Who doesn’t like a hanging vine? I am a big fan of hanging plants, always on the lookout for creative ways of having them all around the house, not just in my porch and patio, but also by my study and along my windows too.
So you can imagine my delight years ago when I stumbled upon this unique perennial vine called Hoya Lacunosa, originating from the Indonesian islands.
Hoya is a species of 200 to 300 plants according to the University of Florida.
This plant has grown to become a favorite of many home gardeners over the years.
I like to grow Hoya Lacunosa for its deep green fleshy foliage that looks amazeballs when thrown in along with other hanging vines.
It also comes in variegated and frosty leaf varieties if you want something fun for your home.
Even then, what Hoya Lacunosa is truly renowned for is its flowers.
It blooms generously throughout the year and can turn into a natural fragrance diffuser wafting a sweet spicy scent around the plant in the evenings – much like cinnamon.
Imagine your dinner guests walking through a scented porch before they enter your house!
Hoya plants bloom in tiny bundles (called umbels) of white-ish or creamy color, cinnamon-scented flowers.
Each flower in the umbel is shaped like a geometrically perfect little star and has the appearance of being molded in wax. In the case of Hoya Lacunosa variety, the blooms are a fuzzy white, with the waxy structure right in the center. Hoyas are popularly called as a wax plant or waxflower or porcelain flower for obvious reasons.
Well, I call my plant “Missy Hoya” because of the way its dainty stems dangle elegantly over the sides of the hanging basket.
One thing to note about Hoya Lacunosa care is that it hails from tropical climes, which means it’s easier to grow Hoya Lacunosa successfully if you live somewhere closer to the equator.
However, with a basic understanding of this plant type, you can grow them pretty much anywhere.
They are relatively hardy, non-fussy, and very rewarding to grow to add variety and texture to an assortment of hanging plants with its semi-succulent leaves and wax-like flowers.
Read on to find some tips and tricks on how to grow Hoya Lacunosa and the basics of Hoya Lacunosa care for all climates.
Table of Contents
Hoya Lacunosa Plant Care Guide
Hoya Lacunosa care is largely determined by its virtue as an epiphytic plant.
This means that in its natural habitat Hoya grows on the surface of a plant or a tree and draws nutrients from the air, rain, water, or from debris accumulating around it.
What we can gather from this is that in order to grow Hoya Lacunosa the potting soil needs to be lightly packed, almost porous, so that the roots can breathe.
We also need to ensures that the soil drains very well.
By the way, I have a drip tray attachment to my hanging baskets to prevent a muddy puddle on the floor.
A nice soil mix that I’ve been using to grow Hoya Lacunosa is peat, with some rich soil, sand, and mulch or humus thrown together.
You can even use drainage material such as perlite. Pine bark, peat moss, or any other organic substance that makes soil airy and is easily available to you, makes it into the mix.
If you want to make an easy job of it, use a basic orchid potting mix readily available at most gardening stores.
Hanging baskets made of coco fiber liners make lovely planters to hold the potting mixture.
Now that you know that Hoya Lacunosa is a tree-hugger and grows on the bark of trees in forests, you can imagine that it must be well lit out there with filtered sunlight streaming through a canopy of trees.
The perfect Hoya Lacunosa care (or any house plant for that matter) is to mimic the lighting conditions of its natural habitat as much as you can.
This is how you get lush growth and good flowering. Hanging your basket to the bough of a tree in your garden can be a good idea except that the leaves get a bit dusty.
If your porch is well-lit go for it. Winter months are tricky for this fleshy vine.
You can grow Hoya Lacunosa indoors under artificial lights. My “Missy Hoya” hangs by a window on the south side of the house and gets plenty of indirect light.
You can grow Hoya Lacunosa in medium light conditions; just that it doesn’t bloom too well.
Like any tropical flowering plant, the more light it gets, the more flowers it will produce. And who wouldn’t want that cinnamon fragrance of the flowers wafting around it?
As with all aspects of Hoya Lacunosa care, there are several opinions out there when it comes watering.
Some say it needs moisture all the time. Others claim that it is moderately drought tolerant.
I am going to reiterate my rule-of-thumb in all matters of plant care. We simply need to understand what moisture conditions the plant gets in its original habitat.
In the natural environment epiphytes like Hoya receive watering as when it rains.
Pro tip #1: Store rainwater and use it to water epiphytes.
During rainy months the soil around the roots stay between moist to wet but never waterlogged, due to excellent drainage.
Pro tip #2: If the potting mix and the planter you’ve used drain excellently well then yes, you can water regularly. Finally, during the dry months, forest Hoyas survive from the stored moisture in the bark and debris but the growth slows down a little.
