Adding a little greenery is one of the best ways to spruce up your home. But, not everyone likes to get down and dirty in the gardening business.
Some homeowners want to enjoy the natural beauty that houseplants provide, without putting in too much effort.
For these people, low-maintenance plants like the Hoya obovata is an excellent choice.
Native to India and Indonesia, this Hoya needs little more than a brightly-lit spot and occasional watering. Its drought-tolerance makes it the perfect option for novice gardeners and busy homeowners alike.
If you’re looking to acquire this plant, here’s everything you need to know about the Hoya obovata.
- 1 Hoya Obovata Care Guide
- 2 Common Problems with Hoya Obovata
- 3 Tips to Keep Hoya Obovata Problem-Free
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions About Hoya Obovata
- 5 Conclusion
Hoya Obovata Care Guide
For Hoya Obovata care keep temperatures in the range of 60°F and 85°F (15°C to 29°C). For soil use a mixture between peat-based potting soil, perlite, and fine orchid bark. Keep your Hoya in an east-facing window in bright indirect light. Don’t overdo the watering. Water when the top 2 inches of soil feels dry. Keep humidity at 60% plus. Use a fertilizer with a 2:1:2 or 3:1:2 NPK ratio.
A potting mix is one of those variables that gardeners debate about, over and over. But the one thing they all agree on is that the right medium for a Hoya obovata needs to be fast-draining.
This plant doesn’t do well in water-logged soil, so ensure the substrate you choose has good drainage.
While you can opt for store-bought potting mixes, I recommend preparing your own from scratch.
Doing so gives you the freedom to experiment with different elements until you find a combo that works for you.
For my Hoya obovata, I like to use a blend of peat-based potting soil, perlite, and fine orchid bark.
What I like most about this mix is that it drains well. Whenever I water, it doesn’t retain excess moisture, and this reduces the risk of root rot.
I also like to throw in some horticultural charcoal as well, to further improve the medium’s drainage.
Charcoal is really good at absorbing excess water. And, it absorbs impurities too; hence protects the potting mix from bacteria and fungi.
Can you use regular garden soil? No, you cannot. Even if it’s well-draining, it could be missing other features, which are vital for houseplants like Hoya obovata.
One area where garden soil falls short is in density. You’ll find that most types of garden soil are too compact or dense.
It makes it difficult for air, water, and nutrients to pass through easily. Highly-compacted soil poses a threat to your Hoya because it deprives it of essential nutrients.
But if you were to create your own potting medium, you could incorporate elements that improve the soil’s aeration. Pumice and perlite are particularly great at improving aeration.
If you’re keeping your Hoya obovata indoors, one aspect you have to pay attention to is lighting.
Usually, this plant thrives when exposed to bright, indirect light.
So when placing your plant on a windowsill, consider the direction your window is facing.
The best spot to place your Hoya is on a window facing east. These are exposed to bright indirect light for the better part of the day and throughout much of the year.
Windows facing south are also ideal as they receive the most direct sunlight. However, consider adding a sheer curtain to filter the light. Otherwise, place your plant at least 2 feet away to avoid direct exposure.
For homeowners without access to natural light, grow lights are the perfect substitute.
You’ll want to go for LED grow lights, as they’re the most suitable for indoor plants. They emit just the right intensity of light to support plant growth.
Have a look at the LED grow lights in our shop.
Have you ever examined your Hoya obovata keenly? If you have, you probably noticed that its leaves are ultra-thick.
What this means is that they hold more water than the typical thin-leaved houseplants. It means it can get by, a few weeks without any watering.
With that in mind, you should only water your Hoya when the top 2 inches of soil feels dry to touch.
I usually poke my finger deep into the soil to determine whether the soil is dry or moist.
If it’s still slightly wet, I prefer to wait a few days before watering. This helps to minimize the risk of root rot, which this Hoya is highly susceptible to.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should reduce the frequency and amount of water in winter.
As a semi-dormant plant, it experiences a slower growth rate because of the cooler temperatures. It means that it doesn’t require as much water to keep it hydrated.
The Hoya obovata prefers a warm climate. It thrives in temperatures ranging between 60°F and 85°F (15°C to 29°C).
Therefore, you’ll want to avoid exposing it to droughts. If possible, place your potted obovata away from windows and doors, which tend to be opened frequently.
Since it’s a tropical plant, this Hoya prefers a slightly humid environment. Specifically, ensure the humidity level is at least 60%.
But, as is the case with watering, you’ll have to make slight adjustments when winter sets in. This season is characterized by fluctuating temperatures and low humidity levels.
Even in heated homes, the humidity can fall to 10%. It means that you’ll likely have to find other means of raising humidity levels in your home.
If you have a humidifier at home, consider moving your Hoya closer to it. Have a look at the humidifiers we sell in our shop.
Another trick is to cluster your indoor plants together.
But if this is the only plant you have at home, this might not work for you.
This is why I also recommend moving your plant to a space, where the humidity level is higher. The kitchen and bathroom are great examples of this.
Hoya obovata is grown primarily for its stunning foliage. For this reason, it needs plenty of nitrogen to boost that lush foliage growth.
Thus, you’ll want to look for a fertilizer with high nitrogen content. One with a 2:1:2 or 3:1:2 NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) ratio is ideal.
Once your Hoya attains a good size, you can switch to a well-balanced fertilizer.
Another decision you’ll have to make entails choosing between powdered and liquid-based fertilizers.
Personally, I prefer powder fertilizers because I find them easier to work with. With liquid fertilizers, you have to dilute them before application.
If you apply the fertilizer as is, your plant might end up suffering fertilizer burn. So ensure you dilute the fertilizer with a bit of water before misting it on your plant.
As for frequency, consider fertilizing either once or twice a month, but more often when your plant reaches peak growth.
