Is There a Hoya Personality?

greedygh0stJune 17, 2010

So, I've been poking around in various forums here on GardenWeb (cheating on my hoyas, yes, I know, I know...) and it's gotten me thinking because the character of each forum is so different! I've been reading THIS forum for a few months now & I guess I expected all the forums to be similar but go into the gesneriad forum and it's like a totally chaotic fuzzy-leaved rave. (I swear, they must have figured out a way to make crack from episcias)

So, here's the question: Do you think hoya aficionados have a "type"? Or as I suspect, does owning hoyas change US?

Right now I'm running with the theory that there's some overlap with orchid lovers, but maybe not quite so proper. You know, like, we use the correct species names and post trades in the correct forum and construct terrariums, but are still kind of nutty, because, face it, hoyas are just hilarious... and orchids are way more dignified.

Thoughts, anyone?

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I'm in agreement . . .AND if you check out the carnivorous plant forum, you'll be shocked . . . they can be very short with you and are not quite as friendly. Just my opinion.

But we're crazy and fun!!! Stay here. :)


    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 5:04PM
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Sometimes I find some orchid forums full of difficult people and competitive which makes them less fun to belong to. I know that when I take Hoyas to my orchid society meetings they are snatched up as soon as I get there. Orchid growing has become very in depth with fine tuning of potting mix, water and nutrients, light and everything else that you can thin of. I do find learning about those subjects interesting and I have all the TDS meters, RO units and light meters but I am glad that Hoya growing is not so exacting. I figure unless there is a problem why worry about things. I have been accused of being an orchid snob because I grow only species which I think is ridiculous. I don't want flashy hybrids when nature has produced many thousands of beautiful species. I choose a few different geneses and try to stick to them but I don't turn my nose up at my orchid friends who grow big flashy Cattleya hybrids, we all have to set limits or we would be wading through our plant collections. The hierarchy of orchid growing, judging and everything can be a bit silly but peole take it very seriously.

Personally I am interested in learning as much about the plants I grow as I can so knowing the botanical names of plants and where they are found in nature helps me make sure that I am giving them the care they need. I like to read about plants and tend to remember what I read even though I can't seem to remember much else. I also tend to spew info so be warned. LOL

When it comes down to it I grow plants because I love doing it and I get so much joy out of it. I don't really understand why some garden forums are so turbulent but some are just a hair away from breaking out into an online fight at any moment, not so much fun. The Hoya world is also like this at times but it is usually because Hoyas are still relatively new and many of the naming "bugs" have yet to be worked out and taxonomists and people studying Hoyas don't always agree. Most of us are just here because we like to grow these plants and although a correct name is great to have it's not the end of the world if I have a plant labeled as Hoya sp Bogor while another forum member got their plant labeled as Hoya pallida or verticillata. Even the most common Hoya carnosa will be in everyones collection and we all still compliment each other when we post photos of those common ones because they are truly beautiful plants and to many Hoya carnosa has a special place due to family history. There was many a Grandma who grew that plant and shared it with everyone who admired it.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 6:56PM
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Mike, well written and so true :-).

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 11:42PM
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kellyknits(6/WV Eastern Panhandle)

I agree - well said, Mike! By the way I like it when you spew info, I just wish I could retain it all!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 7:21AM
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lol! Carolyn. Is it wrong that now I want to go into the carnivorous plant forum and tip over their tables... maybe mix up some specimen labels?

Oh man, I just knew there were going to be some serious orchid people here. After I posted that I thought: Hmm... Jessica... maybe you should've let them get to know you longer than a day before you started calling orchids "dignified". I half expected to get a flurry of links to "hilarious" orchid pictures. Thank goodness orchids are instead being represented by Man of Reason & Knowledge: Mike.

Now, personally, I find orchids (/covers the leaves of the orchids to her left) absolutely terrifying. I feel like they're judging me... and that when they bloom, they are just showing me how much better they are than me, versus responding to my wistful desires. Whereas hoyas are more like willful kittens. lol Am I too insecure for some kinds of plants??!

But I'm totally down with everything you say, Mike. I'm a researcher by nature, too, and nothing makes me happier than learning how to define, measure, and tweak my variables. That's what I've enjoyed so much about this forum, so far. Everyone's got these hoya experiments in progress and they're tweaking the variables and reporting back. As you say, it's just a bit more low-key.

