Sensitive to leaf damage

greedygh0stApril 17, 2014

I've meant to bring this up for a while now.

There are definitely some Hoyas in my collection that have more sensitive leaves. For example, if I spray my entire collection with something like a low concentration soap solution, there will be 2-3 that will show marks on their leaves. Of course, I've learned to avoid spraying anything on these particular plants.

So, I was wondering which of your Hoyas have "sensitive skin."

Two off the top of my head are vitiensis (both flower colors are the same - they don't like anything I spray on them), and one of the ellipticas that I have. Next time I water, I'll write down the others. I remember while I'm looking at them.

On the opposite side, of course, you have the Hoyas that even the mealies leave alone. I think if I had a fire and my whole collection got wiped out, I'd start a new one with only these tough-leaved species and then ONE flat of yummy thin-leafed species, so the various waves of infestations always occurred in the same location. I mean, you can literally have a "soft" Hoya twined around a "tough" Hoya and the bugs will not spread to the tough one. I guess unless you let the situation go all to hell and they ran out of the good plants. Of course, then I'd probably get root mealiesâ¦

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I find that I cannot even spray my ellipticas with plain tap water or within a short period of time the leaves look all pitted. The only other Hoya that I can think of off hand that had sensitive skin was Hoya meliflua ssp. fraterna, which has always been extremely susceptible to slime mold if kept too humid.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:10PM
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Yeah, it's interesting you mentioned that, because I was thinking the same thing, that I'm pretty sure I've had reactions from some Hoyas JUST from plain water. And pitting is exactly what I'm talking about.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 5:03PM
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I hadn't even considered that some were sensitive to any kind of spraying, so I find this interesting. I sometimes wonder what causes spotting on leaves, especially when I know a Hoya is very protected. I have noticed, on the other hand, how sensitive some are to even the most minuscule disturbence when the leaves are young. I find very few leaves of meliflua make it to maturity. I'm very careful with my misting around those kins of species because a firm stream is enough to make the young leaves abort.

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:47PM
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That's also a really interesting leaf-issue to discuss, Denise. I have noticed this about meliflua as well, which is weird because it's such a hearty-looking species.

Unfortunately, I am pretty hard on my new leaves, because my plants get moved a lot, so I am the first to discover which species are precious about their new growth⦠I should start making a list for that, too.

This post was edited by greedyghost on Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 13:41

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 1:39PM
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I do not grow any of the above-mentioned species, and I'd be interested to see this sensitivity to pure water spraying in pictures from somebody. What is this pitting you guys are talking about?

I gave all my plants a prophylactic soap spray for the first time several weeks ago, and none of them showed any negative reaction. Most of all I was worried about a Miltoniopsis orchid in bloom I had just gotten prior to the spray, and that one HAD to be be sprayed, I felt, because it was new to me, and I have no space anymore for quarantining plants. I did not dare hitting the flowers, although I am thinking that may be necessary if one is serious about bugs. Is it?

After that, I've been spraying water almost daily and sometimes twice a day (new water sprayer, like kid in a playground, long story haha), and that did include spraying the flowers, and everything was ok. In fact, a couple of the Miltoniopsis flowers were browning at the edges likely because of low humidity, and spraying seems to have stopped that.

> you can literally have a "soft" Hoya twined around a "tough" Hoya and the bugs will not spread to the tough one.

The analogy I have is: put a steak and steamed broccoli on my plate, and you bet I am going for the steak first, and the broccoli - well maybe later. Does this help understand what's happening? Haha

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 5:37PM
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Re: Spraying buds

I haven't seen mealybugs on my Hoya blooms before - but I do try to nip outbreaks in the bud (no pun intended.) I know on kalanchoes mealies are definitely seen tucked all in and around the flowers.

I try to avoid spraying buds, but sometimes I screw up and although it may have caused me to lose buds somewhere along the line it usually doesn't.

Of course, some species are much more precious about their buds. It seems like most Hoya buds you can knock about, but some species won't even let you verrrry gently move the plant.

Then again, maybe they are just aborting for some other issue they are sensitive about and we just attribute it to moving the plant b/c that's the thing we clearly remember doing. If only we had 100 plants of the same species and maturity blooming at the same time, so we could move 50 and leave 50 standing then see what happened⦠and then repeat the test for every Hoya species.

Re: "Yummy" Hoyas

I think the mealybug's Hoya feast dilemma is probably more similar to deciding between a coconut and a banana for breakfast when you're starving and in a hurry. Both are delicious, but omg coconut⦠why don't you want me to eat you?! It's pretty obvious that they prefer the soft-skinned species versus the challenge of getting through a caudata leaf's armor.

Re: Spraying for humidity

Neat example about the Miltoniopsis. Yeah, even though the humidity disperses quickly etc etc I still think spraying is beneficial. The plants do seem to visibly perk up.

I recently contracted this cold bug that gave me 3x the normal level of every symptom. I always thought humidifiers in a medical context were 90% placebo effect, but I started mine up and pointed it at my face and I experienced more relief than from any drugs I was taking. I was like: aw yeah, I get you now, plants! I get youâ¦

I guess my point is, even when the humidity is a very temporary increase, that doesn't mean that the plant isn't drinking it up in absolutely delirious pleasure. ;)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:17PM
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Here's a picture of pitting on my chlorantha that a took a long time ago:

Hoya chlorantha

And the next two are pictures of both my varieties of vitiensis:

Hoya vitiensis

On this one you can see severe leaf scarring because it took me a while to figure out what I was doing to it. I, of course, thought I had insects, so I sprayed it even harder. (sighâ¦)

Hoya vitiensis Fiji Yellow

I have avoided spraying this one since I got it, but it still has some light scarring from being near plants who were being sprayed.

