10 February 2016

Hoya carnosa - Wax Plant

Hoya carnosa – Wax Plant

Requiring very little attention this Hoya makes a great houseplant. It also grows quite happily potted and carefully positioned outside as well as in the white washed glass house at the bottom of the garden.

Indigenous to parts of Asia and Australia this climbing or trailing plant makes a real statement particularly when it flowers. The leaves are thick with a subtle sheen to them and only need to be dusted from time to time if the plant is grown inside.

The beauty of its growth habit allows the tendrils which can grow to around a few metres in length, to be left to drape or scooped up and carefully wound around a stake or frame. With infrequent watering and a dose of potash once in a while the Hoya will survive for many years.

The key I’ve found in getting the Hoya to flower is all about the right amount of light. Bright light is fine wherever the plant is located without the possibility of it being baked in direct sunlight. Usually in summer, though on occasion at other times of the year, the flower clusters are gradually produced.

Delicate in appearance, looking as if intricately carved from sugar cubes, lightly airbrushed and destine for careful arrangement on a very expensive cake.

The flowers are definitely worth the wait and when open usually last for about a week or so. A subtle fragrance is most evident in the evening.

Quite large quantities of very sweet tasting nectar is produced in the plants attempt to entice pollinators. Ants are normally the first to indulge then usually not far behind are bees and the odd fly looking for a sugar hit.

To keep these plants in shape once every two or three years I remove some of the longer or unruly tendrils. This reduces the number of flowers produced in the next season, though an aesthetically balanced plant is the end result.