some moisture stored to survive.
Overwatering is one of the common reasons for a dying Hoya Compacta. The epiphytic nature of the plant allows it to draw moisture from the air; therefore, in humid conditions, the plant needs to be watered less.
Bright indirect light is best for the optimal growth of the Hoya Carnosa Compacta plant. Choose an indoor position near a window that will provide plenty of indirect bright sunlight.
The plant cannot tolerate direct sunlight combined with high heat, as it will scorch the flowers and leaves.
6 hours of bright but indirect sunlight are recommended for the healthy growth of hoya plants. Morning sunlight is preferred for houseplants, as it will not scorch the plant leaves.
This plant can even grow in low light conditions, but the growth will be very slow, and the plant may not have any blooms.
Lighting conditions can significantly impact the blooming phase of this plant. Good lighting is very crucial for producing flowers on the Hoya Compacta.
If you are keeping the Hoya Compacta outside, choose a position with partial shade. Make sure the plant is not exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time.
Too much sunlight exposure can cause yellowing of the foliage. If you notice any yellowing leaves, move the plant away from direct sunlight.
If you are using artificial lights or fluorescent lights, the plant should be exposed to the lights each day for around 14 hours.
If you want to encourage blooms, leave the plant under the artificial lights for up to 16 hours.
This plant likes continuous warm indoor temperatures. At daytime, maintain the temperature of 70 oF (21 degrees Celsius) or above and at night 60-65 oF (16-18 degrees Celsius) is ideal for the Hoya Compacta plant.
The minimum temperature should always be above 50 oF (10 degrees Celsius).
This plant is a favorite as a houseplant because it typically grows well in the usual indoor temperature.
In warm areas, this plant can be kept outdoors as well only if the outdoor temperature does not drop below 50 oF (10 degrees celsius).
The Hoya Compacta plant does not do well in cold temperatures. So if you are planning to spend the winter away from home, you will have to leave the heating on or make any other arrangement to keep your plant happy and comfortable in your absence.
Always keep the Hoya Compacta plant away from hot radiators or cold drafts to protect it from sudden temperature changes.
The Hoya Compacta is native to warm and humid climates; therefore, this plant enjoys higher humidity than the average indoor level.
In the right humidity conditions, the waxy leaves will appear glossy and healthy. When they look withered or dry, it’s time to increase the humidity.
You can increase the indoor humidity level by using a humidifier. An air-humidifier will keep the air around the plant moist enough to grow lush leaves and flowers.
Alternatively, you can place the pot on a rock-filled tray with water to achieve the right humidity level, i.e., between 40-60 %.
In very dry conditions, you can mist the plant daily to increase the humidity level or group several plants together.
This plant craves more humidity than most other indoor houseplants. You can consider placing the plant in a bathroom or kitchen where the humidity level is higher compared to other places in the house.
To take care of your Hoya Compacta plant during winter, you need to reduce the watering and increase humidity.
Because in cold months, the central heating will cause the air to dry quickly. Reducing the watering during winter will also prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged or too damp.
Hoya Compacta is a light feeder and enjoys a small dose of fertilizers in the growing period.
In the spring and summer season, feed the Hoya Compacta plant with a diluted water-soluble fertilizer every 2 to 3 months.
The plant does not need heavy fertilizer feeding for healthy growth. Don’t fertilize the plant in the resting phase, i.e., from fall to winter.
If the new leaves are dark green and small, reduce the fertilizer application or dilute fertilizer solution. Use the fertilizer according to the label, or you can dissolve ¼ teaspoon fertilizer in 1 gallon of filtered water.
I would recommend using a fertilizer high in potassium to encourage beautiful blooms on the Hoya Compacta.
Be wary of overfertilizing; it can severely damage the plant, it causes dry, crinkled leaves, and the new leaves are smaller in size.
Overfertilization is usually denoted by a crusty white residue on the top of the soil surface.
If your plant is victim to overfertilizing, thoroughly flush the plant with water or repot it in a new soil mixture.
The Hoya Carnosa Compacta makes a great hanging plant. These slow-growing vines rarely need repotting as there are fewer chances of the plant outgrowing the pot.
Use a small-sized pot to minimize the risk of root rot, as the potting mixture will dry out more quickly in a small pot.
It will provide enough space for the roots while still keeping them packed. Drainage holes are a must for this plant.
You need to repot the plant if one of the following happens:
- The soil is drying out more quickly after watering
- The potting soil has become very compacted. Hence the roots are suffering from lack of oxygen
- The roots are clogging the drainage holes
- The general health of the plant is declining
To repot a Hoya Compacta, carefully remove it from the pot and remove the excess soil from the roots. Check for damaged or dead roots and prune them with sterilized pruning shears. Transfer it to a container that is 2″ larger than the previous one.
You can repot the Hoya Compacta plant at any time between spring to mid-summer. Avoid repotting the plant when it’s blooming because it can damage the flowers, and the plant can lose healthy blooms.
When repotting, always be cautious and protect the roots. The roots of this plant are tangled, and they should be kept the same in the new container.
Star-shaped flowers of the Hoya Carnosa Compacta are the most attractive feature of this plant. In fact, the beauty and perfection of the tiny star-shaped flowers is the reason why this plant is famous as a porcelain flower.
This Hoya species takes a few years to start flowering, so be patient.
