Hoya Pubicalyx: Comprehensive Care and Growing Guidelines

If you are looking for an easy house plant to keep alive, there is one option that stands above the rest.

Hoya pubicalyx is a forgiving and low-maintenance plant that can come back from (most) negligence.

This tropical plant will produce long vines that look great climbing up a trellis or trailing out of a hanging basket.

How do you care for Hoya pubicalyx? To thrive, Hoya pubicalyx require a light, rich, airy soil with good drainage; bright, indirect sunlight; temperatures of 60-75℉; and a liquid fertilizer once a month during warm weather. These plants love 60-70% humidity but only need additional watering when the top 2 inches of soil is dry. 

Caring for Hoya Pubicalyx: Basic Guidelines

Adding a Hoya pubicalyx to your home has numerous benefits. This plant can help purify the air, creates fragrant blooms, and can be trained to a variety of shapes. 

Complete Care Guide for Hoya Pubicalyx

Hoya pubicalyx is also known as the porcelain flower or the wax plant. However, these common names are used for a variety of Hoya species.

The name wax plant comes from the thick, waxy leaves found on most Hoya varieties. 

Hoya Pubicalyx at a Glance

  • Plant type: tropical evergreen
  • Scientific name: Hoya pubicalyx
  • Average height: Variable (up to 10 feet)
  • Average width: Variable 
  • Growth rate: Fast
  • Produces flowers: Yes
  • Common pests: Mealybugs, nematodes
  • Life expectancy: Perennial 
  • Difficulty of care: Easy

What To Do When You First Get Your Hoya Pubicalyx

Whenever you bring home a new house plant, it is important to keep it quarantined from your other plants for at least two weeks.

This time period will allow any issues, such as pest infestations, to become obvious. 

It is also a good idea to check the plant’s soil at this time. If it holds too much moisture or is too dense, it is a good idea to repot the plant with a better soil.

Ideal Soil for Hoya Pubicalyx

While Hoya pubicalyx can grow in most soil mixtures, it will thrive in a well-draining, aerated soil. A high organic content will keep necessary nutrients available in the soil.

A recommended mix includes compost, orchid bark, and perlite. The roots of the plant grow best when the soil is loose and airy. 

Hoya Pubicalyx Water Requirements

While Hoya pubicalyx is fairly drought tolerant, it is important to maintain a regular watering schedule for the health of the plant.

You should water thoroughly when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. Remove any excess water from the saucer when you finish. 

It is important not to overwater your Hoya pubicalyx and never allow the roots to remain in standing water. This will prevent root rot and fungal infections.

Hard water can be damaging to some plants. It is always best to water with filtered water or rainwater.

Additionally, this will prevent the plant from getting water marks on the leaves. 

Hoya Pubicalyx Lighting Needs

Like many house plants, Hoya pubicalyx does best in bright, indirect light.

Since this plant grows in tropical forests in the wild, the indirect light mimics the filtered light that comes through the tree canopy. 

Midday direct sun should always be avoided because Hoya pubicalyx is susceptible to sunburn on its leaves and flowers.

However, morning or evening sunlight can be beneficial, and it is less severe than midday sun.

Ideal Temperature Range for Hoya Pubicalyx

Hoya pubicalyx is native to tropical southeast Asia, which is hot and humid. This plant does best in temperatures of 60-75℉.

In winter, never allow your plant to drop below 50℉. 

Ideal Humidity Level for Hoya Pubicalyx.

This tropical plant loves humidity. 60-70% can be hard to maintain in some climates, but it is ideal for Hoya pubicalyx.

Some options for maintaining this high humidity are misting regularly, placing your plant on a pebble tray, and running a humidifier. 

A tip is to use filtered water or rainwater in your humidifier or when misting your Hoya pubicalyx. This will help prevent water spots from forming on the waxy leaves.

Best Location for Hoya Pubicalyx

This plant will do best in a warm location near a bright window. The window can receive some morning or evening direct sunlight.

A bathroom with a window is the perfect location for Hoya pubicalyx because of the naturally higher humidity. 

