Fancy leaves of Hoya Elliptica match the design of turtle shells, but unlike the sluggish animal, Hoyas can grow quickly with proper attention!
Sometimes skimpy care prevents Hoya Elliptica from spreading fast, so let’s head into the details about properly fostering the plant.
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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 Name||Wax Plant, Wax Vine, Wax Flower, Porcelain Flower, and Turtle Shell Hoya|
|Scientific Name||Hoya elliptica|
|Status and Ecology||Lifespan: Evergreen Perennial
Habit: Climbing Epiphytic Shrub
Habitat: Tropical Rainforests
Native Range: East Asia, Pacific Islands, and Australia
USDA Zones: 10 to 11
|Plant Size||10 to 12 feet|
|Growing Season||Spring and Summer (March to August)|
|Leaf Characteristics||Shape: Elongated and Elliptical
Size: 5 to 8 centimeters long
Color: Grayish Green to Dark Green
Texture: Glossy to Slight Velvety
|Flowering Season||Spring and Summer (March to August)|
|Flower Characteristics||Inflorescence: Umbel
Color: White with reddish-pink center
Fragrance: Sweet, honey-like scent
|Toxicity||Toxic to humans and pets|
|Specialty||Leaves, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!