Hoya in a violin shop/Are Hoyas "hard"?

greedygh0stMay 9, 2014

Posted by amsten09 6 (amsten_09@yahoo.com) on Fri, May 9, 14 at 17:47

I have no experience with hoya at all. That being said I will share the beautiful specimen I laid eyes on today. I went to a local violin shop in portland to buy strings and in the window was the largest hoya plant I have seen. Vines kris krossing around the whole side of the shop and it had numerous beautiful blooms. I wanted to ask for a start but I thought that would be strange seeings how the shop owner has no clue who I am. Plus I don't know what I would do with it. :P

This being said I would like to know more about this awesome plant. from what I have read above i am going to take a guess and say they are somewhat hard to grow/bloom?

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That's funny you had your first Hoya experience in a violin shop, since many of the fragrances of Hoyas have notes of smells I associate with instruments and old music buildings.


There are a lot of different Hoyas and, of course, some of them are hard to grow and/or bloom. But, I would not say that most Hoyas have or deserve a reputation for being hard to grow. They just need well-draining soil (like mixing equal portions of bark, perlite, and potting soil) and a lot of light. They root from cuttings easily.


They do have a bit of a reputation for being hard to bloom, but that is just a matter of people not understanding the nature of the plant.

Misunderstanding 1: Not understanding how much light Hoyas need.

Hoyas will grow just fine in low light, but they need high light conditions to bloom. So, a lot of people will have a Hoya for years and think "it keeps growing, but it never blooms - why?" And the answer is, they need to put it in a nice bright east or south facing window and 9/10 times that will solve the problem.

Misunderstanding 2: Not understanding how mature Hoyas need to be to bloom.

Hoyas can and will bloom as soon as 6 months after they were rooted, if they are in very high light conditions, like a sunny terrace in Malaga, Spain. For someone growing indoors in a northern climate, they're usually going to take 1-4 years to bloom, given a good window and proper care.


Yeah, when people get into Hoyas, they do get excited for their first blooms because it does take longer than, say, an African Violet. So, you feel like you've accomplished more.

Again, just to be clear, typically our "near death" Hoya experiences are not ones we've had with the more commonly available Hoyas. It's just a typical experience when you get into collecting difficult varieties as well as hardy ones. But I have hundreds of different Hoyas and I would say 90% of them practically drive themselves, so to speak. And most people who come here asking for help with a sick Hoya have just overwatered it. Which is exactly how people kill jade plants, but no one calls them hard to grow. :)


It's likely the plant you saw was Hoya carnosa, just because that's the one that's been around longest, that everyone's grandmother seems to have had. It's a very tough, very hardy plant that will even put up with people who don't know what its ideal setup would be. I personally think you should have asked for a cutting. :) Because that's a neat origin story, and it's the perfect time of year to root new plants. (Not that you can't root a Hoya any time of the year - they grow year-round, given adequate light.)

Btw, there is a Hoya cv. Viola. :) That's what belonged in that shop!!

This post was edited by greedyghost on Sun, May 11, 14 at 0:35

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 12:22AM
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Maybe I will go back and ask for a cutting when I need to pick up a new string. It was a lovely plant and the shop owner is a super nice guy. Even if it is hard to get to bloom, from what you have said it sounds like a great reward for a healthy plant. I have always enjoyed Hoya I just haven't tried growing any yet.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 12:55PM
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Chat him up, compliment him on his plant (well-deserved if it's big and healthy and blooming), and do ask for a cutting.

These little store owners are very often the best to talk to - that is how they often stay in business, by being very sociable and likable.

The fact you bought something makes asking much easier, of course. Good luck (both asking and growing)!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 12:24AM
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Hoya carnosa is pretty easy. You should definitely ask for a cutting. I bet you're not even the first one to ask for a cutting if that plant has been there a long time.

I have also found that a lot of hoyas do very well in hydroculture. It is a lot easier to get the watering correct in hydroculture.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 11:50AM
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By the way, thanks for all the helpful information. :)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 12:14AM
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