Hoya Burtonaie is a great Hoya species for those looking to take care of a unique Hoya species that also has easy care requirements. They have small, plump, and fuzzy leaves that are slightly elongated and tend to have darkened margins. Their stems are not as thick and robust as a Hoya Carnosa but not as delicate as a Hoya Curtisii. This makes them quite easy to care for since they are a happy medium.
All About Hoya Burtoniae
Hoya Burtoniae was discovered by collector and researcher Ms. Christine M. Burton, and was named after Burton. Occasionally, Hoya Burtoniae still holds the nickname Hoya Ms. Burton. It originates in the Philippines and is one of over 300 known species within the Hoya genus.
Hoya Burtoniae versus Hoya Sp. Aff. Burtoniae versus Hoya Bilobata
There is a lot of confusion on naming and labeling Hoya Burtoniae because they are very similar to two other species of Hoya.
The first is the Hoya Bilobata, which has a similar appearance to the Burtoniae but are different plants.
The best way to spot the difference is that the leaves on Hoya Bilobata are glabrous, which means smooth and glossy. Hoya Bilobata leaves are also slightly more rounded compared to the Burtonaie.
Then there is the Hoya Sp. Aff. Burtoniae, which is short for Hoya Species Affinity Burtoniae. Initially, this plant was thought to be the same as Hoya DS-70 (which stands for David Silverman-70 because it was the 70th in David Silverman’s collection). It was reclassified as Hoya Species Affinity Burtoniae because it strongly resembles the original Hoya Burtoniae.
This variation of the Burtoniae is so similar that no one is positive that these two hoyas are different species. This is often how many people are confused if they have the original Burtoniae or the species affinity. Fortunately, both of their care needs are identical.
Is Hoya Burtoniae Pet-Friendly?
One of the biggest misconceptions about Hoyas is that they are entirely pet safe. Unfortunately, that is not the case for this Hoya.
While the leaves are considered non-toxic, the stems contain a milky latex sap – an irritant. If you suspect your pet has consumed your Hoya Burtoniae, it’s best to speak to your veterinarian or poison control.
How to Care for Hoya Burtoniae
While Hoya Burtoniae can survive just fine in low or medium light, you will find that growth rates will be very slow. This is because most Hoyas have a preference for bright, indirect light.
At a minimum, your Hoya Burtoniae will want medium light at 200 Foot Candles. You will typically find this in an eastern-facing window, or you can check the light levels with a light meter. Ideally, you want closer to 400 Foot Candles of bright indirect light. You can find this in a western window or pulled a few feet back from a southern-facing window.
Hoyas can tolerate 3-4 hours of direct sunlight daily, but make sure to monitor that the light isn’t too intense. Too much light may damage the leaves. Look for dark brown patches forming on your leaves as a sign that it is getting too much light.
Suppose you want to encourage growth on your Hoya Burtoniae but suspect that your natural light may be too intense. In that case, this type of Hoya thoroughly enjoys growing under artificial lighting. You will likely see substantial growth if you supplement this Hoya species with a grow light.
Hoya Burtoniae is also prone to sun stress. Although sun stress sounds like something you would want to avoid, there is a lot of speculation about whether this is harmful. Most people argue that since sun stressing is reversible, it is completely harmless.
When exposed to plenty of light, your Hoya Burtoniae will produce a pigment called anthocyanin. As a result, the leaves will change color when most Hoya species are exposed to very bright light. This is a natural part of your Hoya’s evolution and will even happen in the wild.
Depending on the species, they can change from bright red to reddish purple. Hoya Burtoniae, in particular, will turn a more purple color with sun stress.
To achieve that coveted sun-stress appearance, you can gradually introduce more light. However, you should do so cautiously to avoid burning the leaves. Keep an eye out for symptoms like:
- Crispy, brown leaves
- Patches of brown leaves forming small craters
- Leaves bleaching and losing all color
Hoya Burtoniae is very prone to root rot. In the wild, they are epiphytic plants, so they grow on trees and other plant life. Their leaves are very thick and succulent. These leaves retain enough water to sustain longer periods of drought. When watering your Hoya Burtoniae, you should let its soil dry out completely.
