Hoya plants are a highly wax-like household of continuing, evergreen shrubs that comprise over 500 different varieties of indoor and outdoor creeping and vining succulents well known for their invasiveness and adventitious spread over open spaces and surfaces.
They’re known by many aliases, including Wax Vine, Wax Plant, or Wax Flower. Hoya plants trace their ancestry to tellurian, and rocky twining climbers found in most tropical Asian countries, including India, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, New Guinea, Bangladesh, Australia, and The Philippines.
Wax Plants are widely propagated in commercial quantities for their multiple uses as furniture and cosmetics coatings, in automobiles, as well as food and confectionary industries. They are also low-maintenance garden plants that are simple enough for newbie propagators.
Propagating Hoya Plants from Stem Cuttings
Wax vines are also known as Milkweeds among botanists and can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. If this is your first time growing Wax Flowers, stem cuttings are your best bet for successful propagation.
Stem Cuttings are picked from a mature Hoya plant not less than 2-3 years old. You can use your fingers or a pair of clean, sharp garden scissors or knives to make your cuttings. Select the branches from the main stem with 2-4 leaves and 1-2 nodes.
The nodes show where the leaves grow on the stems; when propagated, new shoots emerge from the nodes. Any cutting that doesn’t have nodes on it will not root or grow new shoots.
Once your cuttings are readily severed from the main plant, nip off the residual leaves at the base of the cuttings and allow those closest to the crown. Remember to place the cuttings on a flat, warm, dry surface for some hours to allow the cut edges to heal.
Rooting the Stem Cuttings in Water
You can either root your cuttings in water or a Potting medium. Rooting in water is as easy as simply placing the calloused cuttings into a transparent glass jar with 3-4 inches of water poured into it.
With your cuttings in water, place the glass jar beside a well-illuminated window frame so that it gets sufficient indirect sunshine. Continue to replace the water in the jar every time it appears opaque and new growths can be expected after 3-6 months.
Once the roots grow to a 1-inch Length, you should transplant them in a Potting Mix immediately.
Rooting your Hoya Stem Cuttings in a Potting Medium
A more direct method of rooting the stem cuttings is in a Potting medium where they grow new roots and stems and develop into new plants much faster than water rooting.
With your Potting Mix specially prepared for the Wax Vines, pour some of the Potting Mix into the pot and make shallow 1-inch deep holes on the surface using your tiny finger or any sharp object.
Next, insert the cuttings into the holes and support them with more soil mix to fill all empty spaces; You can apply root hormones before planting if you wish to try it out. You should water the pot thoroughly afterwards and place it flat until it drains off all excess water completely.
Now, position the pot beside a window or door frame with sufficient shade to allow much indirect sunshine to hit the plant. When rooted in a Potting medium, they grow new roots and tender foliage within 4-6 weeks of planting.
Propagating Hoya Plants by Layering
You can also propagate your Wax Plants from a well-developed stem of about 3-6 inches in length by Layering if the stem has two or more nodes and fully grown leaves.
Bend the mature stem lower until it touches the soil surface in the pot, then pour some potting mix around it until it is buried under the soil mix. Ensure the stem remains attached to the mother plant and the leaves aren’t touching the soil surface to avoid rotting.
Use a pair of chopsticks or garden pegs to fix the stem in the soil, and new growths should emerge in a few weeks. You can cut off the stem after it grows new foliage and roots and transplants it like a stem cutting.
Propagating Hoya Plants by Seed Germination
Seed germination is the most natural way to propagate Wax Plants, so it eliminates most stress you’d undergo with other methods.
The Seeds are grown in mature Hoya plant pods, which bear the feathery seeds when they bloom. Mature seeds can be propagated in a Potting medium after the pod breaks, producing new Hoya plants.
Best Conditions to Propagate Hoya Plants
Much like most Succulents, they always crave the warmth and bustle of summer sunshine and winds because of their history as native tropical plants. They’re most vegetatively active in their growing seasons, which fall between early spring and mid-summer.
This only applies to some varieties; some still bloom in late summer, towards winter and early Fall; You should have adequate information about the specific varieties you wish to propagate.
One important piece of information I’ve observed over time is that they’re mostly slow bloomers and may take years to reach full maturity before you witness their first blooming season.
It’s best to maintain them within a temperature range of 60°F to 85°F (16°C to 30°C); anything below 55°F (13°C) would have adverse effects on their growth.
Sunshine Requirements for the Wax Plant
Wax Plants generally grow tender vines with thick waxy succulent foliage that can be easily damaged by excessive exposure to direct sunlight.
While you may directly sun the more mature pots for an hour or two during summer, the younger growing plants below three years from the time of propagation should be kept behind a well-lit window or under shade in outdoor environments.
You can tell if the sunshine they’re receiving is getting excessive when you notice some of the waxy leaves turn yellow and look burnt. A Hoya plant, well cared for, will grow bright green leaves as high as 4 inches to 12 inches long.
Watering your Hoya Plants
Hoya plants like to get as many drying breaks as possible to maintain their youthful look. The younger plants like to keep their leaves temporarily moist but left to dry out; on no account should you allow the leaves and roots remain soaked in damp soil or wet for long.
I only do watering in their growing season when the topsoil looks dry and feels crumbly up to an inch into the soil surface. With this, I water the pots thoroughly, letting the excess water drain off the bottom and sides through the drain holes.
Watering cycles during summer and spring should be once every one or two weeks, depending on the prevailing humidity. They require fewer watering cycles in winter because they’re typically not growing; you should only water them once in two or three weeks.
You don’t need to flood their pots during the resting seasons; just light watering to keep the soil moist would do; it’s easy to overwater them unknowingly during winter and fall, which can cause root frost or leaf rots.
Best Soil Potting Mix for Wax Plants
Wax Plants mostly grow as climbers on nearby trees; it’s best to propagate them in a specially prepared soil mix suitable for them because other commercially available succulent mixes won’t provide the right environment for their full growth.
You can have a homemade lightweight soilless potting mix for them comprising two part peat moss and one part pine bark, blended in an equal amount of perlite for more grit and aeration. Some organic compounds can be added to enrich the soil mix, and some lime to control the acidity.
If you’d prefer a soil-based Potting mix, try this formula: 1/3 garden soil, 1/3 coconut coir or vermiculite, and 1/3 perlite blended.
Wax Flower plants are widely propagated for their triple action benefits, which can be summarised as:
- They’re easy and simple maintenance requirements. They can be easily maintained even in environments with limited resources or harsh weather conditions.
- Non-lethality to both humans and animals pets. Among the hundreds of thousands of succulents varieties, only a few are not poisonous when ingested or contacted directly, and Hoya plants are one of the few. There are no records of them being harmful to any living being.
- Their excellent air-detoxifying and purifying properties. Wax Vines can remove toxic gases such as formaldehyde and organic compounds from the air, leaving the room with fresh air.
They’re also currently under study for their antimicrobial and antibacterial capabilities in treating rheumatism and several other skin diseases.