hoyas are some of my fave plants. these tropical plants are native to areas in between south east asia and australia. these plants are often to referred to as wax plants for their appearance and texture. hoyas are a vining plant, that can climb or trail, and most are epiphytic. the flowers of hoyas are waxy and star shaped, which vary in colour depending on the plant. they also emit scents and produce nectar.
wanntorp & colleauges (2014) conducted phylogenetic analyses to understand the evolution of the hoya genus. they found that there are six lineages across geographic regions. hoya originated from tropical to subtropical indo-burma/himalaya & it’s epiphytism is related to the onset of monsoons during the himalayan uplift. the first epiphytic divergence occurred in subtropical asia or tropical to subtropocal australasia. conversely, their non-epiphytic counterparts occurred in tropical indomalayan and australasian parts of the indo-australian archipelago. the second phase of diversification occurred in the himalayas, japan, & throughout australasia.
did you know?
particular varieties of hoya have anti-inflammatory properties & have been used to treat encephalitis, pneumonia & orchitis (quattrocchi, 2012). specifically, rahayu, saputra & setiawan (2017) found antibacterial activity among extracts from the leaves of hoya carnosa. in bali, locals call hoya carnosa don tebel-tebel, which means that the leaves are thick. they are also referred to as daun curek & have been used medicinally to treat ear infections.
hoya carnosa uses cassulacean acid metabolism (cam) during photosynthesis, which is common in succulents (rayder & ting, 1983). research shows that when hoya carnosa experiences severe water stress, the plant adapts a modified cam-idling process whereby the stomata on the surface of the leaves close completely or almost completely (rayder & ting, 1983). when in this state, the plant can remain dormant for up to eight weeks. once adequately watered, it was found that it returned to its regular cam process within a week. the findings suggest that cam-idling is a method of plant survival in response to extended drought.
one more cool fact about hoyas, similar to dischidias, some hoyas are ant-garden epiphytes meaning that ants actually plant seeds in their nests (kaufmann et al., 2005; wanntorp et al., 2006). in return the plants provide the ants with shelter & what’s incredible is that some hoyas have evolved over time to accommodate ants 🐜 🌱
- bright, indirect light from an east-facing window
- a few hours of direct sunlight are required for flowering
- water when the potting medium is dry & leaves are slightly wrinkly
- most of mine are potted in coco coir or bark, similar to the conditions in their natural habitat
- watch out for mealy bugs! when i see them (white fuzzy spots, maybe some stickiness) i wipe all the leaves with alcohol & check on them weekly to be sure they’re gone
- propagate via three to four inch stem cuttings