Hoya Pubicalyx Growth Habits 

Hoya pubicalyx is one of the fastest growing Hoya species. As long as it has the resources it needs, it can keep growing almost indefinitely. The vines can grow up to 20 feet long. 

Fertilization Type & Schedule for Hoya Pubicalyx 

Hoya pubicalyx is not a heavy feeder and can easily be overfertilized.

It is recommended to use a liquid fertilizer, diluted to half strength, once a month during the growing season.

There are many options for fertilizer: fish emulsion, compost tea, or synthetic fertilizer. 

During the winter, your plant does not need any fertilizer as the cold temperatures and less sunlight cause growth to slow down or stop. 

Hoya pubicalyx can also be fertilized through foliar feeding. Foliar feeding is when the leaves take in nutrients like the roots usually do.

In order to feed your plant through its leaves, dilute some fertilizer in a spray bottle and mist the plant occasionally. 

Signs of Nutrient Deficiency

  • Nitrogen deficiency – older and lower leaves will turn yellow and fall off, and growth will be stunted due to the lack of chlorophyll.
  • Phosphorus – rust color will appear on the edge of the leaves, and new growth will stop.
  • Potassium – tan color will appear on the edges of the leaves, and new leaves will grow closer together on the stems.

Pruning Hoya Pubicalyx

Pruning is not necessary for the health of the plant. It is only beneficial for aesthetic reasons.

If you are going to prune your Hoya pubicalyx, do so in the spring so the plant has time to heal and start new growth during the growing season. 

Do not prune the plant once flower buds have started to form. By altering the allocation of resources in the plant, you can cause Hoya pubicalyx to drop the flowers.

Does Hoya Pubicalyx Produce Flowers?

Yes, Hoya pubicalyx can produce flowers. It usually takes 1-2 years for new plants to start blooming. This plant blooms in spring and summer.

The flowers are small and star shaped. They grow in clusters on flower stalks. Different cultivars produce different color variations. At night, the flowers let off a sweet fragrance. 

The number one factor in getting your Hoya pubicalyx to bloom is sunlight. Your plant should be receiving at least 6 hours of bright, indirect light per day.

If it is still not blooming, try moving your plant to a location where it receives a couple hours of direct sunlight in the morning. 

Once the flowers on Hoya pubicalyx have died off, do not trim the flower stalk. By saving this part of the plant, it will not need to expend energy growing a new one next season.

Is Hoya Pubicalyx Toxic?

Hoya pubicalyx is nontoxic to pets and children. However, the plant secretes a white sap that can irritate the skin. It is recommended to wear gloves when pruning. 

Hoya Pubicalyx Propagation

Most Hoya plants are fairly easy to propagate. The easiest method for propagating Hoya pubicalyx is by planting a stem cutting in soil.

This is best done during the growing season to promote quick root growth. 

1. Take Stem Cutting

Sterilize the scissors or garden shears before trimming. Cut a 5-7 inch piece of stem.

2. Place Cutting Into Soil

Remove the lower leaves from the cutting and place approximately 4 inches of the stem into the soil. 

3. Water the Cutting Thoroughly

Make sure that the soil stays moist while the cutting is creating new roots. It can be helpful to place a plastic bag over the container, creating a greenhouse effect. 

4. Place Cutting in a Warm, Bright Location

It is best to place your cutting near a window where it will receive bright, indirect light. Avoid temperature fluctuations. 

5. New Roots Should Form in 3-4 Weeks

Once new roots are formed, you can leave your cutting in the container to continue growing, or transplant it into its final pot. 

Repotting Hoya Pubicalyx

Hoya pubicalyx prefers to be root bound and does not need to be repotted very frequently. 

When to Repot Hoya Pubicalyx 

Since your Hoya pubicalyx rarely needs to be repotted, it will not show you many (if any) signs that it needs a larger space.

One telltale sign for most plants is when growth slows or stops but all other needs are appropriately met and there are no signs of pests and disease. 

Even if your plant’s root system does not require a larger space, it is a good idea to change out some of the soil periodically.

Over time, soil will lose nutrients and organic material. It will not hold moisture as well.

