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Hoya Latifolia – #1 Care Guide

Hoya Latifolia – #1 Care Guide

A friend had a fantastic specimen of Hoya Latifolia growing in the hollow of her birch tree. It had thick green almost round leaves of wildly different sizes all in one plant – from palm-sized to the size of a dinner plate!

Hoya Latifolia care consists of temperatures around 70°F (20°C) a mix of 50% charcoal, coco-husk or sphagnum moss, and the other 50% perlite or vermiculite. Grow these plants in bright shade in an east-facing window. Water every 7-10 days but make sure this Hoya does not sit in water. Fertilize using orchid fertilizer once a month.

The flowers were beautifully fragrant, perfect ball-shaped umbels of creamy white flowers as though they’ve been molded from wax. What a wondrous species to behold! From her, I got a stem cutting to propagate Hoya Latifolia for my own garden.

I don’t have a tree hollow but I grow Hoya Latifolia in a staked pot. This species throws those great big leaves generously and flowers abundantly. It is yet another Hoya for which I can’t decide whether I love the flowers or the foliage more.

You can grow Hoya Latifolia for the fantastic natural fragrance diffuser and air purifier that it is. According to the University of Connecticut, Hoyas are particularly good at absorbing harmful volatile organic compounds in the air.

Native to the warm and muggy forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, Hoya Latifolia care requires warm temperatures and humidity. It is often portrayed as a high maintenance plant. But I’ve put together some tips and tricks to help anyone grow Hoya Latifolia.

 

 

HOYA LATIFOLIA CARE INSTRUCTIONS


 

Soil

Hoya Latifolia care involves recreating a Southeast Asian rain forest environment. These are epiphytic tree climbers that grow in the forest understory.

They don’t necessarily grow in a soil substrate in their natural environment and the roots are often exposed.

They draw nutrients from the air, rainwater, forest debris collected around the roots, and decomposing bark of the host trees.

At home, you can grow Hoya Latifolia in a mix of 50% organic clumps like bark bits, charcoal, chunks of coco-husk or sphagnum moss, and the other 50% perlite or vermiculite.

Shakedown the mix with a fistful of sterile garden compost. This will give the roots just what they want – excellent drainage, aeration, moisture retention, and something to bind themselves around.

An easy Hoya Latifolia care hack is to use a premium orchid medium off the shelf. Add bark or charcoal bits to give a chunky muesli texture.

 

Light

The right amount of light is an important part of Hoya Latifolia care. The foliage gives us important clues about the light conditions it is adapted. The big leathery leaves indicate low light conditions in the understory areas in forests.

Likewise, you can grow Hoya Latifolia protected from direct exposure to sunlight but in bright shade or dappled light particularly if you live close to the equator.

If you live in the northern zones, you will want to grow Hoya Latifolia by a sunny east window in the cold months.

Another great way to provide it yearlong care is to give it a permanent spot in your garden room under grow lights.

 

Watering

This Hoya has developed a degree of succulence to survive a long dry season. However, Hoya Latifolia care takes a bit of even moisture and humidity in the summer months.

I follow a once-a-week to once-in-ten-days watering cycle to grow Hoya Latifolia. The roots dry out 50% between waterings. A useful Hoya Latifolia care hack is using stored rainwater.

If your plant is very young and has fleshy stems, a little more regular watering is required. A mature plant with woodier stems can take draughts better.

During winters, I cut back drastically on watering.

One critical Hoya Latifolia care instruction is the soil proportions have to be on-the-dot. Watering mistakes are often is closed due to waterlogged soil, so it’s important to get that right.

Pro-tip: Make sure you water deeply, thoroughly saturating the root-ball and not in sips. This is to avoid the build-up of mineral salts.

A very important aspect of Hoya Latifolia care is that they cannot sit in water. So empty your drip trays after excess water drains out.

 

Temperature

Hoya species have widely ranging warmth requirements, it’s not exactly one-size-fits-all. You have to know the specific range works for your species – warm, moderate, or cool.

Comparatively cooler ranges suit Hoya Latifolia care. It will thrive at temperatures around 70°F (20°C) for extended periods of time.

In my experience, you can’t grow Hoya Latifolia under 55°F (13°C) because the plant isn’t cold hardy. It most certainly will die at the slightest frost.

