Hoya Callistophylla- Ultimate Care Tips & Buying Guide

Hoya Callistophylla
Hoya Callistophylla (Source: Nursery Buy)

Choosing an indoor plant can someone take a toll on you. You can sometimes go for the beauty of the blooms but have to compromise with the foliage and vice versa.

But what if I tell you that there is a plant that provides you with beautiful flowers and gorgeous foliage? Yes, that plant is named Hoya callistophylla.

Generally, Hoya callistophylla needs indirect but bright light, with a temperature range of 65-80°F, 50-70% humidity, aerated and well-draining potting mix, fertilizer once a month, and repotting every two years.

hoya_callistophylla
Hoya callistophylla (Source: Amthai Orchids)

Did you know? Hoya has nearly 300 species of plant all around the world. Each of them has its own care needs and requirements.

Hoya callistophylla is not a complex plant to take care of. Let’s look at their care guide and other relevant guides.

Overview of Hoya Callistophylla

The Hoya callistophylla is a flowering tropical plant with magnificent leaves that is native to Southeast Asia and can be found in parts of Australia and New Zealand.

Let’s look at the basic overview of Hoya callistophylla.

Scientific NameHoya callistophylla T.Green
Common NameWaxvine, Waxplant, Waxflower
NativeAsia especially Borneo
FamilyApocynaceae
Growth ZoneZone 11
Plant TypeEpiphytic Tropical plant
Perennial
Growth SizeUpto 5 meters in length
1 meters in width
Growth HabitSlow growth
Grown ForAttractive flowers and stunning foliage
ContainerTerracotta pot with 2-3 drainage holes
Ornamental hanging basket
FloweringRadial brown, creamy, yellow flowers
Individual flowers are star shaped
Flowering SeasonWarm spring and summer
AvailabilityUncommon
ToxicitySap causes irritation, otherwise the plant is non-toxic.

Where to Buy Hoya Callistophylla?

We get it; you want to buy this plant and add this to your collection for its stunning foliage and flowers.

The cheapest way is to propagate this plant if you have this plant already. But if you don’t, you can visit your local nursery and buy one.

Or, there are various online sites where you can order this plant. Let’s look at a few of them.

Places to BuyPrice
Etsy$45.05
Amthai Orchids$23.50
Aroid Nursery$35
Tropics At Home$5.58 - $22.60

Hoya Callistophylla- Ultimate Grow & Care Guide

Plants have a certain condition requirement for functioning properly. Let’s look at Hoya callistophylla’s care needs.

FactorsOptimal Conditions
Sunlight and Location8 hours of Bright, filtered, indirect light
WateringWater once a week during summer and spring
Every 2 weeks in winter and autumn
Temperature65°F - 80°F (18°C - 27°C)
HumidityFrom 50% to 75%
Soil MixtureAcidic, well-draining soil
Soil pH6.3 to 7.5
FertilizationFeed with fertilizer rich in Nitrogen and Phosphorous once a month, from spring to summer
Pot TypeTerracotta Container or ornamental hanging basket
PropagationStem cutting and Air layering
RepottingEvery 2 years
PruningLight pruning, few times a year

1. Bright Indirect Sunlight

Hoya callistophylla is a tropical epiphyte that does best when the surrounding is bright.

They grow on the ground and even on trees in their natural environment. The trees provide shade to the plant.

That means Hoya callistophylla thrives the most in bright but indirect light. They also do good in 1-2 hours of morning and evening sun.

Temperature effects on plants
Temperature effect on plants (Source: MDPI)

The best location that can fulfill the lighting needs of this plant is an east-facing window. Or, if such a location is not available, you can place them in the southern or western exposure.

But make sure to keep them a few feet away from the window. You can also keep them in 20-40% shade of curtains or drapes to make them feel at home.

Low LightExtreme Light
Pale white patches on the leavesLeaves will turn yellow
Growth speed will decrease significantlyFoliage will be scorched
There will be no bloomsThe stems will be thin and etiolate

Hoya callistophylla will grow efficiently if it gets at least 8 hours of filtered sun in a day.

The trick is not to let the plant be in the direct path of direct sunlight and also to provide it with enough light to sustain and bloom.

When the light is low in winter, you can go for LED grow lights.

Check out this article on the effect of light on plant growth: What Light Color is Best for the Plant’s Growth?

