With its distinctive, free-dangling foliage, Hoya linearis (commonly known as Wax Plant and Porcelain Flower) is one of the best trailing houseplants out there. It has slender, greyish-green stems from which sprout hairy, dark green, linear leaves, which drape over the pot like the tassels of a curtain.
If the conditions are right, this fast-growing succulent will even produce sweet-smelling, wax-like flowers. So, how do you keep this popular Hoya happy?
How to care for Hoya linearis
Like most tropical flowers, Hoya linearis prefers a warm, humid environment. In our homes that usually means a bathroom or kitchen. Choose a position with bright, indirect light (too much sun will scorch the leaves, not enough will stunt new growth and reduce your chances of flowers). It can handle a little direct light, perhaps at the beginning or end of the day.
Use well-draining soil or add orchid bark to regular houseplant potting soil to create a free-draining mix. Wondering when to repot your Wax Plant? Hoya linearis is an epiphyte, more used to cascading down from the crevices of tree branches in the Himalayas than your dusty bookshelf.
That means it won’t mind a snug pot and might only need repotting once a year. We'd advise repotting your Wax Plant in early spring when the dormant period is over and it is channelling all its energy into new growth. In addition, if you notice that the root system is a tangle of spirals that’s usually a sign you need to upsize its pot.
When to water Hoya linearis
The Wax Plant prefers slightly moist soil but doesn't like to be waterlogged. As the temperature cools, hold off on watering except when the soil feels dry to the touch. Consider misting if you go heavy on the central heating in winter and try not to let the temperature fall below 10 degrees. While those fuzzy fronds can handle cooler nighttime temps, they don't like draughts. Sudden leaf drop is a sign your plant is feeling the cold and needs to be relocated somewhere warmer.
How to propagate Hoya linearis
It's easy enough to root Hoya Linearis from cuttings. Just strip off the lower leaves from the bottom third of the stem, and place those stems in free-draining compost. To raise the humidity levels, just cover the whole thing with a plastic bag.
Hoya linearis Curtis Botanical Magazine vol 109 1883 pl6682 © Biodiversity Heritage Library
When does Hoya linearis flower?
Hoya plants won’t flower until they are fully mature. In general, it can take five to seven years at least before you’re treated to those waxy, star-shaped blooms, which are said to be lemon-scented. If you wait all that time and the flowers are still a no-show, it might just be a non-blooming cultivar. However, to give it the best chance of flowering, follow these steps.
- Is your Hoya getting enough light? Move it to a brighter position but don’t move the plant around too much, as, like most of us, too much moving stresses it out.
- Does your Hoya need a health boost? Consider using a balanced (organic, if possible) fertiliser during the spring and summer months. Always water your plant before fertilising to avoid the nutrients running straight out of the pot.
- Is your pot too roomy for your plant? Some Hoyas are more likely to flower when they’re stressed. Keep your Hoya slightly pot bound and don’t overwater.
- Be careful when pruning. Once the flowers are spent, resist the urge to snip off the flower stalk as it may produce new blooms. Cutting off the stalk means the plant will redirect its energy into growing a new stalk instead of the flowers.
For common symptoms and how to treat them, check out this post from Plantify:
Is Hoya linearis toxic to cats and dogs?
Animal lovers can breathe easy, Hoya Linearis isn't toxic to cats or dogs. However, always wear gloves when pruning as the milky white sap that oozes from the stems can be an irritant.
Where Can I Buy Hoya Linearis?
Hoya Linearis is a great choice if you're running out of floor space and have decided it's time to grow vertically. The good news is you can buy Hoya Linearis on the Candide Marketplace today!
Just click this linkto check out the latest listings by UK based independent plant sellers.