Many Hoya growers would love to see blooms, but they haven’t given their Hoya the right growing conditions yet. These 7 tips will show you how to get a Hoya to bloom and keep your Hoya happy so it will keep blooming for you.
Hoya Flowers 101
Most Hoyas start to bloom when they reach maturity at 3-7 years old (depending on the variety). Hoyas typically bloom in the spring, summer, and sometimes in early fall.
When your Hoya blooms, you’ll first see a tiny cluster of buds develop from a bulb-like growth point on the stem called the peduncle.
For common varieties, the buds elongate and eventually form a pentagonal shape while still closed. Their waxy texture almost makes them look artificial, but they are stunning.
The timeline from hoya buds to blossoms varies among the varieties. For example, the Carnosa Krimson Queen takes approximately two weeks, while the Krimson Princess often takes closer to three weeks to blossom from buds. However, the Hoya Obovata takes about six weeks from buds to flowers.
Once the Hoya flowers open, most types look like a cluster of little stars with smaller stars in the center. The flower coloration, size, and shape depend on the variety. For example, the Hoya Cystiantha Splash produces bell-shaped flowers.
Hoya flowers have a sweet, chocolatey fragrance with a hint of fruit. After approximately 1-2 weeks, these flowers will die off and fall, leaving the peduncle behind. Hoyas bloom from the same peduncles every time, so be sure to leave the peduncle in place.
7 Best Care Tips on How to Get a Hoya to Bloom
1. Give Your Hoya Plenty of Light
While Hoyas can tolerate slightly lower light levels, they need bright indirect light to bloom. On a light meter, bright indirect light is 900-2,000 footcandles. This is the ideal light condition for most Hoyas.
Providing bright indirect light helps the plant to stay healthier overall, aiding in nutrient absorption and raising energy levels. Without adequate light, a Hoya will only have enough energy to produce foliage slowly or may not grow at all.
If you don’t have good natural light in your home, fear not. Hoyas will also bloom under grow lights.
To encourage your Hoya to bloom, place it in a location that gets a steady amount of bright, indirect light throughout the day. With that in mind, you can also provide your Hoya with controlled amounts of direct light indoors.
It is best to avoid extended periods of harsh direct light, as this can eventually burn the Hoya’s leaves.
The key to lighting for Hoya flowers is to provide as much light as possible without stressing or burning the plant.
You can give the right amount of natural light by keeping your Hoya in a window that gets 2-3 hours of direct morning sun or by placing your Hoya a few feet back from a sunny afternoon window.
For example, my Hoyas sit 1-2 feet back from a West window (in the Northern Hemisphere) with a partial sun awning (two feet long). While I wish I had morning sun windows (east), my Hoyas have been happily receiving bright indirect light all afternoon with a few rays of dappled, direct light just before sunset.
2. Water Your Hoya at the Right Stage of Dryness
Hoyas are more likely to flower when they are watered correctly. Depending on the variety of Hoya you have, the thickness of its leaves will help indicate its watering needs.
Hoyas with thin leaves typically need to be watered more often, while the most common Hoyas with thick leaves need to dry out between each watering.
Watering thick-leaved Hoyas too early increases the chance of root rot. As mentioned previously, these varieties are adapted to dryer soils.
The best watering regimen for Hoya blooms is to water when your Hoya is dry (between 1-3 on a moisture meter) but not too drought-stressed.
Look for the following signs to show you when to water your Hoya:
- Dry soil
- A light-feeling pot
- Flexible leaves (thick-leaf varieties)
These signs indicate that your Hoya is getting thirsty and ready to be watered. This is the perfect time to thoroughly water your Hoya, which will keep its growth and health stable.
Underwatering a Hoya
However, the next stage of thirst is when your Hoya is visibly drought stressed. When paired with noticeably dry soil, the signs of a Hoya stressing from drought are drooping leaves, leaf loss, and discoloration of previously healthy leaves.
This level of stress signals the plant to conserve energy to survive. Underwatering to this level is harmful to the Hoya and will hinder its growth. Therefore, it won’t have enough energy to support flowers.
If you accidentally let your Hoya go dry for too long, thoroughly top-water it and let it drain well afterward. Avoid leaving the plant sitting in water since the weakened roots are more susceptible to root rot.
3. Don’t Cut the Peduncle, and Avoid Excessive Pruning
This tip on how to get a Hoya to bloom is more about what not to do. Hoyas flower from additional stalks that develop off of their stems, called peduncles. Each time the hoya blooms from the same location, that peduncle becomes longer. Once the Hoya flowers eventually fall off, the peduncle will remain on the plant’s stem.
Some growers are tempted to remove the peduncle, thinking it is part of the bloom that has died off. Unfortunately, the Hoya cannot produce another flower from this location if the peduncle is removed.
Unless you are removing dead or damaged foliage, it is best to avoid pruning before your Hoya blooms. Aside from removing visible peduncles, excessive pruning of the Hoya’s vines can also prevent them from blooming.
