The Hoya curtisii is a trailing epiphyte, also known as an air plant. It has a trailing nature, with small, variegated leaves. A member of the Hoya genus, H. curtisii is native to Southeast Asia.
A slow grower, Hoya curtisii is relatively easy to care for but spectacular in a pot.
This member of the Hoya genus can be a little more difficult to find, although they sometimes appear at big box stores or garden centers. Keep your eyes out for their distinct foliage everywhere you go. Houseplant resellers such as grocery stores and discount stores may receive a few plants and price them the same as other varieties.
If you cannot find a Hoya curtisii for sale locally, or do not want to wait, they are readily available online. I love to shop for houseplants on Etsy, but beware, it can be addicting. Make sure to go with a reputable grower, and look for the actual size of the plant that you will be receiving, as the picture may represent a specimen and not the plant you are buying. Keep in mind that Hoyas are tropical plants and will not tolerate freezing temperatures. If you are not going to be home when your shipment arrives, make arrangements to have it picked up, or perhaps wait for warmer weather. You don’t want your new Hoya to die sitting in a box on your porch for two days in January.
Origins and History
Also commonly called Fung Wax Flower or Porcelain Flower, H. curtisii is a tropical plant with small, heart-shaped leaves and silver variegation that sometimes looks like the pattern left by shaking a wet paintbrush.
The genus Hoya was named after English botanist Thomas Hoy, (1750-1822), who was responsible for the introduction of several varieties of flowering plants to the Linnean Society of London. There are 200-300 species of flowering plants in Hoya, with most exhibiting small, waxy flowers.
Fung Wax Flower is a succulent, meaning that some water is stored in the leaves, and it will close its stomata during the warmer part of the day and open them at night to conserve water.
Hoya Curtisii Care
An easy-growing plant that will flourish with a little care, follow these suggestions for Hoya curtisii care to keep your plant happy and healthy.
Hoya curtisii is a slow-growing, trailing, or creeping perennial. It is evergreen and will continue to decorate your home throughout the year. As your plant grows, the vines will cascade over the edge of the pot and trail down or sneak across your shelf. The vines may climb in a counterclockwise direction if you give them something to climb.
The Fung Wax Flower has a small footprint and fits well in a tight space. It won’t become the pothos that took over your living room wall. Small, heart-shaped leaves are mottled or patterned with a grayish silver pattern, grow along the stem, and are rather thick and a bit waxy. Some individuals also exhibit purple flecks on the leaves, making very striking foliage. The stems of the vine are often covered with very fine hairs.
Hoya curtisii flowers are fuzzy, pale cream to white with red and yellow centers, and somewhat large for the size of the plant. Like all tropical natives, they can be difficult to get to flower. Some people think the scent is a bit like melon or citrus. Plants may take up to three years to bloom.
Like many houseplants, Hoya curtisii does not require or particularly enjoy much direct light. It does best in bright but indirect light, but will not mind some gentle morning sunshine through the window. Keep an eye on your plant. If it is a little pale and not growing at all, try a little more light. H. curtisii will not thrive if placed in a dark or dim corner, and growth will be slow at best.
The exception to the prescription of bright but indirect light is if you are trying to get your Hoya to flower. Several hours of more intense light, such as morning sunlight, are often helpful.
If your location does not have suitable natural lighting, consider using artificial grow lights. Small lights are available that can be clipped onto a bookshelf or other structure. Lights are also available which look like a desk lamp and can be located to provide a little more light to several plants at once.
Most Hoya are epiphytic and therefore are opportunistic water absorbers. They prefer to be watered fully but infrequently, and allowed to dry out somewhat between waterings. They must be planted in a pot with excellent drainage–more on that later.
Watering H. curtisii too much can cause problems with fungus, root rot, and other pests.
General houseplant watering best practices such as using a finger to check the moisture at a soil depth of 1-2 inches apply here as well. Insert your finger up to the main knuckle. If the soil is still moist or damp, wait a bit longer before watering. Overwatering is one of the most common causes of dead houseplants.
Temperature and humidity
Hoya spp. are tropical plants adapted to warmer temperatures and higher humidity. Any room above 60℉ should be fine, but cold windowsills or locations near outside doors which let in a lot of cold air when opened and closed are not ideal.
Your H. curtisii enjoys a humid environment. If your home is drier, mist your Hoya frequently to provide the necessary humidity. Don’t mist so often that the leaves remain wet, however, as fungus and leaf problems may result. If the relative humidity in your plant’s location is usually above 50%, misting should not be necessary.
Soil and Pots
Epiphytes need excellent drainage, as they are found in nature growing up in the trees, not down in the soil. Orchid potting mix is a good start. Potting mixes designed for cactus or succulents will also work well. A neutral pH of 6.8-7.2 will be fine. Add some perlite to your mix to increase the aeration of the potting mix even more.
Strange seeming to many of us who garden, H. curtisii enjoys being a bit root-bound in its pot. Make sure the pot has adequate drainage holes to prevent the roots from sitting in water. A slow-growing plant, your Hoya may only need to be repotted every three years or so, if ever.
