Hoya Compacta – 7 Easy Growing Tips For The Hindu Rope Plant

Hoya carnosa ‘Compacta’, also known as the Hindu Rope Plant, is a gorgeous houseplant with unusual curved leaves.

This plant is easy to grow, undemanding, and it helps that it is considered non-toxic to pets, but you might want to keep the fascinating vines out of reach all the same!

Hoya compacta is a great choice for beginners in that it is very easy to care for, and it will tolerate some forgetfulness, too.  

But it’s also a plant that many experienced growers choose, for its unusual leaves and stunning flowers.

If that wasn’t enough, you can also get a variegated form of the Hindu Rope Plant, which is on another level of beauty with yellow and hints of pink in the green leaves.

Not sure if the Hindu Rope Plant is for you? Here’s everything you need to know, including the ideal growing conditions, how to propagate this plant, and general troubleshooting tips.

Let’s get started.

How To Care For The Hindu Rope Hoya Plant

Where To Put A Hindu Rope Hoya

Hoya plants like plenty of light (see also How To Grow Hoya Linearis), and the Hindu Rope Hoya is no exception. You’re better off putting it in a bright position anyway, since these plants have a very slow rate of growth.

In dim light, this will be even slower! Even in the brightest light where they won’t burn, some specimens may only put out a few inches of growth in a whole year.

So to get the most out of these plants, put them in a bright position where they will get a couple of hours of morning or evening sunlight, and this will give the growth a boost.

If you live somewhere that the sun is fierce, keep this plant out of prolonged sunlight. Only a couple of hours of weaker sunlight is all you need.

It’s also important to give this plant enough light if you want to see any flowers, and the contrast between the twisting leaves and the hydrangea-like flowers is too beautiful to miss.

Putting your Hindu Rope Hoya in a dark position will mean that you will never see flowers, and the growth will take forever. You could, however, help the plant out by setting it under a grow light if your room is too dark.

Humidity And Temperature Needs

Hoya compacta needs temperatures to be at least 60°F (or 15°C), but this is the absolute minimum, and you should aim for something warmer, especially during the day.

This is especially important when you consider that hoyas are tropical plants, and like balmy temperatures as well as plenty of humidity. 

Higher humidity allows epiphytes to extract moisture from the air, which helps mimic the plants’ native conditions. 

This isn’t essential for a hoya plant, and they will do fine in rooms with average temperatures and humidity, but they will be a lot healthier if you can achieve this.

Ideal Soil For Hoya Compacta

As an epiphyte, the Hindu Rope Hoya needs a good-quality soil that is airy instead of heavy. 

You can adjust a houseplant compost by adding some orchid bark, pumice, or perlite to sharpen up the drainage and keep a good flow of oxygen around the roots.

This will help prevent root rot, and keep the plant healthier.

Consider The Type Of Pot

Another thing to consider when growing hoyas is the kind of pot you should plant them in. For hoyas, you need a pot that is just big enough to hold the plant and the root system.

The reason for this is twofold: the plant needs to dry out quickly, and they also like being pot bound, which helps promote flower production.

You should also consider the material of the pot itself. It’s not something that we’re always mindful of, but it can make a big difference to the plant. Terracotta pots tend to be better for hoyas, as they hold onto less water than plastic pots.

When To Water And Feed Hoya Compacta

Hoyas should dry out in between watering, but that doesn’t mean that you should only give them a trickle of water each time. This will lead to an unhappy plant with a weak root system.

Instead, make sure to hydrate all the soil when you water, and let the water escape out of the drainage holes, throwing away anything that the compost doesn’t hold onto.

You don’t want this plant sitting in water, as this will lead to a quick plant death.

Allow the soil to completely dry out in between watering. This will help mimic the plant’s natural conditions as an epiphyte: where the plant is periodically very wet, but it completely and quickly dries out in between watering.

Allowing the plant to fully dry out is a good thing, as it means it is less demanding than other tropical plants that need attention every couple of days. If you are forgetful, or you travel a lot, this is the perfect plant for you.

When it comes to feeding your hoya plant, use a balanced liquid houseplant feed during the growing season, every couple of waterings. 

Scale back the fertilizer in fall, and never feed your hoya plant in winter.

How To Propagate A Hindu Rope Hoya

It’s really easy to propagate a Hindu Rope Hoya, and it only takes a couple of minutes. It’s also a good idea to take cuttings as insurance in case something happens to the main plant.

You’ll want a small container filled with damp soil ready to go before you start cutting bits off the plant, to prevent any moisture loss.

Snip a healthy vine from the plant, and divide it into cuttings that have around 3 leaves each, removing the bottom leaf, so it doesn’t sit in the soil. 

