Botanical Name: Hoya carnosa
Wax plant, shooting star. Belongs to the family Asclepiadaceae – the milkweed family.
Like most people I acquired my Hoya from a friend. This long lived plant is often handed down like a family heirloom, and most people relate the story of an aunt or grandmother bestowing a cutting to them. These marvellous plants can live 40 years or longer, and I have had mine now a mere ten or so; my daughter having the main plant and I a cutting.
By themselves the thick elongated leaves are rather insignificant. The vines are perfectly suited to a trellis or hanging basket. Don’t expect your Hoya to flower until it is about four years old –the older the plant the more magnificent the blooms!
It is the waxy, porcelain-like flowers that give Hoya its other names like ‘wax plant’ and ‘shooting star’. These clusters of flowers capture your senses with their almost unreal appearance and intense scent that one person described as like chocolate.
In warmer countries the plant is often moved outdoors at night when the flowers release their intoxicating perfume.
It is important to know that when pruning your plant do not cut off the stems that produced flowers, because they will re-flower on the same stem!
Bright indirect sunlight is preferable, and it likes a light fertilizing once a month. A slightly acidic peat based soil is ideal, and good drainage is important. I have often forgotten about my Hoya and allowed it to dry out completely with no harm done.
The low maintenance Hoya has certainly been one of my favourite houseplants, and it will remain an heirloom in my family.