Those looking for easy-to-care houseplants should not miss Hoyas. Also known as the variegated wax plant because of its chunky waxy foliage, these species are perfect to grow both indoors and outdoors.
The ways you care about outdoor and indoor Hoyas are similar as well. Whether it is for year-round or simply in warmer months only, growing these plants is indeed a good choice.
A Hoya plant itself is a classic tropical cultivar that grows to be massive and presents stunning, porcelain-like scented blossoms.
If you are also interested in having this variegated wax plant in your urban garden, the following information will help to get started.
1. The Basics about Multicolored Wax Plants
Hoyas are mainly utilized as hanging plants outdoors. However, you have the liberty to style this species however possible in your garden.
Some people grow this beautiful plant in a tall, slim container and even train them to cultivate over bamboo hoops. It is also not impossible to let Hoyas to simply sit on your outdoor tables or develop on a trellis.
A variegated wax plant is typically sold in a variety of pot sizes and some sellers may offer it with a hanger. In good conditions, Hoyas can cultivate longer that they often grow as climbing vines.
This cultivar itself has some different common names and several varieties as well. People in other regions may also call Hoyas as Wax Vine or Honey Plant.
When growing out there, a Hoya plant may thrive quicker than indoors. However, diverse variety may cultivate at different rates compared to others.
For instance, Hoya obovata typically grows slower than Hoya carnosa variegata. Nevertheless, other issues may also play a role in the growth rate of your variegated wax plant.
2. Variegated Wax Plant Varieties to Grow at Home
You are very lucky to get interested in Hoyas since they come in numerous species and varieties. Consequently, it will be easy to meet at least one assortment that suits your interest.
Variegated wax plants come in a range of dissimilar foliage in terms of sizes, textures, colors, and shapes. If needed, you can mix several pots with each different variety of Hoyas to introduce exceptional beauty in your garden.
To help you pick your favorite variegated wax plant, let us take the following list of popular Hoya cultivars into account.
Hoya carnosa variegata
This variety offers the beauty of tricolored foliage that includes green, pink, and white. The classic carnosa variegate will indeed make your outdoor garden more colorful.
Variegated Hoya carnosa has bright pink stems and solid white foliage. It prefers intense indirect sunlight to thrive the best.
As one of the fussier Hoya varieties, this variegated wax plant typically enjoys high humidity and heat.
Similar to normal carnosa, keep in mind to provide this Hoya less water. Simply wait until its leaves get a bit pucker before showering.
When growing this Hoya variety, remember that it does not like cold drafty windows and low to medium light. Overwatering is also a big no since your wax plant may die afterward.
To keep this wax vine happy, do not forget to put it in a dazzling enough spot around your outdoor space.
Hoya carnosa rubra
Also known as Crimson Prince or Crimson princess, Hoya carnosa rubra is another good option available.
This variegated wax plant owns multicolored leaves that include yellow, pink, and cream aside from the vibrant green.
Just as its multicolored cousin listed above, the Hoya carnosa rubra also requires a bright space. However, the spot should not receive direct sunlight despite being vibrant.
Hoya carnosa rubra does not like low-medium light and bitter drafty windows as well. Besides, it can be very sensitive to overwatering.
Other Hoya Plants
If you are all right with just non-multicolored wax plants, your choice will be widened. Hoya obovata is one of the options available.
Even though it is not a variegated wax plant, Hoya obovata has an incredible appearance thanks to its dark green, slightly speckled foliage.
Moreover, Hoya obavata is a fast-grower, especially when compared to most plants on its variety. Then, it also sets blossom earlier than others do.
Besides, this variety is also hardier than its counterparts are, especially the variegated ones are. Hoya obovata may prefer bright light, but it is still tolerant of medium illumination.
Then, there is also Hoya keyssi with unique spade-shaped leaves. This waxy plant tends to grow in an upright matter compared to carnosas.
This is probably not a variegated wax plant, but it should be enough to add color to your space. The keysii is similar to succulent and loves bright light as well as high humidity.
You should not put these wax plants in a dark corner or provide them with too much water since they do not like such environments.
3. Tips to Grow Wax Plants Outdoors
Whatever types of Hoya plants that you want to cultivate, knowing the general tips to grow them would be helpful.
Since a variegated wax plant loves bright, natural light but does not do well in direct sunlight, you may need to shelter it from the hot sun.
For instance, you can sit your wax plant on a covered patio with slight exposure to sunlight. Plant it around the door or other spots where the only little direct sun comes in.
During the hot summer days, try to hand semi-sheer curtains to defend your Hoya plant from any harsh rays that may hit this cultivar in the late afternoon.
If you are living in an area with temperate climates, it is recommended to protect your variegated wax plant once the temperature drops below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is especially important if you decide to plant Hoya carnosa variegata aside from others. Since it is not tolerant of cold, make sure to protect it by covering the cultivar with a doubled sheet.