Pro tip #3: These Hoyas can take a bit of dryness but will require some arrangement for stored moisture around the roots. There’s also a humidity angle in here that I’ll address separately.
So the best workaround for homegrown Hoya Lacunosa care is to simply water the plant when the top layer of the potting mix visibly dries out and to never let it ‘sit’ in water (but that’s a function of the soil as well, which we’ve already spoken about in another section).
Also worth noting, this intermittent dryness is good for Hoyas to induce flowering.
The watering rule for winter months is to cut back even further just enough to maintain moisture. The plant won’t grow but it’ll survive the winter.
Hoya Lacunosa is a fairly hardy and temperature tolerant tropical plant, but it can’t withstand chilly temperatures.
With its slightly succulent leaves and fleshy stems, the temperature ideally has to be between 68ºF-77ºF (between 20ºC and 25ºC) and can never fall below 50ºF (10ºC).
If you live close to the equator you can grow Hoya Lacunosa outdoors throughout the year.
Otherwise, it’s best to keep it out of cold drafts and grow it indoors at room temperature, particularly in the colder months.
An important element of Hoya Lacunosa care is regulating humidity, as these plants belong to climes with moderate to high humidity.
Exposed to heavy monsoon in their natural habitat, they in fact thrive in levels upwards to 60%.
If want to grow Hoya Lacunosa in cold country winter months is going to be a challenge.
It took me a while to understand that these plants are accustomed to high humidity and not necessarily heavy watering.
Bearing that in mind, make sure your winter Hoya Lacunosa care includes measures to ensure humidity, such as a humidifier.
I grow Hoya Lacunosa in a soil mix rich in organic manure and don’t believe it needs a lot of fertilization.
A lot of decomposed leaf and bark matter mixed with rich soil does the trick.
The reason I prefer organic feeds over chemical fertilizers, particularly for epiphytes like Hoya, is important they are slow-release.
In addition to this, my bi-monthly Hoya Lacunosa care schedule includes a balanced orchid fertilizer that you can pick up from your local store.
This is just to boost the blooms and to be used only in the growing months. You must stop feeding the plant in winter.
The winter Hoya Lacunosa care must be limited to just moisture management.
I started to grow Missy Hoya in one pot and now I have several gorgeous hanging baskets.
It is quite easy to propagate and grow Hoya Lacunosa from cuttings.
I just make sure that the stem I use is strong and healthy and has about 3 nodes.
Neither too long nor too short.
But in a nutshell, they are non-fussy plants that propagate quite readily!
Make sure the soil mix is sterile to improve the chances of the cutting taking root, and not rot.
I would suggest you grow Hoya Lacunosa in at least one hanging basket because they look beautiful grown like a pendant plant.
That said, Hoyas are simply vines that grow on trees so they do well even as a climbing vine trained on to a trellis so you needn’t miss out on this plant just because you don’t have a hanging spot.
It is a small to medium size plant and moderately slow growing making it a great choice for a small garden space.
Hoya Lacunosa is happy being root bound as with all epiphytes.
This is indeed a low maintenance plant that needs no repotting.
In my opinion, you shouldn’t repot this plant unless it appears to be dull or in some kind of distress. (You’ll find some of the common issues with Hoya Lacunosa care addressed below).
If you feel you’re Hoya is overgrown just lift the entire root ball and put in a bigger pot with more potting mix. In any don’t try to untangle the roots, they don’t like it.
Add fresh potting mix to the soil once every two years is all this plant needs.
Propagating Hoya Lacunosa Step by Step
Taking cuttings is the easiest and the most reliable method for propagation.
Please find a step-by-step instruction here:
Wait until June, just ahead of the growing season in the tropics
Use a strong, healthy cutting from a bug-free mother plant
It must have about 3 leaf nodes. Pluck off the leaves from the lower node
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) in a 4” pot
Keep the mix moist never letting it dry out and in shade until the plant establishes itself
Pro-tip: Group the pot along with other pots. This gives the cutting shade and much-needed moisture.
Don’t disturb the cutting until established
Seeds can be used as well, but it takes several months for the pods to dry out before they split open and throw out hairy flossy seeds.
Only freshly harvested seeds germinate successfully.
Common Problems with Hoya Lacunosa
Plant goes limp
This is most likely because of root rot. An important part of Hoya Lacunosa care is watering and soil.
The plant likes moisture but doesn’t prefer to sit in water. Therefore 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.
Leaves discolor and fall off suddenly
This could be due to cold exposure. Just bring the plant indoors or away from windows in winter.
