If you’re a fan of hoya plants, Hoya macrophylla is a must-have for your collection! These plants are easy to care for and look beautiful on a shelf or in a hanging planter. They’re also fairly compact, so they’re a great way to brighten up your space, even if you don’t have a lot of room.
Here’s everything you need to know about caring for a Hoya macrophylla of your own!
About Hoya Macrophylla
Hoya macrophylla is a member of the Apocynaceae family and, like hoyas in general, is known as the wax plant thanks to its waxy leaves and flowers.
These plants originate from Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea, where they grow as epiphytes in the tropical rainforest. These plants can reach up to 15 feet long when growing up on other trees and plants outdoors and reach 4-6 feet long indoors. The leaves can grow up to 6 inches long and may include stripes of yellow, white, or pink among the green coloring, depending on the variety.
These plants are toxic to both humans and animals, so keep them out of reach of pets and children.
Does Hoya Macrophylla Flower?
Like other hoyas, Hoya macrophylla produces clusters of small, waxy, star-shaped little flowers that can be pink or cream-colored.
These flowers are odorless during the day but can give off a bit of a funk at night to attract nocturnal pollinators. The flowers seem to smell differently to different people. Some people don’t smell them at all, while others compare the scent to chocolate; and still others say the flowers smell like dirty socks or body odor!
Wherever you stand on their scent, the flowers are undeniably beautiful and are a big part of Hoya macrophylla’s appeal.
Is Hoya Macrophylla a Slow Grower?
Yes, Hoya macrophylla is a bit of a sluggish grower. You might see new leaves every few months, and it can take several years to reach its maximum indoor length of 6 feet.
However, Hoya macrophylla is a long-lived plant, so even if it’s not in a hurry to grow, your plant will be around for many years with proper care.
Is Hoya Macrophylla Rare?
Some variegated varieties of Hoya macrophylla, like Hoya macrophylla Albomarginata, can be fairly rare, but you can find the standard non-variegated Hoya macrophylla in many gardening centers or online. Even the rarer varieties may pop up in stores from time to time, and aren’t too hard to find with online retailers.
How to Care for Hoya Macrophylla
Hoya macrophylla is easy to care for. If you have some practice with succulents and are ready to try a different plant, this is a great choice! And if you’ve cared for other plants or hoyas before, you’ll have no trouble with this one.
Here’s what to do:
Soil and Potting
As epiphytes that don’t usually grow in soil in the wild, Hoya macrophylla likes a very loose soil that allows for a lot of airflow around the roots. It also likes fairly alkaline soil, so avoid peaty potting mixes, as these tend to be more acidic.
Cactus mix with extra perlite and orchid bark mixed in can be a good choice. We also highly recommend our Premium Potting Soil for Indoor Plants, which is nice and chunky and stays well-aerated over time. Your hoya will love it!
Hoya macrophylla has a fairly shallow root system, so you can pot your plant in a shallow pot or hanging planter with drainage holes.
Hoya macrophylla likes plenty of bright, indirect sunlight with little to no direct sun, so it will do best near an east-facing window or a few feet away from a west- or south-facing window where it will get little, if any, direct sunlight. You can also use a sheer curtain to filter harsh sunlight from a west- or south-facing window. Prolonged, direct sun exposure will scorch the leaves!
A north-facing window can also be a good spot for your hoya, but you may want to get a grow light or find a different position if you notice your plant getting leggy or taking too long to dry out.
As a tropical rainforest plant, Hoya macrophylla likes things on the warm side. Your plant will be happiest in temps between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, aka typical room temperature. If you’re comfortable, your plant will be comfortable!
Hoya macrophylla likes high humidity levels (remember, rainforest plant) but can be prone to molding due to a lack of airflow between its heavy, waxy leaves. We don’t recommend misting or grouping it tightly with other plants for this reason.
A nearby humidifier can be a good idea, or you can set up your plant on a pebble tray, but don’t let the soil, roots, leaves, or vines touch the water.
