How to Grow and Care for Hoya Kerrii

Propagation, Varieties, Flowering Tips, and More

Hoya kerrii plant with heart-shaped leaves in clay pot next to gold watering can

The Spruce / Cori Sears

Hoyas come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, but hoya kerrii are unique vining succulents. Their thick, heart-shaped leaves have earned them the common nicknames, sweetheart vine, hoya hearts, lucky heart plant, and Valentine's hoya. These plants are trendy each year around Valentine's Day.

Mature hoya kerrii bloom under the right conditions in the summer, producing round mounds of sweet-smelling mini star-shaped flowers. Hoya kerrii leaves can be all green or have a creamy, white border with a green center, such as Hoya kerrii' Variegata.' Other common varieties include 'Splash' and 'Reverse Variegata' for their leaf coloration differences.

Another unique characteristic is you can plant a single heart-shaped leaf in a small pot and keep it alive for years by planting it in well-draining soil and giving it moderate water, bright indirect light, and occasional fertilizer.

Hoya kerrii care is straightforward. Not only are they adorable, but these tropical succulents produce trailing woody vines that are delightfully easy to grow, low maintenance, and slow-growing. Here's what you need to know about growing and caring for hoya kerrii as a houseplant.

How to Choose the Right Hoya Kerri

Many garden centers sell single-leafed hoya kerrii. While you can care for these adorable potted hearts, it's important to know that most will never grow into a full plant or develop any other leaves. This is because they are rooted leaves rather than true stem cuttings. If you hope to have a full, lush hoya kerrii, steer clear of these single-leafed plants and get a plant with a rooted stem with at least two leaves.

Common Name  Hoya kerrii, sweetheart hoya, hoya hearts, lucky heart hoya, Valentine's hoya 
Botanical Name  Hoya kerrii 
Family  Apocynaceae 
Plant Type  Vine, succulent 
Mature Size  13 ft. long 
Sun Exposure  Full 
Soil Type  Well-draining 
Soil pH  Acidic, neutral 
Bloom Time  Spring, summer 
Flower Color  Pink, white 
Hardiness Zones  11 (USDA)
Native Area  Asia

Hoya Kerrii Care

When caring for hoya kerrii, thinking of them as succulents helps. They require lots of sun, a little bit of water, and well-draining soil. They thrive on neglect. Give them a sunny windowsill in your home and some water every few weeks, and they will be happy. These hoyas are notoriously slow-growing. Don't be alarmed if your hoya kerrii hasn't grown a leaf. If you provide it with enough sun and water, it will reward you with new growth when it's ready.


When hoyas are getting ready to grow new leaves or flowers, they put out long vines that are often bare for a while. Never cut these vines unless you are trying to control growth. They will grow leaves or flowers eventually.

Hoya kerrii plant with variegated heart-shaped leaves near glass mister

The Spruce / Cori Sears

Hoya kerrii plant with variegated heart-shaped leaves in clay pot with straw mulch

The Spruce / Cori Sears


Like succulents, these heart-shaped hoyas require lots of light to grow and thrive indoors. Choose a location for your hoya kerrii that receives several hours of bright, direct sunlight daily. A west- or south-facing window is ideal. If you lack natural light, adding a grow light to your setup may be a good idea. A full-spectrum LED grow light is an excellent choice for hoyas.


As an epiphyte, hoya kerrii require extremely airy, well-draining soil. Planting them in regular indoor potting soil without any amendments will lead to compacted roots and stunted growth. Instead, use a mixture of potting soil, perlite, orchid bark, and sand that your hoya kerrii will love.


Allow the soil to dry thoroughly between waterings. Hoya kerrii can withstand long periods of drought thanks to their thick, water-storing leaves and are highly susceptible to overwatering and root rot. The amount of water that your hoya kerrii needs will vary by season. In the summer, you can water more frequently; in the winter, you should cut back on watering significantly. 

An easy way to tell if your plant is ready for water is to look at the leaves—if they are still plump, then it doesn’t need water, but if they are thinner and slightly wrinkled, it’s time for a good drink! You can also use a moisture meter to ensure the soil is completely dry before watering.

Temperature and Humidity

Hoyas thrive in warm, humid conditions, and hoya kerrii are no exception. They do best in temperatures from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and should not be exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. For the most part, typical household humidity levels are acceptable for hoya kerrii, but they will thrive with extra humidity. Placing a humidifier nearby is one of the best ways to increase humidity around your plant. Alternatively, choose a naturally humid room in your home to grow these hoyas, such as a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. While they are most commonly grown indoors as a houseplant in the United States, hoya kerrii can be grown outdoors year-round in USDA hardiness zone 11.


Hoya kerrii are not high feeders but can still benefit from regular fertilization during their active growing period. In spring and summer, apply a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month to encourage healthy growth. For the amount to use, follow product label instructions.

Types of Hoya Kerrii

  • Hoya kerrii heart: This plant is so-named because it has a single potted heart-shaped leaf that will not likely grow but can remain alive for years with proper care.
  • Hoya kerrii 'Splash': The variegation of this variety's leaves includes silvery speckling instead of large yellow blocks.
  • Hoya kerrii' Reverse Variegata': The cream-colored variegation is in the center of the leaf, and the edges are green-rimmed.
  • Hoya kerrii' Albomarginata': This variety has striking, white, variegated leaves.
  • Hoya kerrii' Fuzzy Leaves': This rare specimen also has heart-shaped leaves, although they're not as heart-shaped as other varieties, and the leaves are larger and fuzzy.