This is because it will use up more nutrients during this time. You can then cut back on the frequency in winter.
During this time, your obovata will enter a semi-dormant phase, meaning it won’t need a lot of nutrients.
Featuring a mix of white and bright red flowers, and occasionally flecked foliage, there’s no doubt that you’ll want to keep the obovata around for as long as you can. This brings us to the point of propagating, which is actually pretty easy.
Start by filling your planter or container with a well-draining potting mix. Gardening experts recommend vermiculite, perlite, or clean sand for the best drainage.
Water this medium, and set it aside to drain. Drain until it’s uniformly moist but not saturated.
Cut a healthy obovata stem about 4 to 5 inches long. The ideal stem should also have 2 to 3 leaves on it. If there are any leaves on the lower stem, remove them then plant your cutting in the potting soil.
Before planting, you can place the bottom part of the stem in a powdered or liquid-based rooting hormone.
Although it’s not necessary, I have discovered that it boosts the chance of successful rooting.
In the initial stages of growth, it’s advisable to water the soil on a regular basis.
But, be careful not to overwater. Finally, place the potted cutting in a spot exposed to bright indirect sunlight, and wait for it to grow.
The Hoya obovata produces large, oval-shaped leaves on trailing stems. Since it’s a climbing plant, it will need some kind of support once it matures.
You can train it over doors, or allow it to loll along a bookshelf. I prefer to grow my obovata in a hanging basket, as it draws the attention of anyone who walks into that space.
This houseplant likes to be snug in the container or pot where it’s being grown. So don’t be in a hurry to repot it to a bigger container; wait until it’s slightly root-bound.
On the same note, be mindful of the season when you switch to a new pot.
You want to avoid repotting during winter as this is the time when growth slows down. Once this happens, it’s very easy to overwater it.
You’ll also want to pick a planter that has good drainage. As we mentioned earlier, the Hoya’s roots can rot easily if left to sit in soggy soil.
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Common Problems with Hoya Obovata
For the most part, Hoya obovata is a healthy plant. But, you may encounter a few problems when growing it.
Knowing these issues beforehand is crucial so that you’re prepared to nip them in the bud. The most common problems are:
Leaf-drop or dieback of stems
The most common culprit here is a soggy or poorly-drained potting mix. This can also occur when it’s too cool during winter.
If you notice root rot on your plant, chances are that you’ve been over-watering the plant. Consider reducing the amount or frequency of watering.
Failure to bloom
This can occur if you fail to expose your obovata to sufficient light.
My favorite homemade pesticide is insecticidal soap. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also pretty effective.
I usually combine one cup of vegetable oil with a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. After stirring,
I add about two teaspoons of the resulting solution to a cup of water, and then put the mixture in a spray bottle.
Tips to Keep Hoya Obovata Problem-Free
Overall, Hoya obovatas are fairly easy to grow. But those without a green thumb may be hesitant to grow this plant for fear that they lack the necessary expertise.
To help you, here are a couple of tricks to ensure your Hoya stays completely problem-free:
Match your plant to the right light conditions
This Hoya prefers bright, indirect lighting. An east- or south-facing window is the best spot.
The good thing is that it’s easy to tell if your plant is receiving the right amount of light. Too much and its foliage will start turning a dull green color. Too little and the plant will get slightly leggy.
Plant in the right container
Don’t choose a pot that is too big for your obovata. This will encourage excess water retention, which can lead to root rot. On the same note, always use a planter with a drainage hole or drainage system.
Use rich and well-draining soil
The right potting mix will promote healthy growth by offering a good balance of aeration, nutrition, and drainage.
Water your Hoya obovata only when the soil feels dry to the touch. The plant’s thick fleshy leaves store plenty of water, so be careful not to go overboard with watering.
If anything, you would rather underwater than overwater it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hoya Obovata
Why is my Hoya obovata not flowering?
With the right conditions, this plant species produces clusters of beautiful star-shaped flowers. And they’re fragrant too, making this Hoya an excellent addition to living spaces and workplaces. So if your Hoya matures without blooming at any one point, there are a couple of things that could have gone wrong, namely:
- Inadequate lighting, which stunts your plant’s blooming capability
- Lack of nutrients in the soil
- Failing to fertilize your Hoya, which could otherwise, boost its flowering ability
How do I know if I am under- or overwatering my Hoya obovata?
Many homeowners, especially those who are inexperienced in gardening, have a difficult time differentiating between overwatered and under-watered obovatas. This is because the plant manifests fairly similar signs in both conditions, that is, it has discolored and wilted leaves.
The key difference is that the leaves on an over-watered Hoya have a limp appearance while those on an under-watered one are dry and brittle. Once you’re able to pinpoint the cause of your wilted leaves, adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
Can I rescue an overwatered Hoya obovata?
The short answer to this is yes, you can restore your plant to good health. However, you’ll have to act fast as Hoyas are very sensitive to overwatering.
So how do you go about this? Well, start by extracting the plant from the soil. Look for some paper towels and use them to remove excess moisture from its root system.
Place the Hoya on a flat surface, with the roots exposed, and leave it to dry. It may take a couple of days or up to a week for your plant to dry. Once it does, return it to the planter and start your watering routine again. But be careful not to end up in the same boat.
Not every indoor plant requires you to have a green thumb. Some, like the Hoya obovata, are very easy to care for.
The most important thing you should pay attention to when growing it is watering.
Allow the soil to drain and dry well between waterings to avoid root rot. Also, place your plant in a brightly lit spot; but don’t expose it to direct sunlight.
Maintain the temperature at 60°F to 85°F (15°C to 29°C), and ensure the humidity level is at least 60%.
Also, consider boosting its growth with a premium-quality fertilizer. Now all you have to do is be patient and wait for your obovata to bloom and mature.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.