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Hoya Imbricata: Where to Buy, and Care Tips

If you are searching for a unique plant to increase your greenery collections, Hoya imbricata, aka “Ant Plant,” will be the perfect addition!

Hoya imbricata is a unique wax plant with large, silver-splashed leaves that climbs prolifically.

It is undoubtedly the most beautiful “ant-plant,” with its peculiar growth pattern, appealing leaves, and appealing “furry” blossoms.

Your Hoya imbricata prefers 2-3 hours of direct sunlight with regular watering during the summer and spring seasons. This waxy plant prefers temperatures ranging from 65-80°F with at least 60% humidity. And will bloom with creamy flowers in moist, well-draining soil.

Hoya Imbricata in a pot
Hoya imbricata (Source: Plant Circle)

Hoya imbricata is an uncommon climber that can be difficult to get right. However, you don’t need to lose your sweat right now!

With the below-mentioned guidance and help, your Hoya will be healthy and thrive without any problem.

Hoya Imbricata Overview

Hoya imbricata is a big climbing epiphyte that can reach 8-10 feet with huge dark green leaves that grow to be about a foot long.

Indonesia and the Philippines are home to Hoya imbricata. It grows wild, clinging to the trunks and huge branches of trees like mango and breadfruit for support.

Here is a table of brief facts about this rare plant:

Scientific NameHoya imbricata Decne
Common Name Paui-pauikan, Waxflower, Ant Plant
NativeIndonesia, Philippines
Family Apocynaceae
Genus Dischidia
Growth Size 8-10 ft
Growth RateSlow growing
FloweringProduce clusters of starry flowers
Toxicity Non toxic to humans and animals.
Commons Pests Mealybugs, Aphids, Spider mites
Commons DiseasesFungal Diseases

Did you know? Hoya imbricata acts as a secure sanctuary for ants, which in turn guards the plant against other insects and provides nutrients and more!

Where can I Purchase Hoya Imbricata?

Although the Hoya imbricata is expensive, it is a rare catch to add to your collection. It’s a one-of-a-kind, Hoya, because of its gorgeous, bowl-shaped leaves, which may grow up to 25 cm in diameter.

Get your hands on this unique plant through various online shops mentioned below.

Shops Delivery Service Price Range
Tropics At Home10-14 days $5.58 – $19.34
My Home NatureAs per the location $43.95
Etsy1 week $79.99

Hoya Imbricata: Care Guide

Caring for Hoya imbricata can be intimidating due to its challenging climber nature.

However, if you are mindful of its warm temperature, high humidity needs, and low watering frequency, this rare gem will thrive.

The table below includes Hoya imbricata’s care and upkeep requirements in brief:

ParametersFavorable Conditions
Light Bright Indirect Light
Watering Water regularly during the summer and spring seasons.
Decrease the watering frequency in winter.
Temperature 650-80°F
Ideal Humidity Moderate to high (50%)
Soil Type Well-draining potting mix
Soil pH 6.1 (slightly acidic) to 7.5 (neutral)
Fertilization Spring-Summer
PruningAny brown or dead stems can be removed
Repotting Once in 3-4 years
Propagation Stem Cutting

1. Indirect Sunlight and Proper Location

Hoya imbricata is endemic to South Asia, where the sun shines through the gaps in the trees. Thus, the Hoya thrives in bright indirect or filtered light.

Similarly, you’ll want to ensure it has plenty of sunshine during spring and summer to reach its full potential.

You can place your Hoya imbricata in 2-3 hours of direct sunlight; however, be sure to bring the plant in when the sun starts scorching.

Likewise, avoid exposure to the mid-afternoon sun during the summer days.

All per its requirements, an east-facing window will be the ideal location for your Hoya imbricata to thrive.

Avoid direct sunlight with the help of drapes
Avoid direct sunlight with the help of drapes. (Source: Pixabay)

Direct sunlight can make your Hoya imbricata suffer from:

  • Dry and Crisp leaves
  • Brown tips of leaves
  • Scorched leaves
  • Leaf discoloration

Tips for Ensuring Optimum Lighting

  • To avoid direct exposure to sunlight, use sheer curtains to drape in the window.
  • Similarly, place your Hoya at least 3 to 6 feet away from the window to avoid sun damage.
  • You can provide your plant with 7-14 hours of grow lights or fluorescent tubes. Place them a few inches above the plant.
  • To avoid imbalanced light intake, rotate the plant every week in the precise place.

