Some not-so-common Hoya varieties that make great houseplants

Hoyas are a beautiful and strange plant genus with over hundreds of different species in its family. Hoya plants are known for their thick waxy leaves and beautiful, unique blooms (learn how to get your Hoya to bloom in our earlier blog post)--each with a different scent and look. It's not a surprise that the Hoya plants have exploded in popularity over the past couple of years. Once you catch the Hoya bug, you'll find the desire to collect them all.

Hoya plant on Treleaf trellis

Blooming Hoya plant on Treleaf trellis

What is a Hoya plant?

Hoya plants are low maintenance, tropical plants that are tolerant to under watering and neglect. Hoya plants, or commonly known as wax plants, have long trailing vines with bright green or dark green foliage. These trailing vines produce star shaped flowers with a sweet smell and varying colors like pale pink, orange, white and more.

The Hoya genus has around 500 different species and are native to areas in Asia, Australia and Fiji. Hoya plants are a semi succulent plant and are epiphytes (growing on other plants and trees in a non parasitic way) and are also lithophytes (growing on rocks).

Hoya plants have thick leaves that are used to store water during periods of drought, making them great for any under water plant parent.

Are Hoyas easy for beginners to care for?

The short answer is, YES! Hoya make great house plants for both beginners and experienced plant parents. Most Hoya plants thrive off neglect and can tolerate one or two missed waterings and as long as they're getting medium to high light, they can almost be a 'set and forget' type of house plant. Learn more about how to take care of Hoya plants, take stem cuttings, figure out the right potting soil or propagate hoya plants through our wax plants guide here.

With their fragrant flowers and long trailing vines Hoyas look beautiful in hanging baskets.

Hoya flower bloom

Hoya flower bloom
Photo by Claud Richmond on Unsplash

Hoya Imbricata

Hoya Imbricata is a strange and unusual Hoya plant. In nature, the plant naturally will cling onto a tree and look almost like a stack of lily pads. In this form, it has almost perfectly round emerald green leaves with silver flecks all around.

In a houseplant environment, Hoya Imbricata leaves will grow curled in unless given something to grow and attach on. Many people will mount theirs on a wooden board or cork.

This is one of the more difficult Hoya varieties to grow. It requires high humidity (about 70%-80%) in order to grow correctly and to properly attach to it's growing medium. It also needs warmth and just the right amount of light.

Hoya carnosa 'Compacta'

Hoya carnosa 'compacta' is a cultivar of Hoya carnosa and is commonly known as the rope plant. This Hoya plant is easily identified by its thick, curled, wavy leaves that hang down like rope or (in my opinion) tortellini. This Hoya species has three different varieties; all green (regular compacta), one with white variegation on the inside of the leaves (Mauna Loa), and the last has the variegation on the outside of the leaves (Hoya carnosa compacta variegata).

Hoya compacta has bright pink star shaped blooms that smell like chocolate.

Place this Hoya in a chunky potting mix, Hoya carnosa 'compacta' has small, fragile roots and thick leaves that hold onto moisture. This makes the plant particularly susceptible to root rot. Water the plant when the leaves feel flimpsy. Place Hoya carnosa 'compacta' in bright light and watch this adorable plant grow in its hanging basket!

Hoya Australis

Hoya australis is one of the most popular and easy going Hoya varieties. It has long trailing vines with broad glossy leaves that can reach up to 30ft long in their native environment. When given more intense light, the leaves will sun stress to a red color.

This Hoya plant has white flowers with red center and a slight spicy floral fragrance.

Hoya australis has been in cultivation for many years due to easy going nature. It can easily be found in local garden centers or with a quick online browse. Simply put Hoya australis in well draining soil, near a window with indirect light and the Hoya australis will grow with no problems. No extra humidity is needed for this Hoya species.

Hoya Retusa

Hoya retusa is the one of the odd balls of the Hoya varieties. It has long vines with thin, slender, grass-like leaves that look like they're clustered together. And unlike a majority of Hoyas that put out umbels of flowers (or a group of flowers), Hoya retusa produces one single flower. This Hoya plant has white flowers with a maroon center and a sweet fragrance.

Due to its thin vines and thinner leaves, this wax plant needs more frequent waterings than other Hoya varieties. Hoya Retusa is tolerant of lower humidity and adaptable to bright or low light.

Hoya Obovata

Hoya obovata has large, round leaves. Some varieties will have silver or pink speckles throughout its dark green foliage. Hoya obovata has star shaped blooms that are white or pale purple with a pink or red center (known as the corona). And, in my experience, this Hoya plant flowers has no fragrance.

Hoya obovata can be a bit finicky to grow, especially as a young plant. While they're tolerant of infrequent waterings, they do like a bit higher humidity. But with the right care, this Hoya will grow beautifully with leaves bigger than your hand!

Hoya obovata plant

Hoya obovata plant

Hoya Macrophylla

Hoya macrophylla is most noted for its foliage than it's blooms. This wax plant has large, waxy oblonged shaped leaves with an almost 3D like veins throughout the leaves. Some of these Hoya varieties will have a variegated foliage with a pink/cream color covering the edges or the inner part of the leaf.

With Hoya varieties like macrophylla, it's better to trellis them up to help control the growth pattern. Hoyas have a tendency to grow really long, large and unruly. Giving them proper support will help with overall growth and help save space in your plant area.

Hoya macrophylla is a thinner leafed Hoya and can tolerate a little underwatering but nothing too drastic. Hoya macropylla will do best in well draining soil and do well in normal household humidity but thrive in humidity higher than 50%.

Hoya Linearis

Hoya linearis is one Hoya species that has exploded in popularity over the recent years, and for good reason. It looks different than other wax plants because it doesn't look waxy at all and has a completely different leaf shape.

