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Hoya macgillivrayi – How To Care For This Plant

Hoya macgillivrayi – How To Care For This Plant

(image credits, IG: hoyalian)

One of the most spectacular Hoya species is the Hoya macgillivrayi; this beauty is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant. Additionally, many hybrids involving the Hoya macgillivrayi plant have been developed for horticulture.

The Hoya macgillivrayi plant requires filtered bright sunlight and a mildly humid environment with 60% to 80% humidity. It reacts adversely to stagnant soils. This plant grows exceptionally in well-draining, peaty soil mixtures. Moreover, it tolerates temperatures ranging from 45 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (7-35 degrees Celsius).

The Hoya macgillivrayi plant is considerably easy to care for, whether grown outdoors or indoors. The Hoyas hail from the Asclepiadaceae family and form a large genus with over 200 species, including milky-sapped and evergreen climbing species.

The Hoyas naturally grow in Malaysia, China, and some tropical regions of Australia. This variety was discovered by Dr. William DK Macgillivray in Queensland, Australia.

The Hoya macgillivrayi plant chiefly is a strong succulent climber that grows profusely in the Iron Range-Mcllwraith Range area situated in the Cape York Peninsula. In its natural habitat, it reaches the canopies and basks in the strong light falling on the treetops or along the open creeks.

The Hoya macgillivrayi can be grown as a decorative plant in a sheltered, partially-shaded spot in warm areas where it can be easily trained against a wall or framework.

However, it is better to cultivate it as a glasshouse plant or as a container plant indoors or in patios in colder regions.



Hoya macgillivrayi Plant Care



Most plants, including the Hoyas, cannot tolerate stagnant and poorly-draining soils. Whether grown indoors or outdoors, the growth of any plant is heavily dependent on the type of soil it is grown in.

The majority of the Hoyas grow fairly well in soils that are well-aerated and well-draining.

The Hoya macgillivrayi plant thrives in friable, airy, and peaty soil mixtures. The ideal soil pH for the Hoya macgillivrayi plant is 6.1 to 7.5 (slightly acidic to neutral).

The acidity ensures efficient nutrient absorption and decreases the probability of infection. Furthermore, the soil should not hold excessive water or be too loose.

For the Hoya macgillivrayi plant, I suggest using peat moss combined with perlite; this makes an excellent soil medium. It also forms a well-aerated mix for this plant that prevents water-logging and promotes growth.

Several Hoya macgillivrayi plant owners prefer growing it in decorative pots or hanging baskets. If you opt for a fancy pot, please ensure that it has adequate drainage for the water to flow out.

Moreover, keep the soil moist throughout the year to prevent dehydration and plant disease.

The USDA hardiness zone for this plant is 11a to 11b: from 40 degrees Fahrenheit (+4.4 °Celsius) to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (+10 ° Celsius).



A plant’s watering schedule is of prime importance. Establishing a regular and appropriate watering routine is essential for the Hoya macgillivrayi plant’s healthy growth.

The macgillivrayi plant does not require too much hard work; watering it every other day is sufficient.

What works best for the Hoya macgillivrayi plant is watering it depending on its soil’s condition. When the macgillivrayi plant’s soil seems dry, add water till it is thoroughly moist.

On the other hand, when the soil appears to be mild to moderately wet, withhold the water till it dries out slightly.

If you are having trouble determining when to water the Hoya macgillivrayi plant’s soil, simply check its top layer; when it’s top, 2 to 3 inches look dry or feel dry to the touch, water the soil.

However, when the plant’s soil is considerably moist, wait till it dries out slightly before watering.

A rough watering schedule is adding water to the plant’s soil about 2 to 4 times a week. However, the plant’s soil is a more reliable guide.

Additionally, remember to lower your watering frequency during the colder, mostly dormant winter and late fall months.

I also advise you to use lukewarm water with low chlorine content.



The Hoya macgillivrayi plant is a subtropical species; therefore, it enjoys basking in the sun. However, too much of it can be harmful. Therefore, the best lighting conditions for the Hoya macgillivrayi plant include bright, dappled sunlight.

Fortunately, several settings, indoors and outdoors, offer the ideal lighting conditions. One such spot includes placing your

Hoya macgillivrayi plant next to a south or southwest facing window. This allows just the correct amount of light to fall onto this perennial beauty.

Alternatively, you can put your Hoya macgillivrayi plant under semi-shaded coverings. I suggest you place your plant either on the balcony or the rooftop. Both settings, as long as offering dappled light, work reasonably well.

Another way is that you place your Hoya macgillivrayi plant under artificial growing lights or behind a 40% to 60% shade cloth.

You might also have to change your Hoya macgillivrayi plant’s location as the seasons change.

