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Hoya Serpens Care Made Easy

Hoya Serpens Care Made Easy

The exotic Hoya Serpens, also widely known as ‘Wax-flower Plant,’ is a sight to behold, even when it is not in full bloom.

This tropical species gives rise to almost perfectly round leaves with beautiful green flowers. Undoubtedly, this plant can make any dull corner look colorful and lively.

The Hoya Serpens plant thrives in bright dappled sunlight and has average watering needs. It enjoys being watered every other day and loves every bit of humidity it can get.

This compact Serpens plant grows well in well-draining soil mixtures and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.

This perennial species arises from the family of Apocynaceae, pronounced as a-pos-ih-NAY-see-ee. Fortunately, the Hoya Serpens plant care is not as difficult as its family name’s pronunciation. It is an attractive plant with typical plant needs.

The Hoya Serpens naturally hails from the Himalayan regions. It is found in several Asian countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It was first sighted by Joseph Dalton Hooker back in the 1880s and today has over 200 known species.

The striking Serpens plant is a favorite houseplant choice among the masses largely due to its lovely inflorescences. The Hoya Serpens plant produces unique pale green flowers that have a sweet, vague fragrance.  However, their smell is stronger when several flowers are open at the same time.

This Himalayan native may initially be a little hard to grow. However, once you understand their care and needs fully, they are generally non-fussy houseplants. Normally, their growth is fairly fast, and they bloom consistently year after year.

Certainly, the Hoyas have distinctive features that set them apart from other plant families. However, they are not the easiest plants to collect due to a wide variety of reasons.

One major reason is that the Hoya plants frequently grow epiphytically in treetops. But, they also develop on felled trees, over which the Hoya plants are relatively easier to locate.

 

 

Basic Plant Care for Hoya Serpens

 

Soil

The Hoya Serpens plant enjoys being potted in a coarse and well-draining medium. Ensure that the soil is not too wet or dry, as their roots can either rot or dry out within a short time, respectively. The ideal pH for this wax plant is 6.0 to 7.0 (slightly acidic to neutral).

This perennial beauty thrives in pure coco chips or peat soil mix. I would recommend you prepare a potting mix containing an equal share of peat, perlite, and orchid (fir bark, charcoal, and perlite).

This will create a considerably airy potting mix that will help the Serpens plant grow well.

Alternatively, you can mix some fine-grained bark with two parts of the soilless medium. If you are planting the Serpens plant in a container or pot, make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom. Remove blockages to allow easy drainage and good airflow.

 

Water

The Hoya Serpens comes from the lands of the Himalayas; therefore, drying it out markedly can lead to serious consequences. The Serpens plant has normal watering needs. If your soil mix does not excessively hold water, watering each inch of the plant is not necessary.

However, if your potting mixture tends to hold a lot of water, your Serpens plant’s roots may die out, as is the case with excessive peaty mixes. Let your best watering guide be the plant’s soil. Water it when it seems too dry and withhold watering when sufficiently wet.

I would suggest you check the soil’s water content every other day. If the top one-third or one-half seems dry, it is time to add some water. The watering needs of the Hoya Serpens primarily depend on its location and environment.

The sunnier it is, the higher should be the watering frequency. If your Hoya Serpens is placed in a bright sunny spot, water it 2 to 3 times a week, depending on its soil. On the other hand, if it is in a humid environment, reduce the number of times you water your Serpens plant.

Ensure that the Hoya Serpens is not planted in standing water. Overall, water your Serpens plant abundantly during the summer and scarcely during the harsher winter months, preferably with lukewarm water.

 

Light

The Hoya Serpens species naturally grows among and between the Himalayan treetops. It is accustomed to receiving diffused and indirect sunlight. Therefore, it is imperative that the Serpens species’ lighting needs are imitated to its natural lighting requirements for the best growth.

Place your Hoya Serpens plant in bright, filtered, and indirect sunlight for healthy growth. If inside the house, you can place the Serpens plant next to a southwest facing window or just inside the balcony door. Ensure that direct ultraviolet rays do not hit the plant as they may lead to leaf-scorching.

If you have potted the unique Hoya Serpens outdoors, place it in partial shade. Change its location if you think the sun rays are too harsh for it to bear.

Allow the plant to bask in full indirect sunlight for approximately 4 to 6 hours every day. Alternatively, you can grow the Hoya Serpens plant under artificial growing lights.

 

Temperature

The Hoya Serpens plant may naturally arise from the cold lands, but its temperature needs are not as chilly or extreme. The Serpens species require cool to moderate temperatures, which are not too difficult to maintain.

This exotic houseplant thrives in temperatures ranging from 60 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 30 degrees Celsius). Ideally, during the day, the Hoya Serpens plant likes temperatures from 68 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 29 degrees Celsius). And during the night, it enjoys a temperature range between 54 to 64 Fahrenheit (12 to 18 degrees Celsius).