Hoya linearis plant

Hoya linearis plant
Photo by Kristen Colada Adams on Unsplash

Hoya linearis has long, thin leaves that resemble fuzzy green beans. Hoya linearis have white flowers with a yellow center that have a slight lemon scent.

Hoya linearis requires more frequent watering than the majority of other types of Hoya plants and will thrive best in cooler temperatures.

Hoya Burtoniae

Hoya burtoniae has compact oval shaped leaves that are fuzzy and olive green. If this wax plant receives high light, it will sunstress a reddish color.

Hoya burtoniae is a Hoya species that easily blooms and has reddish flowers with an orange center. These blooms have a strong butterscotch smell. Don't be surprised if you walk into your plant area and are welcomed with the sweet fragrance of these blooms.

Hoya flower bloom

Hoya burtoniae/DS-70 bloom

Hoya Wayetii

Hoya wayetii is another popular and easily accessible Hoya plant. It has thick, long, chubby foliage on cascading vines. This Hoya flowers grow in small clumps and can have a pink or orange color.

Hoya wayettii variegata
Hoya wayetii variegata
Photo by feey on Unsplash

Hoya wayetii is a great starter Hoya for any plant parent. With its thicker leaves, it can tolerate missed waterings. You can also do the "taco test" to determine if it's time to water or not. Simply, fold the leaves. If they fold in easily, it's time to water. If they're stiff and won't bend, test again in a week. 

And with any Hoya varieties mentioned in this blog, make sure to always provide them with well draining soil with lots of amendments. Hoya have small, fragile roots and that can easily succumb to root rot. Proper soil mixture and watering at the right time is key for making sure you Hoya plant thrives.

Hoya Coronaria

If you like fuzzy, velvet leaves, than Hoya coronaria is the one for you! These leaves are a deep green color, paddled shaped and covered, from stem to leaf, with fuzz similar to velvet. It's hard not to touch this plant multiple times a day.

This wax plant, has beautiful star fish shaped blooms that are bigger than the every day Hoya bloom. They are a dark pink color with reddish speckling that can change with the amount of sunlight its given.

Hoya coroanaria is a fairly easy going plant that is okay to water when the soil is dry. Make sure to plant in the proper soil mix and keep in humidity above 50%.

Hoya Fitchii

Hoya fitchii has become the number one plant in everyones Hoya collection due to its gorgeous foliage and stunning blooms. This wax plant has long trailing vines covered with leaves that are emerald green with fine veining throughout. This Hoya species has star shaped flowers that can vary in colors from pink to orange depending on its growing conditions.

Hoya fitchii is typically a low maintenance Hoya but slow growing. And like many other types of Hoya, may struggle in lower humidity. Make sure to let the soil dry completely before watering again.

Hoya Finlaysonii

The foliage on Hoya finlaysonii is a show stopper. It is a speciality made cultivar that can be pale to dark green and has a unique vein pattern. This plant produces a cluster, or umbel, of white flowers with a red center. Like Hoya bella, these blooms resemble a gummy bear candy.

This Hoya plant tends to be a slow grower when not given enough time to be established or when its growing conditions aren't right. Give this Hoya bright indirect light, water when the soil is almost dry and keep in 60%-70% humidity. This Hoya will grow more in the warmer months of spring and summer.

Hoya Bella (Hoya Lanceolata Spp. Bella)

Hoya bella is a small leafed Hoya with pointed, almost triangular shaped leaves with a pronounced indent running down the middle of the leaf.

This Hoya flowers are unlike any other Hoya varieties. This Hoya has white flowers that are bigger than you'd imagine from such small foliage. The center is a pale pink color that resemble a jelly type candy.

Hoya bella is one of the more picky of Hoya varieties. The thin leaf Hoyas are typically more thirsty and require an especially well draining soil to help prevent root rot. Hoya bella also requires the right amount of light; too much light will burn the foliage and too little light will have the vines looking sparse.

Hoya bella bloom

Hoya bella bloom

Hoya Curtisii

Hoya curtisii is one of the cutest Hoya varieties. It has tiny round, olive colored foliage with silver and purple flecks. It produces dainty light green flowers.

Hoya curtisii is not a Hoya for everyone, it's a bit of a diva. It will drop leaves when adjusting to a new environment, it doesn't like the soil to dry out at all, and needs just the right amount of light. If you manage to get everything right, Hoya curtisii will grow just fine.

Hoya Caudata

Hoya caudata is another thick leaf Hoya plant with an oblong shape that's light green with silver splotches all over. Hoya caudata has white flowers that are furry with a pink corona.

Hoya caudata leaf

Hoya caudata leaf

Hoya caudata isn't a high maintenance plant when it comes to watering but requires humidity of at least 50%. If you notice your caudata hasn't grown or produced leaves in a few months, try to up the humidity.

Hoya Krohniana

This small leafed plant, has delicate heart shape leaves that grow in pairs down a trailing vine. Hoya krohniana is a close cousin of Hoya lacunoa but has officially been given its own species.

Krohniana Hoya varieties is one of the easiest Hoya to bloom. So, if you're in a hurry to experience your first Hoya bloom (like I was) Krohniana is for you. Krohniana plants produce tiny umbels of white, slightly fuzzy flowers that have a light floral scrent. You'll be pleasantly surprised to see how fast the vines will fill with blooms.

small leaf Hoya

Trailing Hoya krohniana
Photo by Eldry John Infante on Unsplash

Since this Hoya species is a small leaf variety, you'll need to be mindful of watering. Keep it in a nice chunky soil mix to prevent root rot. And place it in dappled shade or indirect light.

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