What have you learned lately?

greedygh0stApril 21, 2011

I want to ask you to rate your Hoya abilities, but I figured everyone would be super modest, so let's see what happens in a poll! If you see someone's voted "veteran" that's probably me, because I'm that good. ^_~

Poll: What is your Hoya rank?

My feeling is that we develop our rank through a million tiny daily observations. Most of the time we don't know for sure what a change means, so instead of knowledge, we have hunches. The accumulation of these hunches eventually leads to us getting so awesome that we no longer kill our plants.

I thought it would be fun to see if you'd humor me and tell me what hunches/observations you've had this week. Even if they seem insignificant or are clearly things everyone else has already figured out.

So far this week I've learned:

[1] Don't keep the water reservoir for cuttings in perlite full at all times. Let it dry out periodically for a couple of days.

[2] latifolia var concolor doesn't like being super super moist and hot during rooting. Of course, its leaves are so thick, you won't notice this right away.

[3] This time of year, cuttings in hydro w/no bottom heat root as fast as cuttings w/bottom heat in perlite.

[4] Once pusilla has dried out, it is almost impossible to get it to plump up and stay plumped up, even resorting to drastic measures like (A) repotting to coir and keeping moist and (B) soaking its branches. Maybe I should try (C) Joni's old-thread tip to just set the pot in a tub of water and let it guzzle for a day or so until it perks up?

[5] Of the moist loving Hoyas, the eriostemmas will get annoyed first if left TOO moist.

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moonwolf_gw

I voted for being a novice since I'm not a newbie anymore but haven't had enough plants to blossom to call me an expert.

I really haven't learned anything lately from my hoyas except that some are signaling that spring has sprung (fungii has a looong new vine; blooms pending if a penduncle develops on it). Plus I need to get some BATS. Yep, they're back on a few of my plants (not too bad though but I'd better get after them before they get worse).

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 12:59PM
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jsainz(8-9 NM)

i went with novice for the same reason as moonwolf. The one that i have not had flower is the one with the lessons for me this year. Imperialis:

1. If your leaves are a luscious dark green, and you dont even know if the plant flowers at all, its time for a relocation.
2. sometimes letting the pot go bone dry, isnt the best
3. Dont be afraid to relocate, feed, and train amazing things happen when light, water, and feeding are in sync.
4. letting them do what they want is not always whats best for them. tie them up, pot em up, lift em up. they can go thru quite a bit of handling with minimal moping. Letting trailers trail into the dark isnt going to produce anything but dried vines.
5. it doesnt matter if everyone thinks your the crazy plant lady, contrary to what everyone thinks those plants keep you sane.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 1:36PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

I've only been growing hoyas for a little over 3 years and consider myself "slightly" a step above novice...mainly due to beginner's luck and lucky enough to have a few hoyas bloom. I've had many failures too and still have so many hoyas I've yet to try and grow. Expert will never be associated with me,lol...

I agree with Jsainz comments...I'm also not afraid to try different ways to try and improve the way I grow my hoyas, changing locations, watering needs and potting them in the best potting mix that works for me...also I've noticed on a few hoyas...what some people call easy to grow isn't always easy to grow for me.

I can't root cuttings very well...rooting cuttings in ziplock bags doesn't work for me...they always seem to ROT! Aquarium method I've had the best luck with...in the summer just setting them outside in bright shade works sometimes. I prefer rooted cuttings always to unrooted ones.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 3:43PM
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dmichael619(8a)

I voted myself as a journeyman. I feel like i've been growing hoyas long enough now to consider myself as being quite experienced in what I do,but not yet brilliant at it!!

