I love H. Lacunosa, but what do I grow next?

Tavimh(5)July 24, 2014

Last summer I did a lot of reading and selected a H. lacunosa from Violet Barn with my streptocarpus order. I wanted to get my feet wet with Hoyas. I think it is a cute plant and it did well. Early this summer it bloomed and kept blooming. WOW! I love having a plant for good sniffs about and not just for looks. I have to admit the flowers are not the most attractive, but the nose forgives all!

I see a lot of posts around here recommending H. lacunosa for beginners. Well, what do I do after that? I have some H. carnosa cuttings I got locally, but I don't expect them to live up to H. lacunosa.

What Hoya can I get that I won't be disappointed in? It seems like this plant is a hard act to follow. Fragrant flowers are addictive.

(Bonus points if it is available on Violetbarn.com, but it isn't a necessity.)

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Of the ones Violet Barn has, australis ssp. australis is a good choice - the flower fragrance is amazing. It's a fast grower, young growth has beautiful bronze foliage that matures to deep green. It gets large pretty fast. If you like the smaller Hoyas, heuschkeliana is a good one, though I've never detected any fragrance in the flowers. BUT, the flowers are absolutely adorable - like little Chinese lanterns.

Oh, and next time your lacunosa is blooming, look at the flowers using a magnifying glass. I think you'll find them much more attractive than you think at first glance. Or google it to see some really nice closeup photos. This is my best closeup photo - I've seen better...

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 3:28PM
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Thanks for the recommendation, That looks like it could be a great fit for me. It looks like it's out of stock right now. I remember seeing australis ssp. tenuipes and one called lizard isle as well at Violet Barn. I wonder how different they are from each other? I'll look for the one you recommended.

I will have to try finding a magnifying glass for when it blooms next (maybe in a couple of days) and do an investigation!


    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 5:08PM
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First off: I take my hat off to you for your awesome post heading. Made me smile, and got right to the point.

If you're good at Gesneriads, I have to suggest you grow serpens (usually available at VB). It doesn't meet your criteria at all, as it is not an easy bloomer for most people, but it's perfect to put in with a bunch of Gesneriads because it is small and delicate and ornamental and loves moisture. It would just do really well for you.

I had to laugh at your describing lacunosa flowers as "not the most attractive." It's like you just called our baby ugly. But I understand what you mean. The first time I saw them in person (especially having previously viewed them through others' macro photography) I felt like: uhhhhhhhh... let me get out my monocle. But then I was charmed by the scent too. It's especially lovely outdoors.

For scent & easy blooming:

I like Denise's recommendations and I'll get to that in a minute, but my first and foremost recomendation is… DS-70

You will see DS-70 on VBs website as tsangii (another old mislabel but they put the correct name in the notes at least.) This one smells strongly of homemade caramel and it blooms all the time especially in winter. It is like having a scented candle burning every evening (Hoyas are strongest at night because they are moth-pollinated.) Its leaves might not look very impressive in photos but they are the sweetest velvety diamonds with wine-tinged borders. It will bloom well even in a north facing window.

Hoya australis ssp. tenuipes and Hoya australis Lizard Isle are distinct from each other but not in any way that is going to be a big deal to you. I got a whole slew of australises from VB back in the day and my favorite 2 are (1) the one labeled by VB as simply "Hoya australis" which has beautiful large round leaves and (2) the one I received as "Hoya coronaria" (another mis-ID from old catalogues - it's actually probably a Hoya australis ssp. australis), which has attractive pubescent leaves. In terms of flower and scent, all the australises look and smell more or less the same. Some bloom faster. #1 bloomed fastest for me.

Heuschkeliana is a great recommendation. I never could figure out why Denise can't smell this plant. I got mine from VB and it smells like hot buttered movie theater popcorn - as strong as lacunosa.

I would also recommend something from the finlaysonii family if you get a chance at it. They all have very ornamental leaves, are easy to grow and faithful bloomers. They have a very typical Hoya scent, which is primarily spicy citrus with a hint of dank darkness like smelling a lemon just above the updraft from an old cellar. You have to walk up to it to smell it, but its very complex and nice.

Obscura wouldn't be bad for you either. It has a perfumey fragrance that is not very strong, but it's such a vigorous plant that it usually has multiple umbels going.

Or how about pachyclada? I find its scent quite heavy and beautiful and it's a gorgeous plant if you like succulents.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 5:56PM
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Thank you for the thoughtful recommendations! I'm not really calling your baby ugly, it is just not your typical flower. If I thought it was ugly I'd just compliment the pot it's in extravagantly instead. :)

It is a very charming hoya once you know it. Lacunosa has made me realize that I love small cascading foliage and I think DS-70 sounds wonderful! It will be great to have some winter blooms. I'm wondering if lacunosa will slow down or stop blooming in the winter, either way it's great to have flowers for the restless winters indoors.

At first I thought " oh Heuschkeliana is darling!" then I thought "I am going to want so much popcorn...and then I'll watch movies and never leave the house again ahhhhhh!" and now I'm back to "but it's soooo cute!" I think I need to try it! You've certainly narrowed in on the cute small leaved hoyas.

I've been toying with the idea of an australis, but I didn't know which one to get. I've read praise, and then I've read that they are reluctant bloomers. This is what I imagined Hoya flowers would look like, and the nearly solid white is very elegant. I'll try and get the plain austrails or "coronaria" if it's available - finding everything you want on VB can be tricky. I think they update every two weeks and then things are unlisted as they go out of stock. I play fantasy shopping there and fill my cart - today they have 4 out of 7 things I'd like... so I'll wait because it might be getting near update time.

Thanks for mentioning the VB alternate names - I would have never figured it out on my own. I remember almost getting "coronaria" from them last year, but the image searches didn't match what they were selling. I just wasn't able to find anything about it under that name.

The others sound very cool, and serpens sounds like fun to try (your right I have a considerable amount of gesneriades). But three hoyas is already two more than I thought I'd be getting this time around! I'll be putting obscura, finlaysonii, and pachyclada on my list for now. VB has obscura var. longepedunculata which I hope is a good one.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:00AM
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I've done a lot of thinking and researching. I definitely want a H. australis - but it might have to wait. There is a very good chance I may be living/working abroad for a few years starting next fall so all my plants will be living with my mother. She's great with plants, but very busy. I have to accept that some of my plants may not make it. It'd be a shame to start a Hoya that needs a few years and possibly have to start all over again when I get back home.

The big question is: of the Hoya varieties that were recommended, which have a chance of blooming for me by next summer? It seems like DS-70 is an early bloomer. Could a H. australis bloom for me before I leave? Is it true that H. pachyclada is an early bloomer?

I really appreciate your help - I like to know everything about a plant before I adopt it. ...It's going to be so hard to leave my plants :(

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 2:41AM
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Your very best best is heuschkeliana, multiflora, and lanceolata bella. I have given those 3 to numerous new-Hoya-owners and they always bloom quickly.

For me, DS-70, pachyclada, finlaysonii, patella, lobbii, are all quick reliable bloomers.

I can't really judge australis because I had mine in a north window for a few years before I moved them in with the main group. 2-3 started blooming for me w/in 6m after I brought them into good light, which tells me they would have bloomed sooner if I wasn't denying them light. But not all of them have bloomed to this day, so it's important to go with a recommendation. I think, going from the VB size, a bloom within 1y would require very good light, but it's possible.

The good news is that your mother is unlikely to kill an australis. They are really tough!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 12:42PM
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