Hoya Lacunosa: A Comprehensive Care Guide

Hoya lacunosa belongs to a relatively large Hoya genus of plants. Cinnamon-scented wax plant, waxflower, or porcelain flower are common names for this plant. 

Originating in Asia and most commonly found in Malaysia and Indonesia, it is a gorgeous vine plant popular for its beautiful white flowers and rich cinnamon scent. It’s a household plant that every plant lover wants. 

Caring for a hoya lacunosa isn’t tricky with the correct knowledge.   

Just take care that the plant is in a well-draining pot with aerated soil. The plant also requires high humidity and bright indirect sunlight, if possible, morning light. Let the soil dry out after each thorough watering. 

This guide will cover all the requirements for a happy plant, symptoms to diagnose a sick plant, and treatment. 

Should I Plant My Hoya Lacunosa Indoors or Outdoors?

Because hoya lacunosas are from a tropical climate, they need to be grown in warm, humid weather. If you live in a torrid zone, you can plant your hoya lacunosa outdoors. 

Otherwise, it’s better to grow your plant in a pot where you can put them outdoors when it’s hot enough and move them indoors when it’s too cold.  

Additionally, the hoya lacunosa are epiphytes, meaning they grow on trees and other plants instead of directly in the earth. Because they take advantage of other plants to grow up the canopy to get more light, they’ll need a supporting structure to crawl or trail, such as stakes or a trellis. 

Growing your plant outdoors could be beneficial for other plants in your garden because the hoya lacunosa attracts pollinating insects. However, this also exposes them to pests and unwanted temperatures. 

If you plan to grow them indoors, consider a regular plant pot or hanging baskets. A pooted plant gives your better control of the plant’s environment and the flexibility to move it outdoors if you desire to do so. 

How Much Sunlight Does Your Hoya Lacunosa Need?

If outdoors, ensure your plant gets enough sunlight without any coverings that might provide too much shade.  

The same applies to indoor hoya lacunosas. Like most plants of the Hoya family, the Hoya Lacunosa thrives under bright light. Their waxy leaves help absorb a lot of light to bloom.

However, the closer you live to the equator, the better it is not to place your plant in direct sunlight. Because areas closer to the equator have intense and unrelenting sunlight, your hoyas could get burned or dried out.  

If this is the case for you, put your hoya lacunosa somewhere with indirect sunlight, and avoid placing it under the strong, relentless sun. Conversely, please do not put it in a dark shaded area with little light. 

Morning light is preferable, so place it under an East facing window. Otherwise, please arrange it in a shaded area with a lot of indirect light instead. 

If you live in a house or apartment with little light, consider mimicking the light environment of their natural habitat. Use artificial lights to simulate medium to high light conditions.

What Kind of Pot is Suitable for Your Hoya Lacunosa?

You can grow the hoya lacunosa in any material plant pot with a drainage hole. Because they like being root bound, they do not need frequent re-potting or transplanting.  

For new cuttings, use a small pot, about four inches. For more mature plants, you can consider a ten-inch plant pot or hanging basket.

If your hoya lacunosa looks dull or in distress, you can re-pot it by moving the entire root ball to a bigger pot without breaking the roots. However, you could also add fresh potting soil to make sure they’re getting the correct amount of nutrition.

What Soil Works Best for Your Hoya Lacunosa? 

As an epiphyte, the Hoya Lacunosa grows on other plants. This characteristic means it needs a lot of aeration, so avoid dense potting mix with poor drainage.

Add perlite to your potting mix for more aeration and looser soil. In addition to perlite, you can add peat moss, pine bark, and other materials to make the soil more airy.

The soil should be changed or added every two years since you don’t need to re-pot your plant. 

How Much Should You Water Your Hoya Lacunosa?

Despite being a tropical plant, the hoya lacunosa dislikes sitting in wet soil. Typically, you should thoroughly water your hoya lacunosa once a week, depending on the season and weather. 

However, regular watering won’t be detrimental to your plant. Just allow the soil to dry out between waterings and that it’s never waterlogged!