2. Watering Once a Week

Being a succulent from the tropical region of Borneo, this Hoya callistophylla prefers a moderate amount of water.

Watering your Hoya too frequently can lead to one of the most common diseases in the plant kingdom: root rot and eventually death.

Generally, Hoya callistophylla needs watering once a week during spring and summer and once every two weeks during the winter season.

Watering the plant
Watering the plant (Source: Tenor)

As I mentioned earlier, this plant is overly sensitive to overwatering and can succumb to death if its roots stand in the water for too long.

But that doesn’t mean you leave this water in drier conditions for a more extended period.

Its succulent leaves will retain moisture for a certain period, but you will be able to see the damage in longer runs.

Let’s see what damage improper watering does to this plant.

UnderwateringOverwatering
Plant loses its natural structureLeaves turn yellow
Size of leaves will be smallerRoot rot
There will be fewer leaves in the plantThe plant will appear wilting
Leaf tips and petioles will turn brownFlower buds will not form

The amount of water the plant may also greatly depend upon the weather it is kept in.

Tips for Watering Hoya Callistophylla

  • Do the finger moisture test and water the plant only if the top two inches of the soil are dry.
  • Water the plant at the very base of it. Do not let the leaves retain water for too long, or your plant will incur fungal infections.
  • Watch the condition of the plant closely and keep the moisture level in check.
  • The best method to water this plant is the soak and dry method.
  • Use lukewarm water to water this plant. It cannot handle too cold or too hot water.
  • Maintain the balance between the waterings to ensure the long life of your plant.

3. Warm Temperature

Hoya callistophylla’s native zone Borneo has an intense tropical climate. The temperature gets as high as 35°C in the lowlands, whereas it gets cooler as you move upwards.

Generally, Hoya callistophylla needs a temperature ranging from 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C). However, they can sustain temperatures as high as 86°F (30°C).

Relation between Rate of Plant Growth and Temperature
Relation between Rate of Plant Growth and Temperature (Source: Research Gate)

But if you want the plants to have a long, good life, you must not let the temperature fall below 50°F (10°C). Hoyas tend to dislike frosty conditions.

You can grow this plant outside during spring and summer, but you should bring them inside during winter conditions.

During low temperature and frosty conditions, the plant grows slowly and eventually stops growing. When the frost hits, shield your plant, or it will give in to cold.

As hgic.clemson.edu says, frosty conditions can damage the plant from the inside by damaging and freezing its cell.

When the temperature is frosty during winter, use heatng pads or frost blankets to protect the plant.

Use of Frost Blankets for Plants
Use of Frost Blankets for Plants (Source: Amazon)

Keep the plants away from drafty windows and air conditioning vents to shield them from sudden temperature changes.

Similarly, mist your plant regularly if the outdoor conditions are sweltering.

4. High Humidity

Humidity is one of the crucial aspects that determine the growth of plants, especially tropical plants like Hoya callistophylla.

This plant belongs to the tropical zones of Borneo, where they enjoy high humid conditions.

You must try your best to emulate those conditions at your home to ensure your plant has perfect humidity for its growth.

Generally, Hoya callistophylla thrives the most in locations where the humidity ranges between 50% to 70%.

Plants under Hoya need a certainly boosted humidity to grow and bloom correctly.

If the humidity is low, the plant will lose its shape and leaf turgidity. It may also have slow growth and eventually stop growing.

Similarly, you shouldn’t over-humidify the plant’s surroundings, or it may lead to fungal infections due to excessive water in the air.

Effect of humidity
Effect of Humidity on Plants (Source: North Carolina Climate Office)

Due to its succulent nature, the moisture content is usually maintained by this plant.

To maintain the humidity, you first need to measure the humidity around the plant using a hygrometer. If it’s low, use a humidifier to maintain the moisture.

Or, you can prepare a pebble tray and keep it on the side of the plant. Even easier? Spray the plant using a mister a few times every week.

5. Well-draining Potting Mix

As you read above in the watering section, Hoya plants do not like the soil that will retain moisture for a more extended period.

It would help if you also kept the soil pH maintained between 6.3 to 7.5 to let it absorb nutrients and moisture more efficiently.

Generally, Hoya callistophylla prefers moisture-retaining but well-draining, aerated soil that provides good air circulation to the soil.

