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How to Care for a Hoya Polyneura

How do you care for a Hoya Polyneura? This plant is relatively easy to take care of. Keep the little guy in a bright room with plenty of indirect light and a temperature range between 45 F and 75 F; water the houseplant thoroughly but make sure that the soil has enough time to dry between waterings.

Hoya Polyneura or the ‘Fishtail Hoya’ is an elegant, delicate plant that has thin leaves with a cool venation pattern that reminds you of a fishtail (or a mermaid’s tail). But it’s not just the leaves that the plant is known for. It also has incredible flowers.

Hoya is a genus of ornamental flowering plants that are sometimes referred to as the ‘wax plant’. The start-shaped creamy yellow and red flowers and the leaves look like they are made of…wax! By the way, these tiny guys have a strong, pleasant scent.

Bear in mind that a Hoya Polyneura doesn’t grow under the soil. It is an epiphytic plant which means that it prefers to wrap its roots around nearby trees and rocks.

Do you want to learn how to care for this unique plant? Then this ultimate Hoya Polyneura caring guide is exactly what you need!

Indoor vs Outdoor Growing

This lovely plant is great for both indoor and outdoor plantations.

Consider getting a hanging basket for your green friend. These pots allow the gorgeous vines to grow and hang down.

You can grow your plant in such baskets, simple pots, or in your yard if the climate you live in is warm. However, you can always choose to transfer the plant indoors as soon as it gets cold outside.

If you decide to leave your Hoya in a pot, make sure that it has some sort of support to climb onto.

Best Location for Your Hoya Polyneura

This plant is most suited for growing hanging. But do bear in mind that the branches are relatively stiff and they might grow quite long before bending down.

In the wild, Hoyas grow epiphytically on trees, most of the time. The plants climb by twining and also use their roots for support.

This evergreen plant is suitable for a heated conservatory. You can also place it in wall-side borders.

In case you decide to grow your green-leaved friend under glass, you might want to use loam-based compost mixed with equal parts of charcoal, bark, sharp sand, and leaf mold.

Ideally, you would want to place your Hoya in a bright room with indirect light.

Tip: try not to move your Hoya too much. Constant relocation might stress the plant out and it will stop growing.

Lighting for a Hoya Polyneura

Bright indirect light is perfect for your little friend. Direct sun can easily burn the gentle leaves.

Tip: put your plant next to a north-facing window, to ensure that it never gets any direct sunlight.

Hoya Polyneura likes morning light, so, if you want to go the extra mile, you can replace the houseplant every morning to let it get some sun (but it may cause some additional stress to your friend).

With Fishtail Hoya, you can use artificial light. Simply make sure that the tender plant is located at least a few inches away from the light source.

This plant can tolerate low light, but you shouldn’t expect it to flower in such conditions.

Temperatures for your Hoya Polyneura

Even though these plants are tropical species, they can easily thrive in a temperature range between 45 F and 75 F. The reason being that the original Hoya Polyneura grows in the mountainous parts of Birma and India, where it tends to get pretty chilly.

However, you should never let frost form on this beauty. The leaves are so thin and delicate, that such cold will literally burn them.

Soil For a Hoya Polyneura

For this houseplant, well-draining soil is a must. Such soil will allow some extra water to drain through which, in its turn, helps prevent overwatering.

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Don’t worry. Your green-leaved friend will still be able to get enough moisture.

Tip: add perlite to the soil. It loosens up the soil, but at the same time, holds onto water due to its porous structure.

Make sure to get a pot with drainage holes, so that the water doesn’t stay in the pot.

Here are a few DIY soil mix recipes for those who want to go the extra mile:

  • 1 part worm castings
    2 parts perlite, pumice or horticultural charcoal, and pumice

  • 1 part orchard bark
    1 part peat-free compost
    1 part coarse perlite

  • You can use simple cactus compost, but make sure to add some perlite

Watering Your Hoya Polyneura

You wouldn’t need to water this houseplant too often.

During the warmer months, you might need to water the little guy once every 2 weeks. When temperatures drop, the watering schedule should change a bit as your Hoya would require some water once every 3 or even 4 weeks.

You can water the houseplant either from the bottom or the top, whatever works best for you. Don’t just give the beauty a few sips – fully water the plant.

Tip: always let the soil dry out, before watering the plant again. It doesn’t have to be dry all the way out; simply make sure that the soil is not moist.

Try your best not to overwater your Hoya Polyneura. This plant is prone to root rot and a few other conditions, so you would want to avoid overwatering at all costs. Also, don’t let your Hoya sit in the water.

Humidity For Your Hoya Polyneura

This guy adores high humidity. If the humidity levels are right, your plant will develop lush leaves and flowers.

There are a few ways that will help you create the perfect environment for your green friend:

  • The most expensive option involves getting a humidifier. Splurging on such a piece will help ensure that the humidity is always kept on point.