Warning! A south-facing window is not the best option because Hoya imbricata cannot tolerate bright, direct sunshine.

2. Medium Watering

One of the essential factors for the growth of your Hoya imbricata is the watering aspect.

The plant is epiphytic with succulent foliage. It indicates that the plant has smaller roots and is less reliant on the soil nutrients for its survival.

Ensure to water your plant thoroughly and regularly during the summer and spring seasons. However, in the winter, you can slow the watering frequency.

Water the plant when required.
Water the plant when required (Source: Tenor)

If you position your plant near the window and dry air circulation, you’ll need to hydrate your Hoya more frequently.

Due to the moisture storing nature and the root’s structure, your plant is prone to be overwatered and show signs such as:

  • Yellow leaves
  • Slow and stunted growth of the plant
  • Soft and spongy stems
  • Brown edges or patches on the leaves
  • Root rot

Tips to Water your Hoya Imbricata

  • You can check your soil with the finger dip test. Touch the layer of your plant’s soil with your finger, and if it remains clean and dry, it’s safe to water.
  • To determine soil moisture, use a soil moisture sensor.
  • Similarly, letting the soil dry out between waterings is a good idea. Wait until the top 2 inches of soil are completely dry before watering more.
  • You can use tap water to hydrate your Hoya imbricata; however, leave the water in an open container for 24 hours to allow contaminants like chlorine and fluorine to evaporate.
  • Puncture holes in the dirt with a pencil or a long stick to let air flow at the roots, but be cautious not to injure the roots.
  • When watering your plants, ensure the excess water can drain via the drainage holes in the container.

3. Warm Temperature

Hoya plants are native to the tropics or subtropics.

Thus, warm temperatures are ideal for Hoya imbricata’s growth. The temperature ranging from 65-80°F will be suitable for maximum development. 

Response of plants to temperature
Response of plants to temperature (Source: Springer)

Similarly, the temperature should be above 25°C in the summer and below 10°C in the winter. It is also hardy to 9-10 USDA Zones.

The plant is unable to withstand extreme cold and will suffer from:

  • Loss of plant rigidity
  • Curled up and droopy leaves
  • Yellow leaves
  • Stunted and slow growth
  • Wilting of the plant

Tips for Maintaining the Optimal Temperature

  • It would be best to never place plants directly over or below a heat source. A fireplace, air conditioning, and artificial lighting are among them.
  • Consider purchasing artificial lights if you require an additional source to maintain a greater temperature.
  • In the summer, mist the plant leaves frequently to minimize transpiration.
  • Keep the plant away from drafty windows as well. Also, in the winter, keep it away from the windowsill.
  • To avoid cold stress, use a suitable heating pad or insulation.

4. Moderate to High Humidity

As they originate from subtropical and tropical areas, Hoya imbricata is more accustomed to moderate to high humidity.

Similarly, it performs best when the percentage is at least 60%. It thrives in this environment and produces vibrantly colored leaves.

The succulent imbricata is not demanding, even in low-humidity environments, although most will thrive if given a bit more.

Methods for Maintaining an Appropriate Humidity Level

  • During the growth season (spring and summer), mist the leaves often to increase the humidity in the air.
  • Place the plant in a humid space, such as the kitchen or the bathroom, as an alternative.
  • Similarly, huddle the houseplants together to increase humidity levels around the plant naturally. Be careful about the pest and disease infestation, though.
  • Consider laying the pot on a pebble tray filled with water to wet the soil for a severely dry plant.
  • Installing an electric humidifier to enhance humidity when maintained indoors artificially is also a good idea.

Tips – You can mist your Hoya to increase high humidity. However, if your Hoya is blooming, it is better not to mist your plant.

5. Well-Draining+Moist Retaining Soil Mix

Because Hoya imbricata is an epiphytic plant, it despises thick soils and other types that retain moisture.

Hoya imbricata prefers moist, well-draining soil that allows air and oxygen to move freely. And requires a soil pH range of 6.1 (slightly acidic) to 7.5 (neutral).

You can add various other products to your potting mix to enhance your plant’s growth.

Proper Soil Mix is essential for Hoya imbricata. (Source: Flickr)

Likewise, you can add oyster shells or crushed eggshells to make the soil more alkaline while watering the plant.

One of the most popular potting mixes shared on the internet among Hoya lovers is adding one-third peat, one-third perlite, and one-third orchid mixture.

Peat works as a perfect growing medium, whereas perlite is ideal for drainage soil.

