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Hoya Finlaysonii Plant Care Done Right

Hoya Finlaysonii Plant Care Done Right

Every Hoya has a defining characteristic for which it is grown. Most Hoya species are grown for the waxy blooms. However, the reason I grow Hoya finlaysonii is the spectacular foliage. The colour of the leaves is light green with prominent deep emerald green venation and a deep green edge. The elliptic leaves have a cardboard like texture and feel to them.

The flowers of this plant are inconsequential at least in terms of appearance given how the foliage is a show stealer. However, the small umbels of creamy white flowers and maroon outer petal lobes do give out the charming cinnamon-like “Hoya scent” when the plant blooms in summer months.

The growth pattern of Hoya finlaysonii is perfect for hanging baskets and for indoor growing. It is not a common Hoya, not even in its native environments in Malaya, South Thailand and Borneo.

Once you have some Hoya finlaysonii care hacks up your sleeve, this is a worthy collectors’ piece to have in your garden.

 

How Not To Kill Your Hoya Finlaysonii
 

HOYA FINLAYSONII CARE INSTRUCTIONS

 

Soil

Soil is the most important aspect of Hoya finlaysonii care. It needs to be rich in organic nutrients and extremely well draining.

These plants are epiphytes occurring in tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia where they don’t necessarily grow in a soil substrate. Instead, epiphytes draw nutrients from air, rain water, forest debris collected around the roots and decomposing bark of the host trees.

I know people who grow Hoya finlaysonii in a soil-less potting mix of just coco-peat and coco shell chips and plants appear to be quite happy.

I use a mix with 50% organic chunks like bark bits, charcoal, coco-husk or sphagnum peat moss, and the other 50% perlite. This chunky mix gives the roots just what they want – excellent drainage, aeration, moisture retention, and something to bind themselves around.
 

Light

Hoyas have adapted to the lighting levels of their natural environment through different leaf structures. Hoyas with large leaves are often seen growing in shadier spaces and need more leaf surface to absorb sunlight.

Light requirements for Hoya finlaysonii care can also be assessed by studying its leaves – medium to big, thin and green veined leaves. From this you can gather that “bright shade” is suitable to grow Hoya finlaysonii.

In the northern zones, you can grow Hoya finlaysonii by a south east or a south west window where they receive filtered light.

In the hardy zones it’s better to place the plant where there is no direct sunlight but bright nevertheless. For e.g. you can grow Hoya finlaysonii in you patio in a medium light spot.

Even though you may not grow Hoya finlaysonii for the flowers, 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 just fine even under LED growlights for 10-12 hours a day.

 

Watering

It is quite tropical evergreen in its needs. Thin leaves typically indicate that it is adapted to grow in a wetter environment. Hence, Hoya finlaysonii care requires consistent watering compared to other Hoyas but it doesn’t like waterlogged soil.

I leave some moisture around the roots at all times during summer months for ideal Hoya finlaysonii care. I cut back watering during winters.

If your plant is very young it is more susceptible to root rot. A large mature plant can cope with over-watering mistakes. You can grow Hoya finlaysonii in a somewhat small pot to naturally limit the water available to the roots.

I grow Hoya finlaysonii with a once-a-week watering cycle during summer ensuring that the top half of the soil substrate dries out between waterings.

Finally, you can’t get watering right if you don’t get the soil right. That’s the first thing to note particularly if you want to grow Hoya finlaysonii indoors.

Hoya finlaysonii care hack: Make sure you water deeply, saturating the root-ball and not in sips, to avoid build-up of mineral salts.

 

Temperature

Hoya species have widely ranging warmth requirements. Some Hoyas like Hoya Lacunosa and Hoya Carnosa need cool temperatures 50°F – 75°F (10°C – 25°C).

Most in the genus require intermediate range temperatures 60°F – 95°F (15°C – 35°C) like Hoya Imperialis.

Then there are the warmth loving types that need continual temperatures above 70°F (21°C). This is range suited to grow Hoya finlaysonii.

In my experience, the plant will be the happiest at temperatures of 95°F (35°C) for extended periods of time. They are not frost tolerant.

One Hoya finlaysonii 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.

 

Humidity

Humidity wise Hoya finlaysonii care is fairly straightforward. Compared to other Hoyas, this plant needs a bit more of it.

A humidity level ranging from 60 to 80% is necessary to support healthy growth and development.

If you grow Hoya finlaysonii in a cold zone, winter months are going to be a challenge. The Sahara-like dryness in aircon rooms are not the perfect environment for Hoya finlaysonii care, so take measures to improve humidity, such as misting or a humidifier.

 

Fertilizer

My preferred feeding method to grow Hoya finlaysonii is to go heavy on organic content right at the time of potting and then following it up with a balanced liquid fertilizer.

The reason I prefer organic feeds over chemical fertilizers, particularly for epiphytes like Hoya is because they are slow-release.

This plant does seem to respond well to feeding. I don’t completely stop feeding in winter, I simply cut down the frequency to half or less.

I prefer using a liquid organic type that’s easy to dilute and doesn’t cause build-up of harmful salts in the soil. Water well along with feeds.

