Hoya macrophylla

Hoya Macrophylla | Plant Care Guide

Hoya macrophylla is a hardy, low-maintenance plant with a high visual appeal. 

This plant comes from the family Apocynaceae and is epiphytic in nature, which means that, in the wild, they grow on the surface of other plants, deriving their air and nutrients from the air or detritus around them.

Hoya macrophylla is a vining plant of the wax variety and, in its native habitat, will climb up the surface of plants and trees around it. 

They can grow as large as four to six feet, measured by the length of their vines. 

The non-variegated version of the plant boasts green leaves, but other varieties often have characteristic white or creamy lines around the perimeter of the leaves with pink tips.

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Botanical NameHoya macrophylla
Common NameWax Plant
SizeUp to 6 feet
DifficultyEasy
Pet FriendlyYes, Non-Toxic
Air CleanerYes

Hoya Macrophylla Origin

The Hoya macrophylla plant originates in the tropical Australasia region.

When Hoyas were first discovered back in the 1800s, there were over 500 species in that region; however, modern deforestation has reduced the number of species. 

Hoyas were discovered by a Scottish scientist named Robert Brown, who named the plant in honor of a friend, Thomas Hoy. 

How to Care for Hoya Macrophylla

Hoya macrophylla is a hardy, beginner-friendly plant. You are more likely to harm it from too much attention rather than neglect. However, there are steps to follow to ensure your plant’s well-being. Following these steps will help you cultivate a healthy, thriving plant. 

Light and Temperature

Unlike many Hoyas, Hoya macrophylla prefers non-direct, adequate light. 

If you consider their natural habitat – growing beneath the shade of tropical trees and other plants – this makes perfect sense. 

If you’re growing your Hoya macrophylla as a house plant, choose a room with an east-facing window and place the plant several feet from it for the most appropriate amount of light. 

Too much direct sunlight for Hoya plants can scorch the plant’s leaves and even kill the plant completely. 

Given their tropical nature, they are well-equipped to withstand high temperatures and even higher humidity. 

In nature, they grow in areas that have humidity up to 90%. But they do fare just fine in humidity as low as 40%. 

While you won’t be able to truly mimic the humidity levels of the Hoya Macrophylla’s native climate inside your own home, you can do some things to help. 

Consider keeping your Hoya macrophylla somewhere in your home that naturally has higher levels of humidity, such as a bathroom or a laundry room. 

More importantly, though, try to mist your plant daily with a small spray bottle or add a humidifier to the room to increase its humidity. 

Do not mist your plan if it is flowering, as this will harm the blooms. 

If you live in a naturally warm region that is hot year-round, the Hoya Macrophylla can survive quite well outdoors. 

Outdoors, Hoya macrophylla prefers to live in USDA regions 10 and 11. 

However, should the temperatures drop during some months in your area, be sure to bring the plant indoors to protect it from the cold. 

Your Hoya macrophylla may go into dormancy during the winter months and completely stop growing. Do not be alarmed. This is normal! 

When your plant goes into dormancy, be sure to place it in a bright spot. Dormant plants need less water than growing plants, so pay attention to your plant’s soil to avoid overwatering. 

Water

 Hoya Macrophylla plants do not need very much water. 

They also do not respond well to wet feet, so make sure that the plant’s soil is completely dried out before you water it.  

Again, this tendency to dry out comes from their natural habitat with hot weather and relatively little rain. When it does rain in these climates, it is heavy rain, which is the same process you will try to mimic in your watering. 

Test your Hoya macrophylla’s soil with your finger before you water it. Do this by plunging your finger one inch into the soil, both at the top of the plant and at the bottom through the plant’s drainage holes. 

If you’re concerned about using this method, you may consider purchasing a soil meter that can tell you how moist your plant’s soil is without requiring you to test it yourself. 

These soil meters can be purchased at any local garden center or online. 

If you have tested your Hoya Macrophylla’s soil and it is dry, then you can water it. 

Follow the below tips for watering your Hoya macrophylla

Remember, the key is to mimic the natural rain conditions of the Hoya macrophylla’s habitat. You will do this through a method called “deep watering.” This method essentially submerges your plant in water completely, allowing it to soak up the water that it needs. 

First, fill a tub or sink with water several inches deep and slowly place your plant in it. Allow the plant to soak for 10-15 minutes to give the roots time to drink up the water. 

Water it from the top after it soaks in the tub to ensure that the topsoil gets water, and let it dry before placing it back in its location to avoid any dripping. 

As with many plants, it is best to avoid tap water and use distilled or rainwater instead. 

Fertilization

It is recommended that you fertilize your Hoya macrophylla once a month during its active growing seasons.

Any plant food that has a 2:1:2 or 3:1:2 ratio will work perfectly fine. Dilute an all-purpose, organic fertilizer by half (or even less), and resist the urge to use anything more potent. 

Hoya Macrophylla’s are not heavy feeders, and too much fertilization can result in root and leaf burn. 

You can also choose from other fertilization options, such as fish emulsion, animal manure, or bone meal. 

Refrain from fertilizing your plant when it is dormant. 

Flowering

The Hoya macrophylla is a flowering plant and, if conditions are right, may produce a small flower in late spring or early summer. 

These flowers are tiny, star-shaped blooms that typically come in white or pink. 

