Exotic Angel Plants--Bites the dust??

sharon_midtnJuly 7, 2005

This was mentioned in another post, but rather than hijack that thread, I thought I'd start another post. Many have mentioned in previous posts that they nearly always lose their hoyas that are from Exotic Angel. They say the plant looks great for a period and then it quickly dies, without much warning. Since I read that, I made sure to start cuttings from any of my EA plants that I didn't already have cuttings from.

For those who've had their EA plants go to Hoya Heaven, how long did it take?

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A lot depends on how long they've been in the store, and how they've been treated there before you got them. Our closest HD really pours on the water. I once mention (on the Hoya Forum) the Wet Armpit Syndrome, where you reach up to unhook one of those hanging pots, and the water from the over-full drip tray all runs down you upstretched arm. A whole lot of folks were familiar with the feeling, so I think a lot of the plants get overwatered. Anyway, under those conditions, the plants can already have rotted roots and can fail pretty fast. I got an EA Dischidia a while back that I only saved via cuttings. It had started to lose leaves & turn to mush the second day after I got it. On the other hand, if the retailer has been stingy with water, the plants might be just fine.
I'd say that a couple weeks should tell the story of whether a Hoya was in good shape when you got it. Unless you're in desert-dry low humidity, repotting is the best course of action, IMO.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 11:01PM
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I agree with Jen's post! There's been a hoya brevialata hanging in the same spot at the local HD each time I go. Finally, I decided to take it and reached up to remove it from the hook and got a shower!!!

You can raise a plant in the EA soil but you have to be very careful! Overwatering is the problem! It's so hard to gauge the watering schedule.

What worries me is that all these places (HD, Lowe's, Hardware Stores, etc) are now just stocking Miracle Gro Aqua-Coir Potting Soil and I just betcha it is the same type that EA uses.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 9:20AM
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Ah ha! Maybe that's why I've had good luck (so far) with the hoya's I've bought at Lowes...they don't believe in watering the plants! I also use a moisture meter, so never water until they are fairly dry. I have taken cuttings to be on the safe side. I can understand how people could lose their EA plants if they aren't familiar with their soil mix, but was just curious if people suddenly lose the plant after a year or so, knowing not to water frequently. No telling what that stuff breaks down into after a longer period of time.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 9:38PM
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nanw_4wi(4/SW WI)

I got a gorgeous H. curtisii at HD about 2 years ago....I think it took about 7 months, all told, to lose it. I *did* repot it about a month after I got it, but it still declined.

I think the problem is that the soil on *top* stays too moist.

I've been watering these from the bottom....wait until they're quite dry, then set them in a deep saucer of water for about an hour....it's worked out very well.

It's the ones I watered from the top that had problems!

When you think about it, epiphytic plants really don't have much water near the *top* (and the little water they do receive at the top evaporates quickly....they're absorbing most of it down at the roots.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 1:04PM
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dufflebag2002(Calif. 91607)

What I have found that Hoya potted in Peat have problems, once they dry out it is nearly impossible to wet again. Coir on the other hand can dry out but also it will asorb water rather quickly. Hoya grow up the trees, not all of them, some are ground growers, growing in coral like soil, or worse along the beach and like it very dry. So water drains very quickly down the tree. They climb the tree to reach the top so they flower and are fertilized/ a pollinated by the birds, bees, ants, etc. They are not grown in Peat moss, or Coir. But decompossed leaves and live in the notches of the branches, or bark. Each species may have different requirements, so it is important to know where they came from.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 7:36PM
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Pinkylady(z5 MI)

I pinched off a branch (14")of my Hoya Compacta, stripped the leaves about two inches, stuck in tall vase, set it in kitchen north window, kept the water level to the top.
Yesterday decided the water was so dirty, took to kitchen sink, The roots were so thick and all the way to bottom of vase I could barely pull it out and washed off roots. The are a golden color. But what surprised me, had a huge blossom abou 2/3 way up the branch. My potted plant has never blossomed.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 1:05AM
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Mairzy_Dotes(zone 10)

Do you mean you pulled off all the leave except 2 inches, or that you pulled off 2 inches of leaves?
Also, how long did this take to form all those roots?
I have never had much luck rooting in water (they rot), and I am always amazed at the ease that others do it.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 10:39AM
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Hi. I am very interested in cultivating exotic angel plants and would like to know if, with the exception of Angel's Trumpet, the plants are toxic, because I have small animals. Thankyou.

Amy Crystal

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 4:09AM
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Nan - I find that I have the opposite problem with EA plants. The top of the soil dries, but the soil down in the pot is still wet. I was waiting for my newly aquired compacta to dry out so I could repot it in my soil mix. It felt fairly dry, but when I pulled it from the pot, the lower soil was still very wet. It was such a solid root ball, I couldn't knock much of the EA soil off, so it's back in the pot with just a little of my mix and mostly the old EA mix. Think I'm going to have to get a moisture meter myself for these EA plants that are still in the EA mix...

