Nicknamed “String of Needles,” this particular Hoya has distinctly long fuzzy stems that hang
like a curtain. In fact, the Hoya linearis takes up to five years to mature with two-inch-long
leaves. It’s a favorite for most plant collectors.
The houseplant is not for the lighthearted plant lovers because growers profess the species have comparably weak roots. The plant prefers the ideal environment to thrive. Yes, they like to feel comfy. However, the best aspect about Hoya linearis is learning how to care for one is easy.
|Botanical Name||Hoya linearis|
|Common Name||String of Needles, Wax Plant, Wax Vine, and Porcelain Vine|
|Size||6 feet long|
|Pet Friendly||No, Toxic|
Hoya Linearis Origin
Also called the wax plant, wax vine, and porcelain vine, it’s native to most countries in Asia, such as the Philippines, Thailand, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia. However, it’s most notable for originating from the majestic Himalayas. Heading south, the plant grows in New Guinea and the Polynesia Islands, with a large variety of species in Australia.
The first documented encounter with the Hoyas was in the early 1800s. On an expedition to
Western Australia, Scottish botanist Robert Brown collected the species, among others. Brown
named the genus and the new plant family to follow the characteristics of the Hoya linearis and their cousins. The genus name comes from Brown’s dear friend and botanist, Thomas Hoy, the head gardener at Duke of Northumberland estate.
How to Care for Hoya Linearis
Hoya Linearis differs from other Hoyas because it doesn’t have large succulent, thick, waxed
leaves, which the species are well known. That being the case, their leaves are thin, slightly hairy, and soft. The variety is extraordinarily hard to find.
Once found, it’s the luck of the grower who needs to keep this living treasure healthy and thriving. That way, the reward is the most beautiful strings of evergreen leaves with clusters of white fairy-like blooms.
Light and Temperature
Hoya linearis needs bright, indirect light that is filtered. Keep the plant from direct sunlight.
Otherwise, the light burns the leaves, and they wither under intense sun.
With this in mind, the plant will not thrive in low-light or partial light conditions either. If this happens, the succulent will drop leaves.
For example, while the plant hangs near a window, the light doesn’t reach the top, which happens. As a result, the plant looks bald.
So, take care to make sure the light is evenly distributed throughout the plant. Morning or late afternoon sun is like a fresh cup of tea, particularly during the winter.
The Hoya linearis enjoys cooler growing conditions. So much so that living in warm regions, it’s best to be cautious of the hot summer sun by avoiding extended periods of bright sun exposure. As mentioned earlier, too much sun can burn the leaves.
Indirect light for half of the day works best as a good lighting solution. That way, the potting
mixture dries quickly, which the plant loves. As a general rule, establish balanced light, and the
plant will thrive.
Hoya linearis needs periods of darkness, too. They do pretty well in bathrooms with filtered windows and the humidity is high.
Water the Hoya linearis moderately throughout the active growing seasons — summer and
spring. The top layer of potting soil needs to dry out before watering again. Different from their cousins, the plant has softer and longer leaves. So, the plant retains less water than the waxy and flat leaves of other species.
Overwatering and moisture in the potting mix are common causes of failure. The houseplant
likes to dry out in between waterings. With that in mind, water until the potting soil is soaked,
thoroughly saturated with excess water flowing through the drainage hole. Water once more after the top layer of soil is dry.
The amount of water depends on external factors like the local environment, humidity, and
temperature — weekly waterings in the summer work best. In winter, because of cooler
temperatures and lower light, the growth slows down and even stops. Very light watering during winter prevents the Hoya Linearis from drying out, so the succulent can rest during the dormant period.
Avoid overwatering the plant. Extra water damages the plant, causing the roots to sit in standing water. The excess water triggers root rot and attracts unwanted pests.
Try not to water at night because of cooler temperatures. The speed of evaporation slows down.
The best time to water is in the mornings. So, the Hoya linearis isn’t left sitting in a soggy
potting mixture for a long time in the dark.
As a suggestion, most plant enthusiasts use filtered water or tap water set out overnight, allowing the impurities and chemicals to dissipate.
Try not to fluctuate the temperature of the water, keeping it at room temperature because extreme fluctuations in temperatures can shock the Hoya linearis. Within a few days, the leaves could drop off.
Excellent drainage is required because that is how the plant grows in nature — heavy rains with a dry spell and good air circulation.
Most houseplants thrive from the extra nourishment from fertilizers, especially during the
growing season. The Hoya linearis is the same way, but avoid fertilizing the evergreen perennial too much. A balanced fertilizer works best when fed twice a month during summer and spring.
Dilute the fertilizer based on the manufacturer’s labeled instructions. Overfeeding may damage the plant. If the potting soil is dry, water first, enough to moisten the medium before feeding.
That way, the roots remain protected from possible burns from the fertilizer.
Chose a urea-free fertilizer that’s all-purpose to feed the succulent-like plant with the required nutrients.
