Hoya retusa care guide

Hoya Retusa Care – How To Grow Grass Leafed Hoya

Hoya retusa care guide

Hoya Retusa are one of the easiest plants to care for. They’re practically indestructible. It’s commonly known as the grass leafed hoya due to flat, slim foilage. They sit best in hanging planters, so you can have them trailing anywhere in the home. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know to care for your hoya retusa.

Here’s a quick overview of what you can expect: Providing good care for your hoya retusa is easy. Place it in bright, indirect light and grow it in well draining soil. Only water it once the surface is dry to to the touch. They thrive with regular home temperatures, humidity, and light fertilization. 

Hoya Retusa Care Summary

Scientific NameHoya Retusa
Common NameGrass Leafed Hoya
OriginSouth-East Asia
Light RequirementsBright Indirect Light
WateringNormal, when surface of soil is dry to the touch
SoilWell draining soil
TemperatureBetween 5 and 35°C (41 to 95°F)
FertilizerBalanced fertilizer
HumidityRegular humidity
FloweringWhite/Reddish flowers
PruningMinimal, trim with secateurs 
PropagationDone via cuttings
Re-PottingEvery 2 years
ToxicityYes – Milky sap laden with latex

Best Location For Your Hoya Retusa

Hoya Retusa can be grown pretty much anywhere in the home. They’re quite hardy so it gives you the flexibility to grow it almost wherever you like. Just remember the main thing is that they should not be exposed to direct sunlight. They love bright, indirect light – but if you’re in doubt, remember they can survive in low light conditions

It’s not uncommon to grow a hoya retusa near a window and let the leaves trail down to cover it. However, if you’re doing this then you should locate the plant in a room with windows facing south or south-west. This helps reduce the amount of direct light on it. If you can’t do that, then you should think about installing some form of screen to protect the plant.

If you notice some of the leaves browning or curling, this is usually a sign they’re getting too much sunlight. Keep this in mind and adjust the location accordingly if you notice any signs of this problem.

Personally, I like to grow them in hanging planters as this allows the flat leaves to trail down. I think that having them hanging near archways can help create a cozy feel in your home.

Temperature For Hoya Retusa Plants

As they’re a tropical plant, they don’t like extreme temperature fluctuations. They will thrive best when the temperature is consistently between 50 to 80 °F. If the temperatures are consistently outside of that range, you may notice the growth becomes stunted with your plant. If it happens to drop too cold, some of the leaves may start to shrivel and turn brown.
 
Typically, you’ll find that the average home temperature will suit it fine. They are quite a hardy plant, they just don’t like huge temperature fluctuations. So as long as the temperature in your home is consistent, you should be fine. 
 
The key thing with finding the ideal temperature for your plant is keeping it away from heaters or air conditioners. These are areas where the temperature is likely to fluctuate much quicker than the rest of the room. But don’t keep them somewhere that has no airflow, this can also stunt the growth.

Soil For Hoya Retusa

With a hoya retusa, you want a well-draining soil so the water flows through easily. Also, the PH needs to be neutral, around 6-7 is ideal. Typically it’s best to go with a peat or a coco coir potting mix. Both of these are usually pretty well draining.
 
If you’re finding that your soil isn’t draining too well, you can add perlite or some coarse sand to it. This will help create spaces for water to flow through, preventing pooling. Or you can simply add some gravel to the bottom of the pot, this will help it drain better. One of the main reasons for having a well draining soil is to prevent root rot. When a hoya retusa is sat in a pool of water, this can easily bring on rot in the roots. 

If you cant get your hands on any potting mix, it’s pretty simple to make your own. All you need is some peat, garden soil and coarse sand. Mix these together in equal parts and you’ve got yourself a well-draining soil mix. 
 
Something to bear in mind when making your own potting mix though, cleanliness. Ensure that you’re using clean components that don’t have anything unwanted hidden in them. This helps prevent bringing unwanted guests and diseases into your home.
hoya retusa in a pot

Watering Your Hoya Retusa

The key component in regards to watering your hoya retusa is soil drainage. It’s susceptible to root rot so it’s essential that the water can freely flow through the planter and out the bottom. If you’re finding that the water isn’t draining through, you may need to drill more holes into your planter. If that doesn’t work, you should try changing to a lighter potting soil.

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You only need to water this plant when the surface of the soil is dry to the touch. Give it enough water to just moisten the soil. Never let it get soggy, this is a sign that water is beginning to pool. This will lead to root rot if you’re not careful. When watering, it’s also key that you use room temperature water. Doing this helps prevent the plant from going into shock. If cold water touches the roots of the plant, it can send a shock through it’s system, causing leaves to drop.

Another thing to avoid, which might sound a little strange, is watering your plant in the evening. Ideally, you want to water your plant as early in the morning as you can. This gives your plant a full day to absorb the water. Plus, it allows excess water to evaporate and prevent pooling. A sign too look out for is dark spots on the leaves. This is an indicator for leaf spot, which is essentially a fungus that grows as a result of night time watering.

One final thing, to really give your plant the best care, water hardness. If your water is hard in the local area, there’s a good chance there are some chemicals in there that can be detrimental to your hoya retusa. A way to combat this is with distilled or filtered water. But you can leave your water out overnight as an alternative. That way, it will give time for some of the chemicals to dissipate. Plus it will also bring it to room temperature.

