How to Grow and Care for Hoya Kentiana

Front view of a hanging Hoya Kentiana

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Hoya kentiana is an evergreen tropical vine native to Southeast Asia known for its long, pointed leaves and fragrant, reddish-purple flowers. As with other hoyas, it's often grown indoors in temperate climates. As a houseplant, Hoya kentiana is considered very rare.

This plant grows best in rich, well-drained soil in a spot with warm, humid conditions and lots of bright, indirect light. Hoya kentiana can look so similar to its relatives Hoya wayetii and Hoya shepherdii that it's sometimes misidentified by non-expert sellers and houseplant enthusiasts.

 Common Name:  Hoya, wax plant
 Botanical Name:   Hoya kentiana
 Family:   Apocynaceae
 Plant Type:   Perennial, Vine
 Mature Size:  12-20 ft. long
 Sun Exposure:  Full, Partial 
 Soil Type:   Well-drained
 Soil pH:   Acidic, Neutral
 Bloom Time:   Spring, Summer
 Flower Color:   Red, Purple
 Hardiness Zones:   10-11 (USDA)
 Native Area:   Southeast Asia

Hoya Kentiana Care

Here are the basic requirements for growing Hoya kentiana:

  • Put in a place with bright, indirect light.
  • Plant in rich, well-drained soil.
  • Water consistently and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Feed regularly during the spring and summer.
Closeup of sunkissed hoya kentiana leaves

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Closeup of a hoya kentiana bloom

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong


Your Hoya kentiana will grow best with lots of bright, indirect light. An ideal place could be several feet from a south-facing or west-facing window. You can keep the plant closer to the window by putting up a sheer curtain to filter the light so it's not too strong. Direct sunlight can damage your plant.


A rich, well-drained soil mix is best for Hoya kentiana. Some gardeners prefer to use a premade succulent soil mix or African violet potting mix, both of which allow for good drainage, aeration, and moisture retention. You can make your own soil mix for Hoya kentiana by blending one part standard potting soil with one part perlite or orchid bark to lighten it up.


Hoya kentiana benefits from consistent watering, but it's important to allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Rather than watering on a set schedule, check the soil moisture every week or so by sticking your finger in the soil. In summer, water when the top three inches are dry. In fall and winter, you can let the soil dry out fully between waterings. If you notice your Hoya kentiana's leaves start to shrivel, that's a sign to give your plant a drink.

Temperature and Humidity

Hoya kentiana grows best in warm, humid conditions that replicate its native tropical climate. Keep the plant in a place with temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees. Hoyas in general grow best with at least 50 percent humidity, and some types require 60 to 70 percent. Increase the humidity around your plant by running a humidifier or keeping it in a grow tent or a glass cabinet to hold in moisture.


Feed your Hoya kentiana with a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength every four to six weeks during the spring and summer. Stop fertilizing in the fall, then resume the following spring.

Types of Hoya Kentiana

The main variation of this plant is Hoya kentiana 'Variegata', which has variegated white and green leaves that turn pink around the edges when conditions are sufficiently bright. Because Hoya kentiana and Hoya wayetii are so often confused, you'll sometimes see Hoya wayetii cultivars like 'Lorilyn' mislabeled as Hoya kentiana.


Remove dead or damaged leaves from Hoya kentiana as they appear to keep the plant looking tidy and putting its energy toward healthy growth. These plants are generally slow growers and don't often need to be pruned, but you can cut back the plant if its vines are outgrowing your space. Avoid cutting off spent blooms because flowers will bloom again from that growth the following year.

Propagating Hoya Kentiana

Propagating Hoya kentiana can be tricky, but you'll have the most success in early summer during the plant's active growth period. You'll need a small plant pot, growing medium like potting soil and perlite or sphagnum moss and perlite, rooting hormone (optional), a clear plastic bag, and sharp, sterilized pruners.

  1. Choose a healthy stem on the mother plant that doesn't have any flowers. Take a cutting that's four to six inches long with at least two leaves at the top. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting.
  2. Fill the pot with a growing medium and water it well to moisten. Poke a hole with your finger in the center of the pot.
  3. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone powder, then plant it in the hole you poked in the growing medium.
  4. Tent the plastic bag around the cutting to hold in humidity. Put the cutting in a warm place with bright, indirect light.
  5. Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. New leaf growth is a sign that the cutting has rooted, and you can pot it up and care for the plant as usual.

Potting and Repotting Hoya Kentiana

Hoya kentiana is a relatively slow grower, so you shouldn't need to repot it more than once every two or three years. It's time to repot when the soil surface appears matted with roots or you see roots growing out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Use a terracotta pot just one or two sizes larger to keep the soil from staying too wet.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases 

Hoya kentiana is susceptible to common houseplant pests like aphids, mealybugs, and scale that suck the sap from leaves. Check your plant regularly for signs of pests and act quickly if you see them to prevent the infestation from getting worse. Dab away pests with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or use horticultural soap and water to remove them.

How to Get Hoya Kentiana to Bloom

Providing proper growing conditions and consistent care are the best ways to get your Hoya kentiana to bloom. Give the plant consistent water, lots of humidity, and at least six hours of bright light per day. Even with the proper care and conditions, Hoya kentiana can take several years to bloom.

How Long Does Hoya Kentiana Bloom?

Hoya kentiana's blooms will last for about one week before dropping off.

What Do Hoya Kentiana Flowers Look and Smell Like?

Hoya kentiana flowers are clusters of tiny, star-shaped, reddish-purple blossoms with yellow centers. They're known for their butterscotch-like fragrance.

How to Encourage More Blooms

Keeping your plant pot-bound may encourage blooming. Another tip is to avoid watering your plant for about a month during the winter to encourage flowering in the spring.

Deadheading Hoya Kentiana Flowers

When your Hoya kentiana's flowers begin to fade, let them drop off naturally rather than deadheading them. Flowers will bloom from the same place on the plant next year.

Common Problems With Hoya Kentiana

Hoya kentiana can be a pretty problem-free plant with the right growing conditions, but there are some signs of trouble to watch out for.

Leaves Turning Black/Brown

Dark spots on a Hoya kentiana's leaves can be a sign of root rot caused by overwatering, especially if the stems are yellowing or mushy. Stop watering and allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. In severe cases, it may be best to repot the plant in fresh soil, cutting away any dried-out or mushy roots in the process.

Wilting Leaves

Wilting leaves can be a symptom of overwatering. If the soil is very dry and the leaves look wrinkled or puckered, your plant is in need of a deep watering.

Plant Leaves Falling Off

Hoya kentiana may respond to a change in conditions or care by dropping leaves or going dormant. Provide the plant with consistent light, temperature, humidity, and water to reduce the chances of leaf drop.

  • What's the difference between Hoya kentiana and Hoya wayetii?

    Hoya kentiana and Hoya wayetii look very similar, but there are subtle differences. Hoya kentiana has longer, pointier leaves. The flower stems (pedicels and peduncles) of Hoya kentiana are darker and pink or red, while Hoya wayetii's are green.

  • Where should I put Hoya kentiana?

    Keep Hoya kentiana in a warm place that gets lots of bright, indirect light.

  • Can Hoya kentiana grow indoors?

    Yes. Hoya kentiana grows well as a houseplant with the proper care and conditions.