Should I mislead my Hoya like this?

greentoe357September 14, 2013

I divided a Hoya Wayetii into two pots and am experimenting with having one plant bagged in plastic for more humidity and the other one not; the other culture factors being equal. One of those factors is the plants are under a grow light, I should mention.

Just 9 days after having bagged it, the plant in higher humidity is shooting out A LOT of aerial roots. We are talking not just roots coming out of every node, but root nubs like every 1/8th of an inch or so in some stem areas. I did not even know it was possible for aerial roots to come out of random inter-nodal space (but that's not a surprise - I do not know a lot about plants).

New growth is always exciting, of course, especially in my decidedly non-tropical environment, but eventually the bag will come off, so I can enjoy the view of the plant instead of the view of the fogged-up plastic bag. Am I getting the plant to spend energy on all these roots that will probably die back when the bag and the humidity it brings both come down - when the plant could be spending its energy on something more productive instead?

On the other hand, humidity might also be encouraging root growth under the soil - and those roots hopefully will NOT die when the bag comes off and will provide growth for the above-ground parts of the plant. (Did someone just mention flowers? "Cause I do not dare, lest I jinx it.)

I do like the look of aerial roots a lot, but if they die later, it's just gonna be depressing.

So, a question (jeez, finally he got to it!): to create the healthiest look for my plant, would you keep it bagged for a while more or remove the bag now?

This post was edited by greentoe357 on Sun, Sep 15, 13 at 0:50

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teisa(6)

Well I have a similar circumstance with Wayetti. I put my plant in an old aquarium and it grew tons of new shoots and put out aerial roots all over! I've had it in there about 6 months. It loves the extra humidity (which most do). I've wondered what would happen if I took it out and gave another plant a chance in aquarium?

And in your case, you have opportunity to bag alot. So I would leave bag on for awhile :). Heck I may even try bagging mine!!! If you ever tried an aquarium, you would see what a difference it makes too (if you haven't already).

-Teisa

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 12:40AM
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greentoe357

Teisa, can you post a pic of your aquarium hoya? If this is 9 days worth of aerial root growth, I can't even imagine what 6 months in a very humid environment would do.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 2:55PM
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teisa(6)

Hey Greentoe,

Im gonna include a picture of my entire aquarium and then one with just Wayetti. Ive had to open my aquarium top because a couple Hoyas are growing up the top and it no longer closes.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 10:39PM
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teisa(6)

So here is Wayetti, I don't think its roots are all that long but they are all over the plant. It was just a cutting and now its grown to be a pot full. If I could close lid, it would grow even better :)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 10:42PM
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greentoe357

Looking good!

The leaf color seems different from mine, or it may be the lighting or the camera. I also see the veins on your Wayetii leaves but not on mine.

The fact that there is no roof on the aquarium changes a lot though, I understand. Humidity is not nearly as high as it would have been if there was a lid.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 12:01AM
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teisa(6)

Yes originally my lid would close. Then Kerrii grew long tall vines. Now I leave top open and hang a desk lamp over with a 2700k watt bulb. That is what causes the color change. It's what would happen in sunlight I believe. I'm hoping for it to bloom :).

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 1:02PM
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greentoe357

UPDATE TIME AND SOME EXPERIMENT RESULTS! (Sorry I am yelling - you'll see why).

It's been 15 days of my bagging experiment, and when watering today, I noticed a single flower peduncle on the unbagged hoya wayetii! If these mature, this will be my first hoya to flower! YAY! (here's the yelling again!)

Any culture advice for a hoya that is about to flower? I read somewhere not to move it and not to mist. What else?

The only other difference between the unbagged plant vs. the one wrapped in a plastic bag for the past 15 days is way more aerial roots in the bagged plant (already mentioned upthread). There is no visible difference in how the leaves look and no new leaf growth.

I am ending this experiment (unbagging the hoya), as the hoyas do not seem to care much for the humidity a plastic bag can provide.

Instead, I am going to try placing the previously-bagged plant on top of a light fixture where it's a bit warmer but slightly darker, so this next experiment is "light vs heat". The plant with buds is staying right where it is, which happens to be under a better light but no extra warmth, just the ambient indoor temperature. We'll see what comes out of it.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 4:23PM
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greentoe357

While I am at it, I'll mention Hoya Brevialata. Just like the H. Wayetii, I also have two plants divided from one, and the bagging experiment was also happening with those, also for 15 days.

