Hoya Lacunosa Plant Care Guide

Hoya lacunosa is a small, green waxy plant with sticky oval-shaped leaves. The perennial vine with trailing tendrils makes a delightful desk or bookshelf plant, giving an island vibe to any place in your home or office. The succulent grows well as a hanging plant with white, yellow and green flowers, exuding a lovely cinnamon aroma at night. Its sweet fragrance and beauty make it one of the more popular plants in the Hoya world. 

hoya lacunosa plant

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Botanical NameHoya lacunosa
Common NameWaxvine, Lacuonosa Wax Plant, Lacunose-Leaved Hoya, Wax Porcelain Flower, Grooved Wax Flower, and Cinnamon-scented wax plant
Size5 feet
DifficultyEasy
Pet FriendlyToxic
Air CleanerYes

Hoya Lacunosa Origin

Part of 700 evergreen flowering varieties of the Hoya genus, the stunning epiphyte species belongs to the Apocynaceae family, also known as Asclepiadoideae or Dogbane Family. Botanist Robert Brown was the first known person to document this plant officially and named it after the well-regarded English Botanist Thomas Hoy.

In their natural environment, the Hoya plants love to grow in open spaces along the edges of the rainforest in Asia. They often grow in groups covering the tree trunks, where forest ants like to nest around their roots and stems. This variety of Hoya adapts well to different environmental conditions and small spaces.

First introduced by the common name furrowed Hoya, occasionally called Hoya suaveolens. Other common names include grooved waxed plant, cinnamon-scented plant, wax porcelain flower, lacunosa wax plant, lacunose-leaved Hoya and waxvine.

Its characteristics of possessing “lacunose leaves” or concave or cupped surfaces between the veins give its most prominent name — Hoya lacunosa. The trailing nature of the plant entertains its owners, making it a gorgeous ornamental décor. The houseplant has its rewards with the exuberant feeling of being gifted a cluster of sweet-scented, pretty little flowers with proper care. 

How to Care for Hoya Lacunosa

Hoya lacunosa plants are relatively simple to grow, and novices seem to have an easy time keeping these houseplants thriving. They are easy plants to cultivate when following these helpful tips on caring for a Hoya lacunosa. 

Light and Temperature

Bright light sources make the Hoya lacunosa happy in North America and northern Europe. Still, closer to the equator or regions with strong sunlight, the houseplant is more comfortable in shade or direct sunlight to avoid burnt foliage. Keep the leaves from touching the windows because this will also cause them to burn.

Their waxy leaves are the reason they need bright light — lots of light. As a result, the leaves can grow, and the flowers bloom cheerfully. The idea is to produce a similar environment as if the Hoyas were outdoors in their natural surroundings. Some growers use artificial light when they are indoors. Placing them by a bough or well-lit porch in the outdoors, in medium and high light conditions, helps them thrive.

These cinnamon-scented plants are temperature tolerant and hardy. Still, they won’t survive chilly weather. The succulent leaves and fleshy stems prefer temperatures between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. At all costs, do not go below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 

If the region is near the equator or subtropic to tropical weather, these beauties can grow all year outdoors. Otherwise, keep them indoors at room temperature during the colder months — fall and winter. Overall, Hoya plants are hardy in growth zone 11 or anywhere above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

These houseplants do well in most humidity levels, but drier and arid conditions will stunt their growth. The Hoya plants originally came from the tropical regions of the world, so it’s natural they’ll thrive in humid environments. These beauties do better in higher humidity levels, such as 50 to 60 degrees or more.

Water

Typically, water the Hoya plants once a week, but the frequency varies according to weather and season. Avoid having them sit in wet soil because they do much better with regular waterings with the potting mix drying out between waterings. Once thoroughly dry, water the plants well.

Adequate drainage holes are imperative. Otherwise, the plants will sit in the water with no place to go. The Hoya plants will sit in water for days and days, negatively affecting the plants. Ideally, water the plants over a sink or basin, so the water runs through the drainage holes and, when the dripping stops, return the plants to their usual place. It’s a little messy but makes these cinnamon-scent plants thrive.

When the rainy months arrive, water is less frequent thanks to the soil around the roots staying wet and moist. Never waterlog the plants, and always provide a well-draining potting mix. Some consider cactus, citrus and palm potting mix the best, helping the container drain well. Then, these succulent-like plants adapt well to a standard watering schedule during the dry season. Intermittent dryness is excellent for Hoyas and encourages them to flower.

Fertilization

Fertilize these indoor plants during the growing season, applying a well-balanced fertilizer like 10-10-10. Dilute the fertilizer to keep it from overwhelming the Hoya plants, and every two weeks work best. Once the growing season ends and the colder months arrive, stop fertilizing. Continue watering the houseplants as usual and begin the fertilizing cycle when spring comes.

Some growers choose not to fertilize their Hoya lacunosa plants, which is fine. Instead, provide a rich potting mix with organic manure and decomposed bark and leaf matter. These beauties love this stuff and thrive. Such a medium is better than over-fertilizing the plants since they are slow-release epiphytes.

Flowering

Unless winters are super cold, Hoya lacunosa plants flower throughout the year, putting a vibrant smile on every owner’s face. It’s what makes these beauties so popular and entertaining to grow. Fifteen to 25 flowers measuring 1/10 of an inch in diameter appear, forming an umbel. The lifespan will average around five days with little or no nectar in the flowers. Growers appreciate the sweet cinnamon scent that fills the room.

It usually takes three months and proper growing conditions for flowers to appear, not the age of the houseplants. The timeline depends on the care. Not all of them will bloom because of the lack of sunlight.

If blooms don’t appear, it’s not very reassuring. The most common reasons these indoor plants don’t flower are poor soil nutrients or not enough light. If the potting mix is the issue, add a balanced orchid meal to the soil or apply diluted, organic fertilizer. Not enough light requires moving the Hoya plants to a location with plenty of light but not direct sunlight.

