Intro and Q re new compacta

_Julie_February 10, 2011

Hi Everybody,

I just joined the group, as I've fallen head over heels in love with hoyas in a very short time. :-) I saw my first compacta ever (that I know of) about six weeks ago, and received my own, via mail order, two weeks ago. The variegated variety. Then, about a week ago I spotted a carnosa "rubra" in Lowes, and couldn't resist. Tomorrow (if the mail is as fast as usual) I'm due to get a kerrii reverse and an obovata. *lol* Yeah, instantly hooked! :-)

My question is about the compacta (EA plant, ordered directly from company, I can see roots through the drainage holes on the bottom of the pot so I think it is well established, though not root bound). When I first got it, it had quite a few very young leaves on it - pulled away from the stem about 4-7 mm. They have all died. It has continued to grow a little bit, but each new baby leaf as it seperates from the stem and just starts to grow, seems to kind of "dry up" (not sure if that is actually what is happening) and die. A total loss of probably 8-10 baby leaves. The vast majority of adult leaves are healthy as can be - 3 or 4 have wilted and died.

I can think of a number of reasons for the losses:

1) Simple change of environment.

2) It did get quite cold enroute to my home.

3) I've tried to practice self control :-) but may have overwatered it a bit already - I soaked it through to dripping out the bottom the day after I got it (it felt dry to me), and then again a week later... I leave the drip tray off of it and it sits on a wire shelf with a towel on the shelf below to catch the drips. I am going to wait longer before the next watering. I am absolutely certain I'm not under-watering.

4) Could possibly be inadequate lighting, although I doubt this one. I have them in a south facing window. Mediocre lighting at best this time of year.

My question is; Can you tell from my description if one "problem" is more likely than another, or some such thing?

And what should I keep an eye out for that should provoke me to something more "drastic"?

Thank you,

Julie

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greedygh0st

Hi Julie,

Welcome to the forum. I'm happy you've fallen for Hoyas. I'm preaching to the choir here, but I think they have a collection of attributes that makes them very rewarding to grow long term.

Regarding your new growth dying off, definitely don't worry too much. One of the first questions people will ask when someone brings a problem in here is whether new or old established leaves are dropping. New growth is delicate (strikingly so with some Hoyas) and any number of things can cause it to die off. Your first two hypotheses are both worthy explanations for what might have happened. If your plant lives with you for a month, puts out some new growth, and THAT dies off too, then you'll probably want to look at your watering schedule next.

A lot of the time, new growth will die off because the plant is undergoes some kind of stress or deficiency (e.g. drought) before the growth is well established. Some have compared it to a bather sticking a toe in the water, finding it too cold, too stinky, or simply too wet, and abandoning plans. My guess is everyone here has had new growth die on them in the last couple of months. The solution is simply to baby your plant when it has tender growth on it.

In the case of compacta, specifically, you'll want to keep it well watered. Watering until it runs out the bottom is correct, and once a week is about as often as I water mine. Most carnosas like to dry out a bit between waterings, but compacta less so. Don't keep it damp, but water it whenever a finger test comes up dry. This is one you definitely don't want to allow to get weak because pests are attracted to weakness and compacta is a playground of hiding spots.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 12:42PM
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alavoneluvhoya

I have 2 compactas that are beautiful! since they are so compact that tend to stay moist for the most part if you give it a good drink, in warmer months I water once a week but now that its winter I have cut down to about every 10 or 11 days. give your plant a good while to get used to its new home. Sometimes the best trick with hoyas is to ignore them and not baby them. best of luck!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 12:54PM
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_Julie_

Thank you both very much for your input. I do believe that it is most likely the basic change of environment, and the cold it suffered for as much as 3-4 days on it's way here, that caused (is causing) the loss of leaves.

I think I just need to relax about the watering. It's funny how conflicted I get about whether the soil is *really* dry enough to water again! :) I go round and round with myself. But if you both tend to water yours about every 7-11 days, then I'm probably doing fine.

It currently has two little baby leaves newly separating from the stems a couple days ago that have not died yet, and a number more still basically just bumps on the stems. I'll keep watching and see if it turns the corner in the next few weeks.

I neglected to mention before, but with the lack of sun here in the winter, I also have a grow light over them. And a humidifier keeping things around 50% since the heat tends to drive it down to about 25-30%.

I got my kerrii and obovata today, and they are Amazing! :) I can definitely see the obvious difference in the potting medium from EA vs a hoya "specialty" nursery.

I can't believe how quickly and completely I have fallen for these plants. I use to have cacti, and took a break from them for a number of years. I enjoyed them, but this different. They were like buddies. These hoyas are like my babies! *lol*

Thanks again! :)
Julie

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 4:37PM
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cpawl(8)

I would like to mention that a lot of people complain about the soil that EA uses.It stays wet for a long time.I got a EA plant over 3 weeks ago and its still wet.I always take the bottom saucer off to help it dry.

Cindy

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 4:48PM
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_Julie_

Yep Cindy :)
I have read a lot of that and it is the reason mine have no saucers and are on an open wire shelf. I may actually wind up putting more holes in the plastic pots. Especially for my carnosa "rubra", since they appear to be even more sensitive to the extra moisture than the compactas. I know a lot of people just repot them, but I don't want to jump to that too quickly with my lack of experience.... Not to mention the fact that the plants are so dense in the pots that I can barely get to the soil to test it, much less to do an "easy" repotting. Also, I'm very fortunate that my local Lowes seems to be extremely unique in that they don't over water their plants terribly, so my rubra was rather dry when I bought it. (the compacta came straight from EA via snail mail)

Thanks,
Julie

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 5:43PM
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