You might also purchase a commercial potting mix containing macro and micronutrients. Here are some of the commercial recommendations:

Read more about How to Choose the Suitable Hoya Plant Soil?

6. Light Fertilization

Hoya imbricata isn’t particularly picky eaters; however, they appreciate extra vitamins and macronutrients.

During the active growth seasons, summer and spring, fertilize your Hoya imbricata once a month. Never fertilize your plant in winter.

Fertilizer with plant
Fertilizer with a plant (Source: Wikimedia)

Similarly, organic fertilizers are favored over synthetic fertilizers since they are generated from plants or animals and are slowly absorbed by the plant.

Hoya imbricata acquires the necessary nourishment from the air and residues from the bigger plants they cling to in the forest instead.

Inorganic fertilizers are mineral-based and tend to be fast-acting. Thus, the concentration and halved before utilizing.

Ensure your fertilizer has nitrogen for the leaves and shoots, phosphorous for the roots, and potassium for the flowers.

Likewise, increase potassium as the bud grows. When the plant is blossoming, you can use a bloom booster if it isn’t producing many blooms.

Below is a list of both organic and synthetic fertilizers for your Hoya imbricata:

Name of FertilizersTypePrice in $
Miracle-Gro Liquid FertilizerLiquid fertilizers$15.56
Osmocote Smart-release plant foodGranular fertilizer$1300 for 8Ibs
MicroLife SJESFoliar fertilizer$29.94

7. Potting and Repotting of Hoya Imbricata

Hoya imbricata is accustomed to growing epiphytically, so it doesn’t mind being root-bound.

As a result, you’ll need to repot your Hoya imbricata every two to three years during the spring or summer season.

Similarly, your Hoya imbricata will be happy in terracotta pots or plastic pots when potting choice.

Different Plants in plastic Pots
Plants in Plastic Pots (Source: Amazon)

You can also use clay pots as they are porous and allow more air to get in and out. It also aids in drainage.

Likewise, the use of a plastic container with openings on the sides and the bottom is possible. It allows water to leave more efficiently and improves airflow.

In addition, while repotting you should find a pot that is about 2 inches bigger than the one you’re using now.

Step-by-Step Guide on Repotting Hoya Imbricata

  • Remove your Hoya imbricata from its present pot.
  • You can turn imbricata upside down and place your palm over the top of the container to remove the plant instead of pulling it out.
  • Cut off any roots that have grown outside of the rootball’s core. Pruning the Hoya imbricata’s older roots will help it thrive in its new container.
  • Add a foundation layer of soil before placing the new plant inside to give the roots more room to develop.
  • After that, gently transplant the Hoya imbricata into a larger container, ideally terracotta.
  • Finally, keep watering and fertilizing the imbricata as usual.

8. Pruning Time

The Hoya imbricata is a big plant that may reach a height of 10 to 12 feet.

If you provide a tree or some vertical structure to climb, it will grow higher. You can also alternatively let it dangle in container.

Thus, if you are not mindful of its length, it can become one of the fuzzier plants. As a result, it’s okay to trim your imbricate.

Prune your Xerophica with clean tools (Source: Pexels)Prune your Xerophica with clean tools (Source: Pexels)
Prune your Hoya imbricata with clean tools (Source: Pexels)

You can get rid of any brown or dead stems. If your stems are thick, you can leave them alone, wind them around a trellis, or cut them down to a node.

However, avoid cutting the peduncle, which is the inflorescence’s base. Year after year, the flower will bloom in this spot.

Tips to Prune Hoya Imbricata

  • Before pruning your plant, let the flowers fall off rather than removing the spurs or peduncles.
  • Take your time to examine your plant. Hoya imbricata that is up to 10 ft long should be pruned.
  • Look for nodes, which are tiny swellings at the junction of the vine and a leaf.
  • Trim the node that is somewhat less than the desired length.
  • Then, remove one-third of the plants’ leaves from the vine. Your plant’s branches and sprouts new growth from the point.

9. A Non-Toxic Plant

If you are a pet lover and a plant lover, then with this Hoya imbricata, you have nothing to worry about!

Not only is Hoya imbricata a rare tropical plant, but it is also non-toxic to humans and animals.

As a result, it’s safe to keep it around small children and dogs in the house or yard without fear of poisoning.

Hoya Imbricata Features and Growth Rate

Hoya imbricata is an epiphytic plant with long, thin climbing stems that cling to tree trunks and branches.