Since Hoyas develop peduncles from specific growth points, it is difficult to know when pruning may result in the removal of future flower locations.
Furthermore, Hoyas put out “runners,” which are long tendrils used in its epiphytic climbing habit. Although these vines often have little to no leaves, these tendrils are essential for climbing, growth, and encouraging blooms. As shown in the image below, runners can sometimes surprise you with a flower.
4. Provide Warmth and Humidity
Since Hoyas are native to warm habitats in Asia, they need a minimum temperature of 55℉ (13℃) to survive. However, the optimal temperatures for their growth are 68-75℉ (20-24℃).
When it comes to getting a hoya to bloom, warmer temperatures are better. Therefore, keeping your Hoya in a warmer room in your home (73-75℉) can accelerate growth and increase the likelihood of blooms. Providing a consistently warm environment allows the metabolic processes to remain stable, which is optimal for flowering.
Additionally, you may have heard that plants can have accelerated growth in a humid environment. Many common Hoyas don’t require supplemental humidity for survival, including the Carnosas, Matilde, Pubicalix, and Macrophylla. However, all Hoyas will have slower foliage growth and are less likely to flower for you in low humidity.
While humidity recommendations depend on the variety of Hoya you have, growers agree that it is challenging to get a Hoya to bloom in low humidity. For Hoya flowers, provide your Hoya with 55-65% humidity.
5. Grow Your Hoya in Chunky Soil
Hoyas need chunky, aerated soil to allow their roots to have room to grow. Dense soil not only slows the Hoya’s root establishment, but it retains water.
Since Hoya roots can easily rot in wet soil, they need a well-draining soil mix. Providing the correct soil mix for your Hoya can prevent health problems and setbacks that keep the plant from blooming.
Easy Hoya Soil Mix Recipe:
- 1 cup organic cactus mix (contains nutrients, soil, and filtration)
- 1/2 cup orchid bark (purchase bark rather than mix)
- 1/4 cup of perlite or pumice
- 1 cup of perlite
- 1 cup of bark
- 1 cup of peatmoss or coco coir
6. Feed Your Hoya
Hoyas aren’t heavy feeders, but they benefit from regular light feedings.
In the Spring and Summer months, you can provide dilute fertilizer with each watering using a liquid fertilizer at half-strength. Feeding your Hoya will encourage blooms during the months of the year when your Hoya gets more sunlight.
The fall and winter is a time of rest for Hoyas, and they don’t require supplemental feeding.
7. Give a Hoya Time to Mature
Once you’ve learned how to get a Hoya to bloom, the rest can be a waiting game. A Hoya must reach maturity to bloom, which generally takes a minimum of 3 years. Some Hoya types may take 5 to 7 years to mature.
However, it’s not always easy to tell how old a hoya is when you buy it from a nursery. If the Hoya was propagated via stem cutting or by leaves, it would take quite some time for its root system to become more established.
If the Hoya is a section divided from the mother plant with its root system still intact, it will have a head start in becoming a mature plant. Therefore, carefully checking the roots will help you determine if your Hoya has an established root system (filling the pot) or is just getting started.
Remember to be gentle when checking the roots, as Hoyas do not like having their roots disturbed.
Frequently Asked Questions about Hoya Flowers
How often do Hoyas bloom?
With the right growing conditions, a mature Hoya may bloom once per year. This typically occurs during its growing season, either in the spring or summer. They will sometimes skip a year intermittently.
How long do Hoya flowers last?
Hoya blooms open within a day or so of each other, and the flowers last for 1-2 weeks. Then, they start to die off by partially closing and becoming dull. This is normal and does not indicate any problem with your plant.
Eventually, the flowers will dry up completely. Allow your hoya flowers to fall off on their own, and do not remove the peduncle.
What is the most common reason a Hoya won’t bloom?
Lack of light is the number one reason a mature Hoya won’t bloom.
Does a Hoya have to climb to flower?
No, Hoyas bloom just fine when they are trailing. For example, as shown in YouTuber Plant Heartbeats’s video, a well-cared-for Krimson Queen blooms very nicely while trailing. In their native habitats, Hoyas climb trees and other tall plants but also drape down from the branches.
Do Hoya blooms hurt the plant’s growth?
Unlike some other tropical plants, Hoya flowers don’t pull excessive nutrients or stunt their future growth. The flowers emerge from specific growth points on the vine and fall off within a couple of weeks. They are harmless.
Which varieties of Hoyas are most likely to bloom?
Some of the most common varieties of Hoyas to likely flower are the Carnosa varieties: Krimson Queen, Krimson Princess, Compacta, and Krinkle.
Other common types that often flower are the Sunrise, Multiflora, Mathilde, Bella, Obovata, Macrophylla, and Pubicalyx. While this is not an all-inclusive list, these Hoyas are well-known for producing flowers.
Hoyas are such a diverse group of stunning plants. Their delicate flowers have a fragrance you’ll want to savor as well. Now that you’ve learned how to get a Hoya to bloom, you can provide yours with the best care to promote flowers.