Newbie trying my hand at h.carnosa

screamingskull(7a)April 2, 2014

Hello, not sure how active this forum is, but glad to find it nonetheless -
Like many others who have an interest in hoyas, I originally fell in love with the carnosa my grandmother had in our West-facing dining room when I was a kid. So now that I'm a little older and have my own little apartment, I have kicked up the interest again, and just got my own variegated Tricolor (Krimson Queen?) 2 yr. old carnosa, in a 4 in. plastic pot. I have been doing research on proper care for it, which has led me to consider repotting later on in another 4 in. pot with a better-draining, more airy soil mix (I will do anything to prevent root rot and/or fungus gnats lol.) However I still have questions, and I would love input from experienced cultivators :) For example my grandmother's policy for many of her household plants was to let soil dry substantially before each watering, would this work for the carnosa? Will it need regular misting? In regards to lighting, my apt. has East-facing windows with moderate light throughout the day, but I'm not sure that would be enough light to encourage blooms later on. My other window is a bright Southern facing window but I'm scared to hang the plant there and potentially scorch it. Any tips on this or other helpful info would be appreciated :)

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Hi SS and welcome to our Hoya forum! The carnosa Hoyas are probably the best place to start - they're fairly common and easy to grow, so a good confidence builder. If yours has the cream color at the edges, it is 'Krimson Queen'. If the cream is in the middle with green edges, it's 'Krimson Princess.'

I wouldn't put it in the south window unless it hangs back just a bit to avoid direct sun. The east window is ideal for almost all Hoyas - the vast majority of mine are in east windows and a lot of them bloom for me.

As for watering, my rule of thumb is to let them dry a bit, but not to let them get overly dry. If they're in a good, fast draining mix, you don't need to let them get too dry. Of course, you don't want them to have wet feet either, so be sure when you do water to dump the excess out of the tray after it's had about 10 min. to soak up what it wants. It's not necessary to mist them, but I also feed mine foliarly, so when I water them, I give them a good spray-down with water with some Eleanor's VF-11, a very mild plant food.

When you go to repot, if the roots are plentiful, be sure to move it up to a slightly larger pot. Otherwise, putting it back in the same pot with your new mix will be fine.

Good luck with your new carnosa! And be prepared to get the Hoya bug. Next thing you know, you'll be watching for them everywhere you go!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:00AM
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Denise gave you a very good and complete answer. I've tried hard to add something, but I failed. :-)

Except I'll add a story to show you how tolerant Hoya carnosa is. I bought mine in 2011, two young rooted cuttings in a pot. I sunk it into a very water-retentive soil, put it onto a dark window sill in the fall and started expecting flowers. :-) And it just sat there, for months and months, not growing but not dying either, waiting for me to research what it actually needs in order to flower - you know, when I get around to it, no rush! It eventually happened nearly two years later (!) Not a single new leaf had grown in those 2 years, and the root systems were smaller, not bigger, than what they were 2 years prior. (I take pictures and notes, so it's not just memory and hyperbole I am relying on). But the thing had shown no outward signs of distress at all, behaving basically as a silk plant till I was ready.

After I gave it a very chunky soil and good light, a few months later it started growing steadily above the ground. (It was probably growing more roots prior to that - they would often do that after a repot). Now it's a very healthy looking vine, about 3-4 times the original size. They say carnosa flowers at 2-3 years of age. I actually view the 2 dark years of the "peat pudding" era as time completely lost, so now I guess I have 1-2 more years to wait while it grows under good conditions.

But the thing never died! - which I find amazing.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 2:54PM
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My carnosas hang in east windows and bloom regularly. Some hang right against the window and another hangs a little over a foot away from a glass door. The latter still bloomed this spring even though I installed a semi-opaque privacy curtain on the door, just not as vigorously as last year.

I don't think it would have trouble in a south window. I used to keep a number of Hoyas in a south window and they liked it. I've really only ever had variable results with western exposures. I think all your options sound good. Keep in mind that your plant will likely take at least a year to bloom - but the better the light you give it, the faster it will bloom.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 1:27PM
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