Hoyas are popular houseplants that don’t need a lot of attention in order to thrive, trailing over any hanging pot like a green waterfall, but one that stands out particularly well among the rest is Hoya linearis.
What sets it apart from the rest is its distinctive leaves, which are slender and covered in a soft fuzz, whereas most hoyas feature large and waxy leaves.
This plant also has something of a reputation for being difficult to care for, but something to keep in mind is that if you can replicate its natural growing conditions as closely as possible, caring for this plant will not be a problem.
This is not as tricky as it sounds, and if you keep a few things in mind when you care for this plant, it will be a great addition to any indoor jungle.
Let’s take a look.
Understanding Hoya Linearis’ Natural Growing Conditions
In the wild, Hoya linearis grows on trees rather than in the soil (making it an epiphyte), in and near the Northern India parts of the Himalayas.
It cascades down from the trees, and as you might imagine, it can withstand cooler conditions than other hoyas will put up with.
If you keep these elements in mind, this helps you understand what conditions the plant needs in order to thrive, and we’ll go into this in a little bit more detail.
Growing Hoya Linearis: Tips And Tricks
There is no one simple trick when it comes to caring for the hoya linearis plant, as you need to get all elements of the growing conditions right in order for the plant to be at its absolute best.
It’s not a difficult plant to care for, once you can mimic its natural conditions as closely as you can. That doesn’t mean anything drastic, however.
Just a few simple adjustments in the care you give the hoya linearis can make a huge difference in how the plant grows, so let’s take a look at what you should aim for.
Sunlight And Position
One of the most important elements when it comes to the right growing conditions is the amount of sunlight you give a hoya linearis.
This will help determine how much energy the plant has to put into its growth, and it will also decide when and if the plant should flower.
Aim to give it morning sunlight, and a bright indirect position for the rest of the day.
This will ensure that the plant has enough sunlight (especially during the winter, when it will benefit the most from direct sunlight) without causing any problems in light that is too strong for a hoya linearis to cope with.
Morning sunlight is strong enough that it will give the plant a boost, without burning it or baking it in direct sunlight for too long.
Avoid giving the plant direct sunlight in the afternoon, when the sun is at its strongest as this can cause damage to the foliage, and affect the health of the plant if it goes on for too long.
Make sure you place the plant as close to the window as possible if it is North-facing or East-facing, as this will mean the plant gets all the light it needs.
If you don’t have a window that isn’t South-facing, you can move the plant further away from the window, or put a sheer curtain in front of the window to help filter the sunlight.
Temperature And Humidity Needs
If you can give a hoya linearis humidity levels at around 50%, this is perfect for the plant’s growth. It will mean that the plant will put out as much growth as possible.
But this is a best case scenario, and you can get away with normal room humidity levels if that is what you have.
However, this plant will benefit from boosted humidity levels in winter, especially when the heating is on, as the air can be a little too dry otherwise.
Many houseplant labels will tell you to mist plants in order to improve the humidity. While this is true to a certain extent, it’s far from a great method.
Keep in mind that misting a plant will only temporarily boost the humidity levels, but doing so will benefit the hoya linearis plant anyway, as it is an epiphyte.
You can also mist the leaves to then wipe the leaves down, keeping them free of dust and debris, allowing the plant to better use sunlight for energy.
In terms of temperatures, the best range lies between 60°F and 80°F, which is usually around the average household temperatures anyway.
It can withstand much lower temperatures if it has to, but aim for this range for best results.
Getting Watering Right
Another vital aspect of caring for a hoya linearis is to get the watering right. When you can get the right amount of light and water, this plant will be well on its way to being the best it can be.
These lovely plants like the soil to dry out in between watering, to mimic the great drainage they have in their natural conditions.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should only give it a trickle of water each time, as this will keep the plant more thirsty than it should be, and it can stunt the growth, too.
Instead, you should aim to thoroughly soak the potting mix each time you water the plant.
This will not only give the plant the moisture it needs, but it will also help the roots to grow deeper into the soil, anchoring it firmly and improving the health of the plant.
It’s the simple tricks like this that can make a huge difference to your plant without a lot of effort.