It has enormous succulent, plate-like leaves that grasp the vertical surfaces on which they grow, reaching from around 2 inches to over 10 inches in diameter.

Your Hoya imbricata is a slow grower. It may attain a size of 10-12 feet.

It climbs trees in its native environment, but many gardeners maintain it in hanging baskets since the long stems look great draped downwards.

1. Waxy Foliage and Modified Stems

The Hoya’s stems and leaves are ascending, rooted at the nodes, and firmly appressed to the bark. The modified stems generate hollow inner chambers which act as shelter for the ant colonies.

The ants protect the Hoya from insect pests while providing nutrients from the ant colony’s decaying excrement.

Similarly, imbricata will likewise begin to develop its leaves, which may reach a maximum length of 9 inches, with a suitable location and sufficient sunshine.

The foliage of Hoya Imbricata.
The foliage of Hoya imbricata. (Source: Amazon)

The leaf forms at the node, and as the plant grows, the next leaf base covers the edge of the previous leaf.

As a result, the leaves are imbricate, extremely short petiolate, with a circular lamina elevated like a watch-glass on the underneath leaves and rounded and concave on the upper leaves.

Likewise, the tip of the lower face is obtuse to rounded, and a node is covered by only one leaf.

2. Flowers of Hoya Imbricata

The calyx, corona, and corolla are the three main elements of the Hoya imbricata flower. They grow in umbels, flower clusters that expand from the center to produce a curved or flat-top surface.

Similarly, approximately 5-10 cream-flowered blossoms are held erect in umbel-like clusters.

Blooms of Hoya Imbricata
Hoya imbricata bloom (Source: My Home Nature)

Flowers contain fuzzy golden reflexed corolla lobes, a central crown, and other appendages that form a little tuft.

The flower petals or corolla come in six different styles: spreading, reflexed, revolute, campanulate, urceolate, and incurved.

Hoya Imbricata Propagation: Stem Cutting Method

Propagation of houseplants usually takes a lot of time and effort; however, that’s not the case with Hoya imbricata.

Many gardeners prefer the herbaceous stem cutting method due to its success rate and propagate using the following steps.

  • First and foremost, you need to sterilize your cutting types of equipment with alcohol
  • Then, select a 2 to 6-inch long stem with three pairs of leaves from a Hoya imbricata plant.
  • It would be best to trim a bottom cut right below a node in the cutting.

There are different types of Stem Cuttings as well, among them, the common are Herbaceous softwood, Semi-hardwood, Hardwood deciduous, and Hardwood evergreen.

  • Then, pluck half or two-thirds of the leaves at the bottom of the stem. Similarly, while at the bottom, chop the big leaves in half.
  • Likewise, also remove all other parts such as buds and flowers.
  • It is important to note that you should dip your stem in a rooting hormone. It works as an antifungal agent to protect the freshly cut stem/leaf from infection while also stimulating root growth and greater root development.
  • The rooting mix in the container must be moist and well-drained. Then, place the stem hole and surround the rooting blend in it.
  • Cover the pot with a plastic bag, but don’t wrap it too tightly.

Get to know more on A Complete Guide to Hoya Propagation.

Common Problems with Hoya Imbricata

Even the most well-cared-for plants might succumb to pests. The greatest advice is to diagnose the issue and address it as soon as possible.

Here are a few of the common problems that your Hoya imbricata might fall prey to:

1. Common Pests

One of the common pest issues in your Hoya imbricata might be the invasion of Mealybugs, Aphids, and Spider mites.

Mealybugs

The mealybugs appear as white lumps on leaves, with their mouthparts inserted into the leaves.

These pests become a problem when they suck sap from the leaves is sucked out, causing the leaves to yellow and curl.

Honeydew is left behind after these bugs have finished eating. The sticky substance is a breeding ground for fungi, resulting in fungal infections.

Aphids

If you’ve recently planted your young Hoya imbricata, Aphids are the pests that’ll infect your plant.

Black aphids on a plant stem.
Black aphids on a plant stem. (Source: Pixabay)

Similarly, curling, wilting, yellowing of leaves, and general reduced development are symptoms of aphid infestations in Hoya imbricata.

Aphids, like mealybugs, leave sticky honeydew behind when they’ve finished feasting.

Spider mites

Spider mites are rounded-shaped black or red mites that thrive in hot, dry environments.

Mites eat by penetrating leaf tissue and sucking off plant juices. They dwell in colonies, typically on the undersides of leaves.

Similarly, the leaves will become yellow as the feeding continues, and they may dry up and fall off.

