The hoya plant is a beautiful waxy evergreen, famed for its oval-shaped leaves and highly scented, star-shaped flowers. Native to the Far East and Australasia it enjoys a warm and arid climate in the wild so works perfectly as a house or conservatory plant.
In this article, I’ll be showing you how easy it is to propagate Hoya plants by taking you through my step-by-step guide. So whether you are looking to create a beautiful Hoya display from existing plants or, salvaging what you can from a specimen that is beyond its prime, read on for everything you need to know.
Propagating Hoya Plants
The succulent leaves and stems of the hoya plant make it a perfect candidate for propagation and results can be quick to achieve.
The two favored methods of propagating are either using a single leaf or – my preferred and the most popular method – rooting cuttings in soil or in water.
I find the soil method of propagating from a cutting to be the most reliable. Using a good quality, nutrient-rich, and well-draining compost will provide the nutrients the cutting needs. Plus using soil acts as a strong anchor to keep the cutting securely in place.
Of course, you will need some basic equipment and resources when handling the cutting ready for propagation, but once safely rooted in the pot there is no need to disturb the cutting until it has established and started to outgrow its current pot.
Propagating in water is not always fail-safe and the resulting plant may not be very hardy as it will have started life without the nutrients that compost can provide. It will also eventually need potting into compost.
At best, propagating hoya in water is a quick way to cultivate a cutting. In addition, it can be a fun way to watch the roots develop.
I’ve had limited success when using a leaf cutting to propagate hoya because the leaves can easily shrivel and die before rooting takes place. This process can also be time-consuming.
Selecting Suitable Stem Cuttings
First, choose a healthy but soft stem from the mother plant with at least 3-4 waxy green leaves. Avoid sections that look woody or have little new growth.
Next, take a sharp and sterile knife or pruners and cut a section that is at least 4-5 inches in length. Then, remove all the leaves except the end 2 or 3. Keeping these few leaves intact will ensure that photosynthesis is still able to take place.
Selecting Leaf Cutting
Select 3 or 4 of the greenest, healthiest-looking leaves on the plant. Gently tug them away from the main stem to ensure a clean break. Avoid tearing or causing damage to the leaves.
Place the cut end into the soil at a 45-degree angle.
Best Time To Propagate
Start your cuttings in the Spring or early Summer for best results. This will ensure they receive adequate sunlight and warmth to enable them to thrive and flourish.
As with many houseplants which hark from more tropical climes, the hoya plant enters into a period of dormancy over winter so the cooler winter months should be avoided.
Equipment Required For Propagating
In order to successfully propagate a hoya plant there are two key items you will need regardless of the method you choose, these are sharp scissors, shears, or a knife and rooting powder.
If you are propagating using the water method you will need a jar with a narrow neck (to stop the cutting from flopping over) and water.
If you are using the soil method you will need a small pot with good-sized drainage holes and a small quantity of potting soil. Hoya like slightly acidic soil, I find that orchid compost is suitable.
How To Propagate Hoya Cuttings In Water – Step by Step
Propagating Stem Cuttings in Water is super easy and can be achieved in just 10 minutes or less. Here’s what you need to do:
- Select a jar or vase.
- Wash and clean it thoroughly.
- Fill it to the halfway point with water.
- Take your carefully selected cutting.
- Ensure all lower leaves are removed (so no leaves will be submerged in the water).
- Dip the cut end of the stem cutting into rooting hormone powder.
- Place the stem in the jar and try to rest it at a 45-degree angle so the end of the stem is not flat to the base of the jar. This makes it easier for the root to start to form.
- Place it in a warm spot with plenty of indirect sunlight.
- Refresh the water weekly to prevent fungus or algae from forming around the roots.
How To Propagate Hoya Cuttings In Soil – Step by Step
Propagating a stem cutting in soil is just as easy but you will need a few more pieces of equipment and it can get a little messy. Here’s what you will need to do:
- Select a suitable pot with drainage holes in the base.
