Hoya Curtisii | Plant Care Guide

Hoya curtisii

Hoya curtisii is a beautiful, vining houseplant with spade-shaped leaves covered in silver variegation. The vines can spread out across the soil as ground cover or they can make a bold statement trailing down out of a hanging planter. 

This plant belongs to the “wax plant” family, which is a group of diverse but easy to care for plants that are becoming more popular as houseplants. Hoya curtisii has a few common names: “porcelain flower”, “hoya aloha”, and “fung wax flower”.

Botanical NameHoya curtisii
Common NamePorcelain Flower, Hoya Aloha, and Fung Wax Flower
Size2-3 inches tall and 12 inches wide
DifficultyEasy
Pet FriendlyYes. Non-toxic to pets
Air CleanerYes

Hoya Curtisii Origin

This plant is native to Southeast Asia and is mainly found in the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia. As you might expect, Hoya curtisii loves a warm and humid environment. If you live in a similar climate, your plant can be grown outdoors year-round.

Some people mistake Hoya curtisii with Ceropegia woodii (commonly known as “string of hearts”) due to the similar coloration on their leaves and their long vines. However, the two plants are not closely related. 

How to Care for Hoya Curtisii

Light and Temperature

Since it is native to a warm environment, it is easy to guess that Hoya curtisii prefers warmer temperatures. It cannot tolerate anything below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you keep your plant outside during warmer months, make sure it is moved back inside before nighttime temperatures are dropping near 50 degrees.

Hoya curtisii can tolerate lower humidity, but it will thrive when a higher humidity (more than 50%) is maintained. If you live in a drier climate, you can add additional humidity with daily misting or keeping a humidifier nearby. A tip to naturally increase the humidity around your plants is to keep them close together. The water in the soil and plants will help keep the ambient humidity up. 

At a minimum, your plant should be kept in the bright, indirect light that most houseplants love. Unlike many other plants, Hoya curtisii loves time in direct sunlight though. An east or west facing window will give your plant plenty of the sunshine it desires. A southern window will also work, but you might need to water more frequently and work to maintain humidity thanks to the long hours of sunlight. 

Water

Hoya curtisii can tolerate less frequent watering and it actually prefers to allow the soil to dry out between waterings. When you do water, make sure to water thoroughly. Every part of the soil should be soaking up moisture.

To allow the soil to completely dry between waterings, ensure that your pot has a drainage hole. This will prevent the roots from sitting in water and contracting root rot. You’ll know it is time to water again when the top two inches of soil are completely dry.

Bottom watering is one technique for allowing your soil to absorb as much water as it needs without over watering. Simply place your pot with a drainage hole into a container with a few inches of water. Let the pot sit for a few minutes and the soil will soak up the necessary water. Remove your pot from the container and let the excess moisture drain out before you return the plant to its location in your home.

Fertilization

Your Hoya curtisii will benefit from regular fertilizer application during the growing season, especially spring. Once growth has slowed considerably or stopped in winter, fertilizer application can also stop until it warms up again.

There are many options for which fertilizer to use. Any high quality commercial houseplant fertilizer will work; just follow dilution and application directions as they are listed on the container. You can also apply a natural compost layer at the beginning of the growing season or regularly water with a compost tea.

Flowering

Hoya curtisii will produce unique, small flowers when the right conditions are met. For a plant kept indoors, flowering will only happen when the plant has enough direct sunlight throughout the day. 

The flowers bloom in clusters and have yellowish-green corollas with an off-white corona and pink or red center.

Pruning

Pruning is usually only necessary for aesthetic reasons with Hoya curtisii. The vines of the plant can grow long and some people prefer to trim them to a specific length. 

This is a great time to propagate your Hoya curtisii because most of the pieces trimmed off will have aerial roots and leaf nodes. You can even plant your trimmings back into the pot of the main plant for a fuller look.

If your Hoya curtisii has any unhealthy or dying leaves, it is always a good idea to remove these. Leaving them can cause your plant to expend resources by continuing to send nutrients towards them. 

Repotting

Hoya curtisii do not need to be replanted very frequently. They actually prefer to be potbound. Due to their trailing nature, they also do well in hanging planters.

When it is time to repot, only go up one size. Too much soil for the amount of roots will hold excess water and the soil will never fully dry out. While more space seems like a good idea, it will actually increase the chances that your Hoya curtisii will have issues.

When repotting, it is a good idea to add fresh soil. All Hoya like a well-draining soil, such as a cactus or succulent blend. You can also add perlite or pumice to aid in drainage and aerate the soil to allow the roots to have plenty of space to grow. 

Pests

Hoya curtisii can fall victim to the many pests that are attracted to excess moisture in the soil. Proper watering technique is the first defense against most common pests.