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere’s chilliest parts, your Hoya Serpens may suffer more than the others, as anything below 50°F (10°C) can lead to chill-damage. To minimize the harm, keep an appropriate amount of heat packs or place the Serpens plant in a heater’s vicinity.

The Hoya Serpens does not react well to temperature fluctuations. Therefore, if placed next to a window, make sure it does not receive direct cold drafts of wind.

Similarly, direct airflow from heaters and air conditioners will also have adverse effects.

 

Humidity

As lovely as the Hoya Serpens plants are, they can be quite finicky when it comes to their humidity requirements. It should not be surprising that these Himalayan natives love humidity. The Hoya Serpens prefer moderate to high humidity, ranging from a minimum of 60% to a maximum of 100%.

The Serpens cannot tolerate less than the optimal humidity levels for long, so maintaining their desired humidity level is essential. There are several ways by which you can establish the necessary humidity levels.

One way is to make use of a humidifier, which will help maintain the preferred humidity. If you are on a shoestring budget, you can also keep your Serpens plant in a plastic bag. However, extra care may be required.

Alternatively, you can keep your Hoya Serpens plant behind glass with a humidifier, so the air remains moist and humid. Besides that, you can mist the Serpen plant’s surrounding air, helping it absorb more moisture.

Ensure that the humidity levels do not exceed the requirements, as an overly-moist plant is significantly susceptible to disease and infection.

 

Fertilizer

The Hoya Serpens plant may sometimes be fussy, but luckily, its feeding needs are not particularly heavy. However, they do appreciate some extra care in the form of micro- and macro-nutrients.

I would suggest you feed your Serpens plant with a good-quality fertilizer twice a week or monthly. It is best to use organic or synthetic well-balanced fertilizer, slightly higher in phosphorous. The increased phosphorous content will most likely help the Serpens plant bloom.

Another option is liquid fertilizer, which should preferably have a ratio of 2:1:2 or 3:1:2. Use this about once a week and add it at a short distance from the Serpens plant’s stem. You can also use a slow-release fertilizer. Please apply the fertilizer to moist soil for better absorption.

Be careful not to over-feed your Hoya Serpens plant as it may cause toxicity.

 

Repotting

Naturally, most Hoya Serpens plants grow on other forest-plants. Due to their epiphytic nature, they do not mind being slightly root-bound. Therefore, repotting the Serpens plants often is not necessary.

A rough estimate for the time after which it should be repotted is two years. However, the repotting schedule may vary depending on each Serpens plant’s care and environment.

Instead of repotting them yearly, an easy and growth-effective method is to refresh their substrate once or twice a year. Do not let any salts accumulate as it may cause serious damage.

Surprisingly, the Hoya plants are fond of drying out more than most plants. Therefore, I suggest you use terracotta pots. These pots are porous and readily allow excess water to flow out of the potting mix, and ultimately, the vessel.

You can also pot this beautiful species, with its unique and attractive flowers, in fancy decorative pots or simply hang them from baskets attached to doors or windows.

 

Pruning

The Hoya Serpens plants have a fairly vigorous growth rate. As a result, they can form unwieldy and large vines. Thus, pruning a Serpens plant from time to time may be a good idea.

You can use a pair of pruning scissors/shears. Cut off any brown or dead-looking stems or leaves for a more pleasant look. You can also cut down its vines or leaves merely for size-control.

The Hoya Serpens plant’s stems may also grow large and uneven. You can wind them around a trellis or simply trim them back to a node in such a situation. However, do not cut the peduncle stemming the inflorescence, because this is from where the blooms will spring out.

If your plant is infected by disease or fungus, its leaves or flowers may turn yellow or brown. This can also be one reason for you to prune your Serpens plant.

As much as you may love your Hoya Serpens plant, it is best to cut off the diseased leaves/flowers than letting the infection spread.

Make sure that you sterilize your gardening tools before use, such as pruning shears, to minimize the spread of infection.

 

Propagation

The propagation of a Hoya Serpens plant is not too tough. It is best to propagate it during the growing months of summer and spring. It requires a few gardening tools, a pre-prepared potting mix, root-hormone powder, and some water. To keep things sterilized, make sure your gardening equipment is clean and germ-free. Wear protective clothing if needed.

