Tricolor Hoya

OFFICIAL NAME

Hoya carnosa 'Tricolor'

ALSO KNOWN AS

Wax Plant, Wax Vine, Porcelain Flower

ORIGINS & CLIMATE

Southeast Asia | Tropical

ABOUT THE
PLANT

Plump waxy leaves that are green on the edges with light green to almost white in the center. You may also notice some leaves with a pinkish hue! A high shelf or hanging planter is perfect for displaying their trailing tendrils!

HOW MANY GREEN THUMBS?

moderate, flowering, bright indirect, drought tolerant, great lengths, bushy or dense, cascading, shelf, hanging, tropical, variegation, color, plump, low light tolerant

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Tricolor Hoya

The basics

Water Needs

Water thoroughly when soil is about 50% dry. Avoid overwatering. Watering may be less frequent during winter months or in less light.

Water

Preferred Light

Bright, indirect light is ideal for your Tricolor Hoya. Susceptible to leaf burn in long stretches of direct light. Can tolerate lower light conditions, but be sure to adjust watering and expect the plant to take on an elongated, sparse look.

Light

Humidity Needs

This tropical epiphyte (plants that grow in the mossy nooks of trees) will certainly appreciate a boost in humidity.

Humidity

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but generally prefers the warmer side. May complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents.

Temperature

Toxic or Not?

Hoya leaves are mildly toxic to pets and humans. Ingestion will cause mouth and stomach irritation and possible vomiting. Some people experience skin irritation when handling the sap.

Toxicity

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant's vines will grow to around 6 ft long (when mature and with enough light)!

Size

Overall Look

A low jumble of vining stems creep out and over the edges of their planter. Each stem is packed with cluster of plump leaves as the tendrils grow longer and longer—lending quite a full appearance. New tendrils tend to pop straight up from under other leaves, searching for light. Works best in a hanging planter or high shelf.

Format

Leaf Look

Plump waxy leaves that are green on the edges with light green to almost white in the center. You may also notice a pinkish hue on a few of these petite almond shaped leaves!

Leaf Shape

Pro Tip

While you can happily tend to a Hoya just for their foliage, if you'd like to encourage your Hoya to bloom, you can actually let the plant to get a little rootbound. A bit of stress is a trigger for the plant to flower more vigorously.

Pro Tip

Did You Know?

Hoya are often most prized for their unique flowers. They produce globular clusters of delicate, porcelain-like flowers in various shades ranging from light pink to white. These little orbs tend to hang down from offshoots, or spurs along the stems.

Fun Fact

Water

|

Allow half of soil to dry out before watering again.

Water Needs

Water thoroughly when soil is about 50% dry. Avoid overwatering. Watering may be less frequent during winter months or in less light.

Light

|

Low light tolerant. Bright, indirect light preferred.

Preferred Light

Bright, indirect light is ideal for your Tricolor Hoya. Susceptible to leaf burn in long stretches of direct light. Can tolerate lower light conditions, but be sure to adjust watering and expect the plant to take on an elongated, sparse look.

Humidity

|

Extra humidity appreciated in drier spaces.

Humidity Needs

This tropical epiphyte (plants that grow in the mossy nooks of trees) will certainly appreciate a boost in humidity.

Temperature

|

Can adapt, but doesn't like sudden change.

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but generally prefers the warmer side. May complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents.

Toxicity

|

Mildly toxic to humans and pets if ingested.

Toxic or Not?

Hoya leaves are mildly toxic to pets and humans. Ingestion will cause mouth and stomach irritation and possible vomiting. Some people experience skin irritation when handling the sap.

Size

|

Extra long trailing vines.

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant's vines will grow to around 6 ft long (when mature and with enough light)!

Format

|

Cascading tendrils create a mane-like look.

Overall Look

A low jumble of vining stems creep out and over the edges of their planter. Each stem is packed with cluster of plump leaves as the tendrils grow longer and longer—lending quite a full appearance. New tendrils tend to pop straight up from under other leaves, searching for light. Works best in a hanging planter or high shelf.

Leaf Shape

|

Bright green with variegation and a petite almond shape.

Leaf Look

Plump waxy leaves that are green on the edges with light green to almost white in the center. You may also notice a pinkish hue on a few of these petite almond shaped leaves!

Pro Tip

|

Wanna see more blooms? A little stress can help.

Pro Tip

While you can happily tend to a Hoya just for their foliage, if you'd like to encourage your Hoya to bloom, you can actually let the plant to get a little rootbound. A bit of stress is a trigger for the plant to flower more vigorously.

Fun Fact

|

Look out for blooms!

Did You Know?

Hoya are often most prized for their unique flowers. They produce globular clusters of delicate, porcelain-like flowers in various shades ranging from light pink to white. These little orbs tend to hang down from offshoots, or spurs along the stems.

Beyond The Basics

Soil & Potting

Thrives in an airy, light, fast-draining potting mix—you can use a good quality potting mix labeled for succulents/cactus or supplement a standard indoor mix with an equal quantity of pumice or horticultural grit. Ensure the pot has the appropriate drainage and don't forget to pour out any excess water collected in the drainage tray or cachepot.

