Hoya Gold Star - yellowing leaves, about to excise parts!

Asterope(SE Queensland, Australia)May 31, 2012

Hi all :)

I live in Brisbane, Australia which has a subtropical climate - most like Miami or LA - I leave most of my hoyas and orchids outside most of the year unless we have (very rarely) frosts - some of the local hoyas handle it very well though so I dont bother.

I have a Hoya Gold Star, which has been growing very well and very fast for approximately 15 months - Over the past 3 months, I noticed that it stopped growth, dropped leaves and the last stem from the node started to wilt and yellow - so i cut it. The plant seemed fine and not much happened for a month until I noticed random leaves developing yellow spots.

Spots would develop on both lower and younger leaves - I thought it may be lack of nutrients so gave it a liberal shot of worm juice - nothing.

I then thought it may be waterlogged and rotting, so repotted it into some new loose orchid/sand/potting mix. Cut back on the water (which I was loathe to do as it was still quite warm at the time) - still nothing.

It is now yellowed and spotted all over, has been dropping leaves and looks to be getting ready to yellowing/excising stems from the nodes.

I have attached pictures:

This is what it looks like on the stems where it is about to excise

I was worried it could be tomato spotted wilt virus - which is endemic to the area and has described symptoms - however the rest of my hoyas, and my tomatoes are perfectly fine.

I have taken cuttings of the vines and nodes which looked like they were about to excise and put them in a mix of light potting mix, perlite and orchid bark for drainage. I have left the base of the plant in its pot - It is winter now so I am not expecting too much :(

Any ideas what could be causing this??

Thank you!!

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greedygh0st

I assume when you repotted it you checked out the roots and they looked healthy and undamaged? How long ago did you take the cuttings? If they have rooted, are they showing better behavior?

I don't know much about tomato spotted wilt virus, so I can't comment on that, but its appearance looks just like, say, an obscura that hasn't been watered quickly enough, or a cutting that hasn't gotten its roots formed yet. If it were mine, I would be inclined to re-root it. Sometimes when a Hoya is failing, this is the fastest way to get it back on its feet. Even though it's a drastic measure, it has saved many a plant that has gone into sudden decline or even a cutting that never really thrived.

You do seem a very thorough sort, so I hope this doesn't seem like too much of a duh-I-tried-that answer. It's just that the culprit is usually the most obvious thing.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 12:52PM
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Asterope(SE Queensland, Australia)

Hi Greedyghost - thanks for your reply :)

I did check the roots on the original plant when i repotted it and they were very healthy, abundant but not too much for the size of the pot it was in. That was my original worry that I had somehow overwatered it and the roots had died... but they were OK.

I had only just taken the cuttings so I can't comment on how they are doing yet - im considering turning my cutting container into a mini greenhouse to speed up the process - i'll keep you all posted

When you say to re-root the original plant - do you mean to cut off the stem to the first node and attempt to root that? I have rooted various stem cuttings but never re-rooted a plant so i'd like to get it right :) Plus - I dont want to lose this one, i've heard its a pain to get to flower but it grows like a weed (when its growing!!)

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 8:05PM
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greedygh0st

Yes, that is precisely what I mean. I've had plants before, where the root system did not appear to the eye to be faulty, but the plant seemed frail or sickly. I can only assume that there were some problems there nonetheless, because when I rerooted them, they would never show the same symptoms again. Sometimes I wish I had done it long ago, but, you know, you never want to do it until you have to.

I am not alone in this experience. If you do a search you will find that many more veteran Hoya growers follow this procedure in times of need.

I hope you have luck as I am very happy you joined us here. It sounds like, with your area of study, you will be an interesting contributor. :)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 2:22PM
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Asterope(SE Queensland, Australia)

Following up on this...

I took these cuttings and re-rooted at the tail-end of the 'warm' weather here, needless to say they just kept getting more and more yellow and died :( The liddle catalogue has this one listed as a tropical cultivar - we have not had a particularly cold winter (yet) but I am guessing this one is finicky and needs to come inside as soon as the temperature starts dropping of an evening.

Bummer... time to get another cutting!!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 5:54PM
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mdahms1979

Some of the Eriostemmas are very cold sensitive. What are your night time lows this time of year?

Mike

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:26PM
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Asterope(SE Queensland, Australia)

anywhere between 15 to 6 degrees celcius (59 - 43 farenheit) but more on the higher side. It doesnt really drop below 10 (50F) here. Even for a place with mild winters it has been a very mild winter.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:41PM
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tropicbreezent

I've got this one that I got from David Liddle. As you say, it grows like a weed. Some times some of the leaves look a little more yellow than I think is normal but I've always attributed that to too much water. Brisbane has been getting a lot of rain this year, so maybe your plant hasn't had a chance to dry out sufficiently. Cooler weather this time of year wouldn't help.

Mine hasn't flowered yet despite the good growth, making me wonder whether it's the good growth that's making it reluctant to flower. It's getting to around the 3 year mark so hopefully soon. I've already got plenty of leaves in the garden, a few more flowers wouldn't go astray.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 9:23PM
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Asterope(SE Queensland, Australia)

This is definitely one I will be getting again - I really do like the colour of the foliage :)

I havent purchased from the liddle nursery yet, even though I have had this years catalogue for quite some time - how do the cuttings get sent? are they are decent size?

I'll be replacing the gold star and my calycina (which is also on its way out) from the liddle nursery - just wondering what to expect!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:22PM
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mdahms1979

Tropical lowland Hoya species are ok with night time lows between 15 C and 10 C. Sensitive species would be best closer to 15C but I think these are the exception. Still some species will really let you know if they get too cold.
As soon as you start dealing with species from the mountains/higher elevations they become much more tolerant of lower temperatures. Most of the Eriostemmas are from lowland habitats and they like it hot during the day and warm at night.

It seems to be quite common for people to post photos of their Eriostemmas showing what looks like chlorosis. Chlorosis (lack of chlorophyll) is usually due to either an unhealthy root system or a nutrient (macro or micro) deficiency. Eriostemmas commonly grow in alkaline soils so my first guess is that the plant is not able to use nutrients properly if the potting mix is too acidic. Are you using anything to help adjust the pH? Crushed limestone, oyster shell, or dolomitic lime?
The leaf in your photo does not really look chlorotic, at least there is still a lot of chlorophyll present. I wonder if in the case of your plant of this is not a fungal disease?

Mike

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:40PM
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Asterope(SE Queensland, Australia)

I was thinking exactly the same thing mike - fungi or virus... Tomato spotted wilt virus is endemic to the area and has similar symptoms. However no other hoyas have exhibited the same symptoms and my tomato plants are unaffected.

When I get a new cutting from the liddle nursery I will make sure it goes into alkaline mix.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 1:56AM
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tropicbreezent

Quoting Asterope:
"I havent purchased from the liddle nursery yet, even though I have had this years catalogue for quite some time - how do the cuttings get sent? are they are decent size?"
"I'll be replacing the gold star and my calycina (which is also on its way out) from the liddle nursery - just wondering what to expect!"

I went in to see David Liddle (not all that long before he passed away) to discuss which Hoyas would be suited to my climate. Later when I got back home I got him to post the plants. They arrived in really good condition, already rooted and in some soil. The cuttings were longer than what some others had sent me. After he passed away, his wife who is a school teacher was planning on selling the business which included a quarantine station for plants. I don't know whether she went ahead and there are new owners. David was an amazingly knowledgeable person and a great loss to the Hoya world.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 9:07PM
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