How to Grow and Care for Hoya Sunrise

Front view of a vibrant hoya sunrise

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The hoya 'Sunrise' is a vining plant with glossy green oval leaves, and grows fairly slowly. Hoya are moderately easy to care for and have been popular houseplants for many years, though each cultivar tends to have unique qualities and growing needs. The sunrise cultivar is a hybrid, a cross between two different kinds of Hoya: Hoya lacunosa and Hoya obscura. Plants in the genus are commonly known as the wax plant due to the thick, waxy texture of its leaves.

This plant has attractive star-shaped tiny flowers that grow in a rounded cluster at the top of its stems with a sweet scent that some have compared to ice cream or chocolate. Different varieties produce other colors of flowers: for example, the 'Sunshine' cultivar has pale yellow or pink flowers and waxy leaves that turn from green to a rich brownish-red color with pale green veins when exposed to sufficient sunlight.

Common Name Hoya sunrise, wax plant, porcelain flower
Botanical Name  Hoya lacunosa x obscura 'Sunrise'
Family  Apocynaceae
Plant Type  Tropical vine
Mature Size  6 - 8 ft. tall
Sun Exposure  Indirect, gentle sunlight
Soil Type  A mixture of soils intended for succulents, cacti, orchids
Soil pH  Slightly acidic 
Bloom Time  Continuous 
Flower Color  White
Hardiness Zones  (9-11) USDA
Native Areas Southeast Asia, Australia

Hoya Sunrise Care

The vines of these attractive, colorful plants can grow up to eight feet long, so growing them in a hanging basket is a way good way to display their waxy, trailing foliage and give them space. They can also be grown in a pot placed on a table or plant stand. A terra cotta pot will usually provide the best drainage. The colorful blooms vary from white to creamy white to pale pink, with the pink color most commonly seen with more exposure to sunlight. More sun also brings out the reddish color of the foliage.

Obtaining these plants can be tricky, as they're still somewhat rare in the trade. But there are a number of online retailers who sell them. You might need to do some research to determine which vendors have them in stock.


The hoya sunrise prefers medium to bright, but indirect, sunlight. Too much sunlight can harm the leaves, turning them yellow or brown. Up to two hours of direct morning sunlight is fine, but afternoon sunlight is too strong. Five to six hours of dappled sunlight per day is perfect. You might need to observe how the plant reacts to different locations to obtain the best amount of sun exposure, and that might mean moving it around a bit. It is said that the hoya sunrise obtains its best red foliage coloring when pushed just to the edge of "sun stress," in other words, gradually giving it a bit more exposure to see if the color intensifies.


A basic potting mixture of soil intended for succulents, cacti, African violets, and orchids will work fine for a hoya sunrise plant. A soilless mix using peat, perlite and/or vermiculite can also work well. The primary factor is to provide a soil mix that allows plenty of drainage and air circulation to keep the roots healthy. If soil is too wet, this plant is prone to developing root rot.


Like other tropical plants that are grown indoors, this one likes to be watered thoroughly but only when the soil is dry. Hoya plants have adapted well over time to seasonal droughts in their native regions, and so allowing the soil to dry out between waterings is what they prefer. Water your hoya sunrise infrequently, every 10-12 days, just enough so that the top layer of soil is moist but not wet.

Temperature and Humidity

The hoya sunrise won't survive prolonged cold temperatures. Avoid placing it near a drafty window or door. Because it is native to tropical environments, it prefers humidity, as high as 50% to 60%. Most home interiors are dry, so installing a humidifier or placing a saucer of water nearby can be helpful. The hoya sunrise also does not do well in high temperatures, so if the temperature goes above 75 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time, you might place it in a shaded or dark spot to keep it cool.


Feed your hoya sunrise monthly with a liquid fertilizer that has a higher percentage of nitrogen, perhaps a nutrient ratio of 3:1:2. Fertilize sparingly after watering (never apply liquid fertilizer to dry soil because doing so can damage or even kill some plants). Reduce fertilizing for a few weeks if the tips of the leaves turn brown.

Pruning Hoya Sunrise

Though you should trim off any dead or damaged leaves, don't deadhead this plant to remove its spent flower bracts. This plant regenerates flower buds from old bracts, so leave them be and you'll get more flowers. The best time for pruning the leaves is spring or summer after a period of bloom.

Propagating Hoya Sunrise

To propagate hoya sunrise take a cutting and place it in a small pot filled with sphagnum moss as a growing medium. Mist the surface lightly and regularly, and the roots should start to grow within about six weeks.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Hoya sunrise is relatively resistant to most pests, but the most common problems they encounter include root rot (usually from overwatering), mealybugs, and leafspot (which has several causes including bacteria or nematodes).

How to Get Hoya Sunrise to Bloom

Hoya sunrise can theoretically bloom continuously but also can benefit from a period of dormancy to help it replenish itself. The best time to do this is in summer after a period of spring blooming. Choose a spot with indirect sunlight or partial shade, which will deter it from forming flower buds too quickly. Check the weather forecast and do this when the temperature does not go below 55 degrees Fahrenheit or above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, for about two weeks.

  • Is Hoya 'Sunrise' rare?

    Though a fairly recent introduction, hoya sunrise is very well known, yet it is still considered to be one of the hard-to-find hoyas in the retail market.

  • Is hoya sunrise easy to grow?

    Hoya sunrise is moderately easy to grow. If its light and water needs are handled appropriately, it should flourish indoors.

  • Does hoya sunrise need full sun?

    Hoya sunrise does best in bright but indirect sun, not full sun. It does have somewhat specific sunlight needs and the best way to determine them is to pay attention to how the plant responds.