How to Grow and Care for Hoya Obovata

This semi-succulent plant is drought-tolerant and easy to grow

Hoya obovata semi-succulent plant with large oval leaves and tendrils in white pot near window

The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

Hoyas are extremely popular houseplants and for good reason. These attractive trailing plants are characterized by thick, waxy leaves and long tendrils. They make fantastic hanging plants, but can also easily climb trellises and moss poles. Hoyas are semi-succulent epiphytic plants - meaning that they naturally pull nutrients and moisture from the air, and their thick leaves hold water similar to succulents. This makes them drought-tolerant, and, overall, relatively easy to care for.

Hoya obovata is a unique hoya variety that is identified by its large, deep green oval leaves that often have a silver ‘splash’ pattern. It is typically harder to find than the more common Hoya carnosa, but is known for being a faster-growing variety. Its unique appearance makes it sought after by collectors and beginners alike.

 Botanical Name Hoya obovata
Common Name  Hoya obovata, wax plant 
Plant Type  Epiphyte 
Mature Size  Can grow 12-20ft in length 
Sun Exposure  Full sun-bright, indirect light 
Soil Type  Rich, well-draining 
Soil pH  6.1-7.3 
Bloom Time  Spring, summer 
Flower Color  Light pink, white 
Native Area  Indonesia 

Hoya Obovata Care

Hoya obovata requires very little ongoing care and maintenance. They do best in bright, sunny windows and require infrequent watering. One important aspect of hoya care is proper fertilization - these fast-growing foliage plants benefit from regular fertilization during the spring and summer months to keep their growth healthy and full. 

While they are typically not grown for their blooms (and they usually don’t bloom until they are at least two to three years old), hoya flowers are quite stunning and fragrant if you are lucky enough to see them. If your hoya does bloom, it is important that you do not dead-head the flower stalk as the hoya will bloom again from the same stalk within the next couple of years.

Hoya obovoatta semi-succulent plant with large waxy oval leaves and tendril next to brass pot

The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

Hoya obovatta semi-suclent plant with large oval leaves and tendrils next to window closeup

The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

Hoya obovata hanging with flowers and large round leaves

Altocumuli / Wikimedia Commons

Pink and yellow hoya obovatta flowers close up

Carlos Smajkic / 500px / Getty Images

Light

Hoya obovatas require consistently bright light in order to thrive. In their natural habitat, they grow up among trees and receive bright, dappled light.

If they are grown outdoors, keep the plants away from harsh, direct rays as they can get sunburned. When grown indoors, however, situate your hoya obovata in the brightest location that you have. A sunny south-facing window is ideal.

Soil

Airy, well-draining soil mixes are best for hoya obovata plants as the roots require good drainage and aeration. A mix of peat, perlite, and orchid bark is popular for hoyas as it provides adequate drainage and room for the roots. Alternatively, a mix of potting soil, pumice, compost, and orchid bark mix is also appropriate. 

Water

Hoya obovatas are very sensitive to overwatering and should be allowed to dry out thoroughly between waterings. The frequency of watering for your hoya obovata depends on a variety of factors such as the amount of light it receives, the type of pot it is planted in (plastic, ceramic, terracotta), the potting mix it is growing in, and the season. Wait until the soil has dried out and then water thoroughly. In the fall and winter months, cut back on watering while the plant is in dormancy.

Temperature and Humidity

Since they are epiphytic, hoya obovatas appreciate humidity and/or regular misting. However, this is not a requirement, and hoyas can typically thrive in regular household temperatures and humidity levels.

Avoid placing your hoya obovata too close to fans or heat vents/drafty windows to ensure they are not exposed to any extreme temperatures.

Fertilizer

Hoya obovatas are fast-growing plants that require regular fertilization during the spring and summer to help support their growth.

To encourage foliage growth, use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. If you notice that your hoya is about to bloom, switch to a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus to encourage vigorous blooming.

Hoyas should be fertilized approximately twice a month during the spring and summer seasons.

Propagating Hoya Obovata

Hoyas are easy to propagate in soil and in water. Simply take cuttings from a healthy Hoya obovata plant, remove the lower leaves from the stem, and place the exposed nodes in water or soil. The nodes can be found at the spots where the leaves grow from the stem. If you are propagating in soil, ensure that the soil is kept moist until the new plant is established. 

Potting and Repotting Hoya Obovata

Hoya obovata does not require regular repotting and can tolerate being slightly rootbound. In fact, rootbound hoya plants are more likely to bloom. Repotting your hoya obovata every two to three years should suffice.

These trailing plants do well in a variety of different pots, but you should ensure that the pot has a drainage hole at the bottom to prevent waterlogged soil and root rot.

Terracotta pots tend to be a popular choice for hoya obovata plants because the weight of the pot helps to offset the weight of the plant as it matures, but any type of pot with adequate drainage is appropriate.

Common Pests/Diseases

Hoyas are susceptible to a range of common ‘sap-sucking’ houseplant pests including aphids, mealybugs, scale, and spider mites. They are also susceptible to a disease called sooty mold which grows on sweet, sappy residues on the leaves.

The best way to avoid sooty mold on your hoya obovata is to clean the leaves regularly and ensure that any sap that leaks onto the leaves is not left there for extended periods of time.