Hoya finlaysonii care tip: Never fertilize if the plant appears stressed. Solve the problem and feed only when the plant is back to normal.

 

Propagation

You can propagate and grow Hoya finlaysonii from herbaceous stem cuttings. If you observe the vines of this plant you’ll notice tiny little knobs all along – these are aerial roots.

Hoya finlaysonii takes root quite readily and reaches a stage of flowering in about two years from cutting.

Although I prefer propagating Hoyas through layering because of it non-intrusiveness, this method isn’t suitable for Hoya finlaysonii. The vines are too thin and snappy.

I’ve made a surprisingly positive discovery with respect to propagating Hoya finlaysonii 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.

 

Growth

If you grow Hoya finlaysonii expecting a lot of action you’re in for surprises. The plant, like a true tropical, only grows in the summer months. It needs all that warmth, light and humidity to really break into a growth spree. When it grows, it really grows. Within two summers it can fully cover a 2 foot tall trellis quite easily.

Even though these are technically “climbing vines”, I grow Hoya finlaysonii in a hanging pot because I love hanging vines.

The ideal Hoya finlaysonii care hack is to stake the pot with a trellis and hold up the stems with twisty tapes or clamps. 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. In hanging baskets let some stems twine around the hanger.

Hoya finlaysonii 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 growlights.

 

Pruning

When you grow Hoya finlaysonii you’ll observe that it throws out a few bare vines like tendrils. I have wondered what to do with them. 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.

 

Potting

Unlike the smaller varieties of Hoyas that like to be root bound, Hoya finlaysonii care would need a little more space for the roots to grow out. Even though a smaller pot ensures less water, this is after all a robust grower and needs more of everything! That said, don’t grow Hoya finlaysonii swimming around in a large pot. A good one to start a cutting in would be a 6 inch pot. Add 2 inches after two years.

A good Hoya finlaysonii 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. Netted pots are a great way to manage soil moisture too which is the most crucial aspect of Hoya finlaysonii care.

 

HOYA FINLAYSONII PROPAGATION EXPLAINED STEP BY STEP

 

Hoya finlaysonii propagation 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 growlights until the plant is established.
  • This plant need humidity. You can cover the cutting with a big transparent ziplock bag with a few holes.
  • Don’t disturb the cutting until established.

 

How to propagate Hoya finlaysonii through water rooting:

This method has proved to be quite successful for Hoya finlaysonii given it’s 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 weeks and 2 months 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 finlaysonii 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.

 

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH HOYA FINLAYSONII

Individual leaves or stems shrivelling and falling off: Examine the underside of the leaf. If you see fuzzy white bugs stuck to the leaf this is a mealy bug infestation.

Your best defence 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 ear bud and apply on 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.

Leaves discolour and fall off suddenly: This could be due to cold exposure. Just bring the plant indoors.

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 a 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 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.

Hoyas are fairly resistant to pests but I would recommend regular application of horticultural oil or neem sprays as part of the Hoya finlaysonii care routine just as a preventive.

 

TIPS TO KEEP HOYA FINLAYSONII PROBLEM-FREE

  • Hoya finlaysonii needs a little more of warmth, moisture and humidity compared to other Hoyas
  • The soil mix should contain organic material like deadwood, bark, coconut husk, charcoal, along with draining material like perlite.
  • Feed the plant additional organic fertilizers in summers.
  • Don’t expose it to cold drafts or direct sun.
  • The roots of Hoya finlaysonii need room to grow compared to other Hoyas that like it root bound.
  • If you want to repot, do it in May/June during growing months.
  • A shower once 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 FINLAYSONII

 

How do you tell apart Hoya Callistophylla and Finlaysonii?

Both are pretty alike and difficult to tell apart even in bloom. One difference is that Hoya finlaysonii’s veins are not as contrasting as callistophylla’s. The underside of Callistophylla leaves may be bronze tinted.

 

Can you prune tendrils on Hoya Finlaysonii?

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 Finlaysonii 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 finlaysonii?

Misting with rainwater is an effective form of foliar feeding recommended in Hoya finlaysonii care. Make sure you mist only in the mornings so that leaves have time to dry out, or they become susceptible to infections.

 

How do you save an overwatered Hoya finlaysonii?

It becomes easy to rectify watering mistakes if you follow out potting guidelines. Firstly, a smaller pot will ensure less water for the roots. Secondly if you use a netted pot, all you have to do is to simply remove the liner and leave it like that until the roots dry out. An overwatered Hoya can die in 24-48 hours, though, so you have to work fast.

CONCLUSION

Welcome to the Hoya-lovers club! The sheer variety that this genus offers is enough to make an average home gardener hooked to it for life. According to the University of Connecticut, Hoyas are great air purifiers good at absorbing harmful volatile organic compounds.

Everything about Hoya finlaysonii care needs point to its tropical origins. It’s not exactly an easy, low-maintenance plant. I have keep an eye on adequate warmth, moisture and humidity all year through to grow Hoya finlaysonii. In a home environment one must be mindful of rots and diseases as well.

Anyone who has a penchant for rare houseplants would find Hoyas a very rewarding experience. While Hoya finlaysonii is grown for foliage you can explore flowering varieties also like Hoya Obscura and Hoya Compacta.

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