EA Hoya soil...

Drock(Z5 Boulder, CO)November 12, 2012

Hi all,

Finally took the Hoya plunge when I saw a hanging basket of Carnosa at HD. Yes, it is an Exotic Angel. Sold as 'Rubra', which I believe is more correctly identified as 'Krimson Princess'.

I know that it had not been in the store for longer than a week, but I also know that my Home Depot horribly drowns their houseplants. So, the first thing I did upon getting her home was to pop off the hanging basket saucer. Sure enough about 1/4 cup of water came immediately out. Since so much water came out just by removing the saucer, I figured that I should try and dry it out further. I did the gravity trick -holding the pot at shoulder height and letting it "drop", abruptly reversing direction at ankle level. This succeeded in getting out a LOT more water. At the point I decided to knock it out of the pot and see how wet things really were. It was sopping. I set the root ball on paper towels. Thoroughly soaked the towels. Repeated this three times and put her back in her pot. I then twisted up some wicks and stuck them into the drain holes. These dripped overnight. Satisfied that I had done enough, I decided to not mess with it anymore and wait to water when needed. That was 22 days ago. I have been monitoring moisture with a wooden skewer. It is just now getting dry enough to water for the first time.

While doing research I saw mention of EA Hoya potting medium being the kiss of death. So, I started reading up on that. It seems that most of the negative mentions of EA soil was mostly back in 2005-2007.

Normally, I repot new houseplants in Al's Gritty Mix and have had great success with it. However, I understand that Hoya's do not like to have their roots disturbed. Also, I am not fond of repotting hanging/vining plants. Especially if it is a pot full of cuttings.

I get the impression that in that last few years that EA may have changed their mix. Possibly meaning the elimination of Water Retention Crystals that seemed to be eluded to years ago?

I have not seen any decline in the health of the plant as it has been drying out. Just not sure if the 22 days was because of gross over watering or the EA soil or my particular cultural conditions. The plant is near an east facing window. Supplemental lighting. Temps are pretty consistent 75�-77�. Humidity is kept at 45-50%.

So, any recommendations? Should I repot or not?

I am willing to keep her as-is and be careful about watering. If I repot I have on hand; Turface, Granite Grit, Pine Bark, Fir Bark, Perlite, Charcoal, Sphagnum Moss, Pea Gravel, Coco Fiber Chunks, and Growers Gold Potting Soil. Of course, I would be willing to pick up anything else that may be needed.

Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance for all advice.


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Hi Derrick,
Pretty plant!

After reading the negative remarks on the EA soil, I moved a few plants into the gritty mix. The repotting really set the plants back. So, I thought I'd just leave the rest in the EA soil. They've been doing well for the last several years. So, I think you're right. The EA soil isn't as bad as it once was.

Still, I think it holds a lot of peat. Every six or so months I drench my plants in the shower. Not only to give them a good watering, but to give them a cleaning. The leaves are so beautiful afterward.

I have moved a few plants into the 3-1-1. I think I like it better than the gritty mix for hoya. Of course, all of this is dependent on your treatment and conditions.


    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 10:40AM
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Drock(Z5 Boulder, CO)

Thank you, Gail, for your response.
As much as I dislike growing in peat, I think that I will let things be. Continued research just keeps on bringing examples of new EA Hoyas suffering decline after changing the soil and stories of success just letting things be. I prefer to have as many of my plants in my own mix. Mainly for plant health, but also it makes caring for them easier when you have a large number in a consistent medium. I will just have to keep my Hoya in a special care category and monitor it a bit more closely than some of my other plants.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 1:09AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I still suffer once in a while from the soil of an EA Hoya & wish I'd give up already (I feel such an idiot thinking maybe next time'll be different). The last one I tried was a pretty & large hanging pot of some Lacunosa, Snow Caps I think. I got it, it was SOAKING wet, I took off the bottom drip trip & set it on a stack of newspapers to blot off some of the soaking.

This plant never dried out & I took cuttings which failed to root in water (which is quite uncommon for me). I was afraid to water it 'cause it never dried out, then finally I did & I think things were already rotting. I'm either going to trade it in for a Fish Tail Hoya (just blanked on its real name, oh Polyneura??).

Anyway, see, I'll still thinking I'll try again, really I should just get my money back & give up on that mix already. It may be true they have improved their mix in recent years, but I still can't make it work for me. Not for lack of trying, grrrrrrr!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Personally, I've never had any problems with EA soil...and they have improved the soil in the past couple of years. I find that the new soil requires that I soak the baskets in a bowl of water for half an hour or so. I do re-pot after around 3 years..and use a chunky mix...but, the hoyas never seem to flourish as well as in the EA mix. Years ago I disliked the EA soil. Derrick, I'd leave your plant as it is...it'll do fine...be careful not to over-water, as carnosa prefers to dry out between waterings. Fondly, Patrick

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 2:36PM
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