Put all the cuttings into the same pot, and put the container somewhere warm and bright, but away from direct sunlight.

Try to keep the soil evenly damp, as this will help encourage roots to form on the cuttings. If you can increase the humidity, this will also help them root faster.

Watch Out For Pests!

Pests can be tricky to spot when an infestation starts, but this is by far the best time to notice them, as they are easier to deal with. 

On a Hindu Rope Hoya, they can be particularly difficult to see, thanks to the twisting leaves, and there are endless places for them to hide.

One of the most common pests you might encounter when growing a Hindu Rope hoya is mealybugs. These villains are very tricky to spot on a Hindu Rope plant, as they are so small.

If you do see mealybugs making themselves at home on your Hindu Rope plant, you need to start making sure they are as unwelcome as possible.

Use a good insecticidal soap or solution of neem oil to spray the plant every week. 

Halfway through the week, it’s a good idea to take the plant to a sink or shower to rinse off the leaves, stopping any chemicals from building up on the leaves and harming the plant.

Even after you stop seeing signs of mealybugs, you will want to continue this spraying regimen for a few weeks, to make sure there are no more lingering somewhere on the plant.

It’s important to treat pests as soon as you see them. Not only to limit the damage to your plant and help it recover faster, but also because you don’t want a plague of pests descending on your other plants, too.

You’d be surprised at just how quickly pest populations get out of control, so the sooner you start spraying, the better. 

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, especially when it comes to dosage, otherwise this can kill your plants.

Other Things To Consider When Growing Hoya Compacta

Hoyas are not complicated plants, but there are a few more things that you might want to know before buying a Hoya compacta. 

Here are some of the problems you might encounter when growing this plant, and how to fix them.

Wrinkled Leaves On Your Hoya Compacta

If the beautiful leaves on a Hindu Rope hoya are getting wrinkled, this is usually a sign that something is wrong with the watering schedule.

The soil has probably gotten too dry for too long, causing the plant some stress. Check the soil to confirm this, and then give the plant a good soaking as soon as you can.

If the soil isn’t incredibly dry, it may be that the soil is boggy, and it has been for too long. 

This can mean that the roots are starting to rot, in which case you should take some cuttings to propagate the healthy parts of the plant, and it may be worth trying to repot the original plant in drier soil.

However, it’s important to know that once a plant shows signs of root rot, it can already be too late to save it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea to try, however.

Yellowing Leaves On A Hindu Rope Plant

If your Hindu Rope hoya is getting yellow leaves, this can be a sign that the moisture levels in the soil are wrong for the plant.

If it’s only the lower leaves that are yellowing, this usually means the plant is suffering because it’s too dry, and has been for too long. 

Check the soil to make sure, as yellow leaves can also mean that the soil is too soggy, and the plant needs it to dry out quicker.

Rate Of Growth

The Hindu Rope hoya is a very slow-growing plant, especially if you’re starting from scratch with a juvenile plant or even cuttings. 

However, if your plant hasn’t changed in several months, it’s worth putting the plant in a brighter area, as there may not be enough light to sustain healthy growth.

A Hindu Rope hoya will not put out any new growth in dark conditions, as it simply doesn’t have the energy to grow.

Don’t be tempted to fertilize your hoya in these conditions. Instead, move it somewhere brighter, and then give it a feed once the plant has visibly started to grow again.

How To Encourage Flowering On A Hindu Rope Plant

A Hindu Rope hoya plant will not flower until it is mature, and depending on the age of the plant when you get it, this may take several months to a year or two.

You’ll also need to give the plant enough light in order for it to produce flowers, as the blooming process takes a lot of energy. 

Give it a couple of hours of direct sunlight, or put it under a grow light to help give the plant enough energy.

Keeping your hoya plant in the same pot for a while will also help trigger the blooming process, and another thing you can do is to keep the plant on the dry side for a month or so just before spring.

Final Thoughts

The Hindu Rope hoya is one of the most beautiful hoya plants you can grow, but you do have to be extra vigilant when it comes to making sure that there are no pests on the plant, as they can be really difficult to see.

It makes a statement in any room, and looks particularly beautiful in hanging baskets where you can really show off the unusual twisted leaves.

It’s a good idea to try and encourage the flowers during the growing season, as they look spectacular against the rope-like vines and foliage. It also helps that hoya blooms smell amazing, too.

If you go for a variegated variety, it’s important to give the plant enough light to keep the variegation stable, as the variegated leaves will struggle and the colors may even fade in lower light levels. 

Variegated leaves can also be sensitive to direct sunlight, so if you do give it full sun, make sure it is early morning sunlight, or late afternoon sunlight, when the rays are weaker.

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