For any plant to be named a queen, it must be stunning. That’s certainly the case for Hoya carnosa, otherwise known as the Hoya Krimson Queen. While there are many other Hoya varieties out there, few boast such exquisite coloration as this member of plant royalty.
Luckily for plant lovers, its royal title doesn’t come with a long list of demands. Hoyas are generally easy to care for and this one is no exception. It’s resistant to certain conditions that bring other plants down and is tolerant of mistakes made by its caregivers. Don’t be intimidated about bringing this beauty into your home.
|Common Name||Krimson Queen, Hoya Tricolor|
|Botanical Name||Hoya carnosa|
|Native Areas||Southeast Asia|
|Sun/Light Requirements||Bright, indirect light|
|Watering||Let the soil dry completely, and water thoroughly|
|Soil||Very well-draining, slightly acidic|
|Humidity||At least 60%|
|Hardiness Zones||USDA zones 9 to 11|
Tricolor is one of this Hoya’s other nicknames and one look will tell you why. Its leaves are a pleasant combination of green, cream, and pink, making this plant a triple threat in terms of aesthetic appeal. New leaves are brighter pink, but some of the color fades and softens with time. Its oval-shaped leaves are sturdy and waxy, growing up to five inches long.
In the wild, these stately Hoyas can grow up to an amazing 20 feet long! You won’t see that kind of growth while it’s sitting in your living room, of course, but even Krimson Queen houseplants can stretch up to six feet if they’re well cared for. Suffice it to say, if you plan to bring in this Hoya, make sure you have the space to accommodate it!
When the Hoya Krimson Queen flowers, it produces clusters of star-like flowers. They’re typically pink, though can be more of a creamy white, and have a bright red center that really makes them pop. Between the colorful foliage and playful flowers, the Krimson Queen will brighten your home year-round.
Don’t worry about bending over backward for this Hoya. It’s hardly the pickiest plant out there. It’s hard to find a better balance of beauty and easy care. If you’re just beginning your journey in plant care and are looking for something besides the usual assortment of green, the Krimson Queen might be your perfect match.
Still, it’s better to know what to expect and prepare for its care. When properly maintained, Krimson Queens can live over 30 years! With such a long natural lifespan and the possibility of propagation, you could easily turn this Hoya into a plant that spans generations.
If you have an east or north-facing window in your home, you have the perfect spot for a Hoya Krimson Queen. These plants prefer bright, indirect light. For the best results, situate them somewhere that receives at least six hours of it each day. Because this particular Hoya is variegated, it doesn’t contain as much chlorophyll as other types and needs a bit of a boost to photosynthesize.
Inadequate lighting will cause the plant to lose its distinctive color. You’ll see those soft pinks and creams give way to green leaves instead as the plant tries to produce enough energy. Leggy growth and a lag in leaf production or growth are signs of low light, too.
In their natural habitat, Hoyas grow along the trunks of trees and the light they receive is filtered through a dense canopy above them. Keep that in mind as you’re looking for the perfect spot. The closer you can get to replicating its natural conditions, the happier your Krimson Queen will be.
These are succulent plants, which means they do what every succulent does best – retain water. They’re drought-resistant and will survive if you forget watering day. For the best results, let your soil completely dry out before water, and then let the plant drink deeply. Water until all the excess is coming out of the pot’s drainage holes then leave it to its own devices until the soil is dry again.
Avoid root rot at all costs, as it’s difficult for these plants to recover from. If you can’t tell if it’s time to water your plant, it’s okay to wait until you’re certain the soil is dry. The last thing you want to do is leave your Hoya carnosa sitting in wet or too-damp soil.
It’s important to remember that Hoyas don’t completely root in the soil in their native environments, so pot them in something well-draining. You don’t want any extra moisture lingering in there after watering.
While you can use a standard potting mix, you’ll need to add in extra drainage materials (like pumice or perlite) to ensure there’s adequate drainage. Cactus soil is a great option, too, as it usually comes with the type of drainage your Krimson Queen needs.
This wax plant is native to Southeast Asia, which means it’s used to the warm temperatures of Bangladesh, India, Thailand, and similar areas. Any temperature between 65-85℉ is adequate, but leaning toward the warmer side will help with growth. Avoid cold, drafty windows and dropping temperatures. If you keep your Hoya carnosa outside in warmer weather, bring it inside when the seasons change.
The Hoya Krimson Queen is tolerant of varying humidity levels, but it thrives in higher ones. 60% humidity is ideal and isn’t too difficult to maintain, especially if you already have other plants. Mist the leaves with room-temperature water once a day, or every other day. If you fall short, your plant will still survive! You won’t see the rapid growth it’s capable of in ideal conditions, though.
Fertilizer can really help Hoya carnosa along. Get something high in nitrogen for the foliage. To help your plant flower, higher phosphorus is best. Whichever fertilizer you’re using, dilute it to about a quarter strength and apply it once a month for the best results. The growing season for your Krimson Queen is spring to summer, so there’s no need to continue fertilizing through fall or winter.
To thrive, Hoya carnosa needs a bit of help in the pruning department. Of course, you’ll remove any dead or decaying leaves from the main plant. If vines start to look particularly out of place or leggy and you want to reshape your plant – go ahead! Use a pair of clean pruning shears to avoid spreading disease.
While this plant can be trained to grow up structures and supports, if you’re using it in a hanging basket or pot, you can control its growth to fit the space.
Hoya carnosa not only tolerates being rootbound – it enjoys it. Don’t get overly eager about repotting. Doing it too often can shock the plant, as it needs a while to adjust to new containers and more soil. Once you notice that the pot is overly filled with roots, it’s time to size up.
It’s best to do it during the growing season (spring and summer), but do it with a delicate hand. This plant’s roots are fragile and you’ll want to take extra care not to damage them.
Since the Krimson Queen doesn’t like sitting in water, get a pot with excellent drainage. If you’re concerned that you might overwater your plant, you can opt for unglazed terracotta to reduce the chances.
If you’re ready to propagate, grab a pair of sterilized shears and find a sizable stem. You’ll want to take one around five inches long with at least a couple of leaves already on it. Dip the end into rooting hormone (if you prefer) and then place it into adequately watered soil. Keep the cutting in a shaded area, though not too dark, and wait! As long as the stem stays alive, you’ll eventually see new growth and eventually a brand new Hoya carnosa.
Pests and Diseases
For all their good qualities, Hoyas aren’t particularly resistant to pests. Keep an eye out for spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and scale bugs. Horticultural soaps and plant-safe oils will help keep pests away from your plant. If you’re serious about keeping Hoyas around, investing in a small arsenal of pest treatments is a good idea!
Root rot is by far the most common disease for the Krimson Queen. Overwatering does serious damage to these plants. If left untreated, it can rapidly result in the loss of the whole plant. Prevention is better than treatment, in this case, so monitor your watering schedule carefully!
The Hoya Krimson Queen is both elegant and sturdy – a unique combination in the plant world. They’re easy to care for and forgiving of mistakes, making them great for both new and seasoned plant owners. They get bonus points for being pet safe, too, so you won’t have to worry about your dog or cat getting overly curious. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better addition to your home than the Hoya carnosa.