Old leaves discolor and the plant looks dull and is 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 report it with a lot of good slow-release organic manure.
This is arguably any home gardener’s biggest nightmare because these nasties are very stubborn and difficult to get rid of.
My best defense against these bugs is to keep checking the plant regularly, especially the underside of the leaves.
If I see that characteristic tiny white cottony bug stuck under a leaf, I just spray a fine jet of water and blast it off the plant.
Now if you’ve managed to let the bug spread into an infestation, getting rid of them may be quite a challenge. In my experience, 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 it with blasted bugs either and don’t transfer the bugs from your Hoya to another plant.
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 on each bug. Time-consuming, but effective.
Dry patches or burns on the leaves
These could be sunburns due to direct and harsh exposure to the sun. The right amount of sun is an essential element of Hoya Lacunosa care, something you’ll pick up with experience.
You’ll need to trim out the burned leaves so that the dry part doesn’t catch a secondary fungal infection from humidity. Shift the plant to a shaded spot with indirect light.
For those of you who grow Hoya Lacunosa for flowers, this could be disappointing.
The typical reason for this is too little light. The other reason is soil poor in nutrients.
If it’s a soil problem adding a balanced orchid meal to the potting mix or any organic fertilizer should help.
However, my first advice would still be to give the plant enough light, preferably a lot of indirect sunlight, and to be patient!
10 Tips to keep Hoya Lacunosa problem-free
As you’d have figured out by now the main elements of your Hoya Lacunosa care regimen is ensuring basic growth conditions such as the right amount of water and the right amount of light.
With respect to both, it’s all about striking a balance between too much and too little.
Here are a few handy tips to keep Hoya Lacunosa problem-free:
It’s not just watering but rather moisture and humidity that are essential
Pro tip: Mist your plant with rainwater regularly. Foliar feeding of rainwater is what epiphytes do in their natural environment. Plus, if you do this regularly, it makes your plant slightly more bug resistant.
A bright spot and a lot of indirect sunlight is the best diet for your plant.
For soil, think organic and excellent-draining, because what’s often marketed as “well-draining” may not be not good enough.
Drop-in several chunks of organic matter in the soil during potting like pieces of deadwood, bark, clumps of coconut husk, charcoal etc. The roots love them.
As far as repotting is concerned less is more.
If you want to repot, do it in May/June just before it’s growing months.
Check regularly under the leaves and nodes for bugs and best to never let it get to a full-blown infestation.
If you spot mealybugs, serve them alcohol! (check the Common Problems section for details on Hoya Lacunosa care)
Don’t expose it to cold drafts or direct sun.
In winter months keep your plant indoors.
This is your ready reckoner checklist on how to grow Hoya Lacunosa.
Now you can sit back and enjoy these wonderful plants.
Frequently asked questions about Hoya Lacunosa
How often should I water my Hoya?
Only enough to keep the soil moist. In the growing months i.e. summer months you can water frequently provided the potting mix drains well. Cut back during flowering and even further in winters.
Is Hoya Lacunosa a succulent?
The plant has leaves that are slightly thick, with protruding veins and needs care somewhat similar to succulents, but they are essentially epiphytes. Certain other varieties of Hoya however have more succulent like features.
How old does Hoya Lacunosa have to be before they bloom?
When grown from cuttings the plants is ready to bloom even as early as 3 months from taking root. Flowering is mostly a function of the right conditions and not necessarily age of the plant.
Does Hoya Lacunosa bloom only in the summer?
This variety of Hoya blooms pretty much round the year. However in cold countries there’s will be no action in winter months.
Does Hoya Lacunosa grow and bloom under artificial light?
Yes, they have been observed to bloom under florescent light kept on for about 12 hours a day. If you have low light issues this is your workaround.
What is the best pot size for a Hoya Lacunosa?
For young cuttings a small 4” pot is good enough for about 6 months. After that you can transfer it to a 10” hanging basket where it’ll easily stay for at least 2 years.
Considering that Hoya Lacunosa is a fairly sturdy, non-fussy, and forgiving plant, for the most part, you have very little to worry about.
Armed with the basics of how to grow Hoya Lacunosa, you can now confidently join the happy club of Hoya owners.
Growing Hoya Lacunosa is not only rewarding, but it is also a great variety for Hoya beginners to embark on an enduring love for Hoyas.
Once your Hoya Lacunosa is well established in your home garden you should consider growing other popular variants such as Hoya carnosa, Hoya australis, Hoya cinnamomifolia, Hoya kerrii, Hoya serpens etc.
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.