Signs That It’s Time To Repot

  • Growth slows or stops
  • Soil does not hold moisture

How to Repot Hoya Pubicalyx

To repot your Hoya pubicalyx, remove the plant from its current container and gently remove soil from around the roots.

The roots are fairly hardy compared to other plants, so there is less chance of damaging them during transfer. 

Place some well-draining, aerated soil mix in the bottom of the new container and place your Hoya pubicalyx on top. Fill in the space around the roots with your soil mix.

Make sure your new pot is only one size up from the previous pot to prevent having too much soil compared to the amount of roots.

It is always recommended to keep your plant in a pot with a drainage hole.

Additionally, terra cotta is a great option to prevent excess moisture because water evaporates through the porous material. 

Common Problems & Solutions That Work

Hoya Pubicalyx Common Pests

Thanks to the thick, juicy leaves of this plant, sap-sucking insects are the most common pests.

Mealybugs are easy to spot but can be difficult to treat. In addition, nematodes can cause root rot, which can be fatal for the plant.

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are white, fluffy insects that tend to congregate at the base of leaves and on fresh growth.

They suck the sap out of the plant and leave excrement, called honeydew, on the leaves.

Signs of Trouble

The white mealybugs are easy to spot on the plant. If caught early, the plant may not be affected.

With an advanced infestation, new growth on the plant will die off, and the plant will start to wilt.

Solution

A shower will help rinse off many of the mealybugs. Then, treat the plant with an insecticide.

Since the eggs and larvae can be hard to spot, it is recommended to repeat the insecticide treatment multiple times.

Prevention

Check your plant regularly for infestation. Isolate any plants infested with mealybugs to prevent transmission to other plants.

Do not overwater your Hoya pubicalyx, as mealybugs are attracted to the high amount of moisture.

Root Rot Nematode

Fungus is usually blamed for root rot, but nematodes can also thrive in the moist soil and wreak havoc on your plant.

Usually, once nematodes are discovered, the plant is too damaged to be saved.

Signs of Trouble

The plant will stop putting out new growth and will begin to wilt. Leaves may yellow or start to drop.

The last sign before the plant dies is usually a mushy stem, especially down by the soil.

Solution

If the nematodes are discovered early enough, healthy parts of the Hoya pubicalyx can be cut and propagated.

However, once the roots and stem have been compromised, the plant cannot be saved. Discard the plant and infested soil. Disinfect the pot before adding a new plant.

Prevention

Nematodes cannot survive in dry environments, so allow the top of the soil to dry in between waterings.

Adding manure or compost to your soil mix can prevent nematodes through biological controls.

Hoya Pubicalyx Common Diseases

Since it is easy to overwater Hoya pubicalyx, many diseases are fungal infections or related to moisture.

The best way to prevent disease in your plant is to maintain a moderate moisture level.

Sooty Mold

Sooty mold is a black mold that forms on the leaves of plants. It forms on sugary liquids like nectar.

Excrement from pests, called honeydew, and nectar from flowers are the main causes of sooty mold.

Signs of Trouble

Black mold spots will form on the leaves of the plant. 

Solution

Sooty mold can be gently wiped off the plant with a wet cloth.

Prevention

Eradicate any sap-sucking pests as soon as possible to prevent honeydew buildup on the leaves.

If the flowers on your Hoya pubicalyx are dripping nectar onto the leaves, try tying your flower stalks in a different position.

Blight

Blight is a fungal infection that can affect any part of the plant.

Signs of Trouble 

Gray patches of fungus can be seen on the leaves or stems of the plant. In more advanced infections, the plant may start to feel mushy or begin to droop.

Solution

Remove as much infected plant tissue from the Hoya pubicalyx as possible. Treat the plant with a copper fungicide, like this certified organic treatment.

Prevention

Avoid misting the leaves of your plant or allowing water to sit on the leaves.

If the ambient humidity for your Hoya pubicalyx is especially high, try lowering your humidity a little bit. Always try not to overwater your plant.

Other Common Problems

While a variety of issues can cause symptoms, such as yellowing leaves or drooping leaves, in your Hoya pubicalyx, the most common culprit is the water level.

Overwatering and underwatering your plant can cause serious damage. 

