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One of the most popular members of the hoya species is the hoya macrophylla variegata. It is a genuinely exemplary plant in terms of sheer beauty and beginner-friendly maintenance. This article will make sure you are well-prepared for all aspects of this plant’s growth.
Here is a quick introduction to the bare-bones version of the information contained within the article. Unlike most hoyas that tend to be sun-hungry, a hoya macrophylla will only need a moderate amount of light. Watering intervals are highly dependant on whether or not the soil is completely dry or not. As for the temperature, it is a good idea to try your best to keep it between the golden middle ground 55-60°F or higher. Humidity, within the wilderness conditions, goes up to 90%, but you will do fine with just over 40% humidity. Avoid alkaline soils and prioritize ones with a fair degree of airflow and can drain very quickly. Fertilize once a month, especially during growth periods. The plant can easily be propagated through the use of the standard cutting method.
It is effortless to grow this variegated and truly magnificent hoya macrophylla if you keep in mind the information you will learn about their care specifics. Now, let’s see what these plants need to reach the heights of their potential!
Hoya Macrophylla Light Requirements
Unlike most hoyas, this member of the Hoya family is quite different. Macrophyllas require light in a moderate amount. There is no need to expose them to the sun all the time!
You have a plethora of different options to employ when deciding how you will tackle this requirement.
1. Placing the Plant in a Pot Near a Light Source
The first thought that comes to mind is usually to pot it and find a suitable window, in most cases facing the east side, where your plant will get all the light it needs.
Keep in mind that the variegated leaves, and the plant itself, cannot tolerate direct exposure too much. So, it is always better to create partial, indirect light that will fall upon your plants for about 4-5 hours each day.
If your plant is facing high-intensity beams of light that could potentially burn it, you can decrease the amount of time it stays exposed to the sun. Or, you can increase the amount of shade it resides in Sometimes a 60%-70% will provide adequate protection.
2. Hanging the Plant
By far, the most popular way to keep your Hoya in a safe place is by keeping it away from prying hands. You can combine different pots with many hangers to create genuinely stellar indoor gardens, but how will the plant get enough light? The most important part of the plant that needs it is located at the top.
You should place it a reasonable distance away from the window, so it won’t get its leaves burnt. Also, it should be low enough to so that the light falls at least slightly on the top of the Hoya.
Remember, too much light can be as dangerous as too little, as both scenarios are hazardous for your plant’s leaves.
Watering Hoya Macrophylla
The best explanation regarding useful watering techniques would be to give a short elaboration on how this plant survives out in the wild.
Hoya macrophyllas, as epiphytes, tend to dwell on the surface of other plant species and center around a non-parasitic lifestyle. It’s often found on tree canopies and many different types of vegetation. In those scenarios, they collect fog, rain, and most to fulfill their needs.
As their natural habitat allows them to fulfill their hydration needs in so many different ways, they are very adaptable to survive in many environments.
They tend to grow in territories where rains rarely occur. Still, when they do come around, the rains release an abundant amount of water.
The long intervals between rains give them plenty of time to dry completely, which is crucial for this plant species. Prioritize using rainwater or distilled water for watering.
Avoid using tap water at all times. If you manage to acquire it, aquarium water is also fantastic.
Arguably the most prominent “boogeyman” revolves around correct watering intervals. This is extremely easy to mess up if done incorrectly. It is one of the leading causes of death for indoor plants.
Before doing anything, run your finger alongside the soil and then place it inside. Check if it is completely dry, or is there some moisture left inside.
If so, you can proceed with the next step, which, arguably, might sound somewhat unorthodox. Fill a tub with a shallow pool of water and place the bottom of the pot in it. Give it about 10 to 15 minutes in that state before putting it aside to properly drain.
You can also use additional water to make sure the entire plant stays wet for the whole hour before setting it aside to dry out properly.
The reason for going so far with the watering process is because this plant’s roots are relatively shallow, and getting water into every inch of soil is paramount for excellent results, as long as you provide it enough time to dry out properly.
Temperature Requirement for Hoya Macrophylla Care
Life in tropical savannas and forests tends to exuberate a hot, tropical climate. Flora that originates from these regions is adapted to live in these conditions.
If you want your plants to flourish within your home just as if they were out in the wild, you will need to establish adequate conditions that are as close to the one found in their natural habitat as possible.
Try to keep the temperature at least above 55-60°F as going any lower might force your Hoya to go into a state of dormancy. This is not a situation for which you should be alarmed if it occurs. It can be mitigated after the plant is re-introduced into a more suitable environment.
What you can do is move your plant around the place and position it around sources of heat. This way, you can control the overall levels of heating your plant gets.
On a side note, try to place them away from sources of drafts and bitter cold spots. Window ledges are infamous for allowing cold air to sip through and create pockets of cold air, especially during winter.
Hoya Macrophylla Humidity Requirements
I won’t resort to sugar-coating here. This is one of the most challenging aspects of indoor plant growth for people to successfully achieve without prior experience. Even if it does work out, maintaining adequate levels of humidity can present quite the challenge.