Repotting

Try to repot every 2-3 years in the spring, especially when tending to a younger plant. Increase the pot size by about 2 inches each time or until you're satisfied with the size. It's still important to repot at this stage, but it'll be an exercise of refreshing the soil, keeping the pot size the same, and possibly doing some root trimming to restrict the plant's growth. Keep in mind, a mature and lightly rootbound plant is more likely to flower! More on repotting here.

Feeding

If you're not already planning to repot, you can fertilize during the spring and summer months. Once to every two months should be plenty. No fertilizer is necessary during the winter when plant growth naturally slows down. You can try a balanced liquid or water-soluble fertilizer—always diluted more than the recommended strength. Try something with more potassium (K) if you're specifically looking to see blooms. More on using fertilizer here.

Grooming

While no specific pruning is required for this plant, it's always good practice to regularly remove yellowed or dying leaves and any fallen plant debris. Ensure your scissors or pruners are sanitized to avoid spreading disease or pests. If you want to keep you Hoya under control and more compact, feel free to trim back longer stems (and use them to propagate!). Avoid cutting off any leaf-less offshoots where flowers have bloomed. The flowers will bloom from the same offshoots every year.

Propagation

You can propagate a Tricolor Hoya with a vine cutting. Select a healthy looking vine and cut a section with at least two leaves. Make the cut just below the lowest leaf. Remove the lower leaves to ensure a clear stem before rooting. You can root directly in a moistened potting mix suitable for cactus or succulents. Try to press only the cut stem into the soil, allowing the remaining leaves to stay exposed with good air circulation to avoid rotting. Once the roots are a few inches long and you've spotting some new growth, you can properly pot up the whole plant! More on propagation techniques here.

Variants

Hoya is an incredibly varied genus of around 300 species. Some of the most popular houseplant varieties include Hoya kerrii with their unmistakable heart-shaped leaves, compacta 'Hindu Rope' with their tightly curled leaves, pubicalyx with their narrow speckled leaves, linearis with their very thin strand leaves, not to mention kentiana, obovata, and so many more!

TrOUBlESHOOTING

Why is the variegation on my Tricolor Hoya disappearing?

Symptom

Whole plant looking less and less variegated. New leaves are mostly solid green.

Cause

This is most likely due to insufficient light. While Tricolor Hoya can tolerate lower light conditions, they may begin to loose their variegation to compensate. Greener leaves means more efficient photosynthesis.

Solution

Improve the lighting conditions for your Tricolor Hoya. These plants prefer bright, indirect light. Make sure to adjust your watering to accommodate the increased light.

More on lighting here.
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Why does my Tricolor Hoya have patchy, pale spots?

Symptom

Larger grey or pale patches on a few leaves. The spot may look dried out and somewhat bleached.

Cause

When your plant is exposed to the hot sun, it begins to evaporate more moisture from the leaf surface than the plant can replace. Leading to bleached areas or large grey patches on leaves.

Solution

You may be pushing the limits on how much direct sun your plant can handle. Try moving it out of reach of those direct rays of sun or moving to a spot that receives only minimal direct sun in the mornings or evenings. While this should prevent further burning, the spots will not "heal", so it's up to you if you'd like to prune off the affected leaves.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why are the leaves on my Tricolor Hoya mushy and yellow?

Symptom

Leaves are yellowing and soft, particularly around the base.

Cause

The most likely culprit is overwatering and initial signs of root rot. When a plant's roots sit in waterlogged soil for too long, a fungal infection can quickly take over, causing the roots to rot—turning brown and mushy.

Solution

First, ensure that your plant has appropriate drainage (both in terms of a well-draining soil and plenty of drainage holes in the plant's container).

If you think you've caught the overwatering early on, you can simply let the plant dry out more than you have been. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering again. Continue monitoring and only water when needed. You may also try using chopsticks (or something similar) to poke holes in the soil to help the roots get more oxygen. And finally, you can try to "wick" the excess moisture out of the soil by placing the whole pot (with drainage holes) in a tray or container with dry soil. This new layer of dry soil should soak up some of the excess moisture from the waterlogged areas around your plant's roots.

However, if you suspect a serious case of root rot, you'll definitely need to take a peak at the roots by removing the plant entirely from their container. If there are any black and mushy roots, trim them back completely before repotting with fresh soil in a new or sterilized container.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why are the leaves on my Tricolor Hoya flat and shriveled?

Symptom

Leaves are flat or shriveled, but not soft or yellowing.

Cause

Wrinkling or shriveling of leaves is often a sign of dehydration from either too much light or not enough water. If accompanied by softness or yellowing, this is more likely a sign of not enough light or too much water.

Solution

The key is a well tuned balance between the amount of light and your frequency of watering. Instead of going by a set schedule, check-in with your plant to see if they need the water or not. You'll want to allow around half the soil to dry out completely before watering again. While this may be on a consistent schedule for some months, as the seasons change, so will the amount of light and therefore your watering schedule must shift.

More on watering here.
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