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Hoya Retusa Care – Facts You Need To Know

Hoya Retusa Care – Facts You Need To Know

If you set eyes on a Hoya Retusa for the first time, you would never think it belonged to the Hoya family and specifically the Magnoliopsida class according to

Even though Hoyas do offer an incredible variety of plant looks, the Hoya Retusa still stands out with it’s flat, narrow awkward foliage that barely looks like leaves.

These plants also flower like most Hoyas, baring the particularity of it flowering in singles instead of bunches like its cousins.

The flowers have a classic star-shaped creamy and pink look with a lemon-like scent.

Since it is native to India and is a tropical plant, it dislikes big temperature fluctuations and direct sunlight and will bloom best at low temperatures.

It is actually a quite low maintenance hardy plant.

You can place it pretty much anywhere in the home and it can be grown either in a pot, a hanging basket, or even trained up a trellis with a little effort and persistence.

Let’s get into the care and issues you might run into when caring for a Hoya Retusa.



Hoya Retusa Plant Care


As with most Hoyas, you should provide your Hoya Retusa with a well-draining soil mix. I recommend a peat moss and coco coir based soil with some perlite and maybe a little bit of growers mix.

If you think the soil you have is too dense you can add some perlite and coarse sand to it for better aeration and drainage.

This is all in order to prevent root rot that is a common problem with transitioning what is originally a tropical plant into a pot indoors.

Hoya Retusa also prefers a soil with a neutral pH (6 or 7) so mind the peat ratio of your mix and add some eggshells if the soil turns out to be too acidic.


Hoya Retusa likes bright indirect light but will do well in lower light conditions. Most importantly avoid bright direct sunlight that will cause sunburns.

A south or west-facing window will both be fine, but try to put it farther away from a window if you get a lot of light coming from it.

When you are growing it in a hanging basket make sure the sun reaches the top of the plant too.


You should water your Hoya Retusa when the top three to four inches of soil is completely dry. If you stick your finger in the soil it should come out clean and dry.

When in doubt hold off for one more day as it is easier to overwater than underwater, especially with Hoyas and especially if you like loving on your plants a little too much.

Less is more is the perfect mantra for watering. Once or twice a week during a hot summer will be enough.

When you do water do it modestly, just so you get the soil evenly moist but not soggy, and try to avoid getting the leaves wet.

During the winter your Hoya Retusa will need less water. Once a week or even less, depending on the size of the pot and permeability of the soil mix.

It is important to use room temperature water that is not heavy in minerals so ideally water your Hoya Retusa with distilled or aquarium water. If you do not have these tap water will do but let it sit at least overnight to get it to room temperature and so the minerals settle on the bottom.


Hoya Retusa like lower temperatures- They dislike major fluctuations that might put them into shock, but they do flower best at temperatures around 50 degrees F (10 degrees Celsius) at night.

For it to thrive you should achieve a consistent temperature somewhere between 50 and 80 degrees F (10-27 degrees Celsius) or else the plant will not do very well. You will notice shriveling and brown leaves that will alert you that your plant is too cold.

Stunted growth and no blooms are a sign of temperatures being too high. Make sure your Hoya Retusa is placed far away from any drafts, air conditioners, radiators, and other sources of cold air or heat for the best results.

If you experience cold winters make sure you move it away from your windows to a warmer spot, as windowsills can get very cold in the winter.


As a tropical plant, Hoya Retusa loves humidity but like most Hoyas, it will do well in regular 40% indoor humidity.

If you do notice crispy leaf edges or browning, try increasing the humidity a little with regular fine misting, a humidity mat, or a humidifier.

Putting your plants in bunches close to each other also helps with increasing humidity, but don’t forget they will also require regular air circulations do that mold and other diseases don’t fester.

If you are a total beginner and you are not sure what the humidity in your home is like you can purchase a humidity meter.

I have mine above every group of plants in the house (they are cheap) and I try to keep the humidity around 50% at all times.

As it is a low light plant you might want to consider placing your Hoya Retusa in a bathroom.

These are often not brightly lit but will have higher humidity levels than the rest of the house, plus it will get a nice humidity perk every time someone showers.


Your Hoya Retusa doesn’t need much fertilizing. You can start in late spring and fertilize through the growing season until the end of summer when temperatures start to drop.

I like using organic fertilizer for all my Hoyas and when I can get my hands on it I use regular compost or worm castings (Vermiculite).

You can make your own fertilizer mix and home and add some coffee grounds or used tea also. Once a month will be enough, and you don’t have to feed it at all in winter.

If you do not feel like DIYing your own fertilizer, regular liquid fertilizer for houseplants diluted to half or less strength will be just fine. In this case,

I recommend watering your Hoya Retusa with this mixture a day after watering it with regular water in order to prevent fertilizer burn at the roots.



Hoya Retusa is super easy to propagate. Mid-spring and early summer is the best time to do this like with most plants.