When the Hoya lacunosa plants grow more, umbels of tiny white and yellow flowers bloom. Again, the scent is powerful and mesmerizing all year long. These clusters grow during the spring and fall seasons, but they’ll bloom all year long if they live in warmer regions.

Pruning

Pruning the Hoya lacunosa plants is grooming the plants to look and feel healthy. Prune when their size needs to be maintained. After the houseplants stop blooming is the ideal time to prune because the buds form on newer growth. Try not to deadhead the spent flowers because the spurs produce fresh blooms the following year.

Prune to remove unhealthy leaves throughout the spring and summer. As a result, the Hoya plants continue to look healthy and maintain their freshness during the year. Always use a sterilized and sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears for the best results.

Repotting

As a climber, Hoya lacunosa loves to grow in hanging baskets. But do fine in shelf pots and containers as long as they have drainage holes. Luckily, these beauties don’t require repotting all that often. As epiphytes, they grow well, being rootbound.

Some growers will change their potting mix every two years, ensuring the plants get enough nutrition. After two years, sometimes, the houseplants have overgrown their containers and repotting is necessary. If that is the case, repot the Hoyas to one size larger, avoiding too large of a pot where they can drown from soggy water.

A well-balanced potting mix works well. Add some perlite for aeration and include some pine bark and peat moss to help make the medium airier. Growers use basic orchid mix for purchase at most nurseries. Hanging baskets need coco fiber liners to hold the soil mix.

Pests

Hoya lacunosa plants are usually pest free, but like any houseplant, if not correctly taken care of, the little buggers will arrive. Aphids and mealy bugs like the recent growth and fragile flowers and foliage. Other possible insects are other sap-sucking pests like spider mites. 

For mealybugs, the best defense is to check the plants regularly for any signs of the critters and look under the leaves as well. Tiny white bugs mean the Hoyas have mealybugs. Treat with jets of water, spraying the bugs off.

Rubbing alcohol handles mild infestation using a clean, dry cloth or cotton swabs. It’s time-consuming but effective. If it’s a full-blown infest of mealybugs, clean the plant with water spray and a commercial insecticide. Organic soap spray works if a natural treatment is more appropriate.

The best options for aphids are horticultural oils, insecticidal soap, or insecticidal neem oil. Cover all areas to the houseplant. A natural alternative is to mix neem oil, liquid soap and water, spraying the whole plant.

Wait a week after these treatments and check the Hoya plants. If pests are still noticeable, treat them again until there is no evidence of the buggers.

Diseases

Fungal infections and root rot will happen if growers overwater their Hoya lacunosa plants. The best treatment is prevention by not overwatering or giving the houseplants too much humidity.

If brown and black lesions appear on the stems and are dry or mushy, the plant has a fungal infection. Separate it from other plants, prune and remove infected areas and treat with fungicide. While treating, prevent water from getting on the leaves so that the Hoya can recover. Monitor daily for any more signs of infection.

If the leaves drop or older leaves drop off the plant, the base is mushy, or fresh growth dies right away, check for root rot. The roots will appear weak and mushy, looking dark.

To treat, remove the rotten roots and any stem that has rotted. Continue cutting off the dead, mushy stuff until reaching the alive roots when sap comes out of the roots or stem.

Next, dip the healthy roots and stems into three percent hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes. Then, place the Hoya plant in water or perlite to heal the cut and exposed roots and stems. 

Once the cuttings have healed, place the Hoya plant in a new container with fresh, chunky and airy potting mix to help root the plant.

How to Propagate Hoya Lacunosa

Hoya lacunosa plants are easy to propagate when done in the spring and summer months.

Stem-Tip Cutting

  • Use sharp pruning shears and cut a 5- to 8-inch-long stem from the base of the Hoya. Choose a cutting end that is at least a quarter to an inch below its node. Ensue two nodes are on the cutting. Consider cutting three or more stems for a bushier plant.
  • Clear the leaves off the bottom of the stems and keep the upper leaves.
  • Place the cuttings in moist, fast-draining soil.
  • Let the plant grow in a warm spot with indirect, medium light. Keep the soil moist by spraying the potting mix with water. Allow 70 percent of the soil to dry out, then spray again.
  • After three weeks, the cutting will develop roots. The cuttings will have shoots in five weeks, then vines in three months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Hoya Lacunosa rare?

This Hoya lacunosa are rare plants and hard to find. Some local nurseries have them or can order them for you.

Is Hoya Lacunosa a fast grower?

The Hoya Lacunosa stems grow about 5 feet tall and are compact compared to other popular Hoyas. Because of their compact size, they grow moderately fast in optimal conditions.

What does Hoya Lacunosa smell like?

The Hoya lacunosa smell like sweet cinnamon when the flowers are in bloom, filling the room with its fragrance.

Is Hoya Lacunosa toxic to pets?

These plants belong to the milkweed family, meaning they have white latex in their foliage, which is toxic. Thus, it’s best to keep Hoya plants away from kids and pets.

Nevertheless, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) deems these houseplants safe for pets. Still, keep animals away from the Hoya plants, so they don’t chew or swallow the plants. Some people and pets may have an allergic reaction to the latex, causing some irritation. 

Final Thoughts

Hoya lacunosa plants thrive in open spaces, but this variety adapts well to different environmental conditions and small spaces like a desk or mantle.

The trailing nature of the plant amuses its owners, making it a stunning ornamental décor. These houseplants gift their owners with a cluster of sweet-scented, little flowers when given proper care.

Hoya lacunosa plants are reasonably simple to grow, and beginners seem to have an easy time keeping these houseplants flourishing when following these helpful growing tips.

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