Please note that intermittent dryness is excellent for inducing flowering.

During rainy months, a hoya lacunosa will need less water because the soil will stay damp. During dry months, water your hoya lacunosa regularly, particularly if the soil and plant pot drains well. 

During the fall and winter, when the weather gets colder, water your plant less frequently. It should only have enough water for the hoya to maintain moisture. 

How Humid Is Too Humid?

This tropical plant needs humidity to thrive and will survive at most humidity levels. In a dry arid environment, they will not grow well and might die. 

If you live in a drier climate, make sure to mist your plant regularly. You could also get a humidifier to ensure the proper humidity levels, at least 60%. 

It’s important to make sure that you do NOT place it near AC vents, on the radiator, or any type of heat source! The heat or ventilation from the air conditioner will dry out the soil.

What’s the Optimal Temperature for Your Hoya Lacunosa?

Hoya Lacunosas prefer warmer climates and won’t be able to survive cold temperatures. Hoya lacunosa should be kept in temperatures of 68-77°F (20-25°C). Hotter temperatures are acceptable as long as the humidity is high and the plant isn’t under direct sunlight. 

Temperatures below 50°F (10°C) can adversely affect your plant. Don’t worry if your hoya lacunosa isn’t growing during the cold season; however, be cautious so that it survives the cold.

Do You Need to Fertilize Your Hoya Lacunosa? 

If all other conditions are right, your hoya lacunosa wouldn’t need any fertilizers. However, if you want to fertilize your plant, opt for organic fertilizers, such as decomposed leaves or bark mixed with rich soil. 

Another option is a 20-20-20 fertilizer of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, a common type of fertilizer found in most garden shops.

Add fertilizers once every two weeks or once or twice during the growing season (i.e., the summer or spring). Make sure to dilute your fertilizer and add it in low concentrations rather than excessive. 

After the season is over, stop fertilizing and continue watering the plant, as usual. Do not fertilize once the temperatures drop because the plant’s growth slows down.

Alternatively, you can choose NOT to fertilize your plant. As long as the potting soil is rich in organic material and other decomposed leaf and bark matter, the plant will thrive. 

How Do You Prune Your Hoya Lacunosa?

Pruned your hoya lacunosa can be valuable if it gets too long or it starts getting out of control. Otherwise, pruning isn’t necessary for your hoya plant. It just needs fundamental maintenance care. For example, removing leggy stems, which are thin stems with more considerable foliage. Similarly, trimming away or picking off dead, damaged, or discolored leaves.

Only prune your hoya after flowering. Pruning during growth causes your plant stress, and it’ll form new buds. 

Do not deadhead or prune the spent flowers. Instead, let them drop on their own. Deadheading the stalks will cause flowering to be delayed, and its spurs or offshoots would produce new blooms the year after. 

Propagation

The Hoya Lacunosa is easy to propagate. It is best to do so during the spring and summer seasons, which are its growing seasons.

There are two methods of propagating hoya lacunosa. Below are step-by-step guides: 

Stem-Tip Cutting

To do this, use a sharp knife to cut a five to eight-inch-long stem cutting from the plant’s growing end. Count and ensure that more than two nodes are in the cutting and cut around a quarter of an inch below the last node.

Take three or more cuttings for a better propagation process and to have a bushier plant.

Remove leaves from the stem’s lower end, leaving only the upper ones. Then, plant the new cuttings in moist and quick-draining soil.

Keep the conditions the same as you would for a regular hoya lacunosa plant. The only difference would be keeping the soil moist. Do this by watering with a spray, allowing the potting mix to become 70% dry- NOT completely- before watering again.

After about three weeks, the cuttings will start to develop roots. After five weeks, it will produce shoots, then well-grown vines in about three months.

Air Layering

To do this, plant new cuttings in water by filling a pot with filtered water, distilled water, or rainwater. Alternatively, you can use tap water. Just allow it to sit overnight, so the chlorine settles. 

Place the nodes of your cuttings into the water, around 4 inches deep. The plant’s root system will develop in the water. Then, after three or four months, you can plant the hoya in rich soil. Alternatively, you could continue growing it in water until it forms a vine.

What if Your Hoya Lacunosa is Sick? 

The Hoya Lacunosa is relatively easy to grow, but many different factors go into caring for a plant. Sometimes, a few issues can affect the health of your plant. Luckily, they can be preventable! Below are a bunch of symptoms and diagnoses for your hoya lacunosa and how to remedy it. 

Wilting

If your plant wilts or goes limp, this could be a sign of root rot. Discoloration could also accompany wilting. 

Although hoya lacunosas like moisture, saturated or waterlogged soils will cause root rot. Make sure your soil and pot are draining correctly. Rinse and pick off the rotted roots and replant them in the well-draining soil. 

Contrarily, it could also be due to a lack of water. 

As a tropical plant, underwatering your plant could be detrimental. Check the soil of your limp plant and see if it’s dry. Soak the roots on the plant in water for about twenty minutes to an hour. 

Discolored Leaves 

If there’s discoloration on your leaves without wilting, this could be a sign of cold temperatures. 

The tropical plant likes warm temperatures. Place your hoya lacunosa indoors or away from the windows during the winter. Additionally, make sure your plant isn’t near any air conditioner vents. 

If there’s discoloration along with slow-growing leaves, this is a sign that your plant isn’t receiving adequate nutrients. 

If this happens, add a well-balanced 20-20-20 nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus fertilizer into your plant’s soil throughout the month.

Burns on Leaves

Burns look like browning tips or dry patches on the leaves. 

Although the hoya lacunosa likes the sun, direct exposure to sunlight can cause burns. Make sure your hoya lacunosa receives only the right amount of light. Place your plant in a shaded area with indirect light.

Moreover, remove any browning or dry leaves. The removal ensures the plant won’t catch fungal infections and allows the plant to focus its energy on healthy leaves.

Doesn’t Flower

Hoya lacunosas are known for their beautiful clusters of flat, tiny white flowers with a yellow star in the center. This plant should flower quite often through the year; therefore, this could indicate a problem if it isn’t flowering. 

Most commonly, a lack of flowering could be because of too little light or a lack of nutrients.

As previously mentioned, fertilize the soil with add a well-balanced 20-20-20 nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus fertilizer. 

Also, make sure the plant is in a shaded area with enough indirect light or on a windowsill that faces east and gets morning sunlight. 

Pests

Common pests of Hoya lacunocsas are:

  • Mealybugs 

These bugs gather around the stems and undersides of leaves. They look like white fluff and will suck the juice out of the plant. 

  • Spider mites 

These are tiny red pests that are usually on the underside of leaves. They’ll damage the leaves and suck the sap out of the plant. 

  • Aphids

Usually located on the underside of leaves, these green insects are almost invisible to the naked eye until they mature. They’ll damage the leaves and suck the sap out of the plant. 

To get rid of these pests, you can shower or hose your plant to wash the bugs off. Make sure to do this in an isolation area to prevent spread. Additionally, take care that the pot is well-draining and the soil is left to dry afterward. 

Alternatively, you can make a water and soap solution or a water and neem oil mixture and spray the plant. Use a toothbrush to scrub the bugs off as you spritz. Neem oil is a natural pesticide and also nourishes your plant. 

Be sure to check the plants occasionally for pests, specifically the undersides of leaves.  

You can use chemical insecticide; however, side effects could be adverse, especially for children or pets. 

For small infestations, you can spot clean by rubbing the pests with an alcohol swab or cotton bud.

Other potential pests to look out for, especially if your hoya lacunosa is outdoor, include: 

  • Rodents
  • Snails 
  • Slugs
  • Grasshoppers

These usually occur in small numbers and are easy to remedy. With rodents, you’ll need a protective covering for your plant. 

