Hoya curtisii, also known as Tiny-Lead Porcelain Flower, Fung Wax Flower, or Hoya Aloha, is a trailing succulent vine from the Milkweed family. Featuring small and fleshy olive-green leaves with silver splashes, this epiphytic plant is native to the Phillippines, Thailand and Malaysia.
Thankfully, your Hoya curtisii is easy to care for and can be easily propagated from stem cuttings. It enjoys 2-3 hours of direct light plus indirect light for the rest of the day, drying out between waterings, and humidity >50%. Sufficient light and light fertilizing (phosphorous-based fertilizer) encourage prolific flowering. 🙂
Your Hoya will produce clusters of star-shaped pink and white flowers in ideal conditions when fully mature. These blooms are known for their strong citrus fragrance.
This article will cover proper care, propagation, and the flowering habits of this compact houseplant.
How to care for your plant
Given that the Hoya curtisii is native to tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, it is no surprise that your houseplant grows best in bright indirect light for most of the day. However, 2-3 hours of direct sunlight per day is optimal to encourage flowering and prevent lanky growth.
Placing your plant in East or West facing windowsills is ideal. If you only have access to South-facing windows, use a shade cloth to prevent scorching. You will know your plant has received too much direct sun if the leaves start to fade and can become brown or yellow.
On the other hand, slow, lanky growth and a lack of flowers signify that your Hoya curtisii can benefit from more sunlight. In this case, you may choose to invest in a grow light.
Watering your Hoya Curtisii
Hoya curtisii is a type of epiphytic plant, meaning that it grows on trees in the wild and can draw water from moisture in the air. Its fleshy, succulent leaves also store water. Because of these characteristics, the Hoya curtisii is a drought-tolerant plant and prefers to dry out between waterings.
Ensure you check the top 2 inches of soil to see if your Hoya is completely dry before watering it (it is okay to err on the side of caution here!). From our experience, this usually ends up being about every week to two weeks, depending on climate and evaporation rates.
Water your plant from the top until excess water escapes from drainage holes. (Always use pots with drainage holes, especially for Hoyas, who detest “wet feet”!!)
Dangers of overwatering
Overwatering your plant will lead to root rot. Unfortunately, Hoya curtisii is especially susceptible to this condition. This is when waterlogged roots start to decay, either because their roots are starved of oxygen or because a fungus (that flourishes in wet conditions) attacks your plant’s root systems.
Since roots function to draw water and nutrients from the soil to your plant to manufacture food, your plant’s leaves eventually turn yellow due to a lack of nutrients. If left for too long, this can lead to plant death.
Besides yellowing leaves, droopy leaves that look soft and drop off prematurely are signs of an overwatered Hoya curtisii.
While your trusty Hoya is tolerant of low humidity environments, for best results, aim for humidity levels of at least 50%. This will mimic your plant’s tropical native environment.
Placing your plants together is an easy way to increase humidity. You can also choose to mist your plant in the mornings to promote humidity levels.
However, the most convenient option is using a humidifier.
Your succulent prefers warmer climates, with 65 – 85 degrees F (18 – 29 degrees C) optimal for growth. However, it tolerates any environment above 60 degrees F (15 degrees C). Try to provide a stable temperature environment by placing it away from any cold drafts or air vents.
You can use a potting mix for your Hoya, but this must be a well-draining mix. We recommend mixing 2 parts of this succulent potting mix with 1 part perlite.
Another option is using LECA to grow your Hoya curtisii. Remember that Hoyas enjoy high levels of oxygen — they attach themselves to other trees in the wild and have aerial roots. LECA is an ideal substrate as air pockets between clay balls allow roots to have maximum breathability.
You can read more about the Pros and Cons of LECA here.
Fertilizing your Hoya curtisii is straightforward:
* If you are using soil, use a houseplant fertilizer. Choose one high in phosphorous to encourage flowering. Fertilize once a month during spring and summer. Hold off fertilizing during the winter months.
* If you are planting your Hoya curtisii in LECA, you must utilize a hydroponics fertiliser.
Good news for lazy gardeners – Hoya curtisii have shallow roots and prefer to be root-bound, so there is no need to repot your plant unless you see roots growing from the drainage hole. This is typically every 3-4 years.
When you do repot your Hoya, do so in the growing season (spring and summer) so that actively growing roots have time to establish in their new substrate. Ensure that your pot is only slightly bigger than its root system, upsizing only about 2 inches (5cm) each time.