A spot where previously sufficient light fell on the plant may offer insufficient or no light at all during a different season. Therefore, ensure that your macgillivrayi plant is placed in ideal lighting conditions all year round.

Insufficient sunlight can cause stunted and leggy-stemmed growth. Similarly, exposure to direct, harsh sun rays can cause leaf-scorching. Make sure that the Hoya macgillivrayi plant is placed in bright, filtered sunlight only.



The Hoya macgillivrayi plant has tropical and subtropical origins. Therefore, it likes warm and humid surroundings. Although not overly sensitive about its temperature requirements, it is best to place the plant in its desired temperature setting.

The Hoya macgillivrayi plant can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. It tolerates temperatures ranging from 45 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (7 to 35 degrees Celsius).

The temperatures below or above this range can disrupt the plant’s overall growth and lead to adverse effects.

This temperature range is reasonably easy to maintain in most households. However, if you reside in a region with extreme temperatures, keeping your macgillivrayi plant within this range might be a hassle.

If it is scorching hot, place the plant close to an air conditioner. In contrast, if it is freezing, either bring your Hoya macgillivrayi plant inside the house or put it close to a heater.

Never allow the plant to sit directly in front of the air conditioner or heater.

Sudden temperature drops or rises may shock the plant and cause problems for the Hoya macgillivrayi owner.



The majority of the Hoya plants love humidity. This includes the Hoya macgillivrayi plant. Due to its tropical nature, it prefers high humidity levels throughout the day.

The Hoya macgillivrayi plant likes humidity levels ranging from 60% to 80% during the day and 80% to 100% at night.

This is a significantly high range, which the household inhabitants may find uncomfortable. This can arise as a grave issue. However, luckily, this problem has an easy solution.

I recommend you place your macgillivrayi plant in rooms that are not occupied at all times, such as the rooftops or even your bathroom.

Once you have reached this humidity level, maintaining it can also be a problem. But like the former issue, this dilemma also has several solutions.

For the individuals who only prefer natural solutions, spraying the Hoya macgillivrayi plant’s surroundings is a good option.

You can also place your houseplants together in a single room so that there is fair humidity distribution.

For those who prefer using technological devices, I advise you to get your hands on a humidifier, a device that helps produce and maintain desired moisture levels.

You can also bring home a hygrometer for establishing optimal humidity levels for your Hoya macgillivrayi plant.

However, excessive humidity can also lead to numerous bacterial diseases. Therefore, keep a close eye on your Hoya macgillivrayi plant for any signs of infection due to high humidity.



The Hoya macgillivrayi is a decently-sized plant and does not require too much feed. Since it is a flower-producing plant, the evergreen beauty will appreciate fertilizers that are high in phosphorous.

A rough fertilizing schedule can be feeding your macgillivrayi plant 2 to 3 times a week. You can fertilize the plant twice or thrice a week or simply use a slow-release fertilizer.

You can feed your Hoya once a month with a slow-release fertilizer.

I suggest using a good-quality fertilizer about thrice a week or whenever you think your macgillivrayi plant needs some food. I also advise you to use high-nitrogen fertilizer that has a ratio of 2:1:2.

I recommend spreading the fertilizer a few inches away from the macgillivrayi plant’s stem to prevent salt buildup. However, please ensure it is still within reach of the plant.

The macgillivrayi plant’s feeding needs usually change according to season. Therefore, feeding the plant during the dormant cold seasons is not necessary.

Applying the feed to moist soil encourages efficient absorption and minimizes toxicity due to excess salts. You can also use fertilizer containing both nitrogen and phosphorous in equal proportions.

The phosphorous in the fertilizer promotes blooms, while the nitrogen aids in the plant’s overall growth.



Another reason why the Hoya macgillivrayi is an excellent houseplant choice is that it does not require frequent repotting. You can repot your macgillivrayi after every one to two years, or when you think it has considerably overgrown its pot.

One of the reasons for its late repotting is its compact size and moderate growth rate. The plant does grow fairly big; however, it does not sprout overnight.

And so, you have plenty of time to admire your small Hoya macgillivrayi plant before it becomes large and needs repotting.

The Hoya macgillivrayi plant flowers more prolifically when it is slightly root-bound. However, when it has sufficiently outgrown its pot, shift it to a slightly bigger container.

Please ensure that the new container has abundant drainage holes at the bottom, which allow excess water to run through.

The new container does not necessarily have to be huge. It should be only a few diameters larger than the older one.



Many houseplant owners grow their Hoya macgillivrayi plants in hanging baskets. Therefore, uneven and unruly vines may make your plant look unattractive. When this happens, I suggest pruning a vine or two to make your macgillivrayi plant look well-maintained and beautiful.

Another reason to prune your Hoya macgillivrayi plant is to prevent the spread of infection.

