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Hoya getting yellow leaves

Posted by laelae_mtl Montreal/Canada (My Page) on
Sat, May 3, 14 at 19:15

Hello everyone !
I'm new in the gardening at home adventure and it seems I've made some beginner mistakes !

I found 3 weeks ago my hoya under watered (he had a lot of wrinkled leaves). I decided then to watered it under the shower because the soil was like a rock.
3 days later, because the soil seemed almost dry and no changes in the leaves was noticed, I did it again. The day after I repotted it in a larger pot.

Since then I notice a few leaves begining to turn yellow, all on the same foot (I have 10 in my pot).

Maybe I overwatered it ? I thought doing it only once will be ok but it seems not... What can I do now ? Is it still possible to rescue him ?

Some pic to see :

By the way, forgive my misspelling, I'm a french Canadian !
Thank you for any help !

This post was edited by laelae_mtl on Sat, May 3, 14 at 19:23


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

Overall, the plant does not look bad at all. Some yellowing/dying of the lowest oldest leaves is natural.

If only one vine is affected, it may not be that bad either.

When you repotted, did you get rid of all the old soil (that was "like a rock") and replaced it with new? Or did you put the old root ball into the center of the pot and added new soil around it? The latter is not a good idea for old collapsed soils - one of the reasons why is because the "rock" will still be sitting there in the middle and may be dry, even if you see the new soil on top being moist. The former is also controversial, by the way, because some plants do not like bare-root repots like that. I've done it in the past, and some of my hoyas went through a multi-month adjustment periods - although mine did survive and are thriving. I would do this again, but I'd also take cuttings to root as well just for insurance in case the plant dies after repotting.

To get rid of old soil without damaging too many roots, I like soaking the root ball in a bucket of room temperature water for an hour or so, depending how bad it is. Then I sort of massage the root ball under the water, and the soil just falls to the bottom. If you get to some very hard soil spots, just let it soak some more before massaging again.


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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

Hi & welcome,

Sorry you're having trouble, but I believe you've identified the problem:

" the soil was like a rock"

So it's likely the watering goes down the inside of the pot along its wall w/out penetrating the rootball. So while you maybe be watering, the plant isn't really getting to drink much of it.

You'd need to change the mix, perhaps soak the whole rootball to be able to remove that soil from the roots.

You can read around here abt mixes, but also could try Cactus & Succulent mix w/ added perlite or African Violet Mix w/ added perlite (50% is best).


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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

Sorry, I didn't quite finish posting (we we apparently posting at similar times GT).

I was going to ask for a pic of the whole plant, including pot & then suggest perhaps going back down a size as it's the mix that's the problem, not the pot size.


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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

Thank you all for your advice. You are right, I didn't change the soil during repotting.

I was thinking repot in a bigger pot (2 inch larger) was a good idea because when I pulled out the soil from his pot, it was cover of root all around (even in the bottom).
That's why I'm a little scared of doing what you suggest ! But if it getting worse I will tempt it.

By the way, all leaves recovered from their wrinkles since the second watering. Isn't be a good sign ?

Maybe I'm worried for nothing, but I've lost 2 adenium recently from root rot, so I am more carefull.

The plant overall :

On the other side, other lighter leaves :

You are right Pirate Girl, Montreal is 6 hour north from NYC, just after the canadian border. Is New-Yorkers has the same rainy and cloudy Spring than us ? People gets mad here.

This post was edited by laelae_mtl on Sun, May 4, 14 at 13:07


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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

> By the way, all leaves recovered from their wrinkles since the second watering. Isn't be a good sign ?

Yes, it sure is. The plant looks great, I wouldn't worry about it. Forget about taking cuttings, no need, I think.

I also think not changing the soil was a mistake, but many people do not do that, and their plants are often fine. I personally think the roots cannot possibly object to finding nothing but fresh well-aerated and evenly-moistened mix touching them after repotting. Yeah, they might be shocked and surprised to find that after the hydrophobic rock they were growing in, but it's a good kind of surprise longer term, kind of like the shock a girlfriend might experience when she sees her lover on one knee, you know?


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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

GT is right. Thanks, for the overall pic, I think the plant looks great.