- Fill it with potting mix or compost that is light and airy to one inch below the pot rim and make a hole with your finger in the center.
- Take your carefully selected stem cutting.
- Dip the cut end of the stem into a rooting hormone powder.
- Place the cutting into the hole and then add some more compost to the pot and press the cutting into place.
- Water the pot thoroughly until water starts to drain through the holes.
- To increase humidity, tie a small, clear plastic bag around the top of the pot.
- Remove the plastic bag for a couple of hours each week to increase ventilation.
- Once new shoots appear you can remove the bag completely.
- Water only when the soil is dry to the touch.
Easiest Hoya Varieties To Propagate
Whether you are new to propagating or an old hand there are a few varieties of hoya that provide better levels of success. I’ve listed my personal favorites here below.
The Lacunosa variety is famed for its sticky leaves and fluffy white flowers with heart-shaped centers. They make an amazing desk plant and bring a tropical vibe to your home.
They too are easy to propagate in either water or soil using a stem cutting but their stem thickness also lends itself to air layering as a method of propagation.
This beautiful, variegated variety of hoya is again easy to grow from a cutting. It will take well in both water and soil and develop roots relatively quickly.
Once the plant is established it is fairly low maintenance but it is important to trim and prune the plant regularly to maintain its variegation.
The princess hoya variety has a beautiful white variegation to the leaves that starts from the center leaving a green rim around the edge of the leaf. To truly replicate and recreate this plant I recommend using the soil propagation method.
Caring for Hoya After Propagation
Once you have taken care of your leaf or stem cutting there are a few care requirements needed to ensure your new plantings get off to the best start and remain healthy.
Hoya plants need a bright spot but should be kept away from direct sunlight as this can damage young, tender cuttings and the waxy leaves of established plants. Place cuttings in a draft-free spot where they can benefit from the morning sun and avoid the glare and intensity of south or west-facing positions.
It’s true that many varieties of Hoya plants can tolerate shade, but bear in mind that this may impact the chances of your plant blooming and may also hinder growth rate.
Hoya plants store moisture in their leaves and so only need to be watered when the soil is almost completely dry. Keep in mind that your new plant will need watering more often during the summer when temperatures are higher and your Hoya is growing. It’s best to water in the morning and avoid splashing the leaves.
I recommend using rainwater or filtered water rather than water taken directly from the tap as this may contain chemicals that can build up in the soil and prevent your plant from absorbing nutrients and moisture effectively.
Temperature & Humidity
Hoya plants need moderate temperatures of 60-85°F to thrive. Temperatures that fall below 55°F are likely to result in stunted growth and a lack of flowering once your cutting reaches full maturity.
Although Hoya can tolerate medium levels of humidity of around 50%, if you are looking to achieve a steady growth rate, I recommend 60% plus humidity.
Hoya plants prefer slightly acidic soil that needs to be well-draining and nutrient dense. Using a succulent and cacti potting mix or even soil for orchids will provide you with the best results.
If you prefer, it’s fine to use regular potting soil but be sure to amend it with perlite to improve drainage.
Once your new planting has become established, I recommend feeding with a water-soluble fertilizer that has been diluted by half. Water only during the growing season and always apply after watering to prevent root burn.
Use a fertilizer with a higher ratio of nitrogen for non-flowering varieties, and a formula with more phosphorous for flowering species.
For more houseplant-propagating ideas and know-how, here’s a link to How to Propagate Jade Plants.
FAQs How To Propagate Hoya
Can Hoya grow from a single leaf?
Yes, in fact, this is a great way to salvage a damaged stem by taking any healthy leaves from it and following the leaf propagation process.
How long does root development take?
It takes on average up to 1 month for a hoya cutting to root. You will be able to tell if roots have begun to grow and become established because the stem will also start to grow, with new leaves developing soon after.
RHS – Air Layering of Plants
Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.