Hoya Meliflua, also called Blanco Merr, is a vining epiphyte belonging to the dogbane family Apocynaceae.
This plant has other names like the wax flower, porcelain flower, and the most interesting one is the little fraterna. Hoya Meliflua mostly thrives in a montane forest, which is above 1000-1200 sea levels.
Hoya Meliflua is native to the Philippines, where the plants are grown in tropics, sub-topics, Mediterranean climate as houseplants. Francisco Manuel Blanco first discovered Hoya Meliflua on the island of Luzon in 1837.
Hoya Meliflua’s name was derived from two words based on the nectar that its flowers produce; the word mellis means honeydew, and fluo means flow.
Although Hoya Meliflua comes from a climbing family, they are not great climbers but are bound to look beautiful in a hanging basket as houseplants.
Hoya Meliflua has a unique vining pattern where the branches don’t wrap around other branches for support due to the stiffness of the branches. Hoya Meliflua has one sub-species called Hoya Meliflua ssp. fraterna.
Hoya Meliflua ssp.fraterna and Hoya Meliflua are quite similar, but the Hoya Meliflua ssp.fraterna has longer leaves in length, and the flowers rarely bloom.
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Basic Plant Care Instructions for Hoya Meliflua
Hoya Meliflua loves to bathe in filtered light (indirect sunlight!), where the temperature must stay constant between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius). Hoya Meliflua prefers a well-drained soil mixture and high humidity (above 60%) and can withstand drops in the temperature for a limited time.
Hoya Meliflua loves a moist and well-drained soil mixture, which can contain various mixes of peat, fibrous soil, and sand with materials that allow adequate drainage, such as perlite or ceramic balls. Hoya Meliflua overall would feel comfortable in a well-drained and porous potting medium like sphagnum moss with drainage holes that allow the air to reach the roots.
Hoya Meliflua, even though it is fond of damp soil but wouldn’t grow if the soil temperature is lower than 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). The ideal pH would range from 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) and 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral). Hoya Meliflua would efficiently grow outdoors in USDA hardiness zones from 10 to 12.
Average watering is to be done for Hoya Meliflua as the soil can become dry from time to time but keeping it moist is necessary. In summers, water it regularly, but keep it in mind not to overwater it; you have to give gaps for the soil to become dry and then water it again.
It’s better to water it once a month because it needs time to dry out; otherwise, the damp conditions would invite fungal infection.
While in spring, I provide a lot of water as Hoya Meliflua is maturing, but again, don’t allow extra water to be present; otherwise, the plant will become prey to root rot. I also like spraying soft water onto the air roots; you can use either rainwater or clean water.
Hoya Meliflua loves to bathe in indirect sunlight but not the full sun; otherwise, the foliage would scorch and become yellow.
Hoya Meliflua would grow effectively in filtered light, which would be around 75% sun. You can keep it in half shade to full shade, depending upon the windows present in the house.
In winters, it’s best to allow the Hoya Meliflua to receive direct sunlight as the growth rate is very slow, and it needs plenty of sun to bloom and grow properly.
Hoya Meliflua ideal temperature would range from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius). Even though the Hoya Meliflua is frost resistant to some extent, its limit lies at 50 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 -15 degrees Celsius), not below it. The foliage would wilt due to cold damage.
It is also vulnerable to high temperatures that are above 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). Hoya Meliflua would suffer in higher temperatures and its growth would come to a halt.
Hoya Meliflua wants a high level of humidity for its growth, mostly above 60% in the morning and at night. So, I would usually use a humidifier or a humidifier tray to keep the air moist around my plant.
But during the winters, there is a possibility of a dry environment that will interfere with its growth. So I would suggest placing it in a place where the humidity is constant, like the bathroom.
Hoya Meliflua prefers to be fertilized monthly from spring to fall; the fertilizers should be of half-strength liquid balance or high potassium or phosphorus level.
It’s better to choose a fertilizer, which has a low level of nitrogen in it, considering that Hoya Meliflua is a succulent, so it would make the foliage too soft and full of water.
Use the fertilizers two months before the initial blooming time of Hoya Meliflua to have large and beautiful blooms.