Let the vines trail to promote airflow around the leaves and discourage fungal growth. You might also want to give the plant a once-over when you watch so you can catch signs of molding early.
In nature, Hoya macrophylla gets most of its water from humidity and mist in the air, from the plant it’s growing on, and from the occasional heavy rainfall. Therefore, it doesn’t like to sit in wet soil for long, and too much water in the potting substrate can smother the air-loving roots.
Your hoya will be happiest if you let the soil dry out between waterings. Make sure to test the soil with your finger or a moisture meter before watering. If the soil feels dry or if the meter reads 2 or less, it’s time to water!
Give the soil a good soaking and let it drain completely. If your plant has proper light and drainage, you should be watering every 10-14 days depending on the season.
There’s some debate about what kind of water hoya plants like. Rainwater, purified water, or distilled water is always a safe bet, but you can also leave tap water out overnight to give chlorine and other chemicals a chance to dissipate before giving it to your plant.
Fertilize your Hoya macrophylla with a gentle, diluted liquid fertilizer once or twice per month during the spring and summer when your plant will most likely be actively growing. You can hold off on fertilizing completely during the fall and winter because your plant will probably be more dormant and not need the extra nutrients.
Our Indoor Plant Food is easy to use and gentle enough to use with each watering during the growing season. It’s also great for most of your other houseplants, so you can just mix some into your watering can when you make your rounds. It doesn’t get more convenient than that!
Do Hoyas Need Calcium?
Calcium helps make the soil more alkaline. Many hoya owners like to add crushed eggshells to the soil. If you make the occasional omelette, try smashing the shells in a baggie and giving them to your plant!
Hoya macrophylla may not produce flowers until the plant is two or three years old and then will flower during the late spring and summer.
To encourage your Hoya macrophylla to flower, make sure to provide plenty of bright sunlight during the growing phase, but avoid long stretches of direct sunlight. Let temperatures drop to around 60 degrees at night if possible.
Otherwise, simply taking the best possible care of your plant with proper watering, fertilizing, drainage, and soil pH will help provide the right conditions for flowering.
This plant grows slowly and doesn’t mind being root-wrapped, so you won’t need to repot it often.
However, repotting every two years is a good idea simply to refresh the soil. Compacted or nutrient-depleted soil won’t make your hoya happy!
Unless the plant is REALLY root-bound when you repot, you can put it back in the same pot with fresh soil (though we recommend cleaning the pot first, just to get rid of any pathogens or fungi that might be hanging out).
You can upgrade to a bigger pot when stuffing your hoya back into the pot becomes difficult. Even then, only go up an inch or two in pot size.
Since Hoya macrophylla grows so slowly, you probably won’t need to prune to control its size, unless you want to keep things really compact.
However, it’s a good idea to prune away dead, dying, or diseased material to keep your plant healthy and beautiful.
If you notice any dead or dried-out leaves or flowers, make sure to trim those off. If any foliage develops spots or mold, use clean hands and clean tools to prune them. (Tip: It’s also a good idea to clean your tools between cuts to prevent spreading pathogens as much as possible.)
Propagating Hoya Macrophylla
Good news! Hoya macrophylla is known for being easy to propagate because cuttings tend to root very readily.
While you can propagate through separation, cuttings are a great way to propagate this plant. To take a good cutting, find a section of vine with a few healthy, new-ish leaves and a node or two. Avoid cutting a section with buds.
You can root your cutting in soil or water. Here’s how to do each:
Propagating in Soil
Plant your cutting in a small container of loose potting mix or even a 50/50 mixture of perlite and sphagnum moss. Water to dampen the potting substrate and put a plastic bag or plastic wrap over the whole thing to lock in humidity. (Tip: You can add a little Propagation Promoter to the water to encourage rooting.) Keep in a warm place that gets some light, but not near a heater, because this can dry out your cutting.
Check the substrate daily and rewet as necessary to keep it damp but not soggy. Take the plastic off for an hour or so each day to air everything out.
Within a few months, your cutting should have a developed root system, and you can plant your new baby hoya in soil and care for it like a mature plant.