Natural conditions afford the Hoya macrophylla an enormous amount of moisture, which goes up to 90%!
That kind of percentage is almost unachievable within indoor conditions without specialized equipment. You can also use terrariums or a couple of expensive humidifiers. Could all of this mean you are destined to fail from the very start unless you have one of those?
Of course not. That would make this plant both pricey to maintain and difficult to grow. And we all know it’s against one of Hoya plants’ main characteristics. Luckily, we can handle this problem in many ways.
For proper Hoya macrophylla care, you should aim to reach at least 40%, which is the bare minimum for this plant’s growth. Your hoya macrophylla’s variegated leaves will become more and more beautiful if you continuously keep the humidity above the percentage mentioned above.
How to Increase the Moisture Level?
Here are some useful ways that you can increase the overall moisture within almost any room:
- Use pebble trays to increase humidity
- Invest in a humidifier based around on the plant’s needs
- Give your plants daily baths in lukewarm water – this method has an additional perk of being able to remove dust and those pesky pests that are hard for the naked eye to notice sometimes.
- Misting – this is a temporary solution, but it works well in conjunction with the other methods. You can mist it daily without worry, except during budding or at their delicate flowers.
Establishing a close ecosystem is an intuitive option. Plants tend to use additional moisture reabsorbed by other plants, helping them maintain ideal humidity. That is not advisable for this Hoya.
The reason for avoiding placing them near together is because this particular species is vulnerable to fungi growth and mold.
Choosing the Right Soil for Hoya Macrophylla Care
The main difference regarding soil preferences of this particular Hoya revolves around picking alkaline variants enriched with calcium.
Avoid any additives or combinations that could be considered toxic, and you are good to go.
One of the best potting mixes that are specifically designed for this Hoya (and can be easily created by you) consists of the following ingredients:
- 1/3 standard potting mix (using a cactus mix of organic origin is also a good substitute)
- Perlite in 1/3 proportion (you can seldom go wrong with this ingredient)
- 1/3 orchid mix
This mix sets the golden standard for ideal indoor growth conditions in almost any pot. As for the calcium intake, there is one secret ingredient – eggshells.
They consist of 90% calcium carbonate and are easily absorbable by the plant. Using this ingredient is by far the most natural and efficient way to compensate for any potential lack of calcium. Your macrophylla will need it, in order to grow naturally.
Potting Hoya Macrophylla
As this plant prefers tight fits, most repottings you do will rarely have anything to do with the pot size itself and more with one specific ingredient – the orchid mix.
Remember the detail regarding the Hoya macrophylla’s low tolerance of acidic soil? This is where that rule comes into play.
After two years, the orchid mix will begin to deteriorate and, as a consequence, it will start turning acidic. This is a potential hazard for your plant’s roots.
Because this occurs almost always after two years, you can set a reminder to repot the plant during that time.
If you do notice a need to increase the pot size by one or two inches in a year before the scheduled two-year repotting, you need not be in a hurry. The roots expand slowly and appreciate a snug fit.
Fertilizer Requirements for Hoya Macrophylla Care
At specific intervals, all organic feedings can immensely contribute to the plant’s overall ability to expand, making it an optional but highly appreciated addition.
You have many options to choose from, such as animal manure, bone meal, shellfish, fish manure, etc. Some of these, such as fish manure, tend to emit quite a strong smell!
It’s best to place it away in a lightly lit or unlit environment as it can cause the variegated leaves to become scorched if exposed to the sun right after being fertilized.
The best time you can give your Hoya its fertilizer is during the growing season. The fertilizer’s use will use its fullest effect if you prioritize adequate dosages at that specific time. Always limit it to once per month.
When winter comes around, and the plant enters dormancy (or is nearing it), dilute the fertilizer to half strength.
You can even reduce the halved amount and deliver a small dosage. It won’t need much outside of its growing season, that’s for sure.
Hoya Macrophylla Propagation
If you wish to extend the legacy of your beloved plant and ensure its beautiful variegated foliage and general aesthetic beauty continues, you are lucky. Hoya macrophylla propagation is extremely easy to do.
This is most commonly done by extracting cuttings and their subsequent placement in sphagnum moss or water.
The first option has an advantage over using water as the roots transitioning from the moss itself to the soil will be more efficient.
The moss can be removed afterward by using water on the rooting system and, if some remain, it will not hinder the plant’s health nor performance.
Here is a quick guide on how to propagate:
- Take a cutting with a pair of leaves and a single or two nodes still on it.
- Choose where to place it next: water or sphagnum moss. Adequate moisture is paramount at this stage.
- Take a plastic bag and cover the cuttings entirely, as this method will raise moisture levels and speed up the process.
- Now, all you need is about 14 to 21 days for the roots to form. When you start seeing a few inches forming, your cutting is ready to be used.
If this Hoya caught your attention, you probably want to meet other members from the family. Here are some of them: