Hoya Sweetheart Care Guide
The Hoya Sweetheart Plant, scientifically known as Hoya Kerrii and informally called valentine plant or sweetheart wax plant, is a type of hoya plant famed for its thick, succulent, heart-shaped leaves. Just like Zamioculcas zamiifolia, the Hoya sweetheart is a tropical perennial plant, but with origins from Asia. The plant is quite popular because of its queer love shape foliage and convenient care routine.
The hoya sweetheart plant consists of thick succulent leaves and stems that can store water for long periods. Therefore, the watering needs of this plant are quite low. Experts recommend watering the plant at least once in a month when the soil has dried up. When watering, it is essential to ensure the pot has sufficient holes to avert potentiality of saturated or boggy soil as this can cause root rot. Yellowish leaves are a sign of too much water, and flaccid ones indicate they are thirsty.
Light and temperature
Hoya sweetheart plants grow best in bright light and can withstand direct sunlight to some degree – too much direct sunlight can scorch it. Studies show that the plant can also survive in low light conditions, but its growth will be substantially inhibited. For optimal growth and preventing issues like wilting, the plants should be placed near bright windows. The optimum temperature for Hoya sweetheart is 65°F – 80°F, which is the range for average room temperature. People living in temperate regions can grow the plant in pots outdoors during summer and take them indoors during colder seasons. Leaves turning yellow may be an indication of too much exposure to light.
Unlike other species of cacti and succulents, Hoya Kerrii grows better in warm, humid conditions like most parts of Asia. The plant grows better in humidity conditions of over 40 percent. This implies the plant should be kept away from air conditioning vents, and if possible, it should be located in areas near a bathroom or a kitchen. Though it can tolerate dry air conditions, it is advisable to sprinkle water on the plant when humidity is low.
Soil and fertilizer
The soil requirements for Hoya Kerrii are particular. Propagating it in a soil mixture of 50 percent regular potting soil, 25 percent perlite, and 25 percent orchid bark will provide optimal soil requirements for your plant. The soil should support sufficient drainage of water and be loose enough to allow aeration. The Hoya sweetheart is a light feeder and will do well with a once a month supply of diluted regular houseplant fertilizer. Single leaf plants hardly require feeding; you can apply fertilizer twice in a year to stimulate growth.
Cleaning and pruning
Hoya sweetheart is naturally waxy and shiny; thus, it does not require unique cleaning formulas. However, when it is dusty, you can gently wipe it with a wet piece of cloth to remove dust particles. The plant does not require regular pruning; however when the need arises, typical pruning tools can be used. Sophisticated protective gear is not necessary since the plant is neither poisonous nor harmful to the skin.
Propagating Hoya sweetheart
The plant can be propagated easily by cutting a stem with two mature leaves and rooting it in water. Once the stem has developed roots, it can now be transferred to a well-drained soil medium. The key challenge with this method is that it can take several months before a stem cutting develops roots. The process is also involved since one has to change water weekly. Another simplified approach is propagating from leaf cuttings. This method is suitable for those interested in growing a single heart shape flower. A hoya without a stem is unlikely to develop into a full plant.
Repotting is necessary for giving your growing plant ample space to expand. Researchers insinuate that for a Hoya sweetheart to grow, the pot must be large enough. However, they warn that too big pots promote root rot. For a mature plant, the container must be root bound for them to flower. These conditions suggest the Hoya Kerrii is sensitive to the size of the pot. Consequently, for plants with only one leaf, repotting should only be done when new growth is observed, and young plants with a few leaves and mature plants should be repotted into slightly larger pots.
Pests and problems
Usually, Hoya plants are resistant to pests and illnesses. But it is essential to pay attention to possible mealybugs attacks. Severe mealybugs attack can cause fungal diseases. Withered stems and leaves should be removed before they can affect other regions of the plant.
Overwatering and prolonged humid conditions can result in rotting leaves. Always be sure to remove drying leaves, kill mealybugs, and move the plant to places with optimum growth conditions.