Propagating in Water
To propagate your cutting in water, place your cutting upright in a clear glass container of purified water and a little Propagation Promoter and put it in a bright place (but remember to avoid direct sunlight).
Keep the water topped off and replace it completely once a week. Within a few months, your cutting should have grown roots. Once the roots are at least an inch long, you can plant the cutting in soil and care for it like a mature plant.
Hoya Macrophylla Common Problems
Though Hoya macrophylla is quite hardy, it may still develop health problems. Here are some common ones to watch out for:
Because this plant has such a shallow root system and doesn’t require a lot of water, it can easily develop root rot if it sits in soggy soil for too long. If you notice soft, dark spots on the leaves, dark or squishy stems, or a funky smell coming from the soil, your plant probably has root rot.
To treat, remove the affected leaves and unpot the plant. Trim away any slimy, dark, or smelly roots. Get as much of the old soil out of the roots as possible, then clean the pot and repot your plant into fresh soil.
This is also a good time to evaluate your drainage situation. If your pot or soil doesn’t drain well enough, you might want to try a lighter, chunkier soil or a more appropriate pot. Often, root rot is the result of poor drainage, not necessarily overwatering.
As your plant heals, make sure it gets plenty of light, and go a little easier on the water for a while. When you do water, use a little Root Supplement to help the roots recover and prevent further infection. Avoid fertilizing for a month or two.
Your hoya might droop for a number of reasons. If you recently moved or repotted your plant, it might simply be in shock. If this is the case, just leave it alone so it can adjust to its new environment. It should perk up in a week or two.
Over- or underwatering can also be the problem. Check the moisture level of the soil and think about when you last watered. If the moisture level seems off, make the necessary adjustments.
If the soil moisture seems to be okay, make sure your plant isn’t near any drafts. Cold temperature can shock your plant and cause it to droop.
Varieties of Hoya Macrophylla
Hoya Macrophylla Variegata
As the name suggests, this is a hard-to-find variegated variety of Hoya macrophylla that sports spots of pink, white, and cream coloring on its leaves.
For maximum variegation, make sure to provide plenty of bright light and keep temps on the cooler side, closer to 70 and even into the high 60s.
Hoya Macrophylla Albomarginata
This beautiful variegated variety is known for its large green leaves with cream edges and prominent veins. You may see this variety in stores from time to time, so if you do, snatch it up!
Hoya Macrophylla Pot of Gold
The “Pot of Gold” cultivar is known for its beautiful lemon-lime variegation, usually with the yellow or light-green coloring dominating the center of the leaf with the darker-green color lining the edges.
This variety isn’t too hard to find on Etsy or from other online retailers, but it does cost a bit more than non-variegated Hoya macrophylla varieties. Its coloring also makes it a little trickier to grow, as it needs the right balance of light to maintain the yellow and green variegation.
Hoya Macrophylla Snow Queen
This is an unusual variety because unlike other variegated Hoya macrophylla varieties, Snow Queen’s leaves include some silvery coloring!
The leaves of Hoya macrophylla Snow Queen can also get a bit larger than those of other varieties. The flowers are also pinker than those of other macrophylla varieties and are said to smell a bit better. (But, again, the Hoya flower scent debate is a hot one, and seems to be very subjective!)
Final Thoughts Hoya Macrophylla
Hoya macrophylla is a gorgeous and hardy plant to add to your houseplant collection, whether you’re a beginner houseplant parent or a seasoned pro. If you take good care of it, your hoya will reward you with beautiful (albeit possibly smelly) flowers.
This plant will add life to any space, whether you grow it as a shelf or tabletop plant or in a hanging planter. Give it a try, and if you’re feeling fancy, snag one of the variegated varieties for some extra color!
If you love Hoya macrophylla, check out our other hoya care guides!
Hoya Australis Plant Care Guide
Hoya Carnosa Compacta Care Guide | Hindu Rope Plant
For more houseplant care resources:
Houseplants for Millennials Book
Houseplants for Beginners Webinar
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