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Hoya Elliptica: Best Grow & Care Guide

Fancy leaves of Hoya Elliptica match the design of turtle shells, but unlike the sluggish animal, Hoyas can grow quickly with proper attention!       

Generally, Hoya Elliptica thrives in bright indirect sunlight for 2-4 hours with 60°F-85°F temperature and 60%- 80% humidity. Ensure well-draining but acidic soil and water 2-4 times a week,  fertilization every 2-4 weeks, and repotting once in 2-3 years with occasional pruning in spring and summer.

Sometimes skimpy care prevents Hoya Elliptica from spreading fast, so let’s head into the details about properly fostering the plant.

Overview of Hoya Elliptica 

Hoya Elliptica gets its name from the elliptical leaves, adding a trademark to the plant.

Moreover, the leaves are artfully decorated with white lines, which are the leaf veins. 

Common NameWax Plant, Wax Vine, Wax Flower, Porcelain Flower, and Turtle Shell Hoya
Scientific NameHoya elliptica
Status and EcologyLifespan: Evergreen Perennial

Habit: Climbing Epiphytic Shrub

Habitat: Tropical Rainforests

Native Range: East Asia, Pacific Islands, and Australia

USDA Zones: 10 to 11
Growth RateFast
Plant Size10 to 12 feet
Growing SeasonSpring and Summer (March to August)
Leaf CharacteristicsShape: Elongated and Elliptical

Size: 5 to 8 centimeters long

Color: Grayish Green to Dark Green

Texture: Glossy to Slight Velvety
Flowering SeasonSpring and Summer (March to August)
Flower CharacteristicsInflorescence: Umbel

Color: White with reddish-pink center

Shape: Star-shaped

Fragrance: Sweet, honey-like scent
ToxicityToxic to humans and pets
SpecialtyLeaves, Flowers, and Stem secrete a milky white sap when bruised

Both sides of the leaves have "boxed" patterns of veins like on the surface of turtle shell

Hoya Elliptica: A Complete Care Guide

There are more than 500 species and even more cultivars worldwide, which originate from Southeast Asia.

Although Hoya Elliptica loves to roam around your hospice because of its climbing habit, you can manage the plant by binding its stem to support a climbing basket.

Image illustrates the growth requirements and features of Hoya Elliptica
Hoya Elliptica requires careful consideration of basic care requirements to sustain its growth and flowering

1. Light and Temperature

Hoya plant requires proper light intensity for the leaf patterns to form, so without light, the design on the leaves rarely appears.

Hoya Elliptica needs bright indirect sunlight, but you can keep it beside an east-facing window for 2 to 4 hours to give it a direct morning and evening shine with a temperature around 65°F-80°F.

A south-facing window can also work, but you must place the plant at least 3 feet away to avoid direct light.

Harsh light escalates the temperature, curling the leaves, turning them yellow, and the tips turn crisp.

Likewise, low temperatures below 50°F can also drastically turn the leaves yellow, and they fall off.

To avoid this, keep your plant from chilly winter winds, radiators or cooling vents, or any drafty north-facing windows.

For outdoor Hoyas, use frost blankets to cover them in winter and give the plant a few sprays of water in summer to cool it down.

2. Watering and Humidity

Hoya Elliptica has fleshy leaves with some water, but it appreciates high humidity and watering when the top 1-2 inches top soil dries. 

Water Hoya Elliptica 2 to 4 times a week in spring and summer by sustaining humidity levels between 60% and 80%.

In winter, reduce watering to every 12 to 15 days. This is because Hoyas have thick leaves, and due to their epiphytic nature, they can hold a little water in the leaves.

Frequent watering can cause root rot, while underwatering can dry the soil, and the leaves may curl and fall due to less moisture.

However, the air can become dry in summer and winter, pulling excess moisture from the plant. So, giving frequent bouts of misting will help recover Hoyas from underwatering. 

3. Soil and Fertilizer

A decent nutrient-rich soil contains aerating and water-retentive elements with an adequate pH of 6.1 to 6.5.

Hoya Elliptica loves drainable acidic soil with water-holding elements to overcome dry spells. Feed the plant with balanced NPK fertilizer diluted to 50% strength every 2-4 weeks during the growing season.

But, you must refrain from fertilizing Hoyas in the fall and winter when the plant stays dormant.

Feeding the plant during these seasons can cause fertilizer burn, where the tips and margins of the leaves turn brown.

Excess fertilizer salts can also accumulate in the topsoil forming a white crusty layer.

Hoya Elliptica under dappled sunlight
Before fertilizing, add water to Hoya and take it to the bright indirect sunlight.

So, you need to flush the excess salts 4 to 5 times using distillate water can help the plant recover from the fertilizer burn.

Without well-draining soil, water can accumulate on the topsoil and cause root rot.

For Hoyas, prepare potting soil with orchid potting mix, horticultural pumice or sand, activated charcoal, orchid bark, and compost in a ratio of 1:1:1:1.

Compost acts like a fertilizer providing the nutrients your Hoya needs to grow new leaves and produce flowers.

But if you don’t want to risk your plant with homemade potting mixes, try these premium soil to offer your plant a healthy potting environment.

