Hoya Verticillata: Ultimate Care Guide

Hoya Verticillata is an epiphytic plant from Southeast Asia, also known as Ridley’s Hoya. It is known for its beautiful thick green leaves and fragrant flowers. They grow vining stems with firm, light green leaves and lighter-colored veins.

In their natural environment, they grow in the branches of trees or on rocks, from sea level up to about 3000’. The entire genus is named after Thomas Hoy (1750-1822), a botanist and curator of the gardens of the Duke of Northumberland.

Hoya Verticillata Care

Hoya Verticillata makes an excellent house plant, as long as its particular needs are taken care of. They can be a bit tricky to get to flower, but they are well worth it when they do start to bloom.

Light Requirements

As they are tropical plants, Hoya Verticillata prefers warm, sunny, and humid weather. They grow best in bright, indirect light. Too much or too intense sunlight can not only discolor the leaves but also scorch them. A few hours of sunlight in the morning is ideal for your plant. In the afternoon, they should be shaded when the sun’s rays are the harshest. Allowing your Hoya Verticillata to be out in the afternoon sun can cause sun damage fairly quickly.

Too little sunlight can also have detrimental effects on your Hoya verticillata. It can also cause your plant not to flower at all. Not only will your plant not grow to its full potential, but it also won’t grow nearly as many peduncles for flowers to grow from.

As long as the lighting conditions are correct, Hoya verticillata can be an excellent choice for an indoor plant. They can also be grown under artificial light, as long as the plant is kept at least 8 inches from the light source.

Hoya Verticillata
Hoya Verticillata

Temperature & Humidity Requirements

Hoya Verticillata grows best in warmer temperatures and higher humidity levels as they are originally from the rainforests of Southeast Asia. The ideal indoor temperature for your plant is 60 to 80º F. When in this range, they will grow to their full potential and are most likely to bloom.

Hoya Verticillata doesn’t tolerate the cold well at all. In their natural habitat, the weather is fairly warm all year, so they aren’t used to cold or frost. Temperatures around 50º F are low enough to slow down the growth rate of your plant.

Consistency is essential with this particular type of hoya; they don’t like large temperature changes. Air conditioners, heaters, fireplaces, and open windows with cold drafts should all be avoided.

For humidity, the optimal range is 60 to 80%. Without a greenhouse or grow cabinet, it can be hard to achieve these numbers. However, Hoya Verticillata can tolerate lower humidity levels. It should still grow if it is kept above 40%.

Hardiness Zones

Hoya Verticillata requires a USDA Hardiness Zone of 11 to 12. Anywhere outside these zones, extra care will need to be taken to keep the environment optimal for your plant.

Soil & pH Requirements

Since Hoya Verticillata is an epiphytic plant, it needs loose soil that drains very easily. In the wild, it grows up in trees, not in soil. This allows the roots to dry out very quickly and not retain moisture.

When planted in soil, the most important thing to remember is that it needs to be well-aerated and have good drainage. This allows the roots to breathe and quickly drain excess moisture, as they would when growing in trees. If the soil can’t drain properly, the roots will get waterlogged and become deprived of oxygen.

Some homemade potting soil recipes that work well with Hoya Verticillata are:

  • 2 parts peat moss, 1 part perlite
  • 1 part cactus mix, 1 part orchid mix, and 1 part perlite
  • 1 part potting soil, 1 part coconut coir, and 1 part perlite
  • 1 part potting pail, 1 part birch bark

Using a pot with a drain hole is also imperative to allow any excess water to drain away from the roots.

The optimal pH level for Hoya Verticillata is 6.0 – 7.5.

Water Requirements

Hoya Verticillata requires different watering schedules depending on the season. For this reason, it is better to listen to the plant for its watering needs rather than using a fixed schedule.

The warmer months are when your plant will grow the most. For this reason, it will require more water during this period. The warmer weather during this time of year will also dry the soil out faster. Your plant will also require a bit more water while it is flowering. Watering every 5 to 8 days during this time is ideal. Wait for the top 2 inches of the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

During the colder winter months, your plant won’t grow as much. Therefore, it won’t require watering as often. The colder weather also doesn’t absorb the water from the soil nearly as fast as warm weather. This means your plant will only need to be watered every 2 to 3 weeks during the winter. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings completely.

No matter the time of year, Hoya Verticillata is prone to overwatering. 

Hoya Verticillata

Fertilizer Requirements

Hoya Verticillata is a light feeder and only requires fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Whichever fertilizer you use, it should be diluted to 50%.

During the winter, your plant will slow its growth enough that it won’t require fertilizer. The exception is if you live in a tropical climate with warm sunshine all year round. In this case, your plant will grow all year and require fertilizer all year.

Hoya Verticillata Propagation

The two most popular propagation methods for Hoya Verticillata are stem cuttings and growing from seed. Stem cuttings are the most efficient method for home growers. Shops and commercial growers will often grow from seeds as they need to start as many plants at once as possible.