You can propagate it by water or soil and I will outline the process below:
1.pick a stem on your Hoya Retusa that you are going to cut. Use a sharp knife or scissors that you disinfected to avoid diseases. The stem should be around seven inches long and cut it as close to the soil as possible.
2. If you have it, dip the stem in rooting hormone where you cut it.
3. Place the cutting either in distilled or aquarium water or in a previously prepared pot with premoistened soil.
4. If you are propagating with water, keep an eye on the cutting and change the water when it gets murky or every week even if it’s not. Keep it in a bright and warm place.
5. Once you see a couple of inches of roots in the water you can transplant it into the soil and your new Hoya Retusa is ready to thrive.
The same thing goes for a cutting that is already planted in soil and you can gently tug at it and it’s doesn’t come out. This is usually a sign that the plan has set roots and the propagation was successful. You can either leave it be for some time or repot it into a bigger pot.
Keep an eye on young and recently propagated plants as they are most vulnerable to pests and diseases in their first couple of months of growth. Fertilize moderately and keep it decently moist during that time.


They can grow up to 15 to 20 inches in height and width. This is a medium-size plant.


Make sure that whatever planter or pot you use for your Hoya Retusa had many drainage holes that will help protect your plant from root rot which is a common problem with this plant.

They require repotting every 2 years but check the bottom of the pot every spring to see how the roots are looking.

If you notice it’s becoming root-bound you can repot every year and gradually increase pot size. You might also notice the plant slowing down and not putting out new growth if the pot is getting crowded.

I always like to water the plant before attempting repotting so everything comes out in one piece. Then you can just transfer it into a pot a couple of inches bigger and add a bit of soil.


The Hoya Retusa should be kept out of reach of kids and pets. The milky latex it contains is toxic if ingested and in contact with the skin can cause severe allergic reactions.

I suggest keeping plants like this on the highest and most remote places in the house where they are out of reach and sight of children and any kind of pet.

I wouldn’t recommend getting this plant if you have cats as they can get into anything.


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Common Problems with Hoya Retusa

Root rot

Root rot is one of the most common afflictions that pesters out houseplants. This is for many reasons, one of them being that we often like to love on our plants a little too much and tend to overwater them, especially in the beginning.

Another one is that it’s actually not that simple to achieve the perfect well-draining but not too sparse soil mix, no matter how many blog posts and articles you read.

This is just something you will learn with practice.

Symptoms of root rot are brown soft spots and patches on the foliage, as the fungus starts multiplying at the extremities of the roots because of dense and moist soil.

The plant will continue to deteriorate and the browning will spread, leading to the wilting and eventual death of the plant if you don’t try and fix it.

A way to fix it is to take the plant out of the soil and shower it so that you remove all of the old fungi infested soil, cut away all of the roots that don’t look healthy and white/creamy in color, and repot the plant in new, sterile and healthy soil.


Aphids are small white to light green bugs that gather underneath the leaves and around the stems of your plant.

They feed on the sap of the plant and love the softer and younger parts of plants that are easy to feed on.

If spotted early they are easy to get rid of by mechanical removal or simply put showering of the plant so that you spray the bugs off of it. They are slow and won’t run away.

Then you can do a Neem oil treatment to prevent further feeding. You might have to remove them a couple of times but be persistent.

If you have a severe infestation I recommend a mix of 5 parts water 1 part dish soap and a nice soap treatment to kill all of the bugs and remove the larvae and eggs.

Spider mites

Spider mites are small spider-like white creatures that knit fine webs on your plant and feed on it’s sap.

These are pretty hard to get rid of as they tend to hide before you can remove them and come back full force.

If you want to treat this aggressively use an insecticide.

Alternatively, if you are not keen on chemicals you can firstly shower the bugs and webs off of your plant, do a soap treatment and make sure you get into all of the nooks and crannies of the plant, then do a Neem Oil treatment on top of all that.

Additionally, what I do with my plants if I just so happen to encounter spider mites is I move them to the bathroom.

It is dark and humid which they don’t really like and this is usually what makes them give up completely and let your plant thrive.

Tips to keep Hoya Retusa problem-free

-Provide your Hoya Retusa with a very well-draining soil mix to prevent root rot
-Provide your hoya Retusa with a pot with enough drainage holes for the same reason
-Do monthly treatments with neem oil to prevent any pest or fungal issues
-Keep your Hoya Retusa out of direct sunlight
-Keep it away from kids and pets
-Fertilize once a month

Frequently asked questions about Hoya Retusa

Why are the leaves on my Hoya Retusa curling and browning?

This is usually a sign of severe underwatering or too much direct light. If exposed to too much direct sunlight your Hoya Retusa will experience sunburns, much like humans do.

These plants are meant to be in a shadowy spot and will do well in lower lighting.

There are black spots on my Hoya Retusa, what is wrong?

Circular black spots on the leaves and stems are probably leaf spot. Leaf spot is a fungus that grows on plants that are overwatered or watered by night.

Water your Hoya Retusa more rarely and try to do it in the morning, so the water has time to seep through the soil.

Why is my Hoya Retusa looking wonky and pale?

If the plant is looking sad and elongated and it has been living in a darker spot of your home, it might just be too dark. Put it in a brighter spot and see if it perks up.



The Hoya Retusa looks nothing like the other members of the Hoya Family but basically has the common Hoya needs and wants.

It will thrive in well-draining soil with moderate watering, once a month fertilizing, and even in lower lights, making it a perfect gift for a student or a serial plant killer.

Even though it is low maintenance, this plant is still very interesting and entertaining to look at, puzzling its admirers with its elongated spindly leaves and spidery appearance.

Do you have a Hoya Retusa in your urban jungle? If you don’t, you should absolutely get one, you will not be disappointed.

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