5 Reasons Hoyas Are the Worst Houseplant

Plus, tips from experts in case you want to give them a try

hoyas hero

Instagram / abitoflovehome

It doesn’t matter if you’re a new plant parent or an experienced collector, there are just some plants that people among the plant community can agree are the worst. And I’m sorry, but hoyas are on that list for me. I have two: my Hoya Linearis is doing well solely because I ignore it, it’s hanging directly in a southwest-facing window, lives above my humidifier, and I water it once a month. My Hoya Carnosa Tricolor, or wax plant, is a mess. It has given me such a hard time since I got it in July. It did really well and then started dying. 

The thing about Hoyas is they’re finicky, and there are so many kinds that all like to be taken care of differently. So, I reached out to a few plant lovers who have some experience with the divisive plant and asked them why people might hate hoyas. Here are the five reasons they shared:

  • 01 of 05

    They Have Annoying Long Tendrils

    hoyas curtain

    Instagram / abitoflovehome

    Bingjie Fulkerson from @abitoflovehome has been growing Hoyas for about two years now, but only recently started collecting them seriously.

    “Hoyas often send out long tendrils that have tiny leaves and they never grow big. These tendrils can grow in different directions looking for something to climb," she said.

    "I've gotten poked in my eyes multiple times by them when I check on plants. It's better to give them something to attach to.” This can be especially true of the Linearis which grows in weird directions until their tendrils are long enough to hang nicely.

  • 02 of 05

    They Can Get Really Expensive

    Trailing rope hoya in a pot

     Pistils Nursery

    Bingjie had a lot to say about hoyas and she knows from her own experience that they can be pretty pricey. “Common hoyas that you can find at your local nurseries are still pretty affordable, but the less common ones gained a lot of popularity in the last few years, and the price on a small cutting can range from $30 to $2,500. They are definitely more for hardcore hoya collectors.” A Hoya carnosa 'compacta' or Hindu Rope became the most expensive houseplant ever sold ($6,500!) on Trade Me in June 2020.

  • 03 of 05

    They Can Get Covered in Black Spots Easily

    hoyas

    instagram / abitoflovehome

    “A lot of hoyas are prone to edema, a condition that's caused by irregular watering. I haven't perfected the watering so that happened to quite a few of my hoyas, especially ones that have succulent-like leaves. Good thing is the spots are on the backside of the leaves so it doesn't really bother me that much,” said Bingjie.

    I have had experience with edema, which actually really bothered me. Some people use it as a tool to perfect their watering habits, but I just can’t get it down, so the black spots keep coming back.

  • 04 of 05

    Their Watering Schedule Is a Huge Challenge

    Before and after of a healthy hoya plant on the left and a dying hoya on the right
    Before and after of a hoya plant

    Taylor Fuller

    Speaking of watering, their watering schedule is ridiculous. Kateryna Bachmann from @IntoThePlants has a beautiful plant collection that I love peeking at on Instagram. She’s now on her second try with a Hoya Tricolor.

    “Hoyas can be tricky and hard sometimes. In my experience it’s hard to find a balance between treating them like a succulent or a common tropical foliage plant. As a succulent plant they hold water in their leaves and watering too often may be not good for them. And this is where it gets tricky: once I waited to do the next watering too long and they are likely to have problems after that (losing leaves, root rot). So I hope I’ll find this balance some day and can manage to keep it alive for more than a couple of months.”

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Their Habitat Needs to Be Just Right

    leaf envy

    Leaf Envy UK

    Beth—the founder and owner of Leaf Envy, my favorite place to shop for plants in the UK (they also have an amazing Instagram)—is a lover of hoyas, but she agrees that they can be tough.

    “The reason most plant parents go wrong with hoyas is that they underestimate how particular they are with light and water. Due to the fact they are drought tolerant and succulents, people often think they are pretty relaxed and don't need looking after," she said.

    How to Take Care of Them

    "But this isn't true for the hoya. It needs regular misting, bright light and a careful watering schedule. If you have a conservatory that is the best place for it, and if you are a considerate waterer, make sure to water gently around the soil making sure the plant isn't drenched and drowning. Then the hoya will be absolutely fine for you, and will reward its owner with beautiful bushy growth and flowers in late spring." 

    Maybe following Beth's tips will help our luck improve with hoyas.