  • Misting is another thing that you can consider doing. Simply spritz the lovely leaves with water a few times per week.

Warning! It is extremely easy to overwater a Hoya Polyneura. When misting your plant, make sure that the water doesn’t soak and cause damage to the leaves.

  • The pebble tray method is the one that a lot of plant lovers tend to go for. All you would have to do is fill a tray with pebbles and water (the H2O should not be covering the pebbles). Then, place the pot with the plant on top of the tray.

The water will evaporate and increase the humidity levels for your green friend. Add more water to the tray, once all of it had evaporated.

Fertilizing Your Hoya Polyneura

Plants can’t really get all the necessary nutrients from water alone. That’s why fertilizing is incredibly important to ensure that the little guys are as healthy as they can be.

The great news is that the absolute majority of the most common indoor plant fertilizers will work for your Hoya Polyneura.

During the warmer time of the year, fertilize the beauty once every 2 weeks. You can skip this step in the cold months.


Fortunately, a Hoya Polyneura is not toxic at all. If you have a pet that started chewing on the leaves – don’t worry, the fluffy ball will be fine.

However, at times, even non-toxic plants can cause different reactions in certain individuals. You might not know that you have an allergy to Hoya’s juice until you actually get one.

Warning! It is not advised for people with an allergy to latex to try and handle a damaged plant.


One of the things that make Hoya Polyneura so unique is the delicate flowers.

The multiple flowers are grouped in an umbel. They are a creamy yellow color with a reddish center. These tiny miracles are star-shaped and look as if they are covered in wax.

An umbel can have anywhere between 5 and 15 flowers that need 2-3 weeks to fully mature.

The surface is smooth. A lot of other Hoyas have tiny hairs on their flowers, but that’s not the case with the Fishtail Hoya.

By the way, these little stars are also heavily scented. The smell is pleasant, but it might be a bit of a disaster for the people that are too sensitive to different scents. By the way, the smell is strongest in the early evening.

Thankfully, your friend will, most likely, bloom during the warmer months (from spring to late summer). So, if any of the family members are intolerant to the smell, you can put the plant outside for the summer.

Tip: in order to flower, the houseplant needs to be exposed to cooler temperatures. However, those shouldn’t go below 45 F.

The houseplant flowers from spurs. Don’t remove these things and try not to damage them as each year the flowers appear from the same spurs.


You don’t need to be a professional to propagate Hoya Polyneura.

All you are going to need are stem cuttings and either water or soil. The perfect Hoya Polyneura stem cutting is about 3-4 inches long and has at least 2 leaves attached to it.

Cut the stem with sterilized pruning shears right below a leaf node.

Tip: you can use 70% isopropyl alcohol to sterilize your equipment.

Stem cuttings and soil

  • Let your perfect stem cutting sit out for about 7 days in a warm environment. This will allow the cut end to callous over. Such ends promote strong rooting (exactly what we need!).
  • Prepare a pot with drainage holes at the bottom and some well-draining soil.
  • Create a small hole in the soil (you don’t want to bury the stem too deep). Place your stem cutting into the hole and tightly pack the soil around it.

Tip: if the stem doesn’t want to stand up, then place a straw in the soil and tie the stem cutting to the straw.

  • Take care of the stem cutting as you would of a normal Hoya Polyneura. Place it in indirect light and always let the soil dry before watering it again.

Stem cuttings and water

  • Prepare a proper stem cutting and let the cut end heal for at least a week.
  • Place the cutting in a jar. Pour some water in, but make sure to not drench the leaves (they should stay dry). Bear in mind that the water has to be warm (room temperature).

Tip: you can use tap water if you want. Simply let it sit out at least over the night so that any chemicals remaining in the water can dissolve.

  • Change the water every few days and patiently wait for the roots to grow (it might take 3-4 weeks).
  • Prepare a pot with drainage holes and fill it with well-draining soil.
  • You can move your baby plant to the pot only once the roots are at least 3 inches long. Don’t bury the roots too deep into the soil; tightly pack the soil around the baby Hoya Polyneura.
  • Care for your new plant as you would normally do.

When to propagate?

From early summer to late summer.

Planting season

You would want to plant your baby Hoya anytime from early spring to late winter.

Wait until the cuttings have rooted, plant the little guy, and take care of it as you would of its ‘mother’. Bear in mind that the temperature should not drop below 50 F in the winter.


Usually, you would want to repot your dear Hoya Polyneura every 2 years or so.

Tip: check the drainage holes of the plant pot. If you can see the roots peeking out, then the time has come to repot your green friend.

When buying a new pot for Hoyas, make sure that it’s only a few inches bigger than the previous one. If you suddenly give the plant too much room, its roots will ‘stress out’.