Aphids are generally thought of as an outdoor pest. Since many plants are purchased from garden centers, it is possible for outdoor pests to infect your indoor plants. Outdoor plants can benefit from predatory insects, such as ladybugs. Indoor plants will need to be treated with an insecticide or similar treatment. Imidacloprid is found in many commercial treatments and is effective against not only aphids but also many pests that can plague your plants. 

Mealybugs are attracted to Hoya curtisii because they suck the juices out of their thick, succulent leaves. You can use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to individually kill off mealybugs, but a more comprehensive approach would be to use an insecticide, neem oil, or an insecticidal soap. Whichever treatment you choose should be repeated every couple days for two or more weeks to guarantee that all adults and eggs have been killed off.

Spider mites are arachnids and therefore are unharmed by most insecticides. You can tell your Hoya curtisii has a spider mite infestation when thin webbing is seen on the plant. A shower will help get most spider mites off of your plant and you can repeat every couple days as needed. It is recommended to use an additional treatment, like neem oil, to make sure that every spider mite is eradicated.

Fungus gnats are the enemy of most house plant enthusiasts. They lay their eggs in the soil so it is easy for them to be transported home from the garden center. Letting your Hoya curtisii dry completely between waterings will help kill off the eggs in the soil, since they require moisture to survive. Bottom watering can help keep the top of the soil dry. Treatments, such as insecticides and neem oil, will also kill off the eggs and larvae in the soil.

Diseases

Just like pest prevention, the best way to prevent your Hoya curtisii from contracting diseases is to not overwater. By keeping your plant in well-draining soil and allowing the soil to dry between waterings, you can stop root rot and fungal or bacterial growth from occurring.

How to Propagate Hoya Curtisii

Hoya curtisii is one of the easiest plants to propagate because the aerial roots are located next to the leaf nodes. Almost any piece that you trim off a vine should be able to grow a new plant.

To propagate using cuttings, begin by sterilizing your sharp scissors or garden shears. Cut off pieces of your vine that are 2-4 inches in length and include both leaves and aerial roots. Remove the leaves from one end and place that end of the stem into water or moist soil. 

Keeping moisture and humidity high will help your cutting to propagate faster. If you are propagating in soil, keep the soil damp. You can increase humidity by gently covering your cutting with a plastic bag or running a humidifier next to the plant. 

An alternative way to propagate your Hoya curtisii is to wrap a vine on the soil and pin it into place. Keep the soil moist and the aerial roots will begin to develop in the soil. Once the roots are established, you can cut your new plant away from the parent plant.

Propagation will be most successful when done during the growing season. This occurs in the spring and early summer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hoya curtisii is not hard to grow as long as its needs are met. Let it dry out between waters and give the plant plenty of light. This might require more work in northern climates where cold, overcast days are more common.

If you would like your Hoya curtisii to flower, you will need to put in a bit more effort to meet its requirements. It will need as much direct sun as possible, typically no less than half a day. Keep your plant pot bound and try to incorporate a “dry hibernation” for a month (or as long as your Hoya curtisii will tolerate) in the winter. 

Once your plant flowers, do not cut off the flower stalk once the buds die. That will cause your Hoya curtisii to be less likely to flower the following year because it will need additional energy stores to put out a new flower stalk. 

Hoya curtisii is not rare. It can be found at many nurseries and garden centers or purchased online. Also, since the plant is easy to propagate, one parent plant can produce many additional plants for the owner.

The most likely cause of yellow leaves on your Hoya curtisii is overwatering. Make sure your plant is able to dry out completely between waterings. You can push your finger a couple inches into the soil to check how moist the soil is. There are also moisture meters that will measure the water in your soil and let you know when the soil has dried out. 

If your pot does not have a drainage hole, repot your plant into an appropriate container. Remember not to move your plant into a pot too large for the current root ball. If your soil is not well draining, this is also a good time to change it or add some perlite to increase aeration. 

If overwatering is not the issue, it is possible that your Hoya curtisii is going through a transition shock, especially if you just brought it home. You will lose the yellow leaves, but your plant will be healthy once it adjusts to its new environment. It is also possible that your plant is not receiving enough light or that the ambient temperature is too hot or cold. 

Hoya curtisii can grow without the use of a humidifier. However, if you want your plant to thrive and you live in a drier climate, a humidifier will create a much healthier environment for your plant.

Alternatives to using a humidifier include misting your plant daily and keeping it near other plants. Many people have success keeping their Hoya curtisii in a bathroom with large windows or skylights. The humidity from the shower and sinks create the perfect environment. 

Final Thoughts

Hoya curtisii is an attractive and unique plant that would make a great addition for any home. Since it is fairly easy to care for, it is a great option for anyone, from a beginner looking to add greenery to their home to a houseplant enthusiast who has lost count of their green jungle. 

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