dehydrated curvy wrinkly Brevialata

greentoe357September 3, 2013

Absolute majority of my plants liked being transplanted into gritty mix (one part each of granit grit, pine bark fines and calcined DE, all screened through insect screen and washed to eliminate dust). One notable exception is this Hoya Brevialata. It's been about 5 weeks since the repot and the little princess is just not cooperating! The leaves are thinner than they should be on a healthy plant, they look less plumpy, more wrinkly and dehydrated. They also curve outward as if trying to catch more light rays. But the thing is under a powerful fluorescent light fixture, so its hard to believe it wants even more light.

I do say dehydrated to describe the leaves, but it's not like I neglected my watering responsibilities. The mix is very well-draining, but DE and bark hold plenty of water, and the pot is not as small that the mix would dry out too fast.

I tried fertilizing (half-strength Foliage-Pro 9-3-6), then when things did not change, I tried eliminating that and just water - still no improvement.

I do add vinegar to water (1 tbsp/gal) because my municipal water pH is a bit too high at 7.2ish.

I just do not know what this fussy little princess wants! Communication skills are definitely not on its resume (or maybe not on mine! hehe)

When I repotted, I divided the plant into two pots - one 6-inch plastic, the other 8-inch glazed ceramic. Both are sad looking like in this picture. But this does give me an opportunity to give them different care. What factors do you suggest I should differ? I just started watering the smaller pot a bit more and the bigger one a bit less, but it's too early to see any results. What else? Both are under lights - maybe I should move one a shelf down for lower light? I am thinking of varying only one factor though and keeping the others the same, so that I can attribute the changes to one factor and do not have to second guess what causes things.

Any advice is appreciated.

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puglvr1(9b central FL)

That's happens to me once in a while when I do a repot...I'm not sure the gritty mix is necessarily to blame...though its possible it just doesn't like being stressed? The plant may have some underlying health issues or the roots aren't getting enough water, though I'm sure that's not the case here...

You can always up the humidity by enclosing the plant in an aquarium...but make sure it does have a little air circulation. Pop it open once in a while or leave a tiny crack on the lid...I've had on a few occasions end up getting fungus/algae on the plants and eventually lost the cutting to "rot" when I root this way in the summer since we are SO humid here...winter I don't have this problem when I fully enclose my aquarium...

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 10:37AM
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Hi, If this hoya is a EA hoya,I have to say good luck.The only time I can kill a large hoya without a blink of an eye is when I try to report an EA hoya.
Sorry I can not help.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 7:41PM
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Yep I was thinking about it being an EA Hoya also! It seems for me the EA plants take repotting hard! So like Pug said it may not be the gritty mix. It sounds like you got good advice on the aquarium so I hope it springs back for ya. Keep us posted!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:27PM
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It is indeed an EA Hoya! And now of course I remember reading reports that those often do not survive repotting, but I never saw a rational explanation why that could be and because of that I honestly just discounted them in my mind at that time. Then when I saw this hoya, I bought it without even recalling people's repotting problems.

I actually had bought TWO EA hoyas that day (and then made fun of how EA managed to misspell both labels in another thread), and surprise surprise - the other one is also not doing well after the repotting and dividing, although a bit better than this one.

The woman at the flower store where I bought them was telling me how she had had one of those plants (forget which) for three years before I finally bought it. She said nobody had been interested enough to get it home before me. (oh, mom-and-pop stores, you are adorable!) So, I am surprised how the plant can even "remember" whatever treatment EA people were providing it. Or maybe it was something in the soil - the woman never repotted them. I'd be interested to hear some plausible explanations why this may be happening with EA plants.

In any case, unless it's obvious what's wrong and how to correct it (thanks for all the replies, but does not look like it), I'd like to make an experiment and maybe a learning experience out of it by varying only one factor between the same plants - one plant but not the other into a humidity cover, or water one more than the other, or give one higher light than the other or whatever.

I do not have an aquarium, but I can put a plastic bag over it. Does anybody have any suggestion for another factor to vary instead, or shall I go with two of each plants into a plastic bag and two others without?

I'll report what happens with these plants for those interested.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 12:53AM
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FWIW, I gave up on re-potting EA hoyas. I just wait a few years until the roots fill the pot and little or no "soil" is left and then re-pot with a better mix.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 10:30AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

You can try using a Rubbermaid container...See Changchang's post . She posted a picture of her aquarium set up using a (rubbermaid) or plastic container.