Both Brevialata plants started sprouting new leaves (noticed just 3 days ago, the smaller more purple ones in the photo), but the new leaves happen to be bigger on the unbagged plant (the one on the right). My guess is it's because of slightly better light that those leaves were getting being slightly closer to the lamp and not covered in foggy plastic. Just like with H. Wayetii, the bagged plant sent out more and longer aerial roots in its more humid environment. Finally, the bagged plant's leaves seem a bit plumper /more hydrated, although the difference is not significant and may actually be entirely in my head.

I am going to unbag this one as well in order for all of Hoyas to get better light, which seems to be more important than humidity.

Final note. Both of the more successful plants happen to be in bigger pots than the respective less successful ones. I think I may have put bigger longer individual plants into the bigger pots and smaller weaker ones into the smaller pots when repotting/dividing (do not remember for a fact, but seems reasonable that I'd do that). So maybe THAT is why one hoya is about to bloom and the other's new leaves are bigger - simply because slightly stronger plants were selected for those pots. Which shows how silly and unscientific these experiments really are. They are fun though.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 4:42PM
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teisa(6)

Wow! Wow! Wow! I am so happy for you! I typically mist my plants daily and especially when peduncles are forming. They will get larger everyday. And when they are just about to open increase water just a bit. That seems to help them open completely. I hope that helps!! Please keep us posted.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 1:07AM
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greentoe357

Thanks for the misting and watering advice.

>> Please keep us posted.

Will do!

Meanwhile, inspired by this I just went on a bit of a shopping spree and got 12 assorted hoya cuttings from Joni (http://srqhoyas.com/CUTTINGS/BUNDLES). Not sure if the September sale is for real or these are pretty much the normal prices (are they?), but I bit the bullet anyway - even if the bullet was not being shot out of a gun.
:-)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 2:08AM
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greedygh0st

lol EXPERIMENTS! I love these sample-of-one 'experiments' too. Maybe our findings are unreliable and swarming with confounds, but sometimes we can catch the whisper of something informative.

@ (Paraphrasing) "Is it okay to encourage my Hoya to grow aerial roots when all its hard work will eventually be lost?"

I've had this thought a lot, and here are the conclusions I've come to.

Usually, I'm experiencing this situation with a cutting. And it is my belief that the aerial roots are able to provide additional support to the plant (however temporary) that justifies their having been grown, despite their short life span.

Second, aerial roots can't help but make people feel excited about the visible exuberance of their plant. And that makes us more engaged with it, which is always good. I once lost a whole group of cuttings because I just wasn't in the mood for more plants when I got them. I know that sounds terrible, but sometimes people are depressed. Anyway, it is never good to not care whether a cutting makes it or not - I think they can tell. >_> So, I say, aerial roots are good for my excitement, which makes them good for the plant. As crazy as that sounds.

@ (Paraphrasing) "The plants don't care much for the humidity - or at least could get more light outside the bag, which is more valuable."

I do think that it's coincidence that your unbagged Hoya is blooming and your bagged one isn't. Because 15 days just isn't long enough to determine whether one plant is going to bloom versus the other. In other words, I bet if the blooming plant had been bagged it would have bloomed anyway. As you say, there are size differences, etc etc etc.

I hear you, regarding choosing between high light and high humidity as, usually, both don't coincide (in our homes). But I seem to experience an equal performance boost with both high humidity and high light. What is most interesting is putting plants that are reaaaaally stingy growers in an aquarium, because some of them will take off like that was all they were waiting for. It's not always easy to predict, by looking at them, which ones these will be. Currently I keep my caudatas and patellas in the aquarium. Plants definitely bloom more in the aquarium. If I take them out, sometimes they stop. :( :( I think there's also a confound there, though, because they send down water roots and become kind of semi-hydro.

@ "warmth vs. light"

I am interested to see the results of your study! I am too lazy to provide heat except for under rooting plants. I used to have it in all my aquariums, but never replaced the water heaters after they died on me. The aquariums are still warm from the lightbulbs tho...

@ "what should I do for the buds"

Ha - I think this is one of those areas where people's buds crash and then they look for something to pin the blame on, often drawing illusory correlations. My advice is stay the course, just like you planned. I've never had buds drop because I sprayed water or anything else on them. I try to avoid spraying insecticides on them, of course, but its happened by accident with no reaction. I do think that plants consume a bit more water when producing their buds, so, you might want to be a little more watchful of how fast they dry out. But you still want to maintain the usual drying out period and not keep them soaked all the time, like suddenly they have become African Violets.

@ "Are SRQ sales 'for real'?

Yes, they are for real! The normal prices are a lot higher, because Joni grows a unique collection of Hoyas primarily consisting of species that would require time to track down, luck getting in on a group order, or expensive import costs. Obviously, the cuttings included in a bundle are probably not all going to be the rarest of the rare in her collection - but rather her best performers. (Which is a self-selection bonus in itself, if you are looking for easy-growers.) But, honestly, if even 1/3 of the bundle were particularly exciting, you'd still come out ahead. And if you're just starting your collection... go go go go! I've watched noobie Hoya growers place their first orders with Joni again and again (and been there myself) and people's first orders always look exactly like these selections anyway. So chances are you'll receive something close to what you'd have picked out in your first couple purchases, anyway. Except cheaper. YAY

p's. (shouting) CONGRATS ON BUDS!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 1:07PM
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greentoe357

Greedyghost, very interesting thoughts on aerial roots and other things. I just read it all again.

I do not regret that I was "misleading my hoya like this" at all now. The roots are still there, and I can see some of them died back only at a close distance. But hey, I grow to enjoy it, and I did enjoy them while they lasted. They are kind of like flowers that way, I guess.

Speaking of which, the H. wayetii buds are filling with life every day. No flowers yet, but the buds are growing (see the pic). I mist every day and do not let the soil dry out (watering my very chunky soil every ~3 days).

SRQ sale MUST have been for real because even before September was over, the "September special" was over as well. I got the cuttings today and already planted them. I posted pics and some questions here (http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/hoya/msg100027501688.html). Would appreciate some advice there.

Thanks again and I'll keep you guys posted on the "more light vs. more heat" experiment (so far nothing perceptible to report - I am quite LITERALLY watching grass grow HAHAHA).

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 1:56AM
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greentoe357

>> I'll keep you guys posted on the "more light vs. more heat" experiment (so far nothing perceptible to report - I am quite LITERALLY watching grass grow HAHAHA).

As soon as I said this, 24 hours later I see new leaf growth on both the "higher heat" and the "higher light" plants! The "higher light" growth is better - leaves are clearly perceptible there, vs. the "higher heat" hoya where leaves are just barely visible. So, there you have it - light is better than heat. Although I'll keep the experiment going just to see further how things develop.

In other news, I just found some insects crawling on and close to the soil of the "about to flower" hoya, which is also the "higher light" hoya. Pictures are here: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/houseplt/msg1022132810605.html. I would appreciate if someone can ID the pests for me.

Never a dull moment with these plants!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 2:18AM
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greentoe357

> So, there you have it - light is better than heat. Although I'll keep the experiment going just to see further how things develop.

Well they developed to the point where it's pretty obvious. The plant on the right was under a grow light and the one on the left on top of a grow light where it was slightly warmer during the day but less light was present. There are new leaves on the right, the longest being ~2.5 inches long. The hoya on the left does have some new growth as well, but it's much smaller, with leaves just sort of "barely there". The leaves on the right (both old and new) have this cool-looking maroon edging while the hoya on the left is all green.

Even within one pot the difference light intensity makes is evident - that top part of the bigger pot was actually situated closer to higher light intensity, and new growth is the strongest there.

A word about aerial roots (which is what this thread started with). I was expecting the aerial roots that grew explosively in a bagged more humid environment to die back once the bag was off, and some of them did. But many are actually still alive. Even the dead ones still give the plant a very unique personality. So, I am definitely glad they are there. Once the other hoya is done flowering, I might bag it as well for a while in order to get more aerial roots on it as well.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:13PM
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greentoe357

And here is another hoya (H. brevialata) - these two were undergoing the same experiment. The one on the right has many new leaves that also have this maroon/purple tint. There is no new growth on the lower light but more heat hoya.

By the way, ignore different fullness of the pots in both pictures - that is just how the vines happen to be arranged, and the difference was there before I started the "light v. heat" experiment.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:14PM
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