How to Grow and Care for Hoya Rosita

Hoya rosita in a white pot against a white wall.

@justa_plants / Instagram

Hoya rosita is a stunning and rare species of hoya that is prized for its long, pointed leaves that are rimmed in dark green and maroon. It’s a hybrid of the hoya wayetii and hoya tsangii, and is native to Southeast Asia and Australia where it grows as a vining epiphyte.

As a houseplant, it is beloved by collectors and hoya enthusiasts, but easy enough for beginners to grow and enjoy too—the challenge is getting your hands on one. Compared to more popular and well-known varieties like the hoya carnosa, the hoya rosita is pretty difficult to acquire and is usually only available from specialty houseplant stores, online retailers, or collectors.

Here’s what you need to know about how to grow and care for hoya rosita as a houseplant.

Common Name  Hoya rosita 
Botanical Name  Hoya wayetii x tsangii 
Family  Apocnynaceae 
Plant Type  Perennial, vine 
Mature Size  4 ft. long (indoors) 
Sun Exposure  Partial 
Soil Type  Moist but well-drained 
Soil pH  Acidic 
Bloom Time  Spring 
Flower Color  Red 
Hardiness Zones  10-11, USDA 
Native Area  Asia, Australia 

Hoya Rosita Care

Like most Hoyas, the hoya rosita is a pretty simple plant to grow indoors. As a succulent, it thrives with plenty of bright light, infrequent watering, and well-draining soil. As long as these fundamental needs are met, it’s relatively unfussy. In spring and summer, your hoya rosita may reward you with a show of gorgeous red, sweet-smelling flowers. However, if your plant doesn’t flower in its first few years, don't worry—it’s normal to wait a few years before hoyas start to flower. 

In its natural habitat, the hoya rosita is a climbing plant that grows up trees in the forest understory. As such, it benefits from a moss pole or trellis to climb. That being said, these vining plants are often grown in hanging baskets and planters as well.

Small sun stressed hoya rosita being held up.

@loris_leaves_ / Instagram

Light

The amount of light you give your hoya rosita will affect the way it looks and grows. In general, this hoya prefers at least six to seven hours of bright, indirect light every day. It can tolerate short periods of direct light as well, particularly in the morning and late afternoon when the sun isn’t as harsh. 

However, it is susceptible to burning if exposed to too much harsh, direct light. When the plant is sun stressed (getting lots of light at the high end of its tolerance) the leaves will turn shades of red and orange and the edging will be dark maroon in color. In contrast, in lower light conditions like medium indirect light, the leaves will remain green. 

Sun stressing, despite its name, isn’t a bad thing and mimics a plant’s natural habitat. However, it’s best to sun-stress your plants for short periods of time and then give them a break. For example, plants are usually sun stressed in summer when light is most plentiful and then revert back to green during the fall and winter when there is less natural light.

Soil

Like all hoyas, the hoya rosita needs a rich, airy, and well-draining soil mix. A combination of equal parts cactus/succulent soil, orchid bark mix, and perlite is ideal. 

Water

Hoyas are succulent plants that do not require regular watering since they store water in their thick, fleshy leaves. In fact, they are sensitive to overwatering and are prone to root rot if they are left sitting in soggy soil. Allow the soil to dry out thoroughly between waterings and then water well, allowing the excess water to drain from the pot. 

An easy way to tell if a hoya is ready to be watered is to feel its leaves: if they are soft and slightly wilted, rather than thick and rigid, it’s safe to water your plant. If the leaves are still succulent and filled with water, it’s best to wait a bit before watering, even if the soil is dry. The time of year and ambient temperature will also affect how often a hoya rosita needs to be watered, so don’t be alarmed if it seems that your plant is much thirstier in summer than it is in winter.

Temperature and Humidity

Hoyas do best with warm temperatures and average to above-average humidity. Temperatures between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 30 degrees Celsius) are ideal, along with humidity levels above 60%. Most average household humidity levels (which usually sit around 50%) are also adequate, but you will notice your hoya rosita growing more prolifically with some added humidity. Keep your plant away from drafty windows (especially in winter) and air vents, which can significantly dry out the air and your plant.

