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Hoya Carnosa Tricolor

How to take care of a Hoya

A Hoya is a beautiful plant that grows vines with thick leaves and sometimes even grows flowers! It's a great plant to get if you want your house to feel like a jungle with the long vines, but also want extra color and liveliness. A Hoya is a combination between succulents and vining plants like a Pothos or Philodendron in the sense that they look like they're tropical plants, but they actually prefer to dry out, like a succulent.

In this plant care guide, we're going to explore how you can take the best care of your Hoya and help it thrive in your house. These are the topics we're going to look at in this plant care guide:

  1. Watering your Hoya
  2. Sunlight requirements for your Hoya
  3. The perfect soil for your Hoya
  4. The best type of pot for your Hoya
  5. Fertilizing your Hoya
  6. Toxicity for your pets

Let's look at how we can best take care of your Hoya and help it grow flowers to make your living space happier and more colorful!

Watering your Hoya

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In the introduction, I've already mentioned that your Hoya is a plant that thrives when you let the soil dry out. Your Hoya has thick, fleshy leaves that store a lot of moisture, so you won't have to water your plant very often. Like many succulents, you can let the Hoya dry out until the leaves start to wrinkle a little. When the leaves start to wrinkle, it means that there is no longer enough moisture in the leaves to make them thick and fleshy. This is your sign to start watering your Hoya.

On average, you should water your Hoya once every 14 days in the spring and summer. Before you water your plant, it's important to check whether the soil is completely dry. Your Hoya needs to dry out completely before you water it again to stay happy and healthy. Like many succulents, the Hoya is quite sensitive to overwatering and will develop root rot if you water it before the soil dries out.

You can check whether the soil is dry by touching the soil. If the soil gets indented and bounces back easily, your soil is still moist and you won't need to water your Hoya yet. When you touch the soil and doesn't indent easily any more, you can water your plant.

Watering your Hoya in the winter

In the winter, when your Hoya goes into dormancy, you won't have to water your plant as often. During the winter months, your Hoya doesn't grow very much and won't absorb the moisture as quickly. If you were to keep watering your Hoya every 14 days, you risk overwatering your plant.

During the winter months, you should water your Hoya every 3 to 4 weeks. If you notice the wrinkling in the leaves and you haven't watered your Hoya for 14 days, you can water it a little earlier. Make sure to keep checking the soil before watering your Hoya to prevent root rot.

Sunlight requirements for your Hoya

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Hoya Carnosa in Sunlight

We've already discovered that the Hoya is very much like a succulent when it comes to watering. However, when it comes to sunlight exposure, the Hoya is quite different from a succulent. A typical succulent loves the bright sun and can never get enough sunlight. Your Hoya, on the other hands, doesn't like direct sunlight at all.

Your Hoya loves bright indirect sunlight, but the brightness of direct sunlight is too much. If you do want to put your Hoya in a spot where it gets some direct sunlight, make sure it only gets direct sunlight in the mornings. This type of sunlight isn't strong enough to burn the leaves on your Hoya. If you see the leaves on your Hoya turn yellow and it's in a bright spot, you might want to find a spot where your plant gets a little less sunlight. The perfect place for your Hoya is a spot in the middle of a room with a south or west facing window.

You can read more about the type of sunlight each direction gives you in "Does the sunlight direction matter for your houseplant?".

Sunlight exposure for your Hoya in the winter

In the winter, the sun isn't as strong and lower in the sky during the day. During the day, there is less sunlight coming in through the windows and your house is darker than it would be in the summer.

Your Hoya prefers bright light, so you should move it closer to windows to give it a bit of extra sunlight exposure in these darker months. During the growing season this sunlight is often too harsh, but it's fine during the winter.

The perfect soil for your Hoya

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Hoya Kerrii in Soil

We've already looked at watering your Hoya and in that section we found out that you Hoya needs to dry out before you water it again. Your Hoya prefers a dry environment, so let's give it that by planting it in soil that drains excess water away quickly. This type of soil helps to keep your Hoya healthy, prevents overwatering, and ultimately prevents root rot.