Potting mix in a pot
Potting mix in a pot (Source: Stocklib)

If the soil your plant is standing on is waterlogged, your plant may bear grave consequences.

In such conditions, the air pores of the soil are blocked, and the plant will eventually begin to suffocate, leading to their death.

You can prepare your potting mix at home using the following compositions.

  • A part of perlite
  • One part peat moss
  • A part orchid mix

You can also buy amazing commercial mixes for your plant.

Want to know in more detail? Visit “How to Choose the Suitable Hoya Plant Soil?”

6. Nitrogen-Rich Fertilizer Once a Month

Your Hoya callistophylla is not a heavy feeder, so it won’t require frequent fertilizing.

But hey, a little nutrition to boost growth is not so bad, is it?

You can fertilize your Hoya callistophylla once every month with a slow-release liquid fertilizer to boost growth during its growing season.

Fertilization Affecting Plant Growth
Fertilization Affecting Plant Growth (Source: Richentek)

Use fertilizer rich in nitrogen and phosphorus to ensure the better growth of the foliage and timely sprout of the blooms.

It would be best to fertilize your plants during spring and summer when the plant is thriving in growth. Do not fertilize in winter and let it rest.

The best fertilizer for this plant is a high nitrogen fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-5-10.

We suggest you control the amount of fertilizer you feed to your plant. Over-fertilizing or Under-fertilizing has effects on the plant.

Lack of FertilizationOver Fertilization
Slow plant growthLeaves will turn brown
Lack of phosphorus may lead to no bloomSalt build up on the soil surface
Weak stem and pale foliageYellowing, wilting of the stem

While fertilizing, make sure you don’t fertilize directly at the stem. Spray a few meters away from the stem and ensure the plant gets fertilizer.

Here are a few commercial fertilizers for this plant found on Amazon.

Miracle Gro Liquid Plant Food
Miracle-Gro Liquid Plant Food (Source: Amazon)

7. Growth Rate

Hoya callistophylla has a moderate to fast growth rate that depends primarily on its surroundings and the conditions you provide it.

If the requirements and the environment is correct, the plant will have fast growth.

Hoya callistophylla can grow up to 3 to 5 meters in height and 1 meter in width in ideal conditions. However, their vines can grow up to 5 meters.

hoya leaves
Hoya Foliage (Source: Steve’s Leaves)

The leaves are bright green, the veins are darker green, and the leaves’ shape is oval. A mature leaf can range in length from 4 to 7 inches.

You can stake the plant to support the vines if you have potted them in a container. Whereas, if you have hanged them, let the vines fall freely.

Flowering Habit

Most of the plants in the Hoya category are famous for the exotic blooms they produce. Hoya callistophylla is no different. Plus, the flowers have an exquisite fragrance.

Hoya callistophylla produces star-shaped flowers that form a cluster. The individual flowers are pale yellow or orange and have a red tip.

Hoya-callistophylla-flower
Hoya Callistophylla Flower (Source: Tropics at Home)

The clusters can have up to 40 flowers with a diameter of up to 10 millimeters. They stand atop a peduncle that can be up to 10 centimeters.

The plant needs at least five years to reach maturity and finally bloom flowers. However, that may depend on the care given.

Some varieties may flower all year round, while most flowers bloom in spring, right after the harsh winter. The blooms are short-lived as they live only for a day.

8. Repotting Hoya Callistophylla

Hoya callistophylla will grow slower than you expect it to. To reach 90 cm, this plant can take almost two years. So, for a good 2-3 years, you don’t need to worry about repotting.

However, if the pot is too compact for the plant to grow in, you may need to think about the repotting.

You should repot your Hoya callistophylla once every 2 to 3 years. Choose a pot that is at least 2 inches larger in diameter than the current pot. It’s better to choose a terracotta pot.

Proper soil mix for Repotting
Proper soil mix for Repotting (Source: Pexels)

You can prepare for the repotting whenever you see the plant’s roots sticking out of the drainage hole.

The best time to go on with the process is during spring, when the plant utilizes all its resources to grow.

Steps to Repot Hoya Callistophylla

  • Water the plant adequately on the morning of the day you plant to repot this plant.
  • Prepare your tools for repotting and sterilize them properly.
  • Remove the plant from the previous pot gently and loosen the compact root ball.
  • Prune the broken and dead roots if there are any.
  • Take a terracotta pot and fill 70% of it with suitable potting soil.
  • Plant the Hoya in the pot and gently dab the soil around the root with your thumb.
  • Water the plant and place the plant in a suitable location with enough light and warmth.