Humidity For Your Hoya Retusa

As they’re tropical plants, you can already imagine they love humidity. However, they can happily cope in regular home environments so don’t let this put you off. But if you are starting to notice the leaves becoming crisp and brown, this is a sign that the humidity may be lacking. Don’t fret though, simulating a higher humidity environment for it in the home isn’t too complex, plus it will help it to truly thrive.

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During drier days, such as during winter, it can seem difficult to get the humidity right. It also gets tempting to give it more water, this is not the solution and will just cause further problems. However, there are a few options to help increase the humidity. So, how can we increase it?

First of all, you can setup a humidifier in your home. Usually you just have to fill them with water and plug them in, pretty simple. They tend to kick out the most humidity and are ideal for the dry winter months or when the summer heat really kicks in. If that’s not an option though, you can simply place it in your bathroom. The water in your bathroom should give it the humidity it needs, helping to simulate its natural environment.

Spritzing your plants leaves with a spray bottle helps too. The finer the mist, the better. Often people make the mistake of directly watering the leaves thinking this will work instead, it won’t. Doing that will just cause issues with your plant. Misting provides just a light coating of water on the leaves, rather than soaking them like watering would do.

If neither of the above options work for you, grouping your plants up can increase the humidity, as plants naturally release water during their growth. Otherwise, you can try filling a shallow tray with pebbles and water. Place this near your plants and this will give them the boost in humidity they need. If that doesn’t resolve it, you can try adding more trays with water.

hoya retusa and a cat

Fertilizing Hoya Retusa

Towards the latter end of spring, you can start fertilizing your hoya retusa and throughout the rest of the growing season. But bear in mind, this plant isn’t too needy with fertilization, so it only needs a little. Once a month is usually enough for this plant, as they don’t have huge nutritional requirements. I’d recommend using a water soluble fertilizer and diluting it to around half of the strength that they recommend. Too strong and you’ll damage the plant.
 
Ideally you want to be using a balance fertilizer. But you can use organic organic fertilizers, such as coffee grounds or tea, but make sure that they are well balanced also. If you don’t think the growth rate has improved with the fertilization, try decreasing the dilution ratio slightly. Play around with this until you find a happy medium, but ensure you don’t make it too strong as this can burn the roots of the plant. That’s why I always recommended starting off with a half strength dilution, especially with a hoya retusa.

Repotting Your Hoya Retusa

These plants only require repotting every 2 years. If you’re consistent with this, then you shouldn’t face any issues. But if you do happen to leave it for too long, the growth may become stunted. This is usually due to them becoming root bound, meaning they are unable to grow any further. You can usually spot signs of this by the soil drying out very quickly and the growth becoming stunted.

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To repot them, you first need to get hold of a planter that’s a few inches bigger than the current one. Plus some new potting soil, or just use the old lot and add a little extra to fill up the extra space in the new planter.

Then you need to remove the plant from its current home and gently shake away the soil from the roots. Create a hole in the new soil and place it gently in there. Be careful not to pack down the soil, just cover the roots without pressing down. Once you’ve done that, you just need to ensure that you water it well over the next few weeks to allow the roots to settle in properly.

propagating hoya retusa

Propagating Hoya Retusa Plants

It’s super simple to propagate a hoya retusa, so you can easily gift one or more to your family and friends. During spring is the best time to do it, whilst you’re repotting helps with this aswell but it’s not necessary. To propagate your plant, follow the steps laid out below.

First of all, you need to prepare a pot of moistened potting soil, ideally as I mentioned previously to give it the best chance growing medium. I’ve found that leaving the soil for a day after moistening it produces the best results.

Once you’ve done that, now it’s time to take your cuttings. Get yourself a sharp knife or secateurs.  Now look for a 7 inch section of stem that you can easily cut away, preferably, close to the root of the plant. Next, you can dip it in a root hormone solution to help kickstart the growth. But that step isn’t necessary.

For the next part, you have two options. You can either place the plant in some distilled water, changing it everyday and monitoring it for any signs of growth. Or you can place it directly into the potting soil. With the latter, it’s hard to know if there are any problems until it’s too late. So, I’d recommend that you start the initial growth stage in distilled water. This allows you to monitor it daily for any signs of growth or problems. 

Once you start to notice new roots growing, this is where it starts to get exciting and it’s easy to rush into things. First, let them get to around 1 inch long. This helps strengthen them, preventing them from breaking easily when you transfer them. Now it’s time to get them into the potting soil. Carefully create a hole deep enough to cover all the roots and a bit of the stem. Lightly cover it with soil. Do not pack it down. 

That’s all, now you just need to keep a close eye on it over the next few months to ensure it’s settling into its new home well. To help it adapt better, try to keep it in a warm, humid environment. Give it plenty of water, but don’t let the soil get soggy, just keep it moist for now. Once it’s matured, follow the guide as I’ve previously informed you for the best results.

One thought on “Hoya Retusa Care – How To Grow Grass Leafed Hoya

  1. Reading your article on Hoya retusa, I see that you advise bright indirect light to low light, and the thing you advise against is sun shining directly on the plant. Then, you say the best window would be south or south-west. Wouldn’t those be the windows with the MOST sunlight coming through? Wouldn’t the best windows for indirect light be north or east?

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