Propagating Hoya Kerrii

Hoya kerrii can be propagated using stem cuttings. You can either propagate hoya kerrii in water or sphagnum moss. Both methods can be successful, but some people have more success with one medium over another. Here is how you can propagate your hoya kerrii using water or sphagnum moss.

  1. Take a stem cutting from a mature hoya kerrii using a pair of sharp pruning shears or scissors. Each cutting should have at least three nodes along the stem. The nodes are where leaves and roots will grow from.
  2. Remove the bottom one to two leaves from each cutting, so those nodes are left exposed. Ensure that each cutting has at least one leaf left at the top of the stem.
  3. If you are using water, fill a small container with water and place the bottom of the cutting in the water, ensuring that the leaves on the stem remain above the surface. If you are using sphagnum moss, soak the moss in water for 10 minutes and then squeeze out the excess water. Add the moss into a container and gently pack it around the base of the cutting, ensuring the moss covers the nodes, but the leaves remain uncovered. 
  4. Place the cutting(s) in a location that receives bright, indirect light. 
  5. If you are using water, the water should be refreshed once a week. If you are using sphagnum moss, ensure that the moss remains moist and does not dry out.
  6. After a couple of weeks, small roots should begin to form. Wait until the roots are at least 1 to 2 inches long before planting the cuttings. 
  7. Pot the rooted cuttings in a well-draining potting mixture and water well. Keep the soil moist for the first couple of weeks to help the new roots acclimate to the soil. Return the potted cuttings to their previous location. They can be moved into a brighter spot to encourage more vigorous growth now that they are established, but do so gradually to avoid burning the leaves.

Potting and Repotting Hoya Kerrii

Hoya kerrii should only be repotted once every few years. These hoyas like being slightly root-bound and can suffer if they are moved into a pot that is too large due to the increased chance of overwatering. 

The process is pretty straightforward when it comes time to repot your hoya kerrii. Simply remove the plant from its container, being careful not to break the roots in the process. If it's stuck in the pot, gently squeeze the sides of the container to get it loose, or wiggle the stem side to side as you hold the plant upside down. 

Once you have removed the plant, gently remove as much old soil around the roots as possible. Again, breaking as few roots as possible is essential, so be careful here. Next, you will be moving the plant into its new container. Ensure you have chosen a container only 2 to 3 inches wider than the previous pot. Place your plant in the new pot and fill the excess space with an airy, well-draining potting mix. Water your freshly potted hoya kerrii and return it to its original location.

Common Pests

As with most indoor plants, watch for common houseplant pests, including mealybugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites. Hoya kerrii are not particularly prone to any of these pests, but if you have other infested houseplants, these pests will also happily take up residence in your hoya kerrii. Regularly inspect the leaves and stems of your hoya kerrii for pests to catch any infestations early.

How to Get Hoya Kerrii to Bloom

A blooming hoya is a sure sign of a happy, healthy plant. These hoyas usually bloom once a year during spring or summer. Hoya kerrii typically doesn’t bloom until they are at least 2 to 3 years old, so it is normal if you haven’t noticed any blooms. However, you can do a few things to speed up the blooming process. 

First, hoyas tend to bloom more readily when they are root-bound, so don’t give your hoya a too-big pot. Second, getting enough light each day is significant for flowering. Ensure that your hoya receives several hours of direct sunlight daily. Lastly, don’t overwater your hoya. They need a good break between watering and will not flower if the soil is too damp.

Hoya kerrii flower that is light and dark pink hanging off a thin vine against a white background.

SusanGaryPhotography / Getty Images

Common Problems With Hoya Kerrii

Generally, hoya kerrii are not high-maintenance plants and are relatively problem-free for the indoor gardener. That being said, there are some things to watch out for when growing these tropical sweetheart vines.

Curling Leaves

Curling leaves can result from several issues, including overwatering, underwatering, or temperature shock. Evaluate your plant’s growing situation closely to determine which one applies to you. 

If underwatering is the cause, curled leaves are usually accompanied by leaf discoloration. Increase watering to prevent future leaves from curling. If overwatering is the cause, you will notice signs of root rot below the surface of the soil or may observe the soil is waterlogged. Repot the plant immediately with fresh soil and trim away any rotted roots. Temperature shock is another possibility and occurs when a plant is subjected to a significant temperature change very quickly. Ensure that your plant is in a room with stable temperature and avoid major temperature changes.

No Growth

Hoya kerrii are very slow-growing hoyas. If it's been a few years without significant growth, there may be something wrong with its growing conditions. First and foremost, ensure that your plant is receiving enough light. Hoya kerrii will not grow in low light conditions; even medium light likely won't be enough. Second, check the roots of your hoya to ensure its root system is healthy. Overwatering and underwatering can kill the roots over time, ultimately hindering growth. If your plant does not have much of a root system, you will likely need to propagate it to help it grow new roots and become established again.

  • How long does it take for hoya kerri to grow?

    Unfortunately, hoya kerrii are notoriously slow-growing hoyas. Sometimes you may not see any growth within a year, and that’s perfectly normal. Keep caring for your plant as usual; you will be rewarded with new leaves over time.

  • Are hoya kerrii succulents?

    Hoya kerrii are tropical succulent vines. They differ from the desert plants usually associated with the word “succulent” since they are native to tropical environments but fall under this category nonetheless.

  • How big do hoya kerrii get?

    While they are slow-growing, mature hoya kerrii plants can grow up to 13 feet long.

  • Can hoya kerrii grow from a single leaf?

    Most hoya kerrii can't grow from a single leaf since, in most cases, they do not have a node allowing the plant to grow further. However, single leaves can be potted and live for several years with good care.