Sick Polyneura,fishtail hoya

alba_gardenerMarch 10, 2013

Hi ,
I have a Fishtail Hoya that was beautiful and doing very well. Then she started dropping leaves and looking very spindly. So, I made sure I didn't over water, checked her for mealies. Well, no mealies that I could see ( I used my jewelers magnifyer) and I wasn't overwatering. However on further inspection I did notice that the leaves had a white powdery looking residue on them. Like the white substance that oozes out of a stem when cut, only dry.. This white stuff appears at the very tip of the stem where the two leaves meet. My conclusion is that something is chewing away at the leaves at the very end where the leaf and stem meet. The leaves are being robbed of the nutrients from the stem thus the leaves die and fall off the stem....
Ok..but I don't see any bugs...? What have I missed? Could it be a fungus of some sort?
Please help!

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I know exactly what you're talking about. I've had it in the leaf axils of my polyneura, too. I sometimes think it's that the leaves have been bumped and they've bled the white sap, but other times I wonder if it could be mealies, before they get big enough to see. It seems that it (or they?) go away when I spray the leaf axils with alcohol a couple times. Polyneura is also prone to leaf yellowing if you water too much OR too little. One of those picky plants!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 5:50PM
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Hi Denise,
Thanks for your reply. I too have been spraying the leaf axils that (I think) is why she still has some leaves left. As for watering, I water when the soil looks dry. Well, I'll keep trying to keep her alive . It's too bad she's one of those picky plants because she was a real beauty.
Alba in CA

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 8:16PM
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I agree with Denise. This is just one of those prima donna Hoyas that lets you KNOW when you have annoyed it. So far mine has never died of annoyance, though.

I went for years without any problems from polyneura at all, but ever since I moved she goes through leaf dropping fits. Sometimes I think... she liked the Gesneriad mix I had her in before! Or maybe I was just a better caregiver when I had fewer plants. Or maybe she liked living in that closet where the temperature never varied. I don't know...

I feel like obscura is the same way, but mine finally stopped dropping leaves so maybe it just needed to grow up!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 5:28PM
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I have a large plant of polyneura, it definitely lets me know when it needs watered or fertilized by the leaves and stems, so I don't find it any trouble, as it announces what it needs.

But a while ago, I started some cuttings in S/H, and omg, the growth is amazing. You could try that?


    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 8:20AM
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I'm glad you mentioned this. I think I'll take some cuttings of mine and put them in hydroton. Of all the plants I grow in hydroton, only one is occasionally fussy. And it seems in spring, the hydroton plants grow more vigorously. When I have a "problem child", I tend to start a piece (or pieces) in hydroton and generally, the new start is much more cooperative than the old plant. Last summer, I got this nice, full plant of finlaysonii from Gardino's. After a month or so, some of the vines started to dehydrate, like they they weren't taking up water. Fearful that I would lose it, I took all those vines with withering leaves off and put them in hydroton and in a humidity dome. Alas, I don't think I lost even one. So I have several little pots of hydroton fin that are all growing beautifully. Mother plant made a fine comeback, but ironically, she is not growing at all yet. Just goes to show ya...

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 10:07AM
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What do you use to make "little pots of hydroton"?
I'm having trouble finding smaller containers for s/h with hydroton and at the moment polyneura is going through "should I die or not" stage, so it may be good time to try! :)

Thanks, Aggie

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:19PM
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I have 2 H. Polyneuras that don't do a darn thing.

Hi Alba. I was in Hawthorne the other day and thought about you...

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 3:39AM
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I'm not sure polyneura will do well in just hydroton, at least mine wouldn't it likes to be moist all the time. In the S/H style is what it does well in. But things do dry out here very quickly, so it may be different for you.

BTW, you know Hydroton is no longer being manufactured, so hoard any you have. The other types out there, I've found, work, but its not as good I think. At least what I've tried so far.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:17AM
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Well thank you all for the suggestions on how to keep my very on the brink of dying Polyneura. She is still in the same EA soil and pot that I bought her in. Denise, you don't think she'd do well in hydroton (I've never used it) plus as you mentioned it's no longer being manufactured. So what other soil mix might work ? I didn't mention it before but I do have three cuttings from this polyneura plant. I feared she would die so I took a chance on taking some cuttings which are thriving, but I watch them closely.
@ Tammypie, I'm in Wiseburn , Rosecrans & Ocean Gate. Let me know when your in the area next time would love to meet another Hoya addicted lady. I met Mitzi a few years back when she was in LA. I picked her up at the hotel where she was staying and brought her back to my house. She was great and we had a great afternoon.
alba in Hawthorne

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 1:49PM
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@ Alba

(It's Renee, not Denise, whose comments you are responding to.)

I suspect there's just a misunderstanding here? I believe Renee is recommending the use of hydroton (or a similar pellet medium), but specifically in a semi-hydro setup. Some people use hydroton within a traditional watering setup, to create a very fast drying and airy mix. Which would create the opposite effect as what you want. I think she's advising against that and recommending a setup as outlined on this page.

Hydroton is a specific German product (like Kleenex is a specific tissue). There are other expanded clay pellets that are still being manufactured, I guess.

I use those clear plastic party cups as S/H pots - they work well enough. You really can use just about anything that's the right size.

I hope I got all that right, but you guys can correct me if I've misrepresented things.

@ Renee

Hi! Glad to see you posting again. :)

This post was edited by greedyghost on Mon, Apr 1, 13 at 15:34

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 3:16PM
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GG, you summed it up perfectly.

As for Hydroton, it is a specific trade name for LECA (Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate), and it is no longer being manufactured. There are other manufacturers of LECA. A couple I can think of right now is Prime Agra, Alifor, Hydrocorn. I've tried the Prime Agra and Hydrocorn, and yes they work, but I still like the Hydroton better.

I've found that any plant that likes to be evenly moist, does absolutely better in a S/H set up. It's really amazing. I also start all my cuttings in S/H and the rate of success is very high. If long term I don't want them to stay in S/H, after the root system is large enough, I poke a couple holes in the bottom of the container, let it stay that way for a little while, then move it into the pot and mix I want it in long term. Kind of a gentle transistion.

For S/H pots, I like clear ones, but there isn't any reason it needs to be clear. Any sturdy container works, you just poke a couple holes in the side a few inches (depending on size of container) from the bottom. 2L soda bottles, water bottles (both cut down to size), deli containers, for small ones I use individual pudding cups my son has a liking for. I also buy clear plastic drink cups, like the solo cups, and etc. All these work very well.

Again, polyneura is doing very well for me in S/H.

GG - Yeah, it's spring, so thinking Hoyas again :)


    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 3:35PM
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Oh....Thanks Renee, sorry.
alba in Hawthorne

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 9:34PM
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I have a H. Polyneura (fishtail hoya) that I repotted today. Up to now, I have neglected it. It sits outside my house in the backyard with northern exposure - never direct sunlight. I find that if I ignore it, it thrives. I had to use a bamboo U-shaped support to wind the spindly (2) vines around it. I used to water it from time to time, not frequently. So we'll see how my repotting fares with this hoya.

Alba, I was in Hawthorne the other day, driving south on Oceangate towards Rosecrans and I thought of you and your Hoyas...I was on my way to Staples & Costco.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 1:05AM
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