I wouldn't be worried, also a plant of that size, I'd forget about having changed the pot size, it could handle that increase if it's this big (am assuming, as I don't grow plants that big).


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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

Overall, I agree that your Hoya looks good. Just keep an eye on it. Maybe in a couple weeks, give it some weak fertilizer - I'd use a bloom booster because it will also encourage the roots as opposed to the foliage.

Keep in mind that Hoyas are epiphytic, for the most part grow in jungles and are semi-succulent. So they need a nice, loose mix that lets the roots "breath". It's better to have it dry out fast so you can water often instead of holding water a long time. Think of how it works in the jungle - it rains often, daily in a lot of places, and it's humid. The water washes through the roots, which are in mostly leaf, twigs and bark from the trees, and dries out fast as the sun comes out and it heats up. Of course, we don't have time to be watering our plants every day, so we put them in a heavier mix, but you should check it often - every few days - and water as soon as it feels dry.

Glad to see your Hoya recovered so nicely!

Denise in Omaha


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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

Thank you everybody,
it helps me understand what I need to do to keep my hoya in good health ! So the first key concept is to not let it dry too much !

I have bought it as big as it is 3 months ago. My first plant ever. The challenge is now to learn how to care of it... Oh my ! Have plant is a emotional challenge.


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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

> So the first key concept is to not let it dry too much !

Well, there is a difference between not letting it dry out too much and letting it sit in water-logged soil all the time. An established healthy hoya carnosa (and many other hoyas but not all) actually does prefer to dry out a bit between waterings - but it also likes fast-draining soil/substrate like Denise was describing. If the soil is VERY fast draining, the plant can literally be watered twice a day, every day, and it'll be impossible to overwater - but those are not the soils potted plants grow in typically.

Many people dig their finger gently into the mix and water when it feels dry or almost dry an inch or deeper in. If that leads to watering less often than once a week though, then your soil is too water-retentive for this plant.


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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

Hi GT,

I don't think anyone said anything like this:

"Well, there is a difference between not letting it dry out too much and letting it sit in water-logged soil all the time"

Do we really need to do this?

"If the soil is VERY fast draining, the plant can literally be watered twice a day, every day, and it'll be impossible to overwater -"

I don't think comments like this are helpful & personally would be afraid Newbies would misread them to the disadvantage of their plants.


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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

Congratulations on unwrinkled leaves! :) I love the quote (paraphrased) "Having a plant is an emotional challenge." I couldn't agree more. :)

I don't think your concern was an overreaction. I don't think your plant was in any danger of dying, persay, but keeping it adequately hydrated with too-old-soil will soon become a real headache. Right now it is happy because you gave it 2 showers in one week, but this will probably happen again if you don't freshen up its soil.

You could probably go up one pot size, but don't overdo it. I understand your wariness about trying to remove the old soil, but just give it a soak and see what comes loose. It might save you work/stress in the long run.

When I read your statement "So the first key concept is to not let it dry too much," I had the same reaction as greentoe. :) Most people kill Hoyas by putting them in pots with dense soil and overwatering them, so of course our knee-jerk reaction is to fear that you will err too far in that direction. Of course, since you just lost a beloved plant to root rot, I'm sure that wouldn't have happened.

I think Denise painted a very beautiful picture of the conditions Hoyas are evolved to grow in. And I think GT was just trying to explain that, most wild Hoyas do, of course, experience very frequent rainfall (in addition to high humidity and blazing sun/heat). And that if you watered them that much at home, you'd need to also mimic the loose substrate of the wild Hoya. I don't think this is an unhelpful thought exercise. People should understand the logic of plant medium and watering schedule versus blindly replicating someone else's recipe. That too can end in ruin.

That said, it was probably wise of PG to make sure newbies didn't speed-read his long paragraphs and do something crazy. :)

This post was edited by greedyghost on Tue, May 6, 14 at 18:02


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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

Thank you greedyghost,

I understand everyone's concern about the soil. That was something I wasn't aware of and I plan to correct my mistake soon. Is it still a good time to repot a plant ?


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RE: Hoya getting yellow leaves

Yes it is. :)


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