One of the best ways to determine if your Hoya Burtoniae is truly ready for more water is to inspect the leaves. When your Hoya becomes thirsty, the leaves will become slightly wrinkly. The leaf will start to soften slightly, and some veins will be much more prominent. Once you give your Hoya a drink, it will become plump and firm within 24 hours.
If you are choosing a fertilizer for your Hoya Burtoniae, you have a few options.
Hoyas, in general, are happy with a balanced fertilizer. A balanced fertilizer will have an N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) ratio of 10-10-10 or 5-5-5.
If you wish, you can instead opt for a fertilizer that contains more Phosphorus. This will encourage more bloom production.
Another option is to use Miracle-Gro Orchid fertilizer spray on your Hoyas. Many people choose this type of fertilizer because orchids and Hoyas have many characteristics in common. They are both epiphytes and blooming houseplants. As a result, many people have also had success using this product to encourage blooms. If you do this, I suggest testing it on a leaf or two first. Then monitor your Hoya Burtoniae for any signs of leaf damage before spraying your entire plant.
If you want to propagate your Hoya Burtoniae, all you need to do is take a cutting that has a node. A single Hoya Burtoniae stem will produce several nodes, and you can identify them as small bumps. The points where your Hoya Burtoniae leaves grow also contain nodes.
Prune your cutting with sterile scissors or pruning shears. It’s best to choose a cutting with several leaves, but you will want at least four leaves or two growth points. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the latex sap.
If you are propagating your Hoya Burtoniae in water, you will also want to remove the bottom two leaves from the cutting. Let the wounds callus over for a least 12-24 hours, and then you can place your cutting in water. Place your propagation in bright, indirect light and change the water approximately once per week.
Hoya Burtoniae will also root in moss. If you are propagating your Hoya Burtoniae in moss, you can lay the cutting flat on some moist sphagnum moss. Place your cutting in bright, indirect light. You can set up your moss propagation in a clear, shallow Tupperware container. You can provide your new cutting with additional humidity by layering clear cellophane wrap over the container. This will help root the cutting faster.
Hoya Burtoniae Blooms
Hoya Burtoniae will produce beautiful pink blooms in ideal conditions. Your Burtoniae will first grow a peduncle – a woody, stick-like growth. It will then develop a cluster of flowers, which will eventually open up.
These blooms have a light pink border with a set of inner petals that are a darker, more magenta-like pink with a golden border. They have a very sweet scent, almost similar to honey.
There are plenty of myths, tips, and tricks to encourage Hoyas to bloom. In truth, forcing a bloom is challenging and should be considered more of a bonus when owning Hoyas. Here are a few ways that you can encourage blooming for your Burtoniae.
- Plenty of bright, indirect light (a grow light may also work well).
- Fertilizing with phosphorus-dominant fertilizer.
- Allowing your Hoya Burtoniae to go dormant for the winter and refrain from watering unless completely necessary. Then resume watering in early spring.
- Letting your Hoya Burtoniae become root bound in its pot.
- Waiting for your Hoya Burtoniae to become fully mature before expecting blooms.
In my experience, there are no species-specific tricks to encourage blooms to develop. It varies from one individual Hoya specimen to another. I have had two separate Hoyas of the same genus with identical conditions; one produced blooms, and the other did not. Getting to know your specific Burtoniae’s blooming preferences is part of owning a Hoya.
Hoya Burtoniae will do well in various soil conditions. There are a few options where your Hoya will thrive, with some exceptions.
In the wild, Hoyas are epiphytes, so they will grow up trees and other plant life. Therefore, their roots need plenty of oxygen. Otherwise, they will quickly rot. If you are potting your Burtoniae in soil, you will want to use a chunky soil mix with plenty of orchid bark, pumice, or perlite.
Hoya Burtoniae will also grow quite well in sphagnum moss. This replicates their natural environment quite well since many of the trees they climb in the wild will be mossy. If you grow your Hoya in moss, you will want to allow the moss to nearly completely dry out between watering. In addition, make sure you use a liquid fertilizer. This is because your Hoya won’t be able to pull nutrients that naturally reside in the soil.
Since the recent rise in Leca popularity, many people have found Hoyas to adapt well to growing in semi-hydroponics. You can also grow your Hoya Burtoniae in Leca, and it will be quite happy.