Fertilizer

Use a balanced liquid fertilizer regularly during the growing season (spring and summer) to encourage healthy growth. Apply the fertilizer once a month after watering for best results.

Propagating Hoya Rosita

Propagating hoya rosita is relatively easy using stem cuttings. It’s a great way to repurpose trimmings from a mature plant or fill out a small plant to make it look more lush. You can propagate a hoya rosita in just a few simple steps:

  1. Using a pair of sharp, clean pruning shears or scissors take a stem cutting from an established hoya rosita plant. The cutting should have at least four nodes and sets of leaves along the stem, but no more than six nodes. 
  2. Remove the leaves from the bottom two to three nodes, leaving the stem bare. 
  3. Fill a small container or vase with room temperature water and place the stem cutting in the water, ensuring the leaves are above the surface and the roots are submerged. 
  4. Place the container in a warm location that receives bright, indirect light.
  5. Replace the water once a week to keep it fresh. After a couple of weeks, you should begin to see small white roots growing from the nodes under the water. 
  6. Once the roots are at least an inch long the cuttings can be planted in soil. Prepare a small pot with a well-draining soil mixture and plant the cuttings, watering them well immediately afterward. 
  7. Return the freshly planted cuttings to a bright, warm location and keep the soil evenly moist for the first week to help the roots acclimate to the soil. Then, allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings until you have acclimated the cuttings to a regular soak and dry watering schedule.

Potting and Repotting Hoya Rosita

The hoya rosita is not a particularly fast-growing plant and will only need to be repotted once every two to three years when it has outgrown its pot. Roots growing from the pot's drainage holes and circling the inside of the pot are both indications your plant is ready to be repotted. If you’ve noticed unusually slow growth this can also be a sign that your plant has maxed out its current growing container. 

If possible, wait until spring or summer to repot your hoya rosita, since the plant will be actively growing in these months. Choose a new pot that is only two to four inches larger in diameter than its current container, and refresh as much of the potting soil as possible. Water the freshly repotted plant thoroughly and return it to its original location to ensure it doesn’t go into shock.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Hoyas are prone to a few common houseplant pests and diseases that you should watch out for. In particular, keep an eye out for mealybugs, which love to suck the sap of the plant’s thick leaves. The hoya rosita is also sensitive to overwatering and root rot, which can be identified by mushy, rotting stems, wilted leaves, and waterlogged soil.

Common Problems With Hoya Rosita

While the hoya rosita is relatively simple to grow, there are a few common problems you may encounter when learning how to grow this plant indoors.

Yellow Leaves

Like most houseplants, yellow leaves are a common problem with hoya rositas, with a few different potential causes. Sometimes, old leaves turn yellow and fall off and it’s nothing to worry about. However, if new leaves are turning yellow or you notice lots of leaves going yellow all at once that can be a cause for concern. Overwatering, underwatering, and a lack of light are the most common causes of yellowing leaves on a hoya rosita. 

Brown Leaves

Brown leaves are another common problem for hoya rositas. Usually, leaves turning brown are a result of underwatering or a lack of humidity drying out the plant. However, pest infestations can also cause a plant’s leaves to turn brown.

FAQ
  • Is the hoya rosita rare?

    This hoya is considered rare and may be difficult to find at your local nursery or greenhouse. If you are looking to find a hoya rosita, consider looking online or at houseplant shops that specialize in rare plants and imports.

  • Why does my hoya rosita have long stems with no leaves?

    It’s not uncommon for hoyas of all kinds to put out long, leafless stems. This is usually an indication that your plant is searching for something to anchor itself to (like a trellis or moss pole), or it's unhappy with its current growing environment and is searching for better conditions. Either way, don’t cut the stems. They will likely fill out with leaves once the plant finds what it's searching for.

  • How can I make my hoya rosita bushier?

    Taking stem cuttings is a great way to make a hoya rosita bushier. It will encourage the stem to branch, and you can propagate the cuttings and plant them back in the original pot to fill out the plant.