Look for silky web under the leaves and leaf drooping and curling to detect an infestation.

Spider mites on a plant
Spider mites on a plant. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Solutions

  • You can mix 1 cup rubbing alcohol, a few drops of Dawn dish detergent, and 1 quart (32oz) and spray it over the plant. It will help with Mealybug control.
  • Similarly, wipe the foliage of Hoya imbricata gently with a facial-quality sponge or cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol.
  • Cleaning and inspecting each plant from time to time is ideal since it allows you to observe changes as they emerge.
  • You can also use neem oil, insecticidal soaps, and horticultural oils on the plants.
  • You can use a strong water jet to eliminate spider mites.
  • To avoid infecting the others, isolate the damaged plant.

Preventive Measures

  • Reduce the amount of food and water the plant receives.
  • Similarly, keep an eye on your plants for pests regularly.
  • Also, keep the leaves clean by wiping them down regularly.
  • Before cutting your plants, make sure your equipment is clean and sanitized.
  • Water the pathways and other dusty areas of the plants at frequent intervals.

Are you bothered by different Hoya problems? Here are 9 Hoya Plant Problems and Their Solutions

2. Common Disease

Botrytis Blight (Botrytis cinerea)

Botrytis blight, also known as gray mold, is a fungus produced by various Botrytis species. The disease affects many plants’ buds, blooms, leaves, and bulbs.

Similarly, it causes irregular growth and browning of buds and flowers.

Soft brown patches form on leaves, stems, and flowers. Likewise, the portions exposed to moist weather may develop a gray mold.

Stem and Root rot

Phytophthora root and stem rot is a Phytophthora sojae-caused soil-borne fungal disease.

If the temperature of your soil is over 60°F or there is an increase in the soil moisture, your Hoya might fall victim to this disease growth.

Rotted Root
Rotted Root (Source: nysbga.org)

Symptoms in young plants include yellowing and wilting, usually accompanied by soft rot and rot collapse. In addition, a closer look at the stem reveals black discoloration that continues up the plant from the root line.

Solutions

  • To avoid spreading the illness, disinfect pruners with a 10 percent solution of household bleach.
  • Use a soil drench of an approved fungicide for small flower gardens and potted plants. As the manufacturer suggests, a fungicide might also be placed into the soil before planting.
  • Similarly, destroy or bury the contaminated plant material to control the spreading of the fungus to other plants.
  • Once your plant is affected by root rot, it’s better to repot your plant in a new container and soil.

Preventive Measures

  • Make sure that your plant receives adequate sunlight, fertilizer, and hydration.
  • Purchase seeds that have been certified pathogen-free.
  • Avoid dumping soil on stems when cultivating and prevent crowding plants in seedbeds or other locations.
  • Keep the foliage of your Hoya imbricata dry, and be sure to water directly into the soil.
  • Encourage air circulation by timely pruning as needed.
  • Avoid overwatering and try to avoid soggy situations, by enhancing soil drainage.
  • Steam/fumigate diseased soil beds.

Control is difficult since once symptoms appear, the stem or roots are typically severely damaged.

Hoya Imbricata vs. Dischidia

When it comes to Hoya imbricata and dischidia, many people get confused over the similarity between the plant. In some cases, it’s okay too because these two plants are sister genera!

Similarly, both of these plants are safe to have around your loved ones, whether your family or your pets.

However, we can pinpoint a few differences between these two beauties despite their similarity.

When it comes to their green leaves, dischidia is filled with little heart-shaped leaves that grow on both sides of the slender trailing stalks, whereas your imbricata leaves have a waxy texture with silver-splashed leaves that are quite spherical.

Trailing Dischidia 'Imbricata Butterfly'
Dischidia ‘Imbricata Butterfly’ (Source: Etsy)

While you might have come across Hoya imbricata as an indoor plant time and again, you’ll notice that dischidia is not so popular in indoor plants.

Conclusion

Hoya imbricata plants will give your home a tropical springtime vibe flavor.

When these luscious plants begin to bloom, they overflow with lush, juicy leaves and radiate a delicious aroma.

Similarly, their nature as a non-toxic plant will make the plant safe for everyone in the home.

Let them dry out between waterings and provide them with plenty of bright, indirect light, and your Hoya imbricata will thrive in no time!

Read grow and care guide about another species of Hoya: Hoya Serpens, Hoya Lacunosa, Hoya Nummularioides, Hoya Polyneura and many more

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