Because Hoyas are originally from tropical regions, it will do well in hot areas. You may consider hosing the plant down once a month to provide a temporary infusion of dampness.
4. Tips to Care for Wax Plants
A variegated wax plant is somewhat similar to succulent with its waxy and fleshy foliage. Thus, watering is something you do not need to do all the time.
Most of the time, it is more suggested to shower your Hoyas once it is dried out. Otherwise, you can water the plant one time a week in summer. During the winter, consider watering the cultivar every two or four weeks.
Even though a lot of them are shrubs and vines in nature, some Hoyas are epiphytic like orchids or bromeliads.
Since a variegated wax plant does not like their feet to be constantly damp, it is better to let them dried instead of overwatering.
If you are living in a humid climate, water your Hoyas less often as well. Simply shower the plant like the mentioned frequency in the winter months.
Food Plant and Soil
Most Hoyas including the variegated varieties do not generally require fertilizer. However, you can feed them with a food plant with a light application when necessary.
You can take advantage of worm compost every spring to make sure the plant is well nourished. Simply top your soil with a thin layer of the manure to feed your houseplants.
A variegated wax plant will typically look just fine without fertilizer. In case you want to provide it with one, make sure to never perform fertilization in late fall or winter since Hoyas should have a rest in this period.
Keep in mind that overfertilizing can result in excess salts in the environment and it may burn the roots of your Hoya plants.
It is also not recommended to fertilize your wax plants when they are currently suffering from bone wet or dry.
When it comes to soil, your variegated wax plant will love a rich mix with good quality drainage. You can get some from nearby nursery for the best.
For this reason, you can mix potting soil, succulent or cactus mix and a blend of coco coir, compost, as well as orchid bark in the same ratio. Then, sprinkle some worm compost on top of the mixture.
Repotting a Wax Plant
The best time to repot your wax plants is throughout the summer or spring. In a warmer climate, it is still no problem to do the same in early fall.
Considering that a variegated wax plant likes to cultivate a little pot-bound, there is no need to repot yours in rush as long as it is doing fine.
In terms of repotting and transplanting, never think that you have to practice it every year. Similar to orchids, simply leave your Hoyas in their current pots for several years to encourage better cultivation.
Pruning and Propagation
Pruning can be performed as well to manage the size of your Hoyas. Doing so will help the plants to get bushier as well.
This practice is also necessary to get rid of any dead growth. However, consider not pruning off too many short blossom stalks since that is where the blooms will come out from the upcoming season.
Sometimes a hard pruning is necessary, but doing so too much may postpone the blooming process of your Hoyas.
Meanwhile, you can propagate a variegated wax plant by two different methods: layering and stem cuttings in water.
For layering, you just have to take a softwood stem of your plant that is enclosed to the mother and pin it into a pre-filled container.
Remember to moist the mix thoroughly. Once you see small roots emerging on the stems, get them, and put on top of the prepared mixture.
In addition to the above care, your variegated wax plant is also prone to aphids, so you need to keep an eye on this problem.
This common issue often comes in spring when the orange aphids emerge like clockwork on the new growth.
You can deal with the problem by gently blasting them off with a garden house. Besides, Hoya plant problems may include scale and mealybugs as well.
5. Extra Tips to Grow Wax Plants in Your Garden
For your information, the above care tips apply when you are planting your variegated wax plant outdoors in a warmer climate.
Additionally, do not forget to hose your Hoyas off comprehensively before putting them back indoors. This way you can be sure that the plants do not bring any pests or their eggs to the home.
You can mist your Hoyas several times a week to keep the leaves clean and dust-free. Once established, expect them to bloom in their containers.
In case you see that your wax plants have some yellow leaves, it may happen because they are aged. However, if the foliage is yellowish and slightly mushy, the problem can be overwatering.
Yellow leaves in a variegated wax plant can also occur due to a nitrogen deficiency or too much exposure of light.
Although wax plants are non-toxic varieties, you still need to watch your pets and children because chewing on the stems or leaves can make them sick.
Some people found that their Hoyas bloom after three or more years. Just keep in mind that they are not flowering every year. How often a variegated wax plant will bloom may depend on the type, age, and surrounding conditions.
Thus, before shopping around for a Hoya plant for sale, make sure that this type will bloom once established.
To promote the blooming process, you should not trim the old blossom stems off. Leave them on the plant so that they can bear some flowers next season.
If your variegated wax plant never blooms after several years, it is most likely that yours is not receiving enough light.
6. Final Thoughts
Overall, having a pot of multicolored wax plants will be a good choice due to their foliage and color beauties.
In addition to the charming leaves, you may expect Hoyas’ star-like flowers that can come in various colors, forms, and sizes. Their blossoms are aromatic, particularly in the evening. However, these plants take time to bloom, so be patient.
Therefore, if you finally decide to grow a variegated wax plant outdoors, just remember three things: no overwatering, hot sun, and pampering. Hoyas are very independent in terms of maintenance, so happy growing!