How to Grow and Care for Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa) Indoors


Wax Plant, Hoya carnosa

Botanical name: Hoya carnosa
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Common names: Wax Plant, Porcelainflower

Description

Hoya carnosa commonly called Wax Plant or Porcelainflower is an easy-care, climbing plant which bears fleshy leaves and clusters of waxy, fragrant, star-shaped flowers.

The twining stems can reach 15 ft or more making it ideal for a hanging basket or a trellis. The leaves are heart-shaped and fleshy with a glossy surface.

Care for Hoya carnosa is easy if the don'ts are observed. Some of these are don't disturb the plant once the buds appear as change in light intensity may cause them to drop.

Don't remove the dead flowers as new flowerbuds will form in the spurs. Don't repot until it is unavoidable as being root-bound encourages flowering. It benefits from loose potting medium that allows some air to get to the roots.

Air Cleaning

Studies carried out at the University of Georgia have shown that Hoya carnosa (Wax Plant) is good at getting rid of pollutants from indoor air.

Origin

Hoya carnosa is native to Eastern Asia and Australia where it grows as an epiphyte, climbing on trees in the humid subtropical forests.

Varieties

Many cultivars of Porcelainflower have been developed which vary in foliage form or flower color.

These cultivars include variegata with cream-edged leaves. Exotica with yellow-centered leaves. Krimson Princess with red-colored young foliage among many others.

Where to Buy

Buy beautiful and healthy Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa) online from Etsy.

Wax Plant, Hoya carnosa

Photo Credit: Hortology

Hoya carnosa Care Indoors

Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa) thrives in bright light with some direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and consistently moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Porcelain Flower requires regular pruning to keep it neat and encourage a bushy growth. Repotting is needed only when it becomes extremely pot-bound as it blooms best when root-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Wax Plant grows best in bright light with some direct sunlight. It can adapt to lower light levels but it will not bloom if the light is not enough. Where the natural lighting is not adequate instal a grow light to supplement it.

Watering

Water Wax Plant thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out slightly between waterings to keep the soil moist at all times .

Reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time to maintain the soil slightly moist. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual loss of the plant.


Temperature

Hoya carnosa thrives in average warmth between 16-260C during the growing season. Keep it away from cold and hot draughts to prevent sudden changes in temperature as they can cause leaf drop.

Humidity

Wax Plant has no need for high humidity; average room humidity is ideal for this plant. However, if the air is too dry, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity.

Do not mist Porcelainflower to avoid wetting the flowers as it can lead to rotting and do not disturb a plant that is in flower as it can shorten the flowering period.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust as well as discourage pest and disease infestations.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Wax Plant with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing season to promote flowering. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

Repotting

Repot Wax Plant at the beginning of the growing season only when the plant is pot-bound as it blooms best when slightly pot-bound.

Do not repot a Porcelainflower that is in the flower bud formation stage as it can drop the buds.

Use a pot 1 size larger and one that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.

Soil

The best soil for Hoya carnosa should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for Wax Plant.

Pruning

Pruning Wax Plant is easy. Remove the dead leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy. Don't remove the dead flower stalks as more flowers will form from the spurs. After flowering, cut back the stems to rejuvenate growth and to prevent the plant from becoming unruly.

Propagation

Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings or by air layering.

How to propagate Wax Plant from stem cuttings

Take a 4-5 stem cuttings from a healthy Wax Plant plant. Ensure each cutting bears at least 1 set of leaves.

Insert the stem cuttings in moist free-draining soil and place the set up in a warm, well-lit spot away from direct sunlight.

Maintain the soil moist through out until the new Porcelain Flower plants are well established after which you can begin routine care.

How to propagate Wax Plant by air layering

Make a cut (notch) on the stem of a healthy Wax Plant. Coat the notch with a rooting hormone and surround the area with damp moss.

Cover the notched area with a polythene film or clear plastic wrap and maintain moist until roots develop.

After the roots have formed sever the stem just below the covered part, remove the polythene and carefully pot the rooted cutting.

Place in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until the new Wax Plant is well established after which routine care can begin.

Wax Plant, Hoya carnosa

Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa) Problems Indoors

Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa) problems indoors are caused by cultural faults in watering, lighting, feeding and humidity. These problems include flowerbud drop, lack of blooms, brown leaves, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Brown leaves

Wax Plant brown leaves are due to two possible causes. One possible cause is incorrect watering; either underwatering or overwatering.

Maintain the soil consistently moist but not soggy and never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

The second possible cause of brown leaves in Porcelain Flower is too high temperature. Keep the plant away from hot draughts to maintain an average room temperature.

Dropping flower buds

Wax Plant dropping flower buds is due to four possible causes. One possible cause is incorrect watering; either overwatering or underwatering.

Maintain the soil consistently moist but never soggy and never allow the soil ball to dry out completely.

The second possible cause of dropping flower buds in Porcelain Flower is changes in the light conditions.

Do not move a Wax Plant when it is in flower; it does not like changes in light conditions while in flower.

The third possible cause of Porcelain Flower dropping flower buds is sudden change in temperature.

Protect the plant from draughts to avoid sudden changes in the temperature and maintain a constant average warmth.

The fourth possible cause of Wax Plant dropping flower buds is dry air.

To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

No blooms

Wax Plant not blooming (flowering) is due to two possible reasons. One possible reason is too little light.

Move the plant to a brighter spot where it will receive bright light but away from direct sunlight or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is inadequate.

The second possible reason for Wax Plant not blooming (flowering) is feeding it with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer which promotes foliage growth at the expense of flowers.

Feed Porcelain Flower with a phosphorous-rich, water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season but do not feed during the cold season.

Pests

Wax Plant pests; Mealy Bugs, Fungus Gnats, and Spider Mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests. Read more on how to identify and control houseplants pests here.

Diseases

Wax Plant diseases are related to poor cultural practices. The common diseases are root-rot diseases and leaf spot disease due to soggy soil. Maintain the soil moist but not soggy. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Is Wax Plant toxic?

Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa) produces a milky white sap which contains latex. The latex is considered toxic to humans and pets.

Always wear gloves when handling the plant and keep the plant from the reach of children and pets.

You liked it? Share on social media.

On the Blog

You liked it? Share on social media.