Yes, I lose an EA plant every once in awhile. Recently, I got a Lipstick plant that had been hanging at the Lowe's for a few weeks - I kept procrastinating because I've never tried growing a Lipstick plant before, but went ahead and got it when some of you told me their care is very similar to Hoyas. Well, it took about a month and the poor thing just dried up. **Sigh**

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 6:26AM
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bihai(zone 9)

I guess I have the opposite experience of everyone who has commented so far: I have no problems whatsoever with EA plants.

I hesitate to even enter this discussion, because this topic has come up before, and I am seemingly the only person on the entire forum who hasn't had problems with EA plants. Why? I don't know.

I have never lost an EA plant, or had one go into decline. They bloom well for me.

I have also never repotted an EA plant, except for the huge Multiflora that got so huge I had to split it into 4 separate plants. All of mine (and I have several) are still in their original soil, in the original pot. Some are over 5 years old.

Mine do get watered daily. But they also grow in an environment that lends itself to that: full sun, heavy air movement and more than average humidity. They are never allowed to "dry out".

There are a couple of photos of a few of my EA plants. I have chosen plants of different ages to show that, well, age doesn't seem to matter, for me anyway.

This is I believe H. brevialata. Its about a year old (ie I have HAD it about a year, how old it was before that at the EA facility greenhouse before it went to the box store I don't know) Its a pretty happy camper and has decided to leave the confines of its container and grow up the wall

This photo shows 2 EA hoyas and an EA Lipstick all growing in a mass together. These plants are about 7 years old. Before they got here to this environment, where they have been for about 5 years, they hung outdoors in the yard in summer and in the sunroom in the house in winter. They have completely taken over this section of the wall and grow far up and away from what you can see in this photo

This is an EA plant I have only had about 7-8 months...less than a year. It hangs from the bottom of a basket holding a Dendrobium orchid. It has grown up the hanging wires and will eventually grow up onto the steel supports of the greenhouse itself. It'll be really cool then.

It has always been a mystery to me why everyone seems to have problems with EA plants. I have my own ideas about it, which I have stated before in other threads on this same subject, but they were met with such negativity and derision I won't bother to state them again. All I can say is, mine do fine, I have no problems, and I grow them just the same way I get them, in the same soil, same container and with apparently the same "overwatering" that Home Depot uses.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 8:21AM
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Actually, you are not the only person on this forum who doesn't have problems with EA plants. I have never killed one and they actually do great for me. I just take the bottom saucer off and leave it off, and I don't repot either. Mine do not get watered daily, since they are indoor plants - but they bloom their heads off, so they are definitely happy. I know what your ideas are about why people can't grow these, but now you see people can, even if we don't have a GH and fans all over the house and high humidity.

Just to help with your ID's, your first plant pictured is H. nummalarioides, not H. brevialata. The one hanging from the bottom of the orchid basket is H. brevialata.

By the way - I know you said you "hesitate to enter this discussion", but it's from 2 years ago! Is there anyone else here that grows these successfully? I think in the 2 years since this discussion ended, there are a lot more people on here talking about success with EA plants on this forum, but I could be wrong.

H. kentiana:

H. curtisii (pic taken last year - putting on tons of new growth now):

H. brevialata (taken over the summer - even though it's in a new pot, the soil wasn't changed. It was so rootbound when I got it, so I had to get a deeper pot to put it in and I added more soil to the bottom of the pot):

A bunch of EA hoyas and other hoyas living in my bedroom:

Another view of those (pic taken from the outside balcony):

I also have a mutiflora that I gave to my neighbor (from EA), since I already have a 4 foot one (not EA), and it's doing great.

Another factor is that I have been lucky enough to get full plants that are rootbound (instead of the typical "pot full of rooted cuttings" that EA sells). I would say most of mine are rootbound and maybe one is just a bunch of rooted cuttings. So guys, if you can, try and get the pots that seem rootbound, since they seem to do better.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 10:59AM
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I have to agree with gabi on this one, I have lotttttttttts of EA plants, hoya's in general and I never repot or change soil and I have no problems with them. I don't think I've ever lost one.
I grow mine inside in winter and outside summers and they do fine and bloom nicely. I have a Lacunosa blooming now with six open and dz's of buds yet to open.
Most of mine are the size of gabi's
I will post a picture, I wish I could figure out how to post pictures directly on my post but I'll work on that. Jo

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 11:46AM
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bihai(zone 9)

Its nice to know that others aren't having EA problems. It just seems that whenever someone is having a problem, "EA" is always mentioned in the same sentence.
Your plants look great, Gabi! They seem to have made great strides since the last time I saw your photos. I have been busy and not been on the forums a whole lot in recent time.

I gave up trying to keep the ID's of my hoyas straight. Its not an issue with me any more for hoyas. There are certain ones I know what they are because they are extra special unusual in some way (like retusa, obovata, linnearis etc) but many of the others I don't really care anymore. The reason why is, I have a family of squirrels that have moved into the greenhouse. Mama squirrel has raised 2 sets of babies in there under the shade of my huge Pyrostegia venusta vine. They live in there in the winter, and move out in summer. They take great delight in pulling all my plant tags out of the potted plants and scattering them all over the greenhouse.