 With snails and slugs, remove the pests and sprinkle coarse rocks, glass, or even coffee grounds around your plant’s soil. The small sharp objects prevent the slugs and snails from crawling over and reaching your plant. 

Finally, for grasshoppers, you can sprinkle flour on the leaves. The flour will clog the grasshopper’s mouths and kill them off. 

Natural predators are also an option for pests. Birds, frogs, and ladybugs are all beneficial predators to have in your garden ecosystem. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know how to care for your hoya lacunosa, you might have more questions that other gardeners have asked. 

Is It Toxic?

Although the petals and flowers are safe to touch, the hoya lacunosa belongs to the milkweed family known for the white latex running within. This latex is considered quite toxic. 

However, this does not necessarily mean they are poisonous. The effects of latex depend on the person’s size and allergies. For animals, it varies by species and size. Anyone with a latex allergy should avoid handling the plant if it is damaged.

For the safety of your young children and pets, it’s best to keep these plants out of reach. It’s also important to teach them not to chew or bite into the plant. 

How Long Does It Take to Bloom? 

Newly grown cuttings can be ready to bloom three months after taking root. Mature hoya lacunosas typically bloom year-round unless you are from a cold climate. 

Flowering is also dependent on the appropriate growing conditions rather than your hoya’s age. Therefore, your hoya lacunosa’s blooming frequencies are dependent on how well you care for it. 

Does Your Hoya Lacunosa Only Bloom in the Summer?

As previously mentioned, hoya lacunosas blooms almost year-round. Only if temperatures drop too low will it stop.

Then, growth will stop during the winter months as the plant tries to survive. 

Can You Use Artificial Lights to Grow the Plant? 

In short, yes. You can grow most plants, including the hoya lacunosa, with artificial lights. 

Your plants can bloom under fluorescent lights as long as they receive at least 12 hours of artificial light a day. 

Artificial grow lights can be a good alternative, especially if you live in an area without much sunlight. 

Can You Find the Hoya Lacunosa Anywhere?

Unfortunately, this plant isn’t that common as a houseplant, so it can be pretty challenging to come by. 

But, with their rising popularity, they can be found in some local gardening stores or bought online. Keep in mind that they might be more expensive than other Hoya plant varieties.

If you decide to purchase your hora lacunosa online, research the seller, check reviews and follow the proper steps to prevent transplant stress.

What Varieties Can You Get? 

The other varieties of the hoya lacunosa include Langkawi Island, Eskimo, Loas, and Tove. 

The differences are mainly in the foliage and flower size, which can vary depending on the amount of sunlight the plant receives.  

The Langkawi Island is a miniature variety with the smallest leaves. 

The Eskimo variety has fluffy, cream-white flowers, which it derives its name from. Also, it has heart-shaped leaves, dependent on the amount of bright light they receive. In partial shade, this variety will stretch out and lose its decorative shape. 

There’s also an Eskimo Silver variety that has a silvery bloom on its leaves. 

The Laos variety has large, dense leaves with cream-colored specks. With good light, the foliage turns brown, and the spots turn white. You can also distinguish this variety by its long flowering seasons. 

You can characterize the Tove variety by its delicate purple blossoms and large diamond-shaped leaves. In bright light, the leaves turn burgundy. However, the Tove variety does not tolerate heat. At high temperatures, it becomes vulnerable to disease and pests.

Other varieties of hoya lacunosa include Snow Caps and Royal Flush. These hoyas have dark green leaves with white speckles or frosted tips. 

The Royal Flush seldom flowers and will only flower with an excess amount of sunlight. But, this variety is pretty resistant to diseases.

All care requirements of these varieties are similar to the parent plant, as described in the guide above. 

Conclusion

As with most household plants, hoya lacunosas aren’t too fussy as long as the conditions are right. Once you’ve purchased or received your plant, take special precautions to find the best location, use the correct soil, and give the appropriate watering. 

If the conditions are ideal, maintenance of the plant will be easy. Now that you have the basic knowledge of how to grow hoya lacunosa, you can be a confident hoya lacunosa plant parent!

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