Make sure that you fully hydrate the soil – and this is the vital part – let all the water drain through the pot, and discard it from the decorative pot or plant saucer.
As epiphytes, these striking hoyas need the best drainage in order to survive, as they haven’t adapted to sitting in excess water.
In the wild, water drains freely, away from the hoya linearis, as there isn’t any soil to retain the moisture.
Considering that this plant is in some sort of potting medium usually when grown as a houseplant, you need to be careful not to overdo the watering schedule.
To avoid overwatering, always check the soil before you consider watering the plant. Stick your finger into the soil, and if the potting mix is completely dry, go ahead and water.
If not, wait a few days and check again. You can also check the amount of water in the soil by checking the heft of the pot, and with time, you’ll be able to tell from the weight alone.
It’s worth noting that during the winter, you should scale back the watering so that there is longer in between, as the plant won’t be in its active growing season, meaning it will need less water.
While you’ll want to leave some time in between watering to allow the soil to dry out, it’s worth keeping an eye on the leaves.
If the plant gets stressed due to lack of water, one of the first signs will be in the leaves, where they will start to wrinkle.
You need to get a balance right between going long enough between watering that the soil can dry out, but not so much that the plant’s health starts to suffer, because it has been dry for too long.
Mastering Soil Care
As with any sort of epiphyte, the lighter the soil mix and the more oxygen it allows to the roots, the better.
For a hoya linearis, this is also a good rule of thumb to follow. But you don’t need anything particularly complicated or expensive.
Chances are that you’ve already got what you need, especially if you keep many types of houseplants and have different compost mixes to hand.
You could get away with using a commercial succulent and cacti mix, along with one part perlite, which will give the plant the excellent drainage it needs.
The Ideal Pot Size For Hoya Linearis
It’s worth noting that most hoyas like to be in smaller pots than necessary. It sounds odd, as many plants don’t like to be root-bound, but hoyas are not one of them.
Keeping them slightly pot-bound isn’t harmful like it can be for other species of plants, and they need to be repotted less often.
When it is time to repot your hoya, make sure that you only move one pot size upward at a time.
This is to ensure that the chance of overwatering your hoya linearis is limited (so that the soil doesn’t stay soaking wet for too long), as well as keeping it slightly pot bound.
But when do you repot it? Well, as long as the plant is still putting out steady growth and the soil is retaining its moisture levels fine, you don’t have to worry, not for a while.
As soon as this changes, when the potting mix dries out faster than normal, and the growth rate slows down (when it’s not in winter), it’s time to repot.
Both of these are signs that the pot is full of more roots than soil, so at this point, check the size of the roots by lifting the plant gently out of the pot.
More often than not, this will likely be a few years down the line rather than right away, but it depends on how long the plant has been in its current pot.
Should You Feed Hoya Linearis?
It’s a good idea to feed your hoya linearis occasionally, especially when you consider that the recommended soil mix doesn’t exactly have a lot of nutrition.
This will help give the plant a boost, supporting the growth it puts out throughout the year.
Only do so during the growing season in spring and summer, making sure that you leave at least one watering without any feed, to stop the fertilizer from building up in the soil and causing problems.
Use a balanced liquid fertilizer for best results.
Should You Prune A Hoya Linearis?
Yes. You should prune a hoya linearis, not just to keep it tidy, but because these plants can reach over 6 feet long, so you may want to do this when it starts getting in the way or touching the floor!
It’s worth knowing that you can use what you cut off the plant for propagation, too, so don’t throw away the cuttings. You could even propagate them and use them as gifts.
Make sure you don’t cut off the spurs that produce the flowers, as every time the plant blooms, the flowers will emerge from the same place.
How To Encourage Hoya Linearis To Bloom
The hoya linearis plant produces gorgeous candelabra-shaped flowers typical of most hoyas, lasting for around two weeks on average, appearing usually in the last few weeks of summer, into fall.
Like most hoya flowers, they are beautifully fragrant, and worth the little effort it takes to encourage this plant to bloom.
Here’s how to promote flowering in this lovely plant.
It’s worth knowing that the plant needs to be mature before it flowers, which will be around a couple of years old.
