There are many types of hoya but Callistophylla is special. This striking houseplant adds a touch of evergreen and exoticism to your home and responds well to a few simple care guidelines. If you are new to Hoya Callistophylla, then this guide is definitely for you!
Table of Contents
The Benefits of Choosing a Hoya Callistophylla
- Fragrant flowers.
- Beautiful foliage.
- Suitable for beginners.
- Makes a stunning hanging plant.
Origins and Appearance
Hoya Callistophylla is native to several tropical regions including Southeast Asia and New Zealand. The waxy delight can also be found in certain parts of Australia. In nature, it grows on trees which makes it an epiphyte. The latter are not parasitic plants, they merely need a sturdy trunk to provide them with structural support.
A Beautiful Vine
If you love vines, then this hoya is for you. Capable of growing up to 16 feet (close to 5 meters) long, a full-length Hoya Callistophylla is a stunning addition to any container garden. The leaves are evergreen ovals with a waxy, glossy appearance. They also have dark green lines, giving the foliage a beautiful, ribbed look.
Many plant parents love the leaves but agree that the hoya’s flowers are the main attraction. Appearing in thick clusters, the blooms are shaped like tiny umbrellas. They are off-white in color and fringed with borders that are either dark red or brown.
Temperature and Humidity
Your new hoya needs three things to thrive – the right light, heat and humidity. When you provide the correct care, in this regard, the vine will flourish and stay healthy for a long time. Let’s dive into each requirement to meet your hoya’s favorite conditions!
Bright, Indirect Sunlight
Hoya Callistophylla is technically a succulent. But unlike the cactus that happily lives on your window sill, it cannot sit in direct sunlight. When this blooper occurs, Hoya Callistophylla will suffer leaf burn and wilting. The best spot for your plant is somewhere in the home with plenty of bright but indirect sunlight.
If your hoya does not receive enough sunlight, it might never flower. To encourage the plant to bloom, make sure that it gets up to 8 hours of dappled sunshine daily. Only do this during the growing months (which are spring and summer).
Mild to Hot Temperatures
This hoya is happy with a specific temperature range – and it’s not a difficult one. The plant prefers to stay indoors where temperatures are between 65 °F and 80 °F (18 °C to 27 °C). On the highest end of the tolerance scale, Hoya Callistophylla can even handle 86 °F (30 °C). However, it will start to deteriorate rapidly when the numbers fall and stay below 50 °F (10 °C).
Boost Humidity for More Flowers
The good news is that this hoya can survive in normal house humidity. But if you are looking for specifics, a suitable range is 40 to 60 percent. This hoya species will also experience a better flowering season when you keep the humidity between 50 and 70 per cent.
Watering and Feeding
This is where things can get really hairy with your Hoya Callistophylla. Give it the wrong amount of water and the plant can turn into a lost cause. The main problem is that Hoya Callistophylla is very sensitive to water.
Get your hoya on a safe watering schedule. Giving weekly waterings during the spring and summer and every fortnight during the colder months. Before you offer a drink to your hoya, test the soil first with your finger. If the top 2 inches (5 cm) are still wet, then wait a few more days.
Hoya Callistophylla responds well to organic, liquid fertilizers that are packed with nitrogen and phosphorus. When given once a month during the growing seasons, you can look forward to plenty of gorgeous flowers! However, refrain from giving this hoya any fertilizer after summer. When fall and winter arrive, Hoya Callistophylla stops growing and does not need the extra nutrients.
Soil and Repotting
Remember when we mentioned that this guy likes to cling to trees? There is not a lot of soil between branches and in the wild, hoyas subsist on sunlight and any water and organic matter that collect around their airy roots. For this reason, pot the hoya in soil that is loose, aerated and drains quickly. A good choice is potting soil pre-mixed for orchids as they contain peat moss, bark and perlite.
Seeing that this hoya variety is an extremely slow grower – made even slower by its winter dormancy – you can repot it roughly every two years. Resist the urge to repot more frequently because this can stop the hoya from flowering. When the time comes, make sure to use the right soil and a container with sufficient drainage. The latter must also come with a diameter that is about 2 inches (5 cm) bigger than the old pot.
Get all the best tips on how to re-pot your house plants.
When to Prune a Hoya Callistophylla
Seeing that the vines can grow extensively long, some homeowners prefer to keep the plant trimmed. If you want to avoid having to deal with 10-foot (3-meter) tendrils trying to climb up everything, then pruning is the best way to go.
Pruning cannot happen at any time. The best months are spring and summer. Before you begin, sterilise a sharp pair of scissors. A clean, keen tool will avoid damage during cutting and also minimize the risk of transferring infectious diseases between your plants.
Pests and Diseases
All hoya species are blessed with robust health. This makes them particularly resistant to pests and problems. However, any houseplant is at risk for ill health or a bug infestation. Let’s look at which issues Hoya Callistophylla can encounter and their solutions.
Root rot – This is the most common problem. Root rot’s major cause is overwatering which provides the perfect, damp environment for fungi to thrive in and attack the hoya’s roots. Signs of root rot include brown spots on the leaves. While the best cure is prevention (sorry for that cliche), you can also attempt to save your plant when it already has root rot. Carefully remove as much soil as you can and inspect the roots. Cut away the rotting roots and replant the hoya in new, sterile soil and a new pot. Discard the old pot and soil – they will stay infected.
Red or yellow leaves – Red indicates that the plant is suffering from sun exposure. Move the hoya away from the source of light. Yellow leaves indicate a water problem. Test the soil for moisture to see whether the problem is underwatering or overwatering.
Sucking insects – These include aphids, spider mites, scale insects, thrips and mealybugs. Use a good, organic pesticide to get rid of them. You can also apply the product every now and again to prevent another outbreak.
Q: Can I train my Hoya Callistophylla to grow inside a hanging basket?
Yes, Hoya Callistophylla makes a lovely basket plant. Their long, trailing vines add a jungle-like touch to any home. Make sure to trim any unnecessarily long or abnormal-looking vines to give your basket a beautiful look.
Q: Can I propagate my Hoya Callistophylla at home?
Yes, you can propagate new plants from your own Hoya Callistophylla. The most popular way to do this is through leaf and stem cuttings.
Q: What fungus should I look out for with my Hoya Callistophylla?
One particularly troublesome fungal infection is called Botrytis Blight. This highly-infectious disease attacks almost all parts of the plant. Treat affected plants with a good organic fungicide. Also, sterilize all your garden equipment and avoid overcrowding your houseplants.
Q: Can I use water from the tap for my Hoya Callistophylla?
This hoya is relatively sensitive to water with high chlorine levels. You might want to get a water kit to test your tap water before using it for your plants. Otherwise, use rainwater or bottled water.
Q: Is Hoya Callistophylla safe around pets and kids?
Hoya Callistophylla is considered toxic for both humans and animals. Keep your hoya well out of reach if you have pets, kids or vulnerable adults.
Q: How long will my Hoya Callistophylla live?
Under optimal conditions, a well-cared-for Hoya Callistophylla can live as long as 2 or 3 years. However, it is not uncommon to see this hoya live past the age of 3.