Premium Potting SoilPremium Fertilizer
Hoya Plant Potting Soil MixThe Andersons PGF Balanced 10-10-10 Fertilizer
FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil MixJR Peters All Purpose Fertilizer
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting MixENVY Professional Grade All Purpose Fertilizer
WONDER SOIL Organic Potting MixTriple 10 All Purpose Liquid Fertilizer

4. Potting and Repotting

Epiphytes like Hoya have a small and less-extensive root system. So, keeping it root-bound for a year or two won’t hamper the plant unless it shows some sign of stress.

Although Hoya Elliptica is a rapidly growing plant, you only need to repot it every 2 to 3 years.

Roots poking from the drainage holes or tangling on the topsoil, quick drainage of water, or stunting growth are some signs Hoya can show if it’s feeling uneasy in its old pot.

To repot, choose a terracotta or plastic planter about two inches wider and deeper than the previous one.

You can directly uproot the plant from its old container, secure the roots and leaves, and locate it in the new pot filled with adequate freshly prepared soil.

Pro Tip! While repotting, remove any brown, black, or pulpy roots and leave the healthy, whitish-tan roots intact. 

5. Minimal Pruning

Hoya Elliptica is a speedy climber, acquiring new leaves throughout the growing season.

Additionally, vines can get long and entangle within themselves, giving the plant a crowded appearance.

If you keep your Hoya in a messy state, the plant refrains from getting new leaves and will forgo flowering.

Additionally, there’s a good chance that the congested leaves and vines become a shady breeding ground for pests and fungi.

So, cut the stretched-out vines an inch below the node to remove the discolored or diseased leaves and give the plant a neat look.

While pruning, remove aphids, scales, spider mites, and mealybugs from the leaves by scrubbing with q-tips or abolishing them with weak blasts of water.

Besides pets, disease like stem and root rot is the most common occurrence in Hoyas, resulting from overwatering, which you can prevent by keeping a proper watering schedule.

If the stems and leaves get visible black-to-brown mushy or dry lesions, applying neem oil shall offer relief to Hoyas during the illness.

Ultimately, you can prune the infested and diseased leaves of Hoya Elliptica during spring and summer every year. 

Hoya Elliptica: All About Growth Rate

With optimum lighting, Hoya Elliptica can grow 10 to 12 feet tall at maturity with broad, elliptical and visibly decorated leaves resembling turtle shells’ “boxed” patterns.

Hoya Elliptica can grow around 15 to 20 feet tall in its natural home! 

Hoya Elliptica can grow speedily if you tie the vines to support or keep the plant in a hanging basket.

The plant gains new leaves in pairs on the nodes, starting from the base of the plant along an elongating stem that slowly thins out, turning into a stretchy vine.

Unlike other tropical houseplants, Hoya Elliptica begets new blooms every growing season once the plant is mature enough.

The perennial nature of Hoyas supports an extensive flowering season.

Image represents the flowers of Hoya Elliptical
Flowers of Hoya Elliptica are white and fragrant borne from a single point on the flowering stem.

It may take around 2 years to get clusters of creamy white, star-shaped, fragrant flowers with a reddish-pink center if you start Hoyas from seeds.

You can boost the flowering by keeping the plant a little root-bound and offering bright, indirect sunshine with proper fertilizer, humidity, and water.

Toxicity of Hoya Elliptica

The milky sap of Hoya Elliptica is mildly toxic to pets and humans, causing irritation to the skin on contact.

Pets may experience gagging or vomiting upon consuming plant parts such as leaves and stems.

So, keep your children and pets away from this Hoya and contact the following helplines if they accidentally consume the plant.

Propagation Methods for Hoya Elliptica

You can propagate and multiply Hoya Elliptica using stems, leaves or seeds.

But, propagation from leaves and seeds takes a long time to yield promising results. Commercial growers of the plant prefer these methods.

Stem propagation is beginner’s friendly and gives quick results within a few weeks. You can root the stem cuttings in the water and transplant them into the soil later.

Follow these easy steps to propagate Hoya Elliptica from stem cuttings.

  • Take a healthy stem about 4 to 6 inches long with 2 to 3 leaves at the top and remove the lower leaves, to expose the nodes.
  • Place the cutting in a glass jar filled with rooting hormone solution, cover it with plastic wrap, and locate the setup in an area with dappling sunshine.
  • Keep a humidifier set around 60% to 80% beside the cutting.
  • Change the fresh hormonal solution every 3 to 4 days.
  • Transfer the cutting to the fresh soil when they grow 2 inches-long roots.
  • Continue the basic care when the cutting becomes habitual to its new environment by showing new growth.

Stem cuttings are promising to propagate Hoya Elliptica as they can root within 4 to 8 weeks, which is fast compared to seeds and leaves that may take a year to show first growth. 

Watch the video below if you wish to populate Hoya Elliptica through leaf cuttings!

If you are searching for small-leaved Hoya varieties, there are certainly many to choose from that can perfectly suit any cozy abode.

Final Words

Hoya Elliptica boasts turtle shell-looking leaves with tiny star-shaped flowers if it receives the optimum care.

Though it blesses you with fancy leaves and aromatic blooms, the plant’s milky sap can mildly disturb the health of pets and children.

So, keep small walking feet away while growing Hoya Elliptica!

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