Some things that i've learned this week from my hoyas would be:::

[1] some of them are just not going to be happy no matter what I do!!!
[2] mealy bugs and aphids are always going to be part of life when it comes to growing hoyas!
[3] buds can,will, and often do blast regardless of what stage of development they may be in.
[4] that even though I paid $50 for a cutting,there's always a risk that it will not root ( and it didn't!!)
[5]ditto to GG's #4
[6] ditto to jsainz #5 except i'm the crazy plant man down the street!!!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 4:06PM
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klyde(8)

1. Don't be afraid to prune a leggy plant. Bella and lacunosa go crazy when you are generous with cuttings.

2. Mealies happen.

3. There is an underground for BATS in Canada.

4. Watch drying out when new leaves are coming.

5. Don't skimp on fertilizer if the plant is growing.

6. What will end up being your most favourite plant is likely not the $50 cutting, but the freebie given to you by generous hoyanista's.

7. Pass on the above good karma.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 11:54PM
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mel_10(3)

I have learned a great deal from the short time that I have been growing hoyas. I would say there are three things that have been the most beneficial:
1) Be patient. Things are not going to happen over night. No matter what you do.
2) Don't be afraid to try new things. Maybe a new window location, or watering schedule, will make the difference.
3) Ask for advice, often. I will never be able to find all the information on my own.

Mel

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 4:13PM
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debbie_ny

Sigh....I've learned after my trip to Florida that the target garden center's are a thing of the past! The one I visited every year was barren this year and I learned that target said "bye bye" to them a few months ago! They had the most fabulous pink silver publicalyx and fern collections! I purchased many from there over the years (I'm a sucker for the pubicalyx leaves...beautiful....) and I always purchased a few while down there and brought them back for friends....I cringe to think that they sold for $4.95 for a huge pot...So, that's the sad thing I've learned this year...otherwise....ditto to all the items listed above! =)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 3:59PM
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jlt37869

I still consider myself a newbie, so I selected novice. The exception would be in regard to a specific plant, which is my grandmother's var. carnosa ,,, I love that plant and feel like I know it inside and out.

The only thing I've learned lately is that I was a fool to think I could train a Kerrii.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 9:50PM
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pepeuve

Hoya calycina stargazer
Do not turn the pot 90 degrees because the plant will suffer greatly in the same place.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 11:59PM
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greedygh0st

I just wanted to say to you all that I have enjoyed your observations very much. It's nice to be able to put these notes in my noggin for later use.

/jsainz (No. 4) Why do they do that?!! I am always wondering what instinct will make a vine purposefully strive for a dark corner when it's got plenty of other options.

/dmichael (No. 4) Made me laugh out loud. I've so been there. I've also made the mistake of assuming the $5 cutting is going to root no problem, ignoring it, and then acting all offended when it died.

/klyde (No. 3) Canada wins another cool point in my book.

/jlt This is exactly why I refuse to grow kerrii lol. I feel like it would be the equivalent of bringing an irish wolfhound into an apartment full of cats.

/pepeuve Interesting! :O

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 12:12PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

You CAN train Kerrii, you just have to do it while the stems are softer & still somewhat pliable.

One of these days, I'll put up some pix of several Kerriis & have, all in different kinds of training, hoops, etc.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 6:33PM
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mitzicos(11)

I learned that no matter what I do, some hoyas don't survive!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 7:24PM
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pepeuve

Hi:

greedyghost

about my previuos post.
My calycina stargazer has aborted 22 stems because I changed places; exactly 90 degree.

You can see my calycina and 22 peduncles in,

Calycina stargazer aborta floracion.

Today bad weather in Malaga but you can see it on my blog

Here is a link that might be useful: Calycina stargazer aborta floracion

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 2:29PM
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greedygh0st

I had to see it to believe it! Interesting that you found reference to a similar experience on a Swedish blog. What a tragic tale!