I would recommend you grow Hoya Latifolia indoors all year long in comfortable room temperatures particularly if you live in cold regions.

The plant will be dormant in winter temperatures but will survive if kept indoors.

 

Humidity

An important element of Hoya Latifolia 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%. That said, they’re quite forgiving of dryness due to their thick leaves.

If want to grow Hoya Latifolia in colder zones winter months could be a challenge with desert-like dryness indoors. This plant is adapted for high humidity.

Make sure your winter Hoya Latifolia care includes measures like a humidifier and the occasional wipe with a wet sponge.

Finally, never leave the foliage wet because that invites diseases – pin-up this important Hoya Latifolia care tip.

 

Fertilizer

Hoyas don’t really need heavy fertilization. I prefer to grow Hoya Latifolia on a heavy organic diet right from the time of potting.

A lot of decomposed leaf and bark matter mixed with store-bought organic manure works just fine. I prefer slow-release feeds over chemical fertilizers, particularly for epiphytes like Hoya.

I would strongly recommend against using strong cheap chemical fertilizers. That said, during the growing months I am not opposed to the idea of giving it a diluted shot of orchid fertilizer says once a month.

This is just to induce blooms and again, I prefer using a liquid organic type that’s easy to dilute and doesn’t cause a build-up of harmful salts in the soil.

You must stop feeding the plant in winters as it burns the roots.

 

Propagation

You can propagate and grow Hoya Latifolia from herbaceous or woody stem cuttings. They take root quite readily and reach a stage of flowering in about two years from cutting.

Professional growers are known to allow pods to dry on the plant, break them 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.

Another reliable way of propagating Hoya Latifolia is through layering. This is indeed my preferred method simply because of its higher chances of success.

 

Growth

I grow Hoya Latifolia in a mounted pot with a 3 feet (1 meter) tall stake. My stake has three prongs fanning outward so that I can arrange and show off the wondrous dinner-plate leaves.

You can grow Hoya Latifolia even in a hanging basket but you’ll need to make arrangements for the twining stems.

The plant grows well in summers and rests in winters. I transferred my cutting to a pot within 4 months. Since them it has taken the plant about 2 years to spread out around the stake.

Hoya Latifolia care tip: The stems get woodier with age, so make sure to train them around the stake when still tender and pliable.

 

Pruning

Don’t prune the peduncles of dried flowers of a Hoya because the plant produces new flowers from the old peduncles.

A lot of people tend towards occasional pruning, particularly of dead flower heads. This would be a mistake since you grow Hoya Latifolia for the flowers.

This plant lives to bloom. By cutting away the flower stalks you’re making it work extra hard to produce fresh flower heads.

You can prune dead tendrils of the plants. Overall, I’d maintain that Hoya Latifolia care doesn’t involve a lot of pruning and in that sense a low-maintenance choice.

 

Potting

A recommended Hoya Latifolia care tip is to keep the plant rootbound. Many get carried away by the largeness of the leaves and choose large planters.

However, the epiphytic root structures prefer a cramped potting condition tightly binding themselves to organic content.

Therefore, don’t grow Hoya Latifolia swimming around in a big pot. Choose a compact pot.

terracotta planter is a good idea Hoya Latifolia care hack to manage soil moisture around the roots.

Also, the weight of the pot provides stability to this top-heavy plant than tends to topple due to weight imbalance.

 

HOYA LATIFOLIA PROPAGATION EXPLAINED STEP BY STEP

One Hoya Latifolia care principle that I adhere to is regular propagation. I do about 3 to 5 cuttings every growing season from a mature plant. This is my best hedge against losses. Plus, I get to give away Hoyas to one and all and spread the joy!

 

Cutting is an easy method for Hoya Latifolia propagation

  • 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) in a 4” pot. 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 the warm shade until the plant establishes itself.
  • Pro-tip: Group the pot along with other plants. This gives the cutting shade and much-needed humidity.
  • Don’t disturb the cutting until established.

 

How to propagate Hoya Latifolia through water rooting

This method is great given the abundant aerial roots on Hoya Latifolia’s vines.

