Hoya spurs falling off.. and fertilizing?

plumeriasApril 21, 2014

So I've had this hoya for about a year or two, and it's always blooming. Recently, some of the spurs have been turning yellow and falling off!! I'm so very sad. I recently moved the plant from my parent's house to my apartment, so maybe it's adjusting to the the humidity/temperature change? My parent's house is always very hot, but my apartments always kept around 68-72. Or perhaps it's nutrient deficient?

Maybe not enough light? In that case, could someone recommend me a plant lamp? I don't know where or what to even look for.

Some of the leaves are turning yellowish and a couple look burnt looking, but not from too much sun. I think it might be nutrient deficient because I've never fertilized it- which brings me to my next question..

How do you fertilize your plant? I bought Dyna-pro foliage pro, and I read the instructions but I'm confused- so you dissolve the amount on the bottle into a gallon of water, but do you soak the plant with the whole gallon of water?? Or do you just water it with the fertilizer until it's soaked through?

Thank you!! Help me make my beloved hoya happy again!

Edit: I think the "spurs" i'm talking about are actually/also called peduncles, where the flowers come out.

This post was edited by plumerias on Mon, Apr 21, 14 at 0:44

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Post a picture or a few of how the plant, leaves, the peduncle and the soil all look - this will make it easier to diagnose.

Dropping a peduncle and a few leaves alone is not necessarily a reason for concern. Old leaves yellow and die when they are not needed by the plant anymore and as they are replaced by new ones.

Only healthy plants should be fertilized (so, again, post the pics to determine the health), as fertilizer may make it worse if there is a problem, say, with roots. I also use Foliage-Pro to fertilize all my plants. The directions they give are for the water you water with, not to soak the plant with. There are foliar spray formulas out there, but Foliage-Pro is not one of them. They give two dosages: the maintenance and the production dose. Start with the maintenance, although if the plant is growing very actively, the stronger production dose can be used. It's best to fertilize often but with relatively weak doses (weakly weekly, as it's aptly called). This whole past fall and winter I fertilized at maintenance doses almost at every watering, which is roughly every 4 days for me. This spring, as plants started growing more, I increased the dose to half-way between the maintenance and the production dose.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:44AM
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Thanks for your reply! I will post a picture when I get a chance. I think overall the plant is healthy, you're right- they're just old and the plant is growing.

I'm still a little unclear about one thing- so I dissolve the maintenance amount in the gallon of water, but do I water the soil with the whole gallon of water? Sorry if the question seems silly!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:34AM
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> do I water the soil with the whole gallon of water?

No. They just mention doses per gallon because a gallon is how we measure liquid volumes They have no idea how much water YOU need to water, of course.

So, if you have only a few plants, you need to reduce the "gallon" and reduce the fertilizer dose proportionately, or increase it proportionately if you have many plants and need more than a gallon. Do the math, then ask somebody else to do the math and compare. People have burned the hell out of their plants' roots because they got the dosage wrong. For small quantities of water, you may need to convert teaspoons or tablespoons into drops.

Then once you made the fertilizer solution, just water normally, which means thoroughly, till water flows out the drainage. If you use a relatively strong fertilizer solution, and the soil is very dry, people suggest watering with plain water first, then fertilizing, in order to avoid root burn. I do not follow that personally because I do not use strong solutions and more importantly because my soil drains very fast.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:07PM
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It could certainly be a change in environment, but GT is right about older leaves sometimes being ready to shed. If newer leaves are turning yellow, that's something to be concerned about. As for the peduncles, I'm assuming you are saying some of the old peduncles are dropping, not that they start to bud up and then abort the buds before they get very far. Peduncles will bloom over and over, but eventually, they're done and they'll drop. How many times varies from species to species. But I'm never surprised when a plant shows some signs of stress when it goes from one environment to another.

As for lighting, where is your Hoya sitting in relation to a window? How close? What exposure? Is it unobstructed or are there sheers, shades or curtains? And how does that differ from the kind of exposure it had at your parent's house?

I keep about a dozen 1/2 gallon milk jugs filled with water to water as I need. When I fill them, I put my fertilizer in - about March through September, I used bloom booster at 1/2 strength, and I also spray the leaves with Eleanor's VF-11 when I water. The rest of the year, I used VF-11 in my water jugs, or if I'm low on that, I use SuperThrive. To make sure I have the proportions right, I simply always use the same size jug and leave a measuring spoon in my fertilizer tub. It would be good to get into the habit of feeding your plant - you won't be sorry!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:47PM
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68-72 degrees is fine for any Hoya. I keep my place at the same temperature and they're all fine. There are Hoyas that like to be kept above 70 degrees, but I have many of them in my collection and they are fine at these temperatures because the indoor environment is so stable and protected.

Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro is a great choice and it's my primary fertilizer, too.

I've had my plants drop peduncles and leaves just from being moved from one room to another, and I often receive cuttings with peduncles that later drop them, deciding it's not a priority to maintain them in their current state. It is just the process of acclimation - the plant changes its game plan when you change the playing field. Our pets also act a bit off when we move, plants are just more disconcerting because plant behavior can be harder to read. But a few dropped leaves and yellowing, when you have a ready explanation like this, is nothing to worry about. Just keep an eye on it until you know it's not on a downhill slide. It should stabilize quickly.

I would be interested to see what you mean about burnt leaves (but not from sun). I can't really think of what would cause this. Certainly not lack of fertilizer.

Where do you have your plant now? Does your apartment not have any good windows? I know this can be an issue if there are buildings or trees nearby, but I have Hoyas that bloom in a north window even though there is a building right next to it. Some of them don't bloom much, and others bloom constantly. So, if you can get your plant RIGHT against a window (unless it's west-facing - not all Hoyas like that), it should be alright without a plant light. If you do want advice on plant lights anyway, we can help you. But let us know a little bit more about what you'd be looking for in terms of aesthetics and coverage. Most plant lights are rod-type deals, like a fluorescent light fixture, but if you are only looking to supplement the light for a single plant, a compact fluorescent might be more practical for you.

Question for the group:

I personally mix my fertilizer into room-temperature filtered water about half an hour before I'm ready to use it, and then I use it all, because I have a lot of plants. But could you mix a gallon's worth, use half of it, and leave the rest till the next week? Or does it need to be remixed fresh. I never really thought about it before, but I know that the vitamins and electolyte solutions for chicken water have to be mixed daily and I wondered if fertilizer compounds were equally sensitive to degrading. Just to be clear, I'm only asking about the lifespan AFTER mixing with water.

I did Google around, but I had a hard time figuring out the right search terms.

I found one FAQ for an organic fertilizer (Neptune's Harvest) that said, "Our liquid fertilizers have an indefinite shelf-life, until water is added." And some forum posts from growers saying that they had issues with organic fertilizers which they'd pre-mixed and then let sit for a while. They reported that it changed color and expelled gasses. And that it depended on how sterile the vessel and water were. They reported no problems like that with pre-mixing chemical fertilizer, although several people claimed it was stronger the fresher it was.

Anyway, just wondering if anyone knew the actual science behind it, beyond personal observations.

This post was edited by greedyghost on Mon, Apr 21, 14 at 13:36

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:33PM
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> I personally mix my fertilizer into room-temperature filtered water about half an hour before I'm ready to use it

Why not right before you use it? I am curious.

> could you mix a gallon's worth, use half of it, and leave the rest till the next week?

When I bought my first fertilizer bottle and started fertilizing , I left the unused fertilizer solution on the counter till the next watering. Then a few days later I noticed there were fuzzy balls of... something floating in that bottle - looked like white/grey little perfectly spherical clouds. There is life in our tap water, and when you fertilize life and otherwise give it good conditions, it'll grow. I went "duh" and never did it again.

If a little fertilizer solution is left, I just water some more, perhaps after an hour or so when some plants soaked back the drained solution a bit and can have another little sip. If there is too much solution left, I've left it in the fridge for 4 days till next watering. No visible growth in the bottle that way, but I am also very curious to know if that degrades the solution in any way. Do not water with cold water - I dunk the bottle into a bowl of hot water till the solution is room temperature before using.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:59PM
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It just takes me about that long to get everything else organized. ;D

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:17PM
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I mix all of my fertilizer a week or two in advance of when I need to use it. I use a lot of water so I like to have at least 15 gallons of water premixed. I use almost 98% chemical fertilizer. I find that when I need to water, it is just easier to have the stuff already mixed up. In addition my water is chlorinated so having it mixed up ahead of time allows plenty of time for the chlorine to dissipate.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:15PM
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Well, that's encouraging. There's no doubt your plants are getting what they need to be happy, Doug.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:19PM
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I've never had any problem with my water getting yucky and I've let it sit for up to a couple weeks. I do use R.O. water, which is one of the reasons I fill my bottles ahead - I can only get about 2-1/2 gallons of water at a time out of my machine then it needs to recoup. Sometimes, I need a lot more than that to get everything watered. I like to keep a bottle of water within reach around my plants because I might just walk by and give the soil a quick feel. If it's dry, grab the bottle and water. I try to keep things simple! You have to when you have several hundred plants waiting for you to water them!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 5:44PM
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I wonder if it's just my fertilizer that creates those clouds in the water if left standing... I use Foliage-Pro.

I also fill up my bottles in advance in order for the tap water to off-gas, but I mix in the fertilizer right before I use it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 4:43PM
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