Any general fertilizer designed for houseplants will work fine. I prefer to fertilize a little at each major watering instead of a lot once in a while. Heavy fertilizer applications can burn the roots of the plant. Follow the directions on the package and dilute in water. Fertilizing can be postponed in the winter months when the plant is growing slower.
Hoya are fairly slow-growing and usually will not need pruning, except to remove dead or yellowing foliage. Healthy material which must be pruned for space or other considerations can be used to make cuttings and generate new plants.
Hoya curtisii thrive being just a little root-bound. If the need to repot arises, try to do it at the beginning of the growing season, in spring or early summer. It is important to only use a pot that is “one size” up from your plant’s current home. Using a pot that is too large may seem like a work-saver, preventing you from having to repot again as soon, but it can mean the soil does not dry out quickly enough and cause fungus, mold, and root rot issues.
Although some members of the Apocynaceae are toxic to people and animals, Hoya curtisii is not considered toxic or poisonous. However, their foliage and stems are indigestible by cats and dogs, so if your pet eats them, they will likely vomit to get rid of them.
Hoya Curtisii Propagation
In this sections we give a high-level overview or hoya curtisii propagation. If you’re looking for a more in-depth explanation, check out our step-by-step hoya curtisii propagation guide.
Hoya curtisii is easy to propagate through several methods. New plants make great gifts, additions to the office desk, or you can just keep creating more plants from the mother plant to take over your space with green growing things. Who doesn’t want more houseplants?
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to propagate another plant from your Hoya. Layering takes advantage of this air plant’s natural desire to cling and root in the tree canopy or branch where it lives. Behind most sets of leaves is a node that has a couple of air roots.
To layer, leave the stem attached to the mother plant, don’t cut it. Fill another pot or container with suitable soil mix as described above and moisten it well. Lay the stem from the mother plant across the soil surface of the new pot and press it lightly against the surface to make contact. Make sure that the node stays touching the soil and does not pull away when you let go of the vine. Be careful not to break off those little air roots.
Keep the plant in good light, humid, and follow the usual watering schedule. In a few weeks, the node should have attached and started rooting. Once it is well established, it can be separated from the mother plant.
Cuttings from Hoya can be rooted in the soil just like other plants. Their waxy leaves which hold water make rooting wax plants easier than some other more finicky plants.
Take a cutting from a healthy stem, and include two to three pairs of nodes with leaves. Trim the bottom pair of leaves off, but leave the air root structure intact. One or two pairs of leaves which will remain above the soil are sufficient. If you keep too many leaves, the cuttings may dry out and die before the root system grows large enough to support them.
Fill a small container with the soil mix, making sure that the container has excellent drainage and is well aerated. Gently insert the cutting into the medium, making sure that at least one pair of air roots is covered with soil. While holding the cutting in place, water the container thoroughly. Push your thumbs or fingers firmly but lightly into the top of the soil mix to squeeze out any excess water and settle the cutting against the soil.
Keep your cutting out of direct sunlight, in a warm place. If your space is not humid, misting your cuttings will help to prevent them from drying out.
Common Pests & Issues
Here are a few of the most common pests and issues that you should look out for when keeping Hoya curtisii.
Yellowing leaves which drop off are a common issue for owners of Hoya curtisii and are likely caused by overwatering. Overwatering may also present as wilting–causing you to think the plant is dry and water more. If wilting is caused by too much water, the leaves will still be fleshy and soft, whereas wilting leaves caused by too little water will be drier and start to get brittle.
Root rot is another problem for Hoya curtisii and is also caused by poor drainage and overwatering. Make sure to check the soil to a depth of 1-2 inches before watering, instead of relying on just looking at or feeling the surface.
Aphids are a common houseplant ailment. Once you notice them, they can be sprayed off with cold water in the sink. Treat your Hoya with a neem oil spray, following the directions on the label.
Spider mites drink the sap from your plant, and can eventually kill it. If you see little fine webs on your Hoya, wash them off with cold water in the sink, and treat them with a neem oil spray just like for aphids.
Mealybugs are tiny and may look like a fuzzy white spot at the base of the leaf where it attaches to the stem. If infested, your plant may start to lose leaves, or the leaves may turn yellow and look wilted. Cut off the stem where they are found and dispose of it, then treat it with insecticidal soap or neem oil spray.
are a common pest and are caused by poor drainage and overwatering. You may think they are fruit flies. They like to lay their eggs in moist soil. Get rid of them with sticky card traps and keep them away by keeping the soil a bit drier.
Hoya curtisii is a great plant for those who may struggle a bit with houseplants and need something easy to care for. Trailing foliage with variegated leaves and colorful flowers adds to its appeal.
Make sure your Hoya curtisii has excellent drainage, the proper soil, a nice warm, bright spot out of direct sunlight, mist it if your space has lower humidity, and you should be rewarded with a happy, beautiful plant.