I only showed all these pictures because most pitting looks more like the chlorantha or even brownish-grey and dried out looking. But the vitiensis leaves get this crazy yellowish look, which is really just where the leaf cells have collapsed and the leaf has become "thinner" and more translucent. :\

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 2:23PM
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Just to clarify, the damage to those chlorantha leaves occurred before it came to me, so I'm not sure what caused it. It's just an example of pitted leaves. I have not found this plant sensitive to being sprayed with anything I use.

Incidentally similar patterns can be caused by viruses, but since I've seen the damage occur in real time on my vitiensis I know the cause in this case... me! >:( Happily all the younger leaves are pretty now and eventually I'll just have to bite the bullet and prune these.

This post was edited by greedyghost on Thu, Apr 24, 14 at 1:16

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 1:13AM
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I do have those yellow spots on a few of my species, but I'll have to check for the pitting. I did not even pay attention to that. Thanks for the photos, GG.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 5:20PM
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I suspected this is a problem for my H. incrassata. Any guidance with caring for this one would be appreciated. Leaves always look dehydrated, don't want to overwater it. I enclosed it in plastic for a few days and it still looks the same. Only one in the bunch with this problem.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:40PM
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I grow several varieties of incrassata and I haven't found any of them to be troublesome. In fact, I would describe this as a pretty tough species.

Is it a variegated or solid green incrassata?
How old is your plant? Newly rooted or established?
Has it always appeared dehydrated or is this a recent change?

If it is an established plant, my gut says that there is something wrong with the root system and you should try re-rooting it. It just isn't the type of plant that should get wrinkled that easily.

In my mind, re-rooting a Hoya is just part of life. You can be growing a plant successfully for years, and it will suddenly start looking abnormally dehydrated, and if it doesn't turn around after one watering cycle, I re-root it. It fixes the problem every time, as long as you don't let the plant decline so much that it has no healthy vine left.

Anyway, give us some more details and a picture if you can.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 10:38AM
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This is an established plant I bought in December. I had it in a window with morning sun. When it began to look dehydrated I moved it under artificial lights which didn't seem to help. I repotted in chunkier mix 3 weeks ago, moved to a window with no direct sun. I expected it to 'perk up' immediately. Is it too soon for it to show improvement?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 1:39PM
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Oh my. Thanks for the picture.

Yes, definitely re-root it. No amount of bagging it or relocating it will help, because there is definitely a problem with its root system.

Probably at some point it was underwatered or overwatered and now its roots are damaged. It happens to everyone. The only solution is to start its roots over. I know it sounds drastic, but it will turn right around, and you'll have this whole business behind you in no time. (Yes, 3 weeks is too long to wait for signs of improvement. It's only because incrassata is so tough that it's still got so much life in it.)

Sorry, I know you were probably hoping to avoid doing this, but as someone who has lost many a plant hovering and trying intermediary methods instead of leaping for my knife, I encourage you to begin the re-rooting TODAY. If ever there were a candidate for it, you have it.

If it were mine, this is what I would do.

1. Using a sterilized tool, cut it off from its roots, at the lowest node.

2. Soak the whole vine overnight in a container of room-temperature water.

3. OPTIONAL: Cut it into 2-4 sections. (You can root it whole just fine - sometimes it's just nice to have a few starts in case one of them fails. Your plant is already very dehydrated so it will be starting from a disadvantage.)

4. Pot up in chunky mix, making sure at least one node is in contact with the soil.

5. Put potted cuttings in an aquarium, or bag them. (Since it's already dehydrated, I do think it would benefit from this extra indulgence).

This post was edited by greedyghost on Mon, Apr 28, 14 at 14:46

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 2:37PM
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Wow that bad huh? I will cut right away and will follow all 5 of your steps even the optional #3. It is one stem branching into 3 vines enough to cut into sections. I really want to save this one. Thank you sooo much for recommendations.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 6:34PM
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Well, it looks both bad and good, to me. Bad, because it definitely can't survive without intervention. Good, because there's still plennnnnty of life left in it to re-root. I don't foresee you losing this plant.

Yes, that's plenty of vine to turn into 3 generous cuttings. That's probably what I'd divide it into, too.

Make sure you keep it in indirect light (artificial light is fine, too) and don't let the soil dry out too much while it's rooting. Then you should be a-okay!

Good luck :)

This post was edited by greedyghost on Tue, Apr 29, 14 at 10:12

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:23PM
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A positive side effect of restarting a plant is that you often begin with a fuller looking pot right away because you have all these generous size cuttings. I find the sight of little cuttings rooting, as adorable as it is, also sort of sad and lonely. Love the look of full pots.

I also find that I'd often like to change the pot to one that fits the plant's looks, growing habit or personality better, and so this is an opportunity. If there's a need or want to amend the soil recipe, this presents a great natural opportunity as well.

Silver lining!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 10:28AM
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