Propagation from Stem Cuttings

  1. Find a healthy stem that is about 3 to 6 inches in length. Make sure it has at least three healthy leaves on it.
  2. Place the stem in either sphagnum moss, water, or directly into soil. Most people prefer to grow in water to monitor the root growth easily.
  3. Keep the cuttings in a moderately warm spot, with good humidity and bright, indirect light. This will allow it to root the fastest.
  4. In roughly 4 to 6 weeks, your new plant should have enough roots to be planted in its own pot. Use the same soil mixture that your mother plant is growing in.

Propagation from Seed          

While it is possible to propagate your Hoya Verticillata from seeds, it can be quite tricky and time-consuming. For these reasons, it is recommended to avoid growing from seeds unless you don’t have a live plant to propagate.

Size and Growth Rate

Hoya Verticillata can grow to be 10 to 12 feet long when grown in a planter. In the wild, they can grow to be over twice that size. They grow oblong leaves, roughly 2 to 7 inches long and 1 to 4 inches wide.

Their growth rate is considered moderate to fast and can require light pruning every few weeks during the growing season.

Problems, Diseases, and Pests

Like all plants, Hoya Verticillata is susceptible to certain diseases and pests. The most common ones are listed below.


The thick leaves of your hoya are known to attract aphids, as they are attracted to the sap produced by your hoya. This is especially true while the plant is flowering. They will usually gather in large numbers around the buds on the stems or under the foliage,

Aphids can be managed with a mixture of soap and water or neem oil. Both methods may have to be used several times to remove the bugs completely.


Mealybugs are small, wingless bugs that look very similar to small balls of cotton. They can be quite destructive to your plant if not taken care of immediately. The first sign of them on your plant will often be curling and yellowing leaves.

Once discovered, your plant should be quarantined (if possible). A Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol can be used to wipe away the mealybugs. This will likely have to be done several times to get rid of them all.

Root Rot

Caused by overwatering or soil that doesn’t drain well enough. If caught soon enough, your plant should be able to recover. If not remedied right away, the roots of your plant will rot until they can no longer absorb nutrients, and your plant will likely die.

Wilting Leaves

Wilting leaves are caused by overwatering or too much fertilizer. If you are sure your plant isn’t receiving too much water, try giving it less fertilizer.

Black Leaves and Leaves Falling Off

This is a common sign of overwatering or too cold of an environment for your plant. If you are allowing the soil to dry out between waterings, then ensure your plant is in a warm enough place, free from any cold drafts or fluctuating temperatures.

Hoya Verticillata Flowers

If your Hoya Verticillata is kept in optimal conditions, it will grow beautiful flowers from its petioles. It will produce a cluster of small, star-shaped white flowers with red centers. The colors can vary slightly, depending on your exact variety of hoya.

The blooms will last roughly 3-5 days and can be quite fragrant. Their fragrance is described as minty or fruity. The petioles do not need to be trimmed once it has stopped blooming, as your plant will flower from the same petioles next time.

Hoya Verticillata needs the right conditions to bloom. The most common cause of them not blooming is lack of light, not enough humidity, and not enough nutrients in the soil. As long as all these conditions are met, you should have no problem getting your plant to bloom. Fertilizer with phosphorous in it can be added to help encourage blooming.

Is Hoya Verticillata Pet Safe?

Hoya Verticillata contains latex, which is a skin irritant and is considered toxic. Most reactions will be mild, but they should still be kept out of reach of cats, dogs, and children to avoid accidental ingestion or unnecessary handling.

Where to buy Hoya Verticillata

Hoya Verticillata is one of the rarer hoya plants to purchase. Despite this, they can be found online with a bit of searching. Expect to pay around $25-40 US for a smaller plant and more if it is a mature plant.

Hoya Verticillata Varieties

Hoya Verticillata Variegata – The variegated variety of Hoya Verticillata, the thick leaves of this plant are bright green with cream-colored variegation. The flowers of this variety usually have pink centers when they bloom.

Hoya Verticillata Parasitica

Hoya Verticillata Parasitica is actually a synonym for Hoya Verticillata. Depending on where you are buying your plants, they could be labeled with either name.

Hoya Verticillata Pink

Hoya Verticillata Pink has much lighter colored leaves than the normal variety. The main difference, though is its flowers; they bloom into a beautiful pink on pink flower.

Hoya Verticillata Green

Hoya Verticillata Green has slightly larger leaves than the normal variety, and they are covered in silver splashes. The flowers are a pale lime color, with pink/gold centers.

Hoya Verticillata Splash

Hoya Verticillata Splash has slightly different shaped leaves than the normal variety; they are shorter and heart-shaped. They are an emerald color, with bright silver splashes.

Hoya Verticillata Albomarginata

Hoya Verticillata Albomarginata is a fairly rare variety. The leaves are variegated, with a dark green in the center and a cream color on the edges. The buds on this hoya are pink, but the flowers will open up white with a slight hint of pink. This is one of the easier hoyas to get to bloom.

Hoya Verticillata Pallida

Hoya Verticillata Pallida has a similar coloring to the normal variety, but its leaves are smaller in size. This is one of the hardest varieties of Hoya Verticillata to find for purchase.

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