Yellowing Leaves

Signs of Trouble

Leaves, especially the lower and older leaves, begin to turn yellow and die off. You may also notice mold forming on the soil or pot.

Solution

Allow your soil to almost completely dry out before watering again. Moving the plant to a sunnier location can also help.

Prevention

Never overwater your Hoya pubicalyx. The amount of water your plant needs will correlate with the amount of sunlight it receives.

So, more sun equals more water, and less sun equals less water.

Dry Leaves

Signs of Trouble

The leaves on your Hoya pubicalyx will dry out and some will start to fall off. The stem may still be hydrated, or it may be dry as well.

Solution

Water your plant immediately, but do not overwater. Monitor soil moisture every day for at least a week and water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry.

If needed, move the plant to a brighter location to promote healing.

Prevention

Maintain a regular watering schedule so your plant does not dry out too much between waterings.

If you are in a dry climate, your Hoya pubicalyx will also benefit from increased humidity. 

Hoya Pubicalyx Common Questions

Leaves of a Hoya pubicalyx against a black background.

How Do You Identify Hoya Pubicalyx?

Hoya pubicalyx is a vining plant with narrow, pointed leaves. The flowers are star shaped and come in a variety of colors.

What Is the Average Hoya Pubicalyx Price?

A 4-inch Hoya pubicalyx costs between $10 and $30, depending on the cultivar.

Are Hoya Plants Rare?

No, Hoya pubicalyx is fairly easy to find. However, certain cultivars may be harder to find.

How Many Types of Hoya Pubicalyx Are There?

There are over 20 varieties of Hoya pubicalyx with different flower colors and leaf patterns.

Some growers disagree on how many varieties there are because some cultivars naturally produce different colored flowers.

What Are Popular Hoya Pubicalyx Varieties?

  • ‘Pink Silver’ – pink flowers and pinkish-silver splotches on leaves
  • ‘Black Dragon’ – reddish-black flowers with red centers, lime green leaves
  • ‘Red Buttons’ – purple flowers with red centers, leaves may have a red tint
  • ‘Royal Hawaiian Purple’ – pink to black flowers (may have different colors within a single cluster) and silver speckling on leaves

What Is the Easiest Hoya Pubicalyx Variety To Grow?

All varieties of Hoya pubicalyx have the same care requirements.

Is the Hoya Pubicalyx the Same as the Wax Plant?

The wax plant is a common name used for many Hoya species, including the pubicalyx varieties.

Is a Wax Plant a Succulent?

No, Hoya pubicalyx are not succulents. While wax plants have thick leaves that are similar to a succulent, they are tropical evergreen plants.

Do Hoya Plants Have Deep Roots?

The roots of Hoya pubicalyx are epiphytic, meaning they grow on trees or other plants. They are typically shallow when grown in soil.

How Can I Get My Wax Plant To Bloom?

In addition to meeting all the care needs of the plant, Hoya pubicalyx requires plenty of sunlight to bloom. It should receive at least 6 hours of bright, indirect light a day.

Does Hoya Pubicalyx Climb?

Hoya pubicalyx can be trained to climb. It is best to begin training the plant while it is young.

Does Hoya Pubicalyx Need a Trellis?

Hoya pubicalyx vines can be left to spill out of the pot and be a trailing plant if desired. To grow or climb upwards, the vines will need a support of time type.

3 Keys for Success With Hoya Pubicalyx

Three leaves and a pink flower cluster of the Hoya pubicalyx set against a white background.

1. Do Not Overwater

Your plant can handle short bouts of drought, but overwatering can have immediate consequences. Use a well-draining soil and a pot with a drainage hole.

2. Provide Plenty of Sunlight

The best part of Hoya pubicalyx is the fragrant flowers. In order to get your plant to bloom, it needs to receive plenty of indirect sunlight.

3. Check for Pests Regularly

An infestation can cause damage to your plant, so it is important to prevent pests. Eradicate any pests as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Hoya pubicalyx does not look very special when you see a small, immature plant. However, the long vines and flashy flower clusters make this plant unique.

Beginners will love adding this plant to their collection!

Graphic outlining care of Hoya pubicalyx