With correct lighting conditions, the mature plant will produce beautiful blooms in early spring and summer. Each flower has two stars, the inner star is known as the corona, and the outer star is corolla.
The pinkish-white flowers appear in clusters, and each plant can produce up to 40 flowers. The flowers last for 2 to 3 weeks.
They come in a range of colors, with a heavy and sweet fragrance. The flowers bloom from the spurs that are small leafless stems.
With the proper nutrition and water, some plants take 1 year, while others take up to 3 years to start flowering. The most common reason for failed blooming is insufficient light.
Pruning is an additional step in Hoya Compacta care, only needed to improve the overall appearance of the plant or to manage its size. While pruning the plant, do not remove any stems with spurs because this will reduce the number of blooms.
Spur is the tip of the peduncle where the flower grows. In the blooming season, flowers grow from both old and new spurs. And old spurs are believed to produce the largest blooms on the vine.
You should prune the plant in the spring season to allow it to recover from any kind of pruning stress or shock. You can cut any dead or damaged stems. Pinch off yellow, brown or dead leaves to keep the plant looking tidy and attractive.
Properly sanitize the pruning shears to prevent infections. Soak the shears in household disinfectant for 5 minutes and later rinse them with hot water. After pruning, you can use the stem cuttings for propagation.
The most effective way to propagate the Hoya Carnosa Compacta is via stem cuttings:
- Using clean pruning shears, and remove a section of 3-4 inches from the tip of the plant(just below the node) by cutting at an angle. Choose a section that has at least one pair of leaves.
- Remove all the leaves from the lower end of the cutting and allow it to dry. The white latex will harden overnight.
- You can also dip the stem cutting in the rooting hormone to encourage growth, but it’s an optional step.
- Now place the bottom part of the cutting in water. Do not immerse the leaves in the water.
- Or place the cutting in a small pot with lightweight moist growing medium.
- Cover the potted plant with a plastic bag or propagation bag to help hold in the moisture.
- Position the cutting in a warm shaded position for several weeks.
- After a few weeks, you will notice new growth above the soil; now, you can transplant the Hoya Compacta to a new pot or container.
Common Pests and diseases for Hoya Compacta
This plant is susceptible to common houseplant pests such as mealybugs, spider mites and aphids.
Mealy Bugs feed on the stems of plants and suck out the sap, leading to decaying, weak branches and stunted growth.
Mealybugs will hide on the inner side of the curled vines, so check the vines regularly to spot any infections.
Aphids also damage the new growth and are mostly found near the flowers.
The waxy curled foliage is the ideal hiding spot for spider mites. You should regularly inspect the leaf nodes and leaves for any infections.
Spider mites are so small that they’ll go unnoticed until the plants are severely damaged.
The initial symptoms include new leaves cupping downward, wrinkling and stunted growth.
Now store this solution in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the undersides of the leaves. Repeat the spraying every two weeks until the issue is resolved.
Another organic and cost-effective solution for these pests is neem oil. Spray the curled part of leaves regularly with neem oil.
Botrytis is a fungus that causes grayish areas on the leaves. Mostly the center leaves are infected where moisture levels are the highest.
When this happens, remove the plant from the humid area and cut any damaged parts of the plant.
After this, repot it in a new pot with fresh soil and spray a fungicide on the entire plant.
If you want an organic treatment instead of chemical fungicides, you can use a mixture of baking soda and water.
Tips for an Unhappy Hoya Compacta
Hoya Carnosa Compacta is one of the most interesting hanging plants with its distinctive waxy flowers and curling foliage.
If you are planning to place one in your home, follow the simple Hoya Compacta care tips given below:
- You should not rotate, repot or move the Hoya Compacta after the flower blooms, this can disturb the growth of the flowers, and they may not survive the transition.
- Avoid overwatering or overfeeding the Hoya Compacta plant in winter.
- Hoya Compacta should be kept in small pots to prevent overwatering.
- Cleaning the leaves often can help to discourage pests.
- Avoid transplanting mature Hoya Carnosa Compacta as this may stress the roots of the plants.
Frequently asked questions about Hoya compacta
Why is the plant famous as a Hindu rope plant?
The leaves of Hoya Compacta are tightly packed resembling a rope, and the plant is native to East Asia; therefore, it is famous as a Hindu Rope plant among gardeners.
When is the best time to repot the Hoya Compacta?
Like every other indoor houseplant, the best time to repot Hoya Compacta is during the growing phase, i.e., during spring or summer. Avoid transplanting when the plant is blooming; this can shock the flowers.
Is the Hoya Compacta poisonous?
No, the Hoya Compacta plant is a safe houseplant for indoor spaces with pets or kids. The leaves are not toxic and do not pose any health issues.
Is Hoya Compacta drought tolerant?
Yes, Hoya Carnosa Compacta is typically accustomed to short periods of drought in its native habitat; for this reason, they can withhold water for 4-5 weeks in spring.
The Hoya Compacta is definitely a unique plant that adds a touch of character to any indoor space.
The twisted vines can survive for several years and can grow up to 20 feet long.
It is an epiphytic air-purifying plant, and the thick glossy leaves are succulent.
You can train the vines of this hoya plant to climb up walls or let them trail gently down the pot.
This variety of Hoya plant is very easy to care for as long as you provide the plant with plenty of light and are careful with watering.
Just be consistent with the care routine to help the plant thrive.
Also, have a look at our general Hoya carnosa care guide.