  • Take a fresh cutting of a healthy step tip with about 2 nodes and plenty of visible aerial roots.
  • 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 65 – 75°F (18 – 25°C)
  • It takes anywhere between 2 weeks and a month for the roots sprouting out of the nodes.
  • Once the roots are about an inch long and strong, transfer cutting to potting soil.
  •  

How to propagate Hoya Latifolia through layering

This method is my fav because it’s non-invasive. Again, you simply take advantage of the aerial rootlets along the stems that develop as you grow Hoya Latifolia.

  • Identify a low dangling stem with aerial roots.
  • Carefully lower this stem into the soil of the same pot or into another pot making sure the nodes with the rootlets are in the soil.
  • Hold it firmly down in the soil with hairpins. Careful not to snap the stem.
  • You could apply a bit of rooting hormone powder at the nodes along the stem.
  • Continue your Hoya Latifolia care as usual.
  • In some time you’ll observe roots sprouting out of the nodes.
  • Once established you can simply cut its umbilical connection with the mother plant and let it grow into a separate plant.
  • Pro tip: DON’T constantly check for roots. Your chances of success improve if you forget about it for a few weeks.

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 LATIFOLIA

Common pests: Because of mild succulence, sucking pests can be an occasional problem when you grow Hoya Latifolia. These include mealybugs, spider mites, aphid, etc.

That said, Hoyas are fairly resistant to pests. As a precaution, I would recommend regular application of horticultural oil or neem sprays as part of the Hoya Latifolia care routine. Do keep wiping the leaves with a wet cloth as well.

Soft and wrinkled leaves: Have you been watering it too little? If so, the plant is just thirsty.

Plant goes limp: The most likely cause of this is root rot. An important part of Hoya Latifolia care is watering and soil. 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.

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

Old leaves discolour and slow growing: If it’s just aging leaves, there’s nothing to worry about. Otherwise, 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.

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.

These nasties are a nightmare to get rid of. My best defence 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, 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 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 Latifolia care, something you’ll pick up with experience.

Low flowering: For those of you who grow Hoya Latifolia for flowers this could be disappointing. The typical reason for this is too little light. The other reason is obviously 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!

 

TIPS TO KEEP HOYA LATIFOLIA PROBLEM-FREE

Growing Hoya Latifolia is all about striking a balance between too much and too little. Here are a few handy tips to keep the plant problem-free:

  • Water it like a succulent. Less is more.
  • Mist your plant with occasionally with rainwater only in the mornings. Foliar feeding of rainwater is what epiphytes get in their natural environment.
  • A bright spot and a lot of indirect sunlight is the best diet for blooms.
  • Don’t prune the flower peduncles. They will bloom again next year.
  • Feed it an orchid fertilizer during growing months.
  • Use a small size planter because the roots like it cramped.
  • Check regularly under the leaves and nodes for bugs and best to never let it get to a full blown infestation. If you spot a mealybug or two, dab them with alcohol dipped earbuds.
  • Wipe the leaves with a wet cloth. It brings out the shine in the leaves and is a good pest control measure.
  • Don’t expose it to cold drafts or direct sun.
  • Winters, indoors.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOYA LATIFOLIA

 

Should I mist my Hoya Latifolia?

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

 

Is Hoya Latifolia a succulent?

The plant has slightly thick leaves, so it has succulent like properties. The care requirements are similar to that of epiphytic succulent Hoyas.

 

How old does Hoya Latifolia have to be before they bloom?

When grown from cuttings the plants are ready to bloom within 2 years from taking root. However, flowering is mostly a function of the right conditions and not necessarily the age of the plant.

 

Does Hoya Latifolia 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.

 

Are hoya leaves toxic for pets?

Although Hoya plants are not toxic to cats or dogs, they could still make an animal sick. The digestive systems of cats and dogs are unable to break down the leaf sap of the hoya plant.


 

CONCLUSION

If you’re reading this it’s safe to assume you’ve decided to add Hoyas to your home garden. Anyone who likes growing succulents would find Hoyas a very rewarding experience.

I would recommend that you set aside a bright south or east side window for succulents like these.

Once you’ve wrapped your head around the care guidelines for Hoya Latifolia, you can now add other varieties to your collection like Hoya LinearisHoya Wayetii Peperomias, etc.

Happy gardening!

 

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