Your Hoya curtisii are considered pet and human-safe. However, dogs and cats are known to throw up your plant if ingested, as their digestive systems cannot break down your plant. It’s still best to keep your Hoya in a hanging basket away from animals.
Propagating a Hoya Curtisii by Cuttings
Hoyas curtisii are easy to propagate because they have aerial roots. Just make sure you propagate your plant during the growing season and follow these steps:
- Using sharp garden shears, take stem cuttings of 3-4 inches long.
- Remove the leaves from the bottom 2 nodes and then place the stem cutting in water, being careful not to submerge any leaves.
- Place your stem cutting in a spot with direct light.
- Change out the water daily.
- Once you see new roots of 2-3 inches, repot your plant in your soil or LECA.
Your Hoya curtisii is a small ground cover plant (it can grow horizontally, forming tight mats on soil), so it is susceptible to pests that love dark and damp environments. These include spider mites, mealybugs and fungus ghats and aphids.
Other Hoya Varieties
The Hoya Linearis is a beautiful trailing plant with elongated needle-like foliage. It is a less common and more fussy plant, but boy does it look beautiful!
Hoya Krimson Queen
Hoya Krimson Queen (also known as Hoya variegata or Hoya Tricolor): This Hoya is the variegated version of the Hoya Carnosa. It features pink or white leaf edges on green leaves.
Hoya Bella is known for white flowers with purple star-shaped centers. This vining plant emits a sweet fragrance in the evenings, giving it its nickname, Honey Plant.
These adorable heart-shaped hoya succulents are popular around Valentine’s day for obvious reasons. If you have a stem cutting of the Hoya Kerrii it can be propagated into a trailing plant, otherwise, these single-leafs are likely to stay as just that!
Keen on growing a Succulent? Try the Mother or Millions or Mother of Thousands. They are extremely easy to grow, but may not be to everyone’s liking! For photos and information on growing these two species, check out the guide in the link above.
Why is my Hoya Curtisii’s leaves turning yellow?
Overwatering is the most common reason for yellow leaves.
Check moisture levels of the soil with your finger. If you want to be more precise, you can use a moisture meter. Read our Watering guide and adhere to suggested practices.
If you’re confident that overwatering is not the problem, the second most likely reason is a lack of humidity. If your budget allows, invest in a small humidifier for your houseplants. Most houseplants enjoy high humidity levels, and your Hoya curtisii is no exception: aim for >50% levels.
How do I encourage my Hoya Curtisii to flower?
Hoya curtisii only flowers when fully mature. They are a slow-growing plant, so this may take 3-4 years. So be patient!
However, if your mature Hoya is still not flowering, here are a few tips:
- Ensure your plant is getting sufficient sunlight; 2-3 hours of direct sun is best if you can manage this. If you are having problems getting enough sun, try a grow light.
- Ensure your plant is slightly rootbound. This means leaving your plant to grow in its pot for 3-4 years.
- Do not cut off peduncles. These are the stalks on your plant, which are left bare after flowers have bloomed and fallen away. Leave these be as new flowers can emerge from the same stalks!
Should I prune my Hoya Curtisii?
You don’t need to prune a Hoya curtisii, but remove any dead leaves as part of your routine maintenance. You can prune to avoid leggy growth and to encourage a bushier look.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Hoya Curtisii rare?
Not really. Hoya curtisii used to be harder to find, but given their popularity now and easy propagation, they are more readily available in garden stores.
Can you use a moss pole for a Hoya Curtisii?
Yes, you can! Though these plants are most often seen from hanging baskets, you can train them up a moss pole or use a wall or trellis. Moss poles can also provide health benefits for tropical plants.
In its natural habitat, your Hoya curtisii does climb up trees. It’s up to you.
How quickly does Hoya Curtisii grow?
They are a slow-growing plant. A mature Hoya curtisii is about 2 inches tall and 12 inches wide and takes about 3-4 years to grow.
Is Hoya Curtisii the String of Hearts?
No, they are different plants. String of Hearts (Ceropegia woodii) is also a succulent, trailing plant that looks similar to the Hoya curtisii. But Hoya curtisii have smaller leaves and grow much more slowly than the String of Hearts.
Their leaves are also different if you look closely: the String of Hearts has (surprise, surprise!) heart-shaped leaves, while Hoya curtisii has spade-shaped foliage. The variegation on the String of Hearts comes in more regular patterns, while your Hoya curtisii’s variegation consists of random splotches of silvery-white on green foliage.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.