9. Light Pruning

Hoya callistophylla are usually grown as ornamental plants with their beautiful flowers.

Whether to prune this plant or not entirely depends on you, though. If you have hung them, you can trim off the trailing vines.

Pruning Basics
Pruning Basics (Source: uky.edu)

Or, you can let them grow freely by hooking them to the walls or letting them trail. If you have it in a pot, you can trim the vines for aesthetic purposes.

If you want to see your plant bloom, be extra careful not to trim off the peduncles, as the flowers grow in them.

The best time to prune Hoya callistophylla is during spring or summer when the plant can recover from any type of pruning shock.

Use clean pruning equipment and make sure not to trim more than 1/3rd of the plant.

And be extra careful not to cut off the flowers and healthy stems while trimming the plant.

Toxicity of Hoya Callistophylla

Cheer up! Your lucky stars are shining at their brightest. Hoya callistophylla is not poisonous to your pets and children.

Even ASPCA has not listed this plant on its list of toxic plants on its website.

You can let your children play around with this plant without any safety concerns. Your pet may chew a few leaves, but it will be unscathed.

However, the milky sap can cause a certain form of irritation on your skin. So it would be best to avoid it.

The pot or basket can be heavy; on top of that, the vines are very long, and the children may trip on them. Keep that in mind.

Cat sitting near indoor plants
Cat sitting near indoor plants (Source: Freepik)

Propagation of Hoya Callistophylla

It’s human nature to want to have more of something beautiful. Once you start growing your Hoya, you’ll want to have more of it in your home.

There are certain methods to do that. You can go for ordering it online and get it delivered to your doorsteps.

The best time to propagate Hoya callistophylla is in spring and summer.

Propagating plants is one of the low-cost methods to duplicate plants. It may be a little time-consuming, but the plant is worth it.

Hoya callistophylla can be propagated using: stem-cutting, leaf-cutting, and air layering.

Materials for Hoya Callistophylla Propagation

Materials RequiredPurpose
Gardening KnifeFor stem cutting
Gardening GlovesFor safety
Potting MixPotting Medium
PerliteFor extra drainage
Rooting HormoneFor best growth
Terracotta Pot with a Drainage HoleWell draining organic pottig mix
HumidifierTo maintain the humidity

Propagation via Stem Cutting

Look below for step-by-step propagation via stem cutting.

  • Sterilize your propagation equipment and disinfect them properly before the propagation.
  • You will need a healthy cutting for propagation. Choose a green and not woody stem.
  • Cut at least 4 inches of a stem that has at least two nodes and three leaves. Cut 1 inch below the leaf node.
  • Remove the lower leaves and make the nodes visible.
  • Leave the cutting for at least a day so that it forms a callous.
  • Get a transparent jar of water and place your cutting there. Let the nodes go under the water and leave the leaves out.
  • Place the plant in a suitable location and make sure to change the water every 7 days.
  • You will be able to see the roots in about 2 to 3 months. Let it fully develop for a month more and transfer it.

You can also place the cutting directly into a potting medium. Give them the proper regular care.

You will start seeing the roots in about 2 to 3 months.

Hoya From Cutting
Hoya From Cutting (Source: Etsy)

Propagation via Air Layering

Air Layering is another propagation method that is common among the Hoya species.

Let’s look at the steps in detail.

  • Pick a stem that has aerial roots, and is hanging loose.
  • You need to make a circular cut around the plant’s stem.
  • Lower the stem down to the soil and cover the aerial roots properly. Do not cut the stem and separate it from the mother plant.
  • You can use hooks or pins to hold the stem to the ground properly.
  • Be very careful not to snap the stem in the process.
  • Care for your plant normally and you’ll see the roots in a few weeks.
  • After the roots have reached a considerable length, you can cut them from the main plant.

Also, watch the video for more information,

Propagation via Leaf Cutting

Well, skip this subheading entirely if you are not a fan of waiting. Because propagation via leaf cutting takes a lot of time.

You may even have to wait for a year before you can see any success.

But this method can be fruitful if your Hoya doesn’t have long stems that you can propagate.

