How to Grow and Care for Hindu Rope Plants

Hindu rope plant with waxy and vine-like foliage hanging over white pot and gold watering can

The Spruce / Cori Sears

The Hindu rope plant (Hoya carnosa 'Compacta' or 'Krinkle Kurl') is a curly leaf version of the porcelain flower or wax plant (Hoya carnosa). This semi-succulent, perennial, vine-like species is known for its lush, waxy foliage, unique curling vines, and striking blooms. Native to East Asia and Australia, they are most commonly kept as houseplants in North America and are regarded as being easy to care for, slow-growing, long-lived, and great for novice plant lovers.

Unlike the Hoya carnosa, the Compacta variety has a pendulous growth habit and the trailing vines and leaves look great when hanging over elevated shelf ledges or in hanging baskets. The beautiful pinkish-white, fragrant, tiny star-shaped flowers are another element that makes this plant popular. They grow in ball-shaped clusters and appear from early spring right through the summer. The flowers can last up to a few weeks, and healthy plants flower prolifically.

Botanical Name Hoya carnosa 'Compacta', Hoya carnosa 'Krinkle Kurls'
Common Name Hindu Rope Plant, Porcelain Flower, Krinkle Kurl, Wax Plant
Family Asclepiadaceae
Plant Type Succulent, perennial
Mature Size Up to 15 in. long
Sun Exposure Indirect sun, 6 hours daily
Soil Type Well-drained
Soil pH Acid, neutral, alkaline
Bloom Time Spring, summer
Flower Color Pink
Hardiness Zones 10, 11, 12
Native Area Asia, Australia

Hindu Rope Plant Care

If you are a houseplant novice and looking for something that doesn't require too much maintenance, then a Hindu rope plant could be a perfect choice. They just need a well-drained potting mix, a decent amount of warmth, and bright, indirect sunlight to thrive.

Hindu rope plant with waxy and vine-like leaves hanging over white pot on shelf next to picture frame and gold watering can

The Spruce / Cori Sears

Hindu rope plant with waxy and vine-like leaves in white pot closeup

The Spruce / Cori Sears

The blooms and curling leaves of the Hindu rope plant (Hornosa carnosa compacta)

Douglas Rising / Getty Images

Light

Bright but indirect light produces the best results in terms of growth and flowering. Avoid positioning your Hindu rope plant in a window that receives extended exposure to direct afternoon sun. Too much direct sun can scorch leaves and yellow foliage.

Soil

As you would expect with an epiphytic species (one that can grow on the branches of other plants), heavy soil will not be suitable for the Hindu rope plant. It needs a fast-draining potting mix that is light and airy. Soggy conditions will be the death of your plant, so additions of perlite and orchid bark to potting mix can be helpful to ensure good drainage. The roots need soil with good aeration.

Water

This semi-succulent stores water in their foliage. During its active growth period in the spring and summer, it will need more regular watering, but this should only be once the top few inches of the soil are fully dried out. At this point, your plant will appreciate a deep watering, but you need to make sure it is growing in a pot with decent drainage holes. The best watering method is to hold your plant over the sink, soak the soil, allowing the water to run out, and then replace the pot on a saucer once it has drained. Be sure that, especially in the dormant winter period, you are conservative with how much you irrigate your Hindu rope plant. During winter, pay more attention to the humidity needs of your plant.

Temperature and Humidity

Hindu rope plants appreciate consistent and warm temperatures. Anything below 50 degrees Fahrenheit will be a problem. Given most indoor temperatures are well above this, however, this species tends to do well as a houseplant. Just be sure to protect it from sudden temperature changes. Positioning your plant beside a radiator or on a drafty windowsill should be avoided.

Low humidity levels can result in a loss of the waxy, glossy appearance that the plant's foliage is known for. If your home environment is dry, you can use a humidifier to ensure lush green foliage and beautiful flowers. An alternative option is to stand the plant pot on top of a pebble-filled tray. This allows drained water to sit under the plant without touching the roots.

Fertilizer

To ensure your Hindu rope plant continues to produce lush, bright foliage and a profusion of healthy blooms, consider feeding it with a light dose of fertilizer during its growing season. It's enough to feed a weak solution just every couple of months, and the plant won't need any feeding during the winter. Selecting a fertilizer that is high in potassium will help produce the best results in terms of flowering.