You will also need to give the plant plenty of light to give it the energy it needs to promote flowers. This is the second-biggest factor in getting the plant to bloom.
If it doesn’t have enough energy, it will not pour what it has into creating flowers.
As mentioned before, if you can keep your hoya slightly root bound, this will help the plant to bloom.
Like kalanchoes, the hoya linearis plant will sometimes flower after giving it a few weeks without water.
How To Propagate Hoya Linearis
While you can propagate a hoya linearis in water, the best way to propagate it is to do so in soil, using stem cuttings.
When you take cuttings, aim to have at least 2 nodes on each one, and remove the leaves at the bottom of the cuttings.
To improve your chances of success, take several cuttings. You can also use a rooting hormone if you’ve got some on hand. Pot each cutting up in soil, and water the soil thoroughly.
Allow the pot to drain, but don’t let the soil dry out completely like you would with an adult hoya, as the cuttings will need at least slightly moist soil to root, but avoid leaving the soil soggy.
One thing that can really help these cuttings to root is to increase the humidity levels. If you’ve got a propagator lid, you can pop this over the tray or container, or you can use a clear plastic bag.
Make sure you put the cuttings somewhere warm and bright, but away from direct sunlight, as it will be too much for these cuttings to withstand.
Other Things To Consider When Growing Hoya Linearis
Sometimes a hoya linearis may drop its leaves, and it’s one way of the plant telling you that the growing conditions aren’t right.
Most of the time this is caused by the soil being too dry for too long, but it can also happen if your plant is in the path of cold drafts.
Hoya Linearis Leaves Wrinkling
If the leaves of your hoya linearis are wrinkling, this is usually a sign that the moisture in the soil isn’t right.
If the plant has been without water for too long, this will cause stress, and the leaves will wrinkle or shrivel.
Similarly, if the soil has been wet for too long, the roots can rot, and this can cause plant death pretty quickly.
If you do see root rot (roots are brown, mushy, and they come away from the rest of the root system easily), propagate the plant and start several new hoyas, as it can be very difficult to salvage the original plant once root rot has set in.
Hoya Linearis Plant Not Flowering
Your hoya linearis plant can fail to flower for several reasons, the biggest being the amount of light is wrong for the plant.
The plant may not be getting enough light to have the energy to flower. To encourage the plant to bloom, keep the plant slightly root-bound, and scale back the watering for a couple of weeks just before the flowering season.
Hoya Linearis Getting Leggy
Similarly to many plants, the hoya linearis will get leggy (the space between the leaves stretching out, on very long stems) when there isn’t enough light for the plant.
It may be that the whole of the plant isn’t getting enough light, or just the bottom of the plant isn’t getting the light it needs. You can chop and prop any leggy growth if you like.
Hoyas don’t usually have a lot of problems when it comes to pests, but one that they are susceptible to is mealybugs.
These pests leave a cotton-like substance on the leaves and stems, and they can damage your plant if you don’t act quickly.
A great way to get rid of them is to use rubbing alcohol on a swab, and apply to the fuzzy areas. Check the plant every few days and reapply where needed.
Or, you can use an insecticidal soap if you prefer, making sure to spray all of the plant. Don’t be tempted to only do this once, as you should repeat it for at least a couple of weeks after all signs of the mealybugs have disappeared.
This will make sure that you get rid of the problem entirely!
While hoyas aren’t considered toxic plants, it’s worth knowing that hoya linearis has a milky sap that is an irritant. So when you take cuttings, make sure you wear gloves, and wash your hands afterwards.
It is a good idea to keep this plant away from children and pets, just in case.
The hoya linearis is an unusual hoya with its striking long leaves with a fuzzy texture, beautiful flowers, and trailing habit.
While it might seem complicated to care for at first glance, it’s not difficult once you understand what the plant needs.
You don’t need to make any huge adjustments to get the conditions right. Keeping an eye on the foliage and the state of the plant can go a long way in spotting problems before they become untreatable.
If you do make a mistake, and it does get far enough that you can’t save it, the good news is that you can propagate this plant easily, and start again without really losing anything.