I've used a bag before but mine cooked and eventually rotted. I'm sure its due to my very high humidity in FL. It might be fine for you zone though?

I too gave up repotting EA hoyas...there's SO many individual cuttings when they pot them up in their nursery... its never just one large rootball that comes off easily when you want to repot it...but hundreds of individual rooted cuttings. I think that's the reason they don't do well being repotted plus the soil they use is not easy to work with :o(

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 12:28PM
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Oh boy, I just bought my first hoyas, and they are EA hoyas! One was two smaller rope hoyas (compacta?), with curly variegated leaves, which I've repotted into one container. It seems to be doing well, knock on wood.

The other is a nice, fat hoya wayetii, which some dolt keeps watering when I'm not looking. I brought it home from the BBS really soggy, but didn't have time to repot. Then I figured I'd just leave it outside to dry out and take in some sunshine. The landlord has a man come over to handle garbage and sweeping the patio. I've left notes asking him to leave all of my plants alone, but I forgot and left the hoya out next to flower boxes he's responsible for watering, and it got soaked. I can't get this plant dried out! I've contemplated repotting to get it out of the wet soil once and for all, but now I think I'll leave it and cross my fingers.

I have no thoughts as to why these won't thrive for you, but I have had plants that look worse before they get better in their new pots. Hopefully that's the case here. :(

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 3:35PM
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Re Rubbermaid container as an aquarium... I have to put a light on top of it, right? (of course I do.) I only have one light. What's wrong with enclosing both hoyas into a big plastic bag instead, putting them under the light where they can share space with unbagged plants, and checking and airing the bag often to prevent mold? I think the bag I've used before has vents in it, so that should help air circulation a bit too.

Puglvr, you are spot on when you mentioned many cuttings in one pot. See this thread: I wouldn't ask you all to read the whole thing, but the second picture shows the insane number of cuttings EA people stick into their pots (the picture shoes groupings of cuttings, generally 2-4 per pile). Those are my other EA hoya pictures (Wayetii), but number of Brevialata cuttings was roughly the same. HOWEVER, I still do not get why repotting a lot of cuttings would often mean death to the plant while leaving the cuttings in doesn't?

Danielle, I agree I would not repot any of your EA hoyas if I were you, considering others' and my experience, however unexplained it may be. There is an easy solution for drying the soggy plant though - just pop it out of the container (it'll be pretty root-bound and the root ball should be clinging well to the soil) and wrap the soil loosely into something very wicky like newspapers or a lot of paper towels or a dirty cloth. Let it sit for a few hours, you might even want to change the papers/towels mid-way through if they become totally wet, which they probably will. Then replace the plant into its pot and give whoever has been watering it a stern talking to. Leave a scary note on the plant if you think that will help. While the root ball is drying, I would also insert a rayon wick into the pot and both ends out into different drain holes before popping the plant back in, so that the perched water from future waterings drains out faster. Ideally, the wick should be hanging a few inches under the pot, but even if the ends lie in the saucer underneath, it's still better than no wick.

Thanks for your words of encouragement.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 8:47PM
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Well, it finally dried out some (I did the newspaper trick!), and I was happy ... even left a post-it note between the hoya and a pretty pink blush aloe that has finally perked up for me: "PLEASE DO NOT WATER, THANK YOU!"

And what do I do? Leave them out on the patio when I knew it was going to pour down rain this afternoon. I'm my own worst enemy, it seems.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 3:05PM
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I have an update on my Hoya Brevialata. I posted it in another thread here ( The thread is on another hoya, but that one also was two plants, one bagged and the other not, so I wrote about both there.

Executive summary:

1. I think both EA hoyas / all four pots are going to survive the repot after all, as there are signs of growth.

2. Hoyas, at least these ones, do not seem to care about increased humidity. Higher light intensity seems to provide a better growth and recovery kick.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 6:25PM
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An update for everyone interested: this hoya has survived, has put out lots of rather unruly growth (leafless vines all over the place grabbing random things they can reach) - and it has just bloomed! I posted some pics here:

Both of the EA hoyas that were pouting after repotting have bloomed now. So yay!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:50PM
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