Types of Hindu Rope Plant

There are over 400 variations of the Hoya carnosa, mostly based on the dominant color or variegation. For instance, there is a popular variegated version of this plant featuring leaves that have striking pink or creamy-white margins. Popular varieties include:

  • "Krimson Queen" is a variegated plant that brings pink, creamy-white, and green colors.
  • "Crispa Variegata" has tightly curled, light green leaves with golden yellow streaks.
  • "Crispa" is a curled-leaf variety that offers showy flowers in shades of red.

Pruning

About once a year in spring, trim back leggy stems and cut back dead growth. Take care, however, not to remove the peduncles of the plant, as this will inhibit flowering the following season.

Propagating Hindu Rope Plants

Hindu rope plants can easily be propagated from stem cuttings. Take a piece of around 4 inches from a healthy stem. Be sure to get at least two or three nodes on the cutting. Remove the leaves from the lower section, and allow the cutting to dry overnight. The cutting can be rooted in a well-drained and airy potting soil, or you can root the cutting in water. Be aware that the cuttings are slow to root and grow–just like the mature plants.

How to Grow Hindu Rope Plants From Seed

Hindu rope plants are notoriously difficult to grow from seed, and there is no guarantee that the resulting plant will look anything like the original. Therefore, propagating from cuttings is recommended.

Potting and Repotting Hindu Rope Plants

These plants are very slow-growing and like to be pot-bound, so they won't need regular repotting. Potting them in a small container is usually recommended. They won't grow out of it quickly, and the smaller size will reduce the risk of overwatering. Just make sure that whatever pot you select has sufficient drainage holes to prevent soggy conditions from developing.

If you're not sure if your Hindu rope plant needs repotting look for the soil drying out too quickly after watering, over compaction of the potting mix, and problems with thick roots blocking the pot drainage holes.

Overwintering

Keep this houseplant comfortable during the winter by placing it in an area that is well above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and offers indirect sunlight. A humidifier near the plant can keep it happy.

Common Pests

These hardy plants aren't prone to attracting pests. A stressed plant, however, might fall prey to mealybugs, scale, or aphids. Better care and the use of horticultural oil can help.

How to Get Hindu Rope Plant to Bloom

Be patient with a new plant, as it can take up to a few years before it starts to produce blooms. If you've already waited through a few seasons and see nothing in the way of blooms, keep these points in mind:

  • Too much direct, intense sunlight can result in leaf scorch for Hindu rope plants. Too little light means their growth habit will be particularly slow, and they may not produce any flowers.
  • Although this plant can survive periods of drought, if it is left dry for overly long periods, this can also result in flower drop, or it may not produce any blooms at all. Likewise, overwatering can cause bud drop.
  • Overfeeding these plants is common and can result in the production of smaller than average leaves that can become crinkled and unsightly, as well as a lack of blooms.

Common Problems with Hindu Rope Plant

Waterlogged conditions are a big problem for this species and can result in flower drop and root rot. The need for careful watering of this plant cannot be overstated.

There are other specific issues that you might face with your Hindu rope plant.

Yellow Leaves

Fungal diseases are the usual culprit for yellowing leaves. To help avoid this, make sure you aren't watering the plant too much. A quality fungicide can help.

Keep in mind that as leaves wither and die, they will often turn yellow. As long as it is a few leaves here and there and not the entire plant or large sections of it, this slight yellowing is normal.

Wilting Plant

If your plant begins to wilt, it might be too large for its container. Though these plants love to be root-bound, they can get too cozy in there. If that happens, repot the plant in a new container that is just a few inches bigger than the last one.

FAQ
  • How long do Hindu rope plants live?

    This slow-growing plant can live for at least a decade with proper care.

  • Where should I place Hindu rope plant in my house?

    Hindu rope plant has been shown to thrive in filtered sunlight, such as that coming through a thin curtain. Place your plant near a sunny window but ensure that all the light is indirect.

  • How fast does Hindu rope plant grow?

    Expect your plant to add at least 6 inches per year.