I also find plant origin profoundly fascinating and want to find a better system of collecting my notes so someday maybe I can group my collection according to some kind of geographical logic. I think there's something in the design of hoyas (and orchids for that matter) that make them impossible to ever isolate from their native habitat. Kind of like a tiger, you know? You can't ever look at them and go: "Ah yes, I can only imagine you in a terra cotta pot," the way you can with, sayyyy an african violet. Obviously st. paulia is found in the wild... but hoya kind of screams it at you. They seem so cheeky and independent-minded. (I know, I know, humanizing my plants again). It makes me wonder whether the people here, who love these mischevious viney things also tend to have friends and lovers with strong, quirky personalities.

Okay, now I need to go poke around some other forums and theorize some other plant personalities to broaden our line of inquiry.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 11:36AM
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Hoyas really are a care free bunch. Many orchids are finicky to propagate and I have lost many a division when trading Bulbophyllums including my new Monomeria barbata, I could just cry over that one.
Hoyas on the other hand are easy and unless you are getting plants from half way around the world they seem to root very easily if you give them some simple care. Sharing with friends is so much easier and that makes growing them more fun, well at least for me.


Here is a link that might be useful: Monomeria barbata IOSPE

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 12:30PM
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Aw. My heart goes out to you for your loss. I can see why you enjoy the species that have come out of nature's own private stock. I can't even wrap my head around that bloom. It looks like either it's going to eat me or it has coated itself with sugar for my delight.

Too much work (at work...) to continue my investigations on other plant personalities thus far, but just you wait, I'm going to have a treatise on Hosta people that will knock your socks off.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 3:08PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Mike, what you wrote is really wonderful, I feel the same way and its so true. I too enjoy your spewing of Kelly, I don't retain it all but truly appreciate it :o) This is definitely one of the best forums in many great members here! I learn something new and useful all the time.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 3:18PM
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Please do tell us about Hosta growers, it will make us feel a little less nuts for having so many Hoyas. I love Hostas and will be putting in a beautiful shade garden at my sisters this weekend but I find the endless search for new Hosta varieties kinda strange because so many look alike. There are some truly outstanding varieties and the new minis are very cute but there are so many other plants to choose from that a garden full of manily hostas would be kinda boreing to the eye. We have spent several hundred dollars on plants in the last few days getting ready to put in the new gardens but there was not a single Hosta purchased, humm might have to see if we can squeeze in a few new ones. LOL
Fingers crossed that the thunderstorms that seem to be forming in the region pass by because I have been looking forward to getting out in the garden even if it's not my own. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 5:15PM
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Hoyas versus Hostas: A comparative analysis

SUMMARY: Hosta people are nice; stand on roofs a lot.

lol Mike. I'm fond of hostas, too and it made me laugh when I toured the forum and discovered that almost everyone in it is from my part of the world. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa were all the main players, in contrast to this forum, which is much more evenly represented. (Hoya forum does seem to be a little weighted toward members from warmer climates... although this perception might just be my EXTREME jealousy of people posting pictures of their plants joyfully hugging trees) This is all pretty natural, considering zone 4ers are rather limited in what will flourish between the winters and the aggressive deer. So, it might be a case of finding the beauty in your hand of cards rather than a preference for green over purple. On the other hand, I'd rather like to have pictures of people's plant collections right next to pictures of their homes and wardrobes, because I've started imagining the homes of hosta lovers as painted in overlapping neutral tones of green and gray and their closets full of brown and black.

Your comment about a hosta-dominated garden did get me thinking. The hosta lovers certainly do not perceive a garden full of hostas to be monotonous - they appear to find the differences among their collections quite striking! In fact, the majority of their gardens posted appear to be just that sort of garden: a ruffled ocean of greens and creams. And that's probably fair because I do recall reading a post today about sp. Sarawak GPS 10073 where everyone here got *VERY* excited about lavender ^_~. It may be that in 10 years, my no-longer-n00b eyes will start to find the more subtle markers of hoya species much more poignant and I'll be able to jump into debates about snowcap versus royal flush. (You guys are so cool when you do that, btw). And then the hosta people will point at me and laugh.

The main difference I noticed between the hostalytes versus the hoyalytes is that it's... June... and they're already complaining about their plants starting to go downhill for the season. One of the many joys of hoyas is that although they may slow down at parts of the year it's one long journey, with them. No months of ragged leaves or snowcover. The hoya game seems to be all about coaxing new acquisitions into being satisfied and proceeding to grow and bloom - and once you've got the magic formula, they'll pretty much just look glorious and get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger forever. Whereas with hostas there's much less fuss about getting them to the happy zone and much more fuss about keeping them from being taken down. Like, if a hoya was a princess, she'd be refusing to sleep because of the pea under the mattress. And if a hosta was a princess, she'd be trying not to get put to sleep by an evil stepmother?