Hoya Meliflua must be repotted after two years. It’s first best to allow the roots to grow thoroughly, and when it’s time to repot them. Make sure the soil is dry and use a well-drained soil like peat soil for excellent drainage and airflow for the roots.
Whenever you are about to shift to a new pot, it should have a size difference of 2 inches from the old one.
Don’t water at once; first, allow the roots to acclimate to the new soil. Provide clean water by spraying it around the soil surrounding the roots. Repotting could be done at any time of the year in winter or summer, so there are no limitations.
Hoya Meliflua would only require pruning when the foliage are dead or wilting, or there is the presence of a dead stem. But be careful not to prune the pedicles as it would affect the blooms. Prune it lightly so that Hoya Meliflua would look beautiful and tidy.
I would prefer not to cut more than 1/3rd growth; otherwise, it would affect its physical appearance.
Hoya Meliflua is propagated through various techniques. It’s easy to propagate, and all the hard work would pay off in the form of a new pretty Hoya Meliflua. The best time to propagate would be in spring or summer because it’s their growing season.
- Cut a small portion of the roots during the dormant season.
- Bury the cuttings into a well-potting mixture or compost.
- Ensure to keep it moist but not wet.
- Once there is growth seen in the soil, shift it to a new pot.
- Cut a hardwood stem about the size of 10 inches; it can also vary from 4-12 inches.
- Make sure there are several cuttings, and the cuttings should have at least two nodes.
- The bottom cut should be taken below a node, and the top cut should be about half an inch above the node.
- Dip all these cuttings into the rooting hormone.
- Then bundle all the cuttings up and have them tied by a rope or a rubber band.
- Place these cutting into a plastic bag where it is filled with sphagnum moss. Place it in the refrigerator.
- The bag would provide moisture, while the refrigerator would keep the cutting in the dormant stage.
- When early spring comes, please take out the cutting and bury them in the ground with their top ends pointing upwards.
- Completely bury the cutting about an inch above the top node.
- Make sure to water them even in the dry season so that the moisture is contained. Make sure the cuttings are allowed to be embedded in the soil for a whole season.
- After fall and before spring, these cuttings are transplanted to their permanent spots.
- Trim a stem about 4 inches from the parent plant.
- It must have 2-3 leaves attached to it but make sure there are no leaves at the end of the cut.
- Dip the cut into the rooting hormone
- Place the cutting into a well-potting mixture of soil, but the leaves should not touch the soil
- Water it every day to keep the soil moist, but again, don’t overwater it.
- Make sure the pot also receives indirect sunlight for its efficient growth.
- Fill a jar halfway with water
- Again, cut a stem about 4 inches with leaves but no leaves at the cut
- Place the cutting in the jar but make sure the leaves don’t touch the water
- After the time of 4-6 weeks, you will see roots growing from the cut
- Take the cutting and shift it to a well-potting mixture pot for its growth.
Hoya Meliflua is famous for its fascinating and exotic blooms. The blooms are porcelain-like designs that bring forth beauty in the eyes of the care-taker. Hoya Meliflua blooms mostly in spring and summer but rarely in the fall season.
The inflorescence comes in the shape of umbels when mature consists of 20-30 flowers, their color ranges from pink to reddish-orange and sometimes even white. The blooms are star-shaped flowers with little stars in the center.
The blooms have a strong fragrance of chocolate, and it also produces nectar that drips down the blooms.
Hoya Meliflua foliage is dark green with shiny straps present on them. The stems of Hoya Meliflua are around 10-13 feet long and are branched, smooth and fresh; petioles are about 15-20 mm long. The leaves are 4-5 inches (9-13 cm) long and 1-2 inches (5-6 cm) in width; they are elongated, glossy, and succulent.
Hoya Meliflua is a slow-growing annual plant that takes up to 5-7 years to mature. Hoya Meliflua would reach 6-12 feet (2-4 meters) in length while 3-6 inches (7-15 cm) in width when they reach maturity.
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Common Problems for Hoya Meliflua
Mealybugs are small insects that have an unarmored suit on them. They have jaws that help them in sucking up plant juices, weakening the plant, and producing honeydew.
The sticky substance will help produce sooty mold and invite fungal diseases to thrive on the plant. Mealybugs often reside near the petioles of the plant.