The right soil for your Hoya would be a pre-mixed bag of cactus/succulent soil. If you prefer to mix your own soil, you can do so as well, with the following ingredients:

  • Potting soil (50%)
  • Perlite/Pumice (40%)
  • Sand (10%)

These proportions help to hold onto moisture for a few days (the potting soil), but drain excess water (perlite/pumice and sand) away quickly. The Perlite and pumice helps to keep the structure of the soil intact and prevents the soil from compacting over time. It's important that the soil stays nice and light, because this allows oxygen to flow to your Hoya's roots freely. If oxygen can't reach the roots of your plant, root rot is very likely to happen. This type of soil mix is great to prevent this from happening.

The best type of pot for your Hoya

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Now that we know that your Hoya prefers a dry living environment, it's a little easier to see what the best type of pot would be for your plant. Plants that like to dry out quickly prefer a pot that can breathe and have a drainage hole. The best types of pots for plants like a succulent, but also your Hoya is a terra cotta pot or a ceramic pot. These types of pots absorb the moisture from the soil and are very porous. These porous pots allow the oxygen to freely flow to your Hoya's roots.

The drainage hole is perfect for your drought-loving plants, because this removes any excess water from the pot quickly, so you're not risking your plant developing root rot.

Another thing about the Hoya that makes choosing a pot a little easier is that it loves to be root-bound. What this means is that it loves to be cramped in a pot that's quite small so it can take over the whole pot with its roots. Once your Hoya has taken over most of the pot and there isn't a lot of soil left, you can think about repotting it into a slightly bigger pot. The best size pot is a pot that's 2-5 cm (1-2 inches) larger than the plant itself.

Fertilizing your Hoya

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Hoya Carnosa Flower

A Hoya is a flowering plant if you take great care of it. Most flowering plants have 2 things in common: They require a lot of bright sunlight and use a lot of energy to grow these flowers. So it's no surprise that you'll need to regularly fertilize your Hoya for it to grow flowers.

If you don't want your Hoya to grow flowers, you won't have to fertilize your plant as often, but it does still need to be fertilized occasionally to stay healthy. If you want to grow flowers on your Hoya, you should fertilize your plant once per month in the spring and the summer. During this growing period, your plant will grow a lot and when you give it the extra fertilizer, it has extra energy to grow flowers.

If you don't want to grow flowers on your Hoya, you should still fertilize your plant once at the beginning of spring and once at the beginning of summer. This fertilizer makes sure that your plant grows properly, but won't give it enough fertilizer to grow any flowers during the growing season. You can feed your Hoya with liquid fertilizer or fertilizer sticks.

You can read more about which fertilizer is best in "What is the best type of fertilizer for houseplants?".

Fertilizing your Hoya in the winter

In the winter, when your Hoya is dormant and doesn't grow, you shouldn't fertilize it. Your Hoya won't absorb the extra fertilizer and this will stay behind in the pot. This will make the soil salty and that will make it a tough place for your plant to grow.

Toxicity for your pets

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If you have small children and pets in your house and you're thinking about getting a Hoya, you're in luck! All different types of Hoyas are non-toxic to your pets and your children, which makes it a great plant to buy if you have curious children and pets. You can be rest assured that you won't accidentally harm your children or pets when they've chewed on your plant's leaves.


In this plant care guide, we've looked at how to take care of your Hoya. We've looked at how you can water your Hoya, the best sunlight exposure for your Hoya, the best soil for your Hoya, the best type and size pot, how to properly feed your Hoya, and whether your Hoya is safe for your pets and kids. The Hoya is a perfect plant for you if you forget about your plants every once in a while and love the color the flowers of the Hoya can put into your living spaces.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you're looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide or donate a plant in order to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with.

Tags: drought-loving, pet-friendly, beginner-friendly

Posted on: Apr 2, 2022 Last updated on: Apr 8, 2022

Other common names for this plant

  • Hoya Carnosa
  • Hoya Kerrii

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