So, is the message here that hoya people prefer to fight with their princess than fight the attackers of their princess? ;)

That's enough about princesses and hostas, but I'm thinking since the hosta forum is always standing on a roof to take pictures of their gardens, they've put the hoya forum to shame. I expect a picture of one of those giant outdoor hoyas from a bird's eye view, pronto!

Here is a link that might be useful: Hosta Lovers = Brave

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 1:12PM
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At first I tough there were no Hostas in that garden but then there they were in the last few shots. We did end up putting in six big large leafed light green Hostas plus a couple variegated white and light greens, a few dark green lance leaved varieties and some cute little smaller growers. The shade gardens turned out to be not all that shady so we had to rethink some of the plantings. You know what's funny is that I like some Hostas for their blooms vs leaves. The leaves are always beautiful but some of those large blooms are gorgeous. I also like the little species with big blooms like Hosta venusta. My favorites are the varieties with a bluish blush to the leaves especially when mixed with greenish yellow variegation.

I am glad we Hoya growers don't have to climb on top of our houses to take photos, something tells me I would end up on the ground.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 1:44PM
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w Mike. It took me 5m to decide which link to include - but I thought that guy's photos looked more "daring" somehow, so I opted for it over the more hosta-rich rooftop postings ^_~

I prefer the bluish leaves too! Honestly, I think the huge ones that look like clean blue silhouettes would dominate my shade garden if I had one. Now I'm getting curious about whether I could pull off a 100% non-variegated grouping and still make it look interesting. Oh and I agree about the flowers - I have a soft spot for flowers that pop up up up out of nowhere on stalks (back to orchids again!). They look like a child raising it's hand for attention. That's why I prefer petrocosmea to violets, I think.

Glad your not-so-shady garden project went off without a hitch. Did you substitute in some sunnier plants or are you just going to let the shade lovers tough it out?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 2:58PM
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kellyknits(6/WV Eastern Panhandle)

I cannot believe that guy got on his roof! Impressive view though. About 15 hours of mulching, weeding, trimming, poison ivy, blisters, dirt groud so deep in the palm of my hand that it won't come out and my yard still looks NOTHING like that... I, too, am a hosta fan - have been for years! Probably have 20 some different varieties, but it wasn't until I started collecting hoyas that I even cared what the name of the hostas were! I'm with you, Mike, on favorites - love the variegated with greens and yellow, though - June, Stained Glass, Guacamole and the blues - Halycon, Big Daddy, Mouse Ears.
My sister is SC and won't grow them for the reason you said, GG (my cat's name is Gigi, btw - total diva...)- by this time of year they look like crap from the heat and bugs despite all of the new slug resistant varieties!

You making fun of me about snowcaps vs. Royal Flush?!? LOL Nothing really against RF - mostly just a space issue, although I do love my snowcaps! Two 8" baskets of lacunosa would take up much needed space for varieties I've yet to even obtain! Doesn't take long before the hoyas totaly take over....


    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 9:03PM
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The true shade lovers were put in a shadier bed in the back yard and I choose some bright pink flowered Salvia nemerosa for the boarder and some Salvia argentea and a really beautiful Artemisia species for some contrast plus a few blue fescue grasses. The Hostas are definitely the focal points of the front flower beds. Come to think of it a mass planting of the blueish Hostas would look great mixed with a large swath of blue fescue running through it like a stream bed.

Um GG I hate to break it to you but that's not a hand. LOL
Plants are um....very openly sexual beings. I guess we are just lucky that most are charming and beautiful while they do it.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 2:10AM
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Ohhh it wasn't just him - someone else started it and before you knew it, they were all up on their roofs. You know how hosta people are ^_~

Yes, Kelly, I am making fun of you, of course! Or of Mike v. Pirate the other day. Or maybe Royal Flush was just an easy target, seeing as it's on the tips of everyone's tongue these days, for some reason. It must be its magic hour. I'm starting to wonder whether different hoya species become "the plant of the season" around here and suddenly everyone has to have an endauensis. Maybe I can set a trend with the right photography and well-placed threads... brainwash you all into a sudden craving for.............................. .............................. ............................. ................ Hoya (Absolmsia?) spartioides.

LOL Mike. You know, something in the way you said that after I went on and on and on about them standing up up up..... Now I'm going to have to start trying to water without brushing up against anything 'sensitive' :P

What a great idea with the blue fescue stream, though. I'm going to have to put that one in my noggin and stew on it for a while. Great choice with the artemisia. It sounds like a gorgeous set of beds.

Oh, and Kelly, I'm right with you on how my interest in proper names changed for me. One day I even went back and figured out the true names of all the standard houseplants that creep along the borders of my formal collection.

/waves to Gigi

Here is a link that might be useful: Hoya spartioides

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 11:28AM
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