Hoyas generally prefer a pot with tons of drainage, which is why terracotta is the best choice. Terracotta is very porous, so it will absorb any excess moisture in the soil, helping to prevent root rot.
There has been some concern with potting Hoyas in terracotta pots. People speculate their roots will grab onto them, and they will rip when repotting. Hoyas are epiphytes, so their roots naturally grab onto porous materials. While this concern is valid, you can avoid this by soaking the terracotta pot before repotting. This will loosen the roots’ grip on the pot so you can repot your Burtoniae easily. The benefits of planting your Hoya Burtoniae in a terracotta pot are well worth the extra effort when repotting.
Another pot your Hoya Burtoniae would be compatible with is a plastic pot or nursery pot. These typically come with many drainage holes, and you can place your Hoya in a decorative pot as a cache pot. However, ceramic pots often do not have drainage holes and retain moisture. This means on their own, they are the least desirable option if you want to grow a happy Hoya Burtoniae.
Growth Rate and Repotting
Hoya Burtoniaes don’t mind being a bit rootbound, but if it has overgrown its pot, you will want to repot it. When choosing a new pot, it’s best to go with a pot two inches in diameter larger than its previous pot. This is particularly important for your Hoya Burtoniae because it grows slowly. The danger with potting your Hoya in a pot that is too big is that the soil will stay wet much longer and result in root rot.
Suppose your Hoya Burtoniae is growing very slowly, and you want to encourage more growth. In that case, the most likely reason is that it needs more light. You should move it to a brighter location or supplement your natural light with an artificial grow light. You should also inspect your Hoya Burtoniae for pests, as pests can be growth inhibitors.
Common Problems & Pests
Your Hoya Burtoniae can get any type of pest, such as scale, aphids, or spider mites. However, a few types of pests are the most common that you should watch out for.
Mealybugs are one of the most common pests on your Hoya Burtoniae. They are small, white insects that appear fluffy and can often be mistaken for mold. To treat your Hoya Burtoniae for mealybugs, you should first isolate your plant. Then, spray it with an insecticidal solution or neem oil.
You can also take a Q-Tip dipped in 70% or less isopropyl alcohol and soak individual mealybugs. They will turn a yellowish-brown color on contact and can be wiped away.
Sometimes mealybugs will also live beneath the soil’s surface. If your Hoya has mealybugs, you should inspect the soil and roots to ensure there aren’t any hidden pests. In addition, you will want to treat your plant a few more times. This will ensure all the mealybugs are gone before taking your plant out of isolation.
While a few different types of mites attack Hoya varieties, flat mites have recently become a big problem for Hoya collectors. These mites are also called “false spider mites” since they can appear similar to spider mites. The biggest difference is that flat mites do not create webs, making them even harder to spot.
Flat mites are very tiny, too small to view with the naked eye. They are microscopic, orange mites. They lay even smaller eggs that are very difficult to remove. If you have a macro lens, you can spot them; otherwise, they can go completely unnoticed until your Hoya is infested.
The best indicator that you have flat mites is if your Hoya Burtoniae repeatedly puts out new growth points that will callus over before growing into stems. As a result, it will develop large, stubby woody growth points. This is because these mites prefer to consume new growth. Your Hoya Burtoniae will likely have these flat mites hanging around the nodes and stems.
Flat mites have a 21-day life cycle from egg to adult, which means that consistency is key to treating your Hoya Burtoniae. Treatment will have to be repeated over several weeks. There are a few ways that you can treat your Hoya for flat mites.
- Hosing down your plant to remove any loose adults (must be combined with other treatments)
- Using sulfur-based pesticides to kill adult mites and larvae. This treatment must be repeated as this will not kill the eggs, so you should treat it once weekly for 4-8 weeks.
- Predatory mites and beneficial insects will consume the flat mites. The best option is to choose other predatory mites, as opposed to ladybugs or lacewings. If you choose beneficial insects, do not treat your plants with insecticidal soaps or neem oil. Both of these will kill the beneficial bugs as well.
- Give your Hoya Burtoniae a warm bath: submerge your Hoya in warm (but not scalding) water for 10 minutes to kill the pests. There is some risk to this, so this is the only good method if the infestation is severe.