 

Stem Cutting Method

For a step-by-step guide of how to propagate Hoya serpens using stem cuttings, you can follow the steps below:

  • Prepare a pot or container with an organic, well-draining potting mix. You can use containing perlite, vermiculite, or sand.
  • Add some water to this potting mix until moist but not fully-saturated. Now set it with your fingers.
  • Cut a healthy stem off the Serpens plant that has at least two to three leaves. Your cutting should be 4 to 5 inches long (10-13 cm).
  • Next, remove the leaves from the lower stem.
  • Dip the cut stem into liquid or powdered rooting hormone to promote root growth.
  • Now plant this stem cutting into the potting mix and fix the soil around it with your hands. Add some water if needed.
  • Make sure no leaves touch the potting soil.
  • Place this container or pot in bright indirect sunlight and water regularly. Do not water excessively as the soil may become soggy and rot the stem.

The roots should form in about three to six weeks.

 

Blooms

The Hoya Serpens is mainly famous for its beautiful and distinctive flowers. The blooms it produces are mostly hairy and have pale green or lime green corolla and white corona. They also have some pink in the middle, which adds to its beauty.

The Serpens plant’s flowers have a faint sweet fragrance. However, when a considerable amount of flowers are open, the smell is stronger. They also produce some nectar. The flowers usually last for approximately one week.

 

Growth

The Hoya Serpens plant has a relatively rapid growth rate. It grows actively in the months of summer and spring and mostly ceases to grow during the winter. It can reach a height of about 8-10 feet (2.4-3.0 meters).

The Serpens plant grows reasonably well when given the right care and environment.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This wee hoya serpens looks like it will give me my first hoya blooms this spring and I’m honestly so excited about it 😻

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Linh | Cosy Greenery ✨🌱 (@cosygreenery) am

 

Common Problems for Hoya Serpens

The Hoya Serpens naturally grows in the harsh conditions of the cold Himalayan Mountains. It does not fall prey to diseases often, but some may affect it, causing serious problems.

 

Pests and Bugs

The Hoya Serpens is a fairly resistant plant. However, often mealybugs attack its leaves. If infected, begin treatment with sharp water sprays to bring the bugs down the plant. Next, use insecticidal spray or soap and use it thoroughly on the Serpens plant’s leaves.

Another frequent attacker is Aphids. They can be present on the Hoya Serpen’s flowers, particularly the ones producing nectar abundantly. For killing the aphids and mealybugs, use insecticidal spray or soap.

You can also use horticultural oil or neem oil/spray to get rid of the mealybugs and aphids.

 

Stunted Growth

A common problem several Serpens houseplant owners face is the slow or stunted growth of the Hoya Serpens plant. There can be a wide variety of reasons for this issue; however, it is frequently overwatering or under-watering.

The Hoya Serpens plant growth rate may slow down due to insufficient or excessive water-supply. If your plant’s roots have begun to rot, known as root-rot, you need to bring down the number the times you are watering it.

Similarly, if the Serpens plant’s leaves have become yellow or the plant is wilting, you are not providing it with enough water. Change the watering schedule and water it more often.

However, too much of anything is bad. Therefore, do not overwater the plant as it may lead to other problems.

 

Sooty Mold

Another common disease of the Hoya plants is Sooty Mold. It is often caused due to the nectar-producing feature of the Hoya Serpens plant. The disease can appear as black molds on the plant’s leaves. The mold tends to stick to the plant’s saps or nectar, making things worse. Aphids can also give rise to sooty mold because of their honeydew production.

Fortunately, the disease’s solution is quite easy. To get rid of the mold, simply wipe it off with a damp cloth. You can mist this cloth with antibacterial spray/liquid.

 

Tips for Growing Hoya Serpens

  • Place the plant in bright filtered sunlight.
  • Please wait for the soil to slightly dry out before watering it.
  • Do not grow the plant in standing water.
  • Make sure its potting soil is well-aerated and drains well.
  • Let it remain slightly root-bound for faster growth.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Hoya Serpens

 

Why is my Hoya Serpens plant not flowering?

This can be due to various reasons, including frequent unnecessary repotting and provision of insufficient sunlight. Let the plant be slightly root-bound and grow it in a partially sunny spot with dappled sunlight.

 

What is the best fertilizer for Hoya Serpens?

A good-quality fertilizer with a 2:1:2 or 3:1:2 ratio, containing phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium. You can use a high phosphorous content fertilizer for promoting blooms.

 

How can I make my Hoya Serpens plant grow faster?

For relatively faster and healthier growth, let the plant remain slightly root-bound. Also, fertilize the plant biweekly during the growing months. Furthermore, keep the plant in its ideal environment and water the plant regularly.

 

What time of year do Hoyas flower?

Most of the Hoya species, including the Serpens, bloom when fully mature. This may take up to 5 to 7 years.

 

Conclusion

The Hoya Serpens is an exotic and beautiful species with eye-catching and unique flowers. It certainly can make any place look vivid and lively.

Though growing it may initially be hard, it proves to be an excellent houseplant once you understand its needs.

However, it produces latex, which can be poisonous. Therefore, it is best to admire it from afar and keep it away from latex-allergic individuals, children, and pets.

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