Diseased leaves or vines may look abnormally wrinkled or discolored. If you notice any such leaves or vines, simply cut them off with a pair of pruning scissors.

To kill two birds with one stone, carefully examine your plant as you prune it. This way, you can locate and fix any anomaly before it reaches other parts of the macgillivrayi plant.

I also advise you to use clean and disinfected gardening equipment for all your plants. You can use mild alcohol to clean your gardening tools.



The propagation method for the Hoya macgillivrayi plant is reasonably easy. You will need a healthy macgillivrayi plant, a prepared potting mix, water, and clean gardening tools. It is best to propagate the plant during the summer or spring season.


Stem Cuttings Method

  • Start with disinfecting all your gardening tools. This will decrease the possibility of disease and infection.
  • Then choose a non-flowering stem from the macgillivrayi plant and cut off 2 to 3 vines from it.
  • Select one of the vines. Preferably, pick the one with two or more nodes at the lower end.
  • Next, take your potting soil mix and fill a pot with it. Cover this with plastic.
  • Plant the vines in the soil mix.
  • You can also add rooting powder to this mix, which encourages growth.
  • Add some water and fertilizer to the plant.

Be patient while the macgillivrayi plantlet grows. During the initial 14 days, the plant needs abundant care in the form of water and feed. Additionally, please protect it from all possible infections.

After about 2 to 3 months, your cutting can be shifted to a bigger container.



The Hoya macgillivrayi plant produces beautiful burgundy flowers that are 2.4 inches (6 centimeters) in size and formed in umbels of 6 to 10.

Each umbel radiates from a central axis. The burgundy flower is made up of five sepals and five waxy petals.

The flower stamens are enclosed by a fleshy appendage known as the corona. These bright flowers vary in shades of white, deep purple, and burgundy.

The macgillivrayi plant’s fruit matures into a pair of pendulous follicles, 25 centimeters long, which split open when fully ripe. They release somewhat flat wind-distributed seeds.



The exact size of the Hoya macgillivrayi plant has not been reported. However, most species reach a height of about 18 inches (46 centimeters).

The long climbing vines are hairless and grow in a twinning pattern. The young leaves on this plant are glossy, bronze whereas mature ones are darker.

The plant has pointy oval leaves that have a twinning growth habit. The leaf-blades are thick and fleshy, with about 6.8 inches (17.5cm) in length x 2.7 inches (7 cm) and petioles of about 0.7 inches.


Common Problems for Hoya macgillivrayi

Mealy Bugs

Mealybugs are small insects covered with a whitish coating. They often feed on Hoya plant juices and secrete a sticky substance, honeydew, which attracts ants. Moreover, they promote sooty mold growth. A plant that is infected by mealybugs develops whitish leafy axils.

You have to use a bactericidal spray to get rid of the mealybugs.



Aphids are insects that often appear in clusters on young shoots and flower buds. They can also develop under old battered leaves or may attack a plant when it is excessively moist. Their number can multiply drastically within a few days.

When infected, the Hoya macgillivrayi plant’s buds do not open, and the leaves twist around the central vein or upon themselves.

To get rid of aphids, you can use an insecticidal spray.



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Tips for Growing Hoya macgillivrayi

  • Grow the plant under bright, dappled sunlight.
  • Use lukewarm water.
  • Use a slow-release fertilizer, preferably.
  • Do not allow the plant to stand in stagnant soil.
  • Do not overwater the plant.


Frequently Asked Questions about Hoya macgillivrayi


Can Hoya macgillivrayi plants grow in low light?

The Hoya macgillivrayi can grow in low light. However, it is best to grow them in bright, filtered sunlight for healthier growth.


How do I save my overwatered Hoya macgillivrayi plant?

Please immediately remove the plant from its soil and dry off the excess water from the roots. Lay the plant in partial sunlight and dry it out slightly.


Why my Hoya macgillivrayi’s leaves turning brown?

There are several reasons for this: an unsuitable watering schedule, stagnant soil, fertilizer overuse, etc. Please look into each of these possibilities and treat the plant accordingly.


Are Hoya macgillivrayi plants evergreen?

The Hoya macgillivrayi plants remain green and colorful throughout the year under the right care, despite the changing seasons.



The Hoya macgillivrayi is an excellent houseplant choice with its easy care-guide and attractive looks. It is a typical houseplant with basic needs such as high humidity, biweekly fertilizing, average temperature requirements, and watering once or twice weekly.

With the reddish-purple flowers and strong fragrance, this species is a refreshing addition to your indoor space.

This beauty will undoubtedly brighten up any dull corner, whether in an office, a coffee-shop, or a house. Bring it home today to be showered with compliments about your wonderful Hoya collection.