Mix 1/4 teaspoon into a gallon of water, offering enough for the growing season. Add phosphorus-based fertilizer before the flowering fosters more blooms. Avoid fertilizing from October through February, during the resting or dormant phase.
Seeing the blooms form on the Hoya linearis is a rewarding experience. After two years, the tea candle-like flowers arrive, offering a lemony scent. These white and star-shaped blooms emerge from late summer to autumn. The clusters hang on the tender, green stems for more than two weeks.
Giving a Hoya linearis a trim enhances the appearance of the plant. With this in mind and using a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears, cut back dried or dead stems and leaves.
Carefully avoid cutting the woody peduncles, the stalk that bears the cute flower clusters. Also,
don’t prune the old stalk because it delays blooming and draws the plant’s energy, preventing the growth of more stalks.
Because a white latex sap releases while pruning, wear gloves as a precaution as it’s a skin
irritant. Cut a few centimeters under the nodes if the purpose is to collect cuttings for
propagating more succulents.
Try to avoid repotting as much as possible because the Hoya linearis enjoys being slightly
rootbound. With that in mind, the evergreen plant flourishes in smaller pots and repot when
absolutely necessary — after one to two years.
Seeing a large number of roots circling at the bottom, then repotting is a good idea. Increase the container size by a few inches or one size bigger. Add orchid bark with the regular houseplant potting mix, so the plant has a free-draining medium. Some plant enthusiasts combine 1/2 well-draining mix, 1/4 succulent mix, and 1/4 bark chips for best results.
Repot during the spring when the succulent-like plant is growing after winter. That way, the
Hoya linearis has an established root system for a new base, lessening the shock of being
Lack of humidity and incorrect care are the significant reasons pests appear. Hoya linearis is
susceptible to aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites.
Dry conditions attract these bugs to the plant. You can increase the humidity where the houseplant grows by setting a bowl of water near the plant.
To determine if the houseplant has pests, look closely and check the fuzzy leaves and stems
Aphids cluster around the leaves. Once spotted, remove them right away with castle soap and
water. This dehydrates the aphids without hurting the plant.
Mealybugs appear white and fuzzy on leaves, which is mistaken for mildew or fungi. The
buggers also appear brown or cream-colored. Use insecticidal soap to remove them. And make
sure the evergreen plant is moist enough to withstand the chemicals.
Spider mites attach to this perennial plant for the juicy leaves, sucking the leaves, making tiny
white specs and noticeable weaved webs around the stems. Using a neem oil insecticide treats
the plant. Though, make sure the label mentions spider mites before applying the solution to the succulent.
Diseases are more severe than pests. Unfortunately, diseases take more time to notice than pests. Pests tend to latch onto sick plants more so than healthy plants. If the Hoya linearis has
bugs, then look for diseases, too.
Hoya linearis can breed germs, causing diseases. For that reason, giving the plant proper care is essential. Yellowing leaves or leaves with fungal infections develop when there is too much
wetness, so let the plant dry out quickly.
Root rot develops from poor drainage or overwatering, or a combination. Fungus thrives in moist soil, which then attacks the root and stem of the plant. To ward off root rot, make sure the plant receives proper care. If the plant appears to have root rot, inspect the whole root system, cutting off diseased sections and repotting the plant in a fresh potting mixture.
Blight forms as grayish edges or spots in the middle of the leaves. Because moisture easily forms in this area, the plant is susceptible. The best handling is prevention, so keep the humidity levels adequate. If the plant has blight, apply copper fungicides to treat the plant and follow the label directions.
How to Propagate Hoya Linearis
Propagating this evergreen plant is relatively easy and takes several weeks but is worth the time and effort. Make sure to start with a healthy plant and use a sharp pair of scissors or shears.
Select a stem with more than four nodes and cut. Remove any leaves near the nodes. Place and
cover the cuttings in a Ziploc bag, humidity dome, or propagator. Keep in mind that the initial
stages take some extra care.
The Ziploc method keeps the process simple:
- Take standard potting soil, add it to the Ziploc bag, add perlite to make the environment
airy, and moisten the mixture.
- Ease the cuttings inside, spray water on the inside of the bag.
- Fill the bag with air and seal. Open bag every four days to let air circulate, then seal
- Half-inch roots appear after one month. Transfer each cutting to a new pot.
Propagating directly to the potting mixture:
- Place the cutting directly into the moist soil, with the option of using a rooting hormone.
- Make sure the soil is well-drained.
- Water at intervals to prevent the soil from drying out at this phase.
- Place the pot where there is plenty of indirect light.
- Keep the temperature warm, 75 to 80° F.
- Fresh roots appear within four weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Final Thoughts on Hoya Linearis
Hoya linearis is an evergreen succulent that is easy to grow based on the familiarity of taking
care of houseplants. Following what the above advice, the delicate vine should thrive. Any
problems arise, just refer to this article for tips, solutions, and techniques.
Be sure to check out all of our Plant Care Guides!