You will not smell the flowers during the day. Instead, they only give off odor at night when the natural nocturnal pollinators of the plant would be present. 

Some compare the scent of these flowers to that of a hyacinth. Others say the smell is closer to that of a wet sock and chocolate. 

Sometimes new plants will not bloom as they recover from the shock of a move or care change. Be patient with your Hoya macrophylla and pay attention to its needs to help encourage blossoms. 

Pruning

Heavy pruning of your Hoya macrophylla is unnecessary, though you may choose to prune your plant to contain its size. 

You should also remove dead or dying leaves as they appear to keep the plant clean and the air around it well-circulated. 

Use clean, sharp shears and trim long, unwieldy vines back to a node when you do this. 

Summer and spring are the best times to prune your plant. 

Repotting

Hoya Macrophylla does not need to be repotted often. They are very slow-growing plants. 

On average, you will likely only need to repot your plant every two years to replenish its soil. 

In nature, they live in limestone areas with sweet, alkaline soil. When you do repot your plant, consider adding eggshells or oyster shells to your potting mix to increase the calcium content. 

The soil you choose must also be well-draining. Due to the plant’s epiphytic nature, it tends to like having its roots loose. 

The objective of your soil mixture is to provide good structure and aeration for the roots that won’t get too compact over time. 

Below is a basic mixture recipe: 

  • 1 part perlite
  • 2 part peat moss 

The perlite will provide structure in the soil and allow it to retain moisture. 

Consider planting in a clay or terracotta pot that will absorb extra water and prevent overwatering. 

Pests 

Hoyas are typically very hardy plants, but they can be susceptible to certain pests. 

Mealybugs 

Mealybugs thrive in warmer climates and may be attracted to your humidity-loving Hoya Macrophylla. 

These pests are tiny, wingless creatures that feed off growth points on your plants. 

If you notice that your Hoya macrophylla’s leaves are yellowing and curled, check the leaves and stems for signs of the pest. If mealybugs are present, you will see white, cottony spots on the underside of your plant. 

If infested, immediately move your Hoya macrophylla away from nearby plants to avoid contamination. 

Remove pests from the infested plant with alcohol by dipping a q-tip in it and rubbing it onto the mealybug infestation spots. 

Then, mix 1 cup of alcohol with a couple of drops of dawn dish soap, place it in a spray bottle, and spray the entire plant.

Repeat this treatment once a week until the pests are gone. 

Aphids 

Aphids are sometimes attracted to the sap of the Hoya flower when it is blooming. 

Aphids will also cause yellowing and curling of your plant leaves and can be identified by their pear-shaped body with long antennae. 

Referred to as greenflies or plant lice, aphids can be found underneath the plant’s leaves and stems. 

Regular washing of diluted soap and water can remove aphids. Prevent future growth with consistent neem oil treatments. 

Diseases

Another potential issue with your Hoya macrophylla could be the growth of mold or fungus. 

Be sure that your hoya is not too close to nearby plants and has good air circulation to avoid mold and fungus growth. 

Mold can appear alongside mealybugs due to the mealybugs sticky discharge that is released as they feed on your plant. 

Use regular treatments of neem oil to help protect against mold. 

How to Propagate Hoya Macrophylla

Hoya macrophylla propagates very easily. 

Propagation by stem cuttings in water is highly effective, as well as propagation of cuttings in moss. 

Some say that moss propagation provides an easier transition to soil for newly rooted cuttings, but both are very effective. 

To propagate your Hoya macrophylla, follow the below steps: 

  • Cut a tendril from the plant that has at least two nodes. 
  • Be sure not to cut a tendril that is budding. These are less likely to survive. 
  • Place it in a cup of clean water or sphagnum moss that is damp.
  • Place a plastic bag over the top to increase humidity. 
  • Within three weeks, you should see roots growing.
  • Wait until the roots are a couple of inches in length before planting.  

That’s it! If you follow all these steps, you can cultivate several of these plants, perfect to add to your collection or to share as low-maintenance gifts for all your plant-loving friends. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Hoya Macrophylla is not itself that rare, but many variegations of the plant are very much so. 

For example, the Hoya Macrophylla variegation is highly rare. This variation can be identified by the creamy white lines that appear on the plant’s leaves and, sometimes, light pink tips. 

Hoya Macrophylla is a very slow-growing plant. It does not need to be repotted often for this reason. 

It can grow to be quite large, though. With consistent care and proper attention, the plant can grow up to six feet, with large, waxy leaves up to 12 cm. 

The Hoya Macrophylla is a very easy plant to care for. It requires little attention and is hardy to cooler and warmer temperatures. 

For this reason, it can be the perfect plant for a beginner plant owner or one that doesn’t have much time to care for their plants. 

Hoya Macrophylla is not highly toxic to pets. However, it could make your pet feel sick if eaten. 

As with all plants, the best rule of thumb is to keep them out of reach of pets and small children. 

Final Thoughts

Hoya macrophylla is a low-maintenance, hardy plant. It can function well both as an indoor plant and an outdoor plant. Just be sure not to give it too much light, water, or fertilization! 

If you are careful with all of these things, you will be sure to have this appealing, easy to care for plant for years to come. 

Be sure to check out all of our Plant Care Guides!  

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