H. latifolia

karyn1(7a)February 29, 2012

I picked up a latifolia a couple months ago. There's 3 huge leaves at the base and a long stem with one large leaf. A new stem popped up from under the soil. It's about 5" long but no foliage yet. Is that normal? I haven't had the best of luck with the large leaf varieties in the past. Not sure why.

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Are you asking if the new stem from under the soil is normal or if the fact that that new growth still has no foliage? My answer to both questions would be that yes they are both completely normal. Some Hoyas take their sweet time filling in new growth with leaves and I don't think it's a good idea to trim these bare vines even of they look slightly unappealing. Look at the photo of my plant I posted in another thread, blooming with all of those peduncles on a short section of bare vine. I would have seen nothing if I had cut that vine back and it was bare for at least six months.

Now on to the problems you have been experiencing with the large leafed Hoyas. Do you have any particular species in mind? Often the large leafed plants have evolved succulence to store water in their tissues, coming from seasonally dry areas this helps them survive periods of drought. One of the most important things to remember with these plants is that if they are not actively growing and filling in with leaves then they want to dry out, some want to really dry out. If you water too much when the plants are not growing they will get yellow leaves that start to drop. Using a fast draining mix is important because you want the mix to dry quickly instead of holding moisture for weeks. Alternatively you can often use clay pots for the species that want to dry faster and then just use the same potting mix as you would your other Hoyas.


    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 12:04PM
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Thanks Mike. I was just wondering if the lack of foliage was normal. I wasn't planning on trimming anything. I did look at some pics and noticed that the foliage is sparser with a lot more bare stem then many of the other varieties.

I use fast draining mixes for almost everything. My latifolia looks heathy. I guess it wouldn't be putting out new growth if it wasn't? Now that it is actively growing how often should I water? The mix really doesn't hold any moisture to speak of. I was also planning to start fertilizing now, yes or no? I really like the foliage. A couple of the leaves are almost as big as my hand. I have another large leaf variety on order, a meliflua ssp. fraterna. In pics the leaves on that one don't appear to be as thick or firm as the latifolia but maybe that's because of the shape. I guess I'll find out when I get it.

The one I had problems with was a loyceandrewsiana. Looking it up I saw a couple sites say that it's the same as latifolia but the one I received had narrower leaves that weren't as large. Maybe it was mislabeled? It was a substitute for an out of stock plant ordered from Bob Smoley. It was much smaller and never did well for me. It died within a few months. I can't remember the other that I had but the outcome was the same. They just never grew. Other then those I usually don't have problems unless it's something to do with temp drop in the greenhouse.

I don't grow that many hoyas, but the more I look the more varieties I see that I want, especially when I visit Gardino's. Regina grows some really interesting varieties, many more then are posted on their site.

Thanks again for your help.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 1:04PM
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penfold2(4b, MN)

My latifolia has recently added over a foot of leafless vine. I haven't had it very long, but I suspect it will fill in later as Mike said. It's also putting out a new branch with a couple tiny leaves.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 2:28PM
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Yes Hoyas tend to put out long bare vines that look for a place to cling to or twine around and then they fill in with leaves. If you were to let most Hoya plants just grow as they wish their rate of growth would be much better than when we try to train them on trellises. I find that too much manipulation slows the plants down and as GG mentioned it often results in aborted leaves and growing tips.
I grow my Hoya loyceandrewsiana in a gritty mix but with added coconut husk chips so that I don't have to water quite so often. This is another species that likes to dry out but remember that when the plants are actively growing vines and leaves then they like to be kept moist, a slight drying between watering is just fine and even preferred. You can fertilize year around if the plant is growing but if it's just sitting there then there is not much need for extra nutrients. I mix fertilizers at about 1/2 strength and apply often. Some of these Hoyas are slow growers so it takes a couple years to get established before they take off. Hoya loyceandresiana is one that loves to put out really long bare vines that seem to do nothing. My plant looks pretty scraggly because of this but I don't want to cut anything just in case. I often wonder if I should water even more often than I do when I see new growth because many times those long vines appear to be developing new leaves only to see them abort very early on, I'm still figuring this one out.

When it comes to plants, identification can not rely on leaf size or leaf colour etc, it can rely on leaf characteristics such as leaf shape, leaf margins if they are distinct (serrated), and always on flower morphology.


    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 2:41PM
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