But, because I am a humanitarian person, I am not trying to run them out. I refuse to shoot them, or poison them with rat poison or antifreeze as was suggested to me by some folks on other forums. So several of my hanging plants have lost tags, and, since I don't really care any more exactly what they are (I just like them, that's enough) its a moot point. So feel free to "help me with my ID's" all you like, but it really makes no difference to me.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 1:26PM
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Thanks for the compliment, Bihai.

I do think some have problems with EA plants, and it probably has to do with the very peaty soil and the treatment of the hoyas by store employees (i.e., overwatering). However, if you know how to take care of them (because I do feel that they need slightly different care in comparison to hoyas that are planted in a loose/chunky mix - such as removing the saucer and watering less), then they really can thrive! I find that when people change the soil they have more difficulty for some reason - not sure why.

As for ID's, I understand some people don't care (and that's a personal preference - there's no problem with that unless you are going to trade or sell your plants). Just wanted to inform you in case you wanted to know, and also to avoid confusion for others that may have thought it was brevialata and went out to get it, only to be disappointed (I happen to think brevialata is one of the less attractive hoyas out there!).

As for the squirrel problem, there is a member of this forum (Ines) who has problems with squirrels ruining her hoyas when she puts them outside. She is only active in the Spring and Summer, so I'm sure she won't be here to chime in on it. But as far as the squirrels removing the tags, a suggestion would be to use those waterproof markers they sell at nurseries - and write the name on the pot. I tend to do that with some hoyas because I just don't like the look of tags sticking out.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 3:40PM
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Jan Sword

I have lots of EA plants that are thriving in my environment. I have most of my hoyas outside year round. I do take saucers off during rainy season, some times I have to move the plants depending on how soggy they get.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 4:42PM
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bihai(zone 9)

I just gave up on being so anal about my plants. I have been absent from all of the forums for a long while due to many personal things that have happened to friends and family...we have had quite the bad run of luck with family members and good friends passing away or having serious illnesses come upon them... a good friend of mine passed away, another was diagnosed with breast cancer, another who was in remission for lymphoma had new cancer surface, and my mother in law had a very debilitating stroke.

I guess I just realized that my little world is actually very narrow when others are faced with much more serious issues. So the squirrels scattering my plant tags seems, well, humorous to me now, whereas before, I would have been livid. As a vegetarian, I could never kill the squirrels, probably no matter what they did. One broke the spike off of an orchid that I had been waiting for the blooms on...it was a gift from a good friend and the flowers only had about a day left to open, and BAM he must have jumped right on top of the basket and it just snapped off the spike. But, it'll bloom again some other day and I will see it then.

Besides, my growing space is so very packed in certain areas, its almost impossible to even get through the ground plantings to check a container for a tag. You'd think I'd stop buying new stuff, but, well duh...I can't!

Me and Nikki Sixx...we're just addicts, LOL

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 7:31PM
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The pics you people posted are so darn gorgeous---you guys really know how to grow hoyas!

Regarding the EA issue: I've found I've done fine with them when I buy them at the nicer nurseries----no doubt the plants there get better care and appropriate watering. Buying EAs at a big box store is a no-no for me though---those people screw up the watering so bad from the get-go, I've found I can never save the plants from their downward spiral.

I loved ooojens description of "wet armpit syndrome!" I've suffered from that myself *many* times.... ;)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 6:52PM
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tepelus z6a SW MI

The people at our Lowe's apparently don't know what water is, and that plants need it. The soil seems to be dry all the time. Plus, they never have a very good selection of plants, usually the same ol' same ol', but occasionally I find something of a little more interest.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 2:57PM
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I too have found the Exotic Angel plants in the last two years. These plants are so interesting to me. So far I haven't lost one but mine seem to thrive on abandonment. I stick my finger down in the soil, if dry I water but if I feel any moisture they have to wait another couple of days. I do turn my containers around every week or so because I noticed lop sided plants and didn't like the way that looked. I have my plants out on my car port in the summer time and bring them in for winter.

I have never, however, tried to clip and root any of the plants. Please someone tell me how you decide where and when to try this. I don't want to throw the plants into shock or worse kill them. Also, I have never repotted any of my plants and don't know when that should happen. So far I have decided to leave well enough alone.

I do have a favorite Exotic Angel, Hoya Rope. This plant is the most interesting thing I've ever seen. It is a little stiff and feels a little like velvet when touched. The leaves are ruffled and feel like they are puffed up. A little spiked brown stick like thing grows out about six inches on the end of the plant and in a few days leaves start to grow out to the point. This takes place over and over again. I have one Hoya Rope which is about fifteen inches long and really full. I found out if I place this plant lower than the window sill it tends to grow upwards which keeps the plant looking really full. This plant is only two years old, that is I have had it two years.

I appreciate so much all the information you are willing to share with me and look forward to help rooting some Exotic Angel plants of my own.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 6:35PM
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