Now I am nervous about moving my Hoyas!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 5:22PM
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bama_gardener(8b)

On your poll, I marked myself as Amateur, since I have never grown a hoya before. (I am not new to gardening, just hoyas.) However, after lurking on this forum, reading many, many posts and seeing all the pictures of these gorgeous plants, I bought 4 hoyas. I am hoping to be able to provide the correct growing conditions for them and one day have blooms like I see here. These are established Exotic Angel plants from Lowes and Home Depot so I know the names may not be correct on a couple of them. I'm pretty sure about H. carnosa 'Chelsea', H. carnosa 'Krimson Princess' (Rubra), H. pubicalyx 'Pink Silver' (?), and H. 'Sulawesii' (this one may be bilobata).
What I have learned:
1- that I know nothing
2 - that I like the leaves as much as the flowers (my reason for buying these)
3 - that I need to read more posts & ask questions
Thanks for all the excellent advice on this forum and the patience to answer so many questions.
Beverly

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 6:08PM
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denise_gw

GG,

I counted myself as a veteran, not becuase I know everything (because I do NOT!!), but because I've been plugging away with them for 35 years (as of February...)

So what have I learned this year? Well, I've just confirmed what I've figured out the last couple of years. That a slightly or even very dehydrated plant will come back when cuttings are taken and put in media and into a sealed plastic bag for a few weeks. Voila! New plant from what I thought was a lost cause!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 12:05AM
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cyclonenat

Hi i voted amateur even though i have quite a few now i am still learning how often to water etc especially because its coming into winter. I hope the positions i have them in for the winter will suit them.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 5:45AM
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mdahms1979

I voted myself as a Journeyman because after all I have not been at this for very long. I think I would need to go on a Hoya expedition to South East Asia and fill a greenhouse with oodles of big happy Hoyas before I would feel like an expert and I just don't have enough time under my belt to be a veteran quite yet.

What have I learned recently?

1. I love using coconut husk chips in my grow mixes but I HATE that they are always contaminated with yellow flowerpot fungus!

2. Hoya calycina and it's close relatives just don't like my company for some reason and they never seem to be very happy in my care.

3. Mealy bugs seem to be here to stay no matter how hard I work at exterminating those little #&@(*&%$!

Mike

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 6:16PM
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mitzicos(11)

Mike,

I love your comment:

"Hoya calycina and it's close relatives just don't like my company for some reason and they never seem to be very happy in my care"

Hoya megalaster don't like my company, neither my house, nor my country!!!!

Mitzi

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 6:39PM
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mdahms1979

Yes Mitzi I seem to take it personally when one of my plants just does not do well for me. LOL :)

Mike

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 12:16AM
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lightning96(4)

I think I qualify as an initiate because I don't think I am at the same level of many of you who described yourselves as novices. Or maybe you are all being super modest! I've only been at this for one year. Last spring--13 short months ago-- I bought my first hoya, and I immediately loved it's look (it was my Hoya australis ssp. tenuipes). Now I have about 25 hoyas and I've found myself giving away other houseplants to make room for more hoyas. Is that a sure sign of an addiction in the making?

What have I learned lately?

1. How to properly set up a rooting chamber. I learned how to do this from this forum, especially from prior postings from Mike and Denise.

2. I have learned that if I don't train some species' new growth when it's young, then it's a very hard thing to do when the growth has become mature.

3. I've learned that many hoyas like more light than they are made out to need. Many places say that hoyas like shade or partial shade ... but it seems that many actually like very bright indoor light, and won't bloom otherwise!

4. I've learned that hoyas require patience. Just when you think a small cutting is taking forever to put out new leaves, there is a small sign of new life. I've reached the conclusion that hoyas are good for me as a person for this reason!

5. I've learned to start with the easy species. :) There's no point accumulating difficult hoyas as a beginner, I think gradual acquisition is a lot better. I'm slowly trying to build up my abilities before I put the $ into difficult species.

Beth

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 10:58AM
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pepeuve

Denise (5)

Can you see?: el metodo de la "campana"
thanks

Here is a link that might be useful: el metodo de la campana

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 2:50AM
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greedygh0st

/Beth I agree many people are being super modest.

I think it's nice everyone is giving their reasons for their self-assignment, because it gives me a feel for the criteria people use to define expertise. Personally I think there are different subfields. I guess if we lived forever, we could check them all off our lists, like girlscout badges. One for learning how to grow and bloom Hoyas successfully longterm. One for learning how to successfully propagate new plants and establish cultivars. One for identification and scholarly pursuits. One for collecting new specimens and understanding their native habitats. One for learning how to successfully send them to Brazil. ^_~ etc.

But we all have to pick and choose, so personally I think if you earn any one badge, that makes you a veteran in my eyes.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 4:34PM
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RedTurtle

I learned that when my plants start looking bad no matter what i do, that it is time to cut them back, way back, and to not feel horrible about it. They always come back stronger and more beautiful than ever. Even if some of them take their sweet old time doing it.
This is an awesome site! I just joined and am hving so much fun!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 5:02PM
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mdahms1979

GG now I wish I still had my old Boy Scouts sash. LOL
I am not so sure the uniform would fit but then again I was never vary fond of that floppy green hat and neck scarf thingy.

Mike

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 6:25PM
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cpawl(8)

I have learned that imperialis just hates me.Even though I love her.I am on my second one and after about a year it just slowly dies.I keep hearing that it grows fast and what not but not for me.

Cindy

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 6:47PM
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denise_gw

RedTurtle - you got that right! I remember the first time I learned that lesson, about cutting WAY back. About 30 years ago, I had this nice plain green spider plant. Loved it. Well, as it aged, it got very brown edges, probably from fertilizer salts. Well, it looked awful, but I loved it and rather than toss it without any effort to revive it, I took sissors and chopped everything off at the soil line and gave it some new soil. Within a couple weeks, there were new leaves emerging from the soil. Within a year, it looked like a million bucks! It taught me to never fear whacking a plant clean back to the soil. Now and then, I lose one (probably because I waited too long to whack...), but usually, it comes back with a vengence.

Cindy - I struggle with imperialis, too. I restarted it last year and it went south again this winter. So I whacked it back and am trying to start cuttings, which aren't looking too hot as yet. But I do see signs of new growth on the stump. I just don't get it, I guess... I'm with you - I want it to grow for me SO bad! Dang thing!

Which may prove I'm NOT a veteran! Ok, I'll accept "honorary veteran" because I surely have to be one of those who have been TRYING to master these plants the longest. We see Norma on here now and then, and I know she's been growing a lot longer than me, though I'm not sure about Hoyas specifically. Are you out there Norma? Tell us how long you've been growing Hoyas...

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 8:21PM
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rennfl

Here's what I've learned lately.

1. Lightly fertilize is relative.

2. Hoyas can take more sun that I realized, and seem to grow much faster when given more sun. (Plus the leaves are prettier)

BTW - my imperialis plants really started to take off growing when I started putting a little lime in it's pot once in a while.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 9:26AM
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lightning96(4)

Red Turtle - what you say is something that I need to keep in mind the longer I grow hoyas. I get discouraged when a plant isn't doing well, but as you say, that is an opportunity to cut the plant and redo it, encouraging even better growth. I like what you say, "to not feel horrible about it" --- so true!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 10:17AM
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greedygh0st

/RedTurtle Welcome. ^_^ Glad you're having fun.

/Mike What are you talking about? The floppy green hat is my favorite part! Very dashing.

/Cindy & Denise I belly flopped with imperialis too. It rooted easily and grew easily and then one day in fall it just spontaneously croaked with no warning. I just figure it's a sign I need to get one with Pug's coloring, right?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 11:26AM
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scsva(7/VA)

This is OT but same with pothos and philos. When they start looking straggly, cut them back. They come back with bigger leaves and fuller plants.

Susan

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 1:16PM
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klyde(8)

Mike: A little boy just told me necker and woggle?

Denise and scsva: Too true oh hoya master - when will I listen? Chop away. Had a lacunosa last summer that was leggy crap, although she had done wonderfully for a few years. Butchered it back, topdressed and fed like crazy. Holy crap on a cracker! Now I have 2 faboo plants. Same with bella. Chop, chop, chop (and then fertilize).

Cindy: if only love could make a plant grow. Oh dear sounds like a cosmopolitan article...

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 8:43PM
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