Follow the steps below to propagate successfully.

  • Choose a healthy leaf that has a healthy stem as well. Cut the leaf off of the main plant.
  • Put the cutting in a suitable potting mix. You can mix one part perlite and another part potting mix.
  • Immerse the stem in the soil but make sure the leaf is pointing upwards.
  • Bury at least five to six leaves into the soil, slightly covering the tips so that roots can grow.
  • Make sure they are also positioned at a 45-degree angle to allow for growth.
  • Water the plant thoroughly. You can wrap a plastic bag around the leaf to maintain moisture.
  • You’ll start to see tiny bits of roots in about 1.5 to 2 months.

There is another method for propagation of Hoya callistophylla. It is by their seeds.

But we advise you not to go with that as this plant has a plethora of other propagation to choose from.

And trust me, you wouldn’t want to propagate it via seeds.

Read about hoya propagation in detail “A Complete Guide to Hoya Propagation”

Also, watch the full video,

Common Problems in Hoya Callistophylla

Like most indoor plants, Hoya callistophylla is also susceptible to many problems.

For healthy growth, you must make sure you identify those problems in the early stages and look for ways to treat them.

Let’s look at a few of them.

1. Common Pests

Hoyas are often termed super-resilient plants as they are less often infested by pests. But unfortunately, due to their succulent-type leaves, sometimes the pests find their home there.

The pests attack the stem and leaves of this plant and suck them for nutrients.

Common pests that affect this plant are Mealybugs and Aphids.

Mealybugs
Mealybugs (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Look for the following signs and symptoms of pests and their effect on your plant.

PestsSigns and SymptomsEffect on Plant
MealybugsWhite cottony powder like sightings on leaves and stem.Plant starts to lose nutrients and the leaves lose color.
AphidsYou can see honeydew on the flowersFlower blooming is affected.
Leaves turn yellow and stem is swollen.

Solutions

  • Spraying the plant with a high force of water can help you get rid of a few pests.
  • Neem oil and horticultural oil are also effective against some pests.
  • You can mist your plant thoroughly with insecticidal soap and water to get rid of mealy bugs.
  • Buy isopropyl alcohol from Amazon. Use the ‘Dip and Dab’ technique on the plant’s leaves to get rid of pests.
  • Pick visible pests with your hand.

Preventive Measures

  • Keep checking the plant regularly for any signs of pest infestation.
  • Overwatering is the root cause of most pest infestations. So avoid overwatering your plant.
  • Separate your infected plant from other plants to avoid spread.
  • Do not water the plant from the above.

2. Common Diseases

Hoya callistophylla does not house too many diseases as they are sturdy.

But sometimes due to irregularities in its conditions like water, temperature, humidity, etc., certain diseases may affect this plant.

root rot
Root Rot in Plants (Source: Wikimedia)

The most common diseases to affect this plant are Root rot and Botrytis Blight.

DiseasesCausative Agent Effect on Plants
Root RotPhytophthora, Pythium and Rhizoctonia spp.Stem, leaf margins and edges appear yellow or brown and mushy.
Botrytis BlightBotrytis cinereaSpots in leaves and stem.
Flowers have spots in them and decay.

Solutions

  • Drain any excess water pooled beneath the pot at the saucer.
  • Check the plant properly for brown, mushy roots. Trim them off but avoid trimming healthy roots.
  • Move the plant to a new pot with enough drainage holes. Place that pot in a good location with enough sunlight.
  • For getting rid of Botrytis Blight, prune and get rid of the damaged part.
  • You can get rid of Botrytis Blight using pesticides containing Copper captain, mancozeb, sulfur, Chlorothalonil, maneb, and thiophanate methyl.
  • Using fungicides may help you get rid of root rot at its primary stages.

Preventive Measures

  • Check your plants regularly for infections.
  • Misting the plants at night is not a good practice as the water cannot evaporate.
  • Overwatering brings many problems to the plant. So, avoid it altogether.

Watch the full video to get more information,

Conclusion

Hoya callistophylla can add to your decorative environment with its exotic beautiful foliage and equally exquisite flowers.

That is; if you provide it with good care and fulfill its condition requirements, which is not that hard.

Good luck and Happy Gardening!

Read about other Hoya varieties here: LacunosaNummularioidesPolyneuraSerpensSunriseKrimson Queen

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