Hoya Obovata

Family:Asclepiadaceae (ass-kle-pee-ad-AY-see-ee) 

Genus:Hoya (HOY-a) 

Species:obovata (ob-oh-VAY-tuh)

Last Fall I introduced a series of blog posts that I'm planning to share here - as I study and draw botanicals for my prints, I thought it would be fun to share some information about my favorites. First up today - the Hoya Obovata. I've started to see this plant show up in more photos here and there and wanted to know more about it. 

Why I love it: This Hoya has the most beautiful dark green leaves. They are round and just a bit speckled. It's a fairly fast growing plant and does well confined in containers - I especially love it as a hanging plant. After 2-3 years, the plant may begin to flower (see below) with sweet smelling blooms that look like tiny pink stars. 

All Hoyas are semