Variegated Hoya not doing much

jszymborskiNovember 4, 2010

Howdy --

I bought a small, starter variegated hoya last August (it might be a Krimson Queen, I'm not sure -- it was just labelled "house plant"). It hasn't really done much since I bought it -- in fact, it looks exactly the same. It hasn't died, and I haven't done anything in terms of pruning, but it hasn't grown!

I let it dry out between watering, and have tried a balanced fertilizer once in late September. It gets full sun for ~4 hours a day, and a couple extra hours on either end.

Here's a picture:

When purchased:

Few days ago:

I lost that one blossom on top fairly early on. The other one is still there, it's just cut off at the bottom of the picture.

Also, as you can see, those leaves are spotty -- I mist them fairly regularly. What can I do?

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When you repot Hoyas they tend to focus on forming a larger root system and seeing as the pot your's is in is probably quite a bit larger than the one it came in you can expect it to be busy growing roots for a while before you see top growth.

Hoya carnosa is not a terribly fast grower or bloomer but my plant that came in a 2.5" pot bloomed in under a year. Sometimes a plant can take several years to bloom from this stage but because yours has good sun it should grow fairly fast. Let the top of the soil dry out a little but don't let the potting mix dry right out. The new vine could have died back due to the root zone becoming too dry. Growing in clay pots means you will have to water often during warm weather. An established plant with a large root system in a clay pot could need water every day during the summer, plastic pots are easier for many people to manage when it comes to watering.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 5:51PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Yes, I believe that is a KQ. Also that's one of my favorite Hoyas & I have to say not a fast growing one.

I'm w/ Mike on this, the pot's too big, I have better luck starting them in smaller pots. I too use plastic pots for them (as small as possible) & humidity trays under them. Many of my Hoyas are fine in 3" pots.

As we go into Fall & Winter, it won't be speeding up in growth, sorry. I don't mist, I suspect that's giving you those spots, which you could wipe off maybe w/ a bit of lemon juice on paper towel, otherwise, I'd ignore it.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 6:07PM
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Try cutting it back. The first photo shows some all white leaves. Did they die back? If not, that's the first thing I'd do. All white growth "zaps" a plant of energy. And pruning always initiates new growth for me.

KQ is a beauty. It's worth the wait, for sure!

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 8:41PM
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Excellent, really helpful. I knew I wouldn't be able to expect much coming into the dreary winter season, but I was hoping for SOME change between August and now. Would it be worth it now to re-pot in something smaller? I can't say I've ever tried that...

As far as watering, I think I received some conflicting advice from the woman that runs my local nursery -- I'll have to bump up the schedule (although not too much, 'cause it's getting cold :(

Is it wise to cut it back when there's this little growth? I'm not sure where to start, there!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 9:03PM
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quinnfyre(z7 PA)

I wouldn't cut it back. Denise is saying that if that white leafed growth is still there, cut it back, but in the second photo I can see that it already died back. If you really want to, you can cut that excess bare stem back, but I think you're fine just leaving it.

Whether or not you pot down is up to you. It depends on a few things. If you definitely tend to water heavily and often, I'd pot it down. Which is not to say that you should water it heavily and often; in my experience, KQ tends to do well when the top of the soil just starts to dry out, at which point you water it well (til water starts flowing out the drainage holes). I also don't mist. If you leave it there, it may not show much evidence of doing anything for a while, but when it takes off, it will probably really take off, and you won't have to repot right away.

It's up to you. Either way, it still probably won't do much right away. It took mine a loooong time to start growing much at all, and I started mine in a 2.5 inch pot. I moved it to a 4 in pot, for a couple reasons. It dried out way too fast in the 2.5 in pot, and it was more than a little top heavy, which made it unstable. Once it was in the 4 in pot, though, it really did nothing for the most part of a year. Now, it is growing like crazy (for a KQ, that is), so I'm assuming it finished filling the pot with roots and is ready to go!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 9:24PM
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My Krimson Queen also did almost nothing (on the surface) for the first year I had it. And then it started growing pretty regularly, so don't feel like you're doing anything wrong. My solution to situations like this is to get some new cuttings to watch while I wait on the slow pokes. /hint hint

I mist, so my leaves are always spotty, too. I use a little bit of milk to shine them up if I'm going to take photographs. Avoid coating the underside of the leaves, though.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 10:42PM
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Awesome tips. I just need to be more patient (and waiting through the winter sure isn't going to help). I'll have to rely on some of my faster growers 'til then.

I'm so glad I found this message board, it's already been very helpful -- I just bought about five or six more houseplants that I'm unsure what to do on, and I'm sure this'll be a helpful place.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 11:03PM
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