Young Pubicalyx 'pink silver' dropping new growth! :(

Ren_FlowersApril 11, 2012

I purchased a small pubicaly x "pink silver" in a 4in pot two weeks ago. It has several 2-3in starts bunched together. Since then all of the new pink leaves have dropped off! Some are brown at the tips.

More about it's care:

I have it set in a northern window and I crack the window at night to give it cooler temps. The soil compresses when I press on it, seems to be water retentive (rather then instantly draining). I water when it seems to need it, perhaps I have watered too much as SRQ hoya lists it's water needs as one drop (out of four?). Maybe I even need to repot with different soil?

It was purchased at a trusted nursery, but the old leaves show the plant has either been under watered or with low humidity levels. Currently I don't have a tray with pebbles and water set out for it, maybe I should do that as well.

Any advise would be much appreciated! I'll post a picture tomorrow :)

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If you are ever worried about the mix a new plant comes in then I would suggest changing it to something you are comfortable with. New plants often have a few false starts as they settle into a new environment.
I would suggest giving your plant much more light. I grow my Hoya pubicalyx plants a few feet back from a Southern window but East or West would do as well. If your plant does grow for you in a North window it will not flower there. Perhaps you could add a daylight compact fluorescent bulb to bump up the light around this plant.
Hoya pubicalyx is one that likes to dry a little between waterings. This is a close cousin of Hoya carnosa and likes very similar conditions. Although this species does very well with cool nights it is not necessary and for a young plant it would be better to keep it nice and warm.
Because you said that the older leaves look slightly dehydrated I am wondering if the cuttings are even rooted or if they were just stick in the pot. The older leaves should not look dehydrated at all and I suspect that the roots are damaged. If you can carefully check the roots it would help, do consider changing the mix as well to something you are familiar with.

I can say one thing about this Hoya and that is that it takes a little while to start growing well but by year two you will have a large plant ready to bloom.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 11:48AM
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Wow, that was quite possibly the most perfect answer ever.

I do agree with Mike's impression that your plant is currently in the process of establishing itself, as a fully rooted plant and in a new environment. So, for the time being, a bit of gentleness and patience is required. It's perfectly normal for a plant to drop new leaves after you relocate it, although it worries me a bit that you imply a massive amount.

Publicalyxes will do just fine under low light conditions and some people do say theirs bloom there. But I agree with Mike that, at least for now, it would probably behoove you to move it to a sunnier warmer spot. Then once it's more established, you can see how it performs for you in a north window.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 12:18PM
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Oh, my mistake! This hoya is actually in an East facing window. However we're right next to another house so not much direct light makes it in. I have a small southern window I can move it to until it is more mature.

Mike, your advise encourages my thinking too. Re-potting sounds safer. As much as I trust this nursery for house plants, the worker there told me that all Hoya have fragrance (which is clearly not the case). I'm thinking repot immediately, should I be concerned about letting it settle in first?

I'm sure it has roots, though I will be checking when I give it better soil. The leaves are just slightly deformed, but not limp or droopy. Mostly just as if it has been under watered a long time ago(I'll post a picture, promise!). It has lost roughly 6 of it's baby leaves, all that it had of that size (none since). Thank you both for your advice! It really saves me much stress :)


    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 2:53AM
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I'm glad it hasn't lost any more leaves. Maybe this will all get chalked up to moving jitters in the end.

Your quote about how all Hoyas have fragrance gave me the giggles this morning. I know it's poor sport to sit in our ivory tower and poke fun of nursery workers who have to cover a broad range of plants. But it is a nice moment when you realize your Hoya knowledge has, in some ways, surpassed that of the experts you once relied on. And I sure am thankful that many Hoyas have low or nearly undetectable fragrances. I'm really sensitive to even scents I like, when I'm getting ready to sleep. They are as distracting as having music playing in the room.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 10:07AM
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There are the photos! :)

So far so good, moved to the southern window. I'll wait for awhile before re potting, unless the poor thing continues to struggle. (Though I'm bracing myself for more changing location jitters!)

It's interesting that you're so smell sensitive! My father is similar, but he is also taste sensitive. It would bother me if I were smelling perfume or something less natural. :)


    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 11:03PM
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From what I can see in the photo your Hoya is just fine. The leaves do not look dehydrated. I would suggest as GG did, it's just stressed out and needs to settle in before it can put out healthy new growth.
Only change the potting mix if it is difficult for you to keep watered properly or you want it in the same mix as your other plants. From your earlier description I had pictured wrinkled leaves etc. I do see that some of the old leaves are not perfectly formed but that's nothing to worry about.
When you get a larger number of Hoyas you will notice that this sort of thing is very common. For a cutting to sit and do nothing for a year is not unusual and it just depends on how quickly that particular species grows or if it has optimum conditions for growth.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 10:26AM
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I agree with Mike! It looks very healthy and I wouldn't be worried at all if I were you. I think it's highly unlikely you will see a repeat performance of the leaf dropping anytime soon.

I think it is the perfumey nature of many of the flower scents that does keep me awake. If the Hoya smells more spicy, like lambii or sp. Estrella, it doesn't bother me. I do have a sensitive palate, but in the food industry it's actually Asian women who are prized for their famously discerning tastebuds. "Science Says" that regardless of nationality, as a subgroup, they tend to have an awesome sense of taste and are thus on every taste test panel. Interesting, huh? Men, actually, tend to have a significantly weaker sense of taste, which makes your father very unusual! :)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 10:55AM
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I feel like an over protective mother! :) I'm happy to hear that it looks normal, I never knew some cuttings will sit around for so long! Though I'm expecting Pubicalyx 'Pink Silver' to be a fast grower.

Ghost you're just full of facts haha. Very interesting, though my father would probably be better off without his extra taste buds. It makes him such a picky eater! He can taste when milk has been sitting out for any time longer then pouring a glass. Just think about preparing meals that taste right ;)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 5:30PM
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Publicalyx is a fast grower for sure. But in my experience, that doesn't exempt it from the settling in period. Mine have always grown slowly for the 6 months to a year and then suddenly doubled or tripled their speed.

Your dad does sound like a real handful lol. I guess we should all appreciate the people in our lives who are able to stomach our more mediocre meals. :P

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:31AM
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