Bear in mind that your plant can stop growing for a while, once you have repotted it. As soon as the beauty will get used to its new home, it will start to thrive again.


What is the suitable soil pH for a Hoya Polyneura?

A pH of around 6-7 would do.

What kind of pot should I choose for my Hoya Polyneura?

These plants like a snug pot. If there is too much room in the pot, the roots will be exposed to a lot of moisture and that may lead to terrible consequences.

Get a pot with drainage holes. The material doesn’t really matter, just remember that terracotta dries faster than ceramic, for example.

How big does Hoya Polyneura get?

If given enough space, your plant can vine out and become very big (it can get about 20 feet long!). The leaves are usually 2-4 inches in length and 4 inches wide.

Can mealybugs become a problem?

Yes, mealybugs are Hoya Polyneura’s biggest pests.

These bugs are covered in a cotton-like substance. They feed on your plant’s sap, so a large infestation can easily kill a Hoya.

Thrips and brown scales can also become a problem.

You can use neem oil to treat your plant.

Tip: the natural oil shouldn’t hurt your dear friend, but you might want to test a small area beforehand (just in case).

Mix neem oil and simple water in a spray bottle. After that, spritz the mixture onto your plant. This solution will suffocate the annoying pests.

As soon as you spot dead insects, use gentle dish soap and water to wipe your plant down. In about 3 days, treat your Hoya with neem oil one more time.

Why does my Hoya have weird-shaped leaves?

If the leaves don’t look like fishtails anymore, the temperature might be the issue.

If the temperature is lower than 45 F or higher than 75 F, the plant will suffer and its leaves will change their appearance.

What makes the leaves become wrinkled?

It looks like there is a problem with the watering schedule. The plant is either thirsty or over-watered.

Check the soil with your finger. If it is really dry, make sure to water it and adjust the schedule. In case the soil is saturated, you would have to completely change the soil.

Don’t leave the plant in over-watered soil as it may cause the roots to rot.

Are Hoyas prone to root rot?

Unfortunately, yes. It is relatively easy to overwater a Hoya Polyneura and cause root rot.

That’s a condition when oxygen can’t get through the soil as it’s full of water. As a result, the poor plant will suffocate.

The roots will start to rot away and the worst thing is that this process is quite hard to stop.

If all the roots had rotten, you won’t be able to save the plant. However, in case you manage to spot that something is wrong on an early stage, you might be able to heal your Hoya by trimming the roots that have been affected.

Why does my plant have yellow leaves?

Too much water is to blame. You have to ensure that you are using well-draining soil and that the pot has drainage holes.

Your Hoya should never stand in water. Give the plant some H2O only once the soil has had enough time to dry from the previous time.

You might want to consider making one of the soil mixes that we have listed above.

My Hoya Polyneura is not growing! Is everything ok?

The plant might become ‘sleepy’ if there was a change in the environment. Sometimes, the growth can stop for several months.

All you can do is continue taking care of the plant. Simply give it enough time to adapt to the new environment.

Tip: if you have just recently bought your Hoya and brought it home, don’t be upset in case it doesn’t start to grow immediately. Patience is key.

To Sum Up

How to care for a Hoya Polyneura? These are the main steps that you should follow if you want your gorgeous plant to thrive.

  • The houseplant should be receiving a lot of bright indirect light.
  • Keep the temperature between 45 F and 75 F.
  • Your soil of choice has to be well-draining and make sure that the pot has drainage holes in it.
  • Water your evergreen friend every week or two and adjust the watering schedule as the seasons change.
  • You might want to place the pot with your Hoya Polyneura on top of a tray with pebbles and water. This will help ensure that the humidity levels are on point.
  • Fertilize the little guy every 2 weeks during the warmer months and stop giving any additional ‘treats’ as soon as the temperatures drop.
  • Repot the houseplant every 2 years or so, but make sure that the new pot is only a few inches bigger than the previous one (Hoyas like snug pots).

As you have already learned, taking care of these stunning plants is not too challenging. This friend is suitable even for the green thumbs that are just getting started.

However, a Hoya Polyneura can be a bit of a drama queen, at times. If you move the beauty to another spot or repot the plant, it might show its character and stop growing as fast. In such a case, you shouldn’t worry – it’s a normal reaction and your beloved plant will soon be happy again.

The cherry on the cake is the fact that propagating Hoya Polyneura is quite simple. If you manage to get the right stem cuttings, you will end up with baby Hoyas in about a month.

Possibly, the biggest compliment your plant can give you is by starting to flower. These amazing star-shaped flowers signify that you are doing a great job in taking care of this exotic plant.

Anyway, we hope this guide was helpful and we managed to answer all the questions that you might have had about taking care of the beautiful Hoya Polyneura.

How to Grow and Care for Hoya Polyneura – Your Comprehensive Guide to Foliage Plants for Home – The Bloom UP

Friday 29th of September 2023

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