They produce a waxy layer upon themselves to protect themselves from being attacked by other pests. Mealybugs wouldn’t provide much damage, but it’s better to treat your Hoya as early as possible.
The visible sign of infection includes wilting, and browning plant leaves.
Mealybugs can be prevented easily; use neem or peppermint oil to remove them but be careful plants in contact with oil may become brown, so I would suggest using a cotton swab and dab mealybugs with it.
Otherwise, dilute the oil with water to reduce side effects.
If the infestation is significant, then use the help of beneficial insects or ladybugs that would counterattack the mealybugs and the larvae.
Thrips are small black colored insects that have a slim body and about the size of 1/25 inch. They mostly resemble black threads if seen on the plant.
Thrips attack the fruits, stem, and the leaves of the plant; they even suck out the juices; this would change the leaves’ colors to silver-brown and interrupt the growth of Hoya Meliflua.
Thrips also don’t instantly kill the plant, but it’s wise to prevent them early to avoid a large infestation. Thrips can be controlled by using the help of diatomaceous earth (DE).
Neem oil or peppermint oil could also be used. I would suggest synthetic pesticides or beneficial insects also.
Yellowing of Leaves
The yellowing of leaves on Hoya Meliflua indicates that the plant was overwatered. This would lead to root rot, another fungal infection. These can even cause wilting and the death of the plant.
To prevent this, make sure the soil consists of well drainage properties and make sure there are gaps between watering. But if there is extra water in the soil, shift it into a new potting mixture.
Spider mites are persistent pests that are not easy to remove. They feed on the plant, especially in summers, as they thrive in a warm environment. They are about the size of 1/50 inch in length. They can be seen in large colonies; otherwise, trying to spot them would be quite tricky.
Spider mites can be easily controlled with the help of neem oil and insecticidal soap.
Aphids are small and soft-bodied insects that suck on the plant juices with their jaws and leave the residue of honeydew that allows the growth of sooty mold.
Aphids are easily visible on the plant. Aphids are about the size of ¼ inches, and their appearance mostly resembles brown or black dots.
Aphids can be controlled by spraying cold water on the leaves and neem oil; insecticidal soaps are quite effective against them. Soapy water (a mixture of water and dish soap) is a home-made insecticidal soap that eradicates them.
Use the help diatomaceous earth (DE) but don’t apply when the flowers are blooming; it would affect the blooms.
Tips for Growing Hoya Meliflua
- Avoid low temperatures as Hoya Meliflua doesn’t like a cold environment.
- Hoya Meliflua prefers indirect sunlight; refrain from exposure to direct sunlight.
- Make sure Hoya Meliflua receives lots of humidity for its sufficient growth.
- Prune only Hoya Meliflua stems and foliage for maximum blooms for the whole year.
- Never allow the soil to become waterlogged; otherwise, the roots of Hoya Meliflua would die.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hoya Meliflua
Does Hoya Meliflua like to be misted?
Misting Hoya Meliflua is fine as long as it’s not overwatered. Mist Hoya Meliflua during spring and summer.
Can you trim the vines of the Hoya Meliflua?
Hoya Meliflua, if their vines have thrived, then it’s okay to trim them until the stems; otherwise, you can allow them to use a trellis as support.
Does Hoya Meliflua like to be root-bound?
Hoya Meliflua won’t mind at all; it’s okay to keep them in the same pot but make sure to fertilize them thoroughly during the growing season and not to overwater them.
How long does it take a Hoya Meliflua to root in water?
It would take one to two months for the root’s formation even though some Hoya species grow quickly in water.
Can I put my Hoya Meliflua outside?
Hoya Meliflua is fond of being planted in greenhouses or gardens, considering they get plenty of indirect sunlight but in winters, trying to take them inside as they are vulnerable to frost.
Hoya Meliflua is an exotic plant with blooms that look like they are made out of wax; these colorful blooms tend to show their pink-colored beauty to create a fresh atmosphere around the house. Hoya Meliflua spreads its scent marking its territory with its delicious and yummy chocolate scent.
Hoya Meliflua indeed is a fascinating plant that makes a house or even garden aware of its presence. Its deep-green foliage is also perfect and eventually forms long vines to provide tropical vibes that create a serene environment.
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.