Hoyas  I

It is probably necessary to at least provide a basic defination, if you will, of what a Hoya is. In general, they are  tropical vines and more rarely, weak scrambling shrubs that more often than not, oozes thick white sap when cut and produce flowers that feel and look like plastics - hence the attraction. They belongs to Asclepiad family, where more common garden plants like Stephanotis floribunda and Stapeliads are also placed. Geographic distribution range from India, Himilayan foothills to tropical SE Asia, N. Australia,  New Guinea and some Pacific Island, reaching the eastern limit at New Caledonia.


Hoyas have very pretty waxy flowers often very fragrant. Growing them however, can be rather tedious - as these are vining plants that can be quite vigorous when the conditions are right. Constant pruning to keep them presentable is a must - otherwise, they may be mistaken for weeds - like my dad who had inadvertently disposed of some of my prized specimens when he came over to "help".  eafw

Propagation is usually via stem cuttings, where the 2 or more nodes are allowed to contact the growing medium, usually an open substrate which retain a little moisture like tree bark, coconut husks, crushed fern bark or artificial materials like perlite. 

Natural seed setting is usually not very common but in my nursery in Singapore, species like H. verticiliata, lacunosa and kerri (left) have done so. The seed pods contain many tufted seeds which are dispersed by air. Germination rate is high but few seedlings survive to maturity if left on their own in my nursery.

H. paziae is a native of The Philippines. It is a rather untidy shrubby plant with dark green shiny acuminate leaves.  The flower is very exquisite and fragrant.

Hoya kerri - the sweet-heart vine from Northern Thailand, which have thick heart-shaped leaves. This is not a balcony subject due to its large  size (10 metres or more) and  requirement of strong sunlight to grow well.  During May to June (in Singapore), mass flowering can occur for larger specimens. The flowers often lasts for more than one week.


Below is a variegated variety of the plant. This is not as rare as what some nurseries in the West made up to be ......

H. nicholsoniae, F. Muel  is a fast growing vine with pretty veined leaves and strongly scented bloom. There appear to be  many forms of this species throughout Australasia and Indonesia and many different names have been liberally applied. According to D.J. Liddle and P.I. Forster (1992), H. pottsii, H. hellwigiana and H. sogerensis are conspecific. eafw

Hoya pachyclada is a close relative of nicholsoniae and has similar flower. In habit, however, it looks like a desert succulent with thick leaves and very thick stem. It grows slowly and sporadically - sometimes not growing for almost a year and then flowering out of the blue. eafw


The cup-shaped flowers of Hoya campanulata look and feel like plastic. The wiry stem is dark and hairy and the internode long. This species is found  in lowlands of Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra, especially along rivers.  This plant require wet, shady conditions and its cuttings is tender, ie it does not ship bare-rooted very well at all. A similar plant previously known by the name of  Physostelma wallichi is believed to be another species by Christine Burton.

H. diversifolia collected from Pahang. This is a large rampant  "die hard" vine. It seems to grow non-stop if the nutrients and light is sufficient. It is commonly observed in coastal swamps to open areas in forests, and I have seen a great many crowding the branches of mangroves in Singapore.

 An article I wrote in Nature watch 

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