I nearly killed two Indian Rope plants!

melangeJune 6, 2012

Greetings All!

I have two Indian Rope plants that were given to me, both with luxuriously long trailing stems.

Allow me to illustrate how much of a newbie I am at keeping plants. When I brought the plants home, I didn't look up their care instructions. Then, because they were both hanging plants, I hung them from the first available spot I could find. From the eaves on my apartment patio. Outside. In JANUARY.

You may all want to kill me by now. The poor hoyas. Work had me in such a flurry, I barely noticed that they were turning brown and wrinkled from the cold and wind! Now, I'm turning over a new leaf (pun intended, sorry!) and trying to be a good plant mother. I brought them inside and put them in my well-lit bathroom.

Now, my question is: What do I do with them? The leaves are all wrinkled, some are brown and dry. Should I cut off the brown dry ones? Wait and let them fall off naturally? Will the wrinkled leaves ever recover? Will the *plants* ever recover? Where do I go from here?

Ideally they will be repotted into nice ceramic pots.

Link to photos here: http://flic.kr/ps/m1y9S

Thank you all for your help from this (hopefully not) hopeless newbie...

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Sorry, I see no Hoya in your trio of pix. I was looking to see if there were any green leaves, if plant was still alive or not.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 8:07AM
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Aw. Well I admire your candor lol.

Well at least now you know that Hoya compacta (aka Indian Rope) is not cold hardy to zone 17. I know some of the Floridians leave certain Hoyas out for at least part of the winter, and some are even able to survive grown in the ground. But they also have catastrophes like this when the weather dips lower than they are used to.

Like PG, I only saw 3 non-Hoya photos when I visited your photostream, so maybe when you have time you can post a new link. There is a guide for posting photos here if you need it. We can give you some general advice, but a picture would help a lot. I am assuming that since you described some leaves as brown that the 'wrinkled' ones must still be green.

The survival at this point depends on what you have to work with, as it is unclear how far the damage extends. If the roots are damaged, you will need to restart the plants from cuttings. If it were me, I'd cut off several sections with the healthiest looking leaves, of about 2-3 nodes (the bumps where the leaves come out). I would let them rehydrate in some pure water overnight (ideally R/O or distilled), and then pot them up in a small pot, with the bottom node touching or underneath the soil line. Then I'd give them really super super good humidity. If they are already traumatized you really have to baby them if you want a chance. You can do this by putting the whole pot inside a big freezer bag, closing it up, and putting it somewhere it gets indirect light (NO direct light - it will cook). Then just open the bag periodically and blow some new air into it. Sticking them inside a clear tupperware container also works well, if you have one you can temporarily reconnoiter.

It could be that the roots are still okay on your primary plants. If they are not too far gone, the best situation for them to recover would be some nice gentle light, like an east window, and some extra humidity like a pebble tray. It doesn't really matter if you decide to let the brown leaves fall off on their own or snip them off with some sterilized scissors.

Hang in there. I've killed a compacta myself and it sucks. But with Hoyas it's not over until it's over, and even then sometimes there's hope.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:32PM
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Thank you GG and PG! Not sure why the photos disappeared off of Flickr, but I'm embedding them here. Thanks for the link!

What do you all think? Also, if I can repot them, should I keep the pot about the same size as what they are in now? And then that pot should go in a tray with pebbles? Should the soil be a succulent mix?

This is how most of the leaves look- green and wrinkled. Some of the green ones also have some frostbitten brown spots.

These are some of the brown, dry leaves that I'm not sure what to do with. There aren't a lot like this, fortunately.

Here are the plants in their new home. The light is coming from an east-facing window that is up high next to the bathtub/shower.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 5:25PM
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Hey guys, I'm having the same problem as melange, except I don't have the brown leaves. Has a solution to her problem been found?


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Hi Roger - say more. Where are your hoyas? Were they doing OK and suddenly went down? What kind of temperature and light do they have? How often are you watering, and what are they planted in? Do you know whether or not they're rootbound? Have you checked for critters? Can you post a photo or two?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:39PM
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Thanks so much for your help. I'm going to try to answer your questions in order. I'm a novice, so I hope I'm giving the info you're looking for. Here goes

The hoya is on the windowsill in my office. There's a pic of it sitting in the sill. The plant was doing OK when I first got it, but a few months in I noticed some shriveling. I didn't give it much thought until all of the leaves started to shrivel. I'd say it took six mos. to get in this shriveled state.

It gets about a workday's worth of indirect sunlight and I think I got the plant around March, so it's been indoors -- I live on the east coast -- during the spring and summer.

I water it once a week, but when I noticed the shriveling a dryness of the leaves, I still watered it once a week, but gave it more water per watering. I don't think the plant is root-bound and it has no critters.

So, what do you think? I'm sending the link of three pics using Dropbox, which I've never used before. Hopefully, you can see them. If not, I'll try to send them a different way.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hoyas

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Excellent coverage, Roger. I believe in your case, the root system was damaged. Probably it got too much water at some point, and Hoyas can be sensitive to this. In fact, that's how I lost my Hoya compacta. Any number of things can destroy a root system, but the result looks like... your pictures. No matter how much water you give it, the plant can't take it up anymore.

If I were you, I would take cuttings ASAP. I don't think the Hoya will recover left as it is. All you need to do is cut sections of vine and stick them down into the soil, so that a node (the part where the leaves emerge) is touching or underneath the soil. Remove the leaves if they will be more than partially underground. To help promote humidity during the rooting process (which is a good idea, since the leaves are so dehydrated at this point), put a large freezer bag around the entire pot and blow fresh air into it periodically.

You might also want to allow the vines to rehydrate in room temperature distilled water for a few hours or overnight, before you start the rooting process. That will help them out.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 11:18AM
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Thanks, Greedyghost.

I'll take cuttings and plant them, per your suggestion. Someone actually told me that the plant was a goner, but I thought since it was still green (though shriveled) it was still alive.

I have another Hoya that I'll be sure not to over-water.

Well, wish me luck. And, thanks again for your help.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 2:50PM
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Good luck!! Re-rooting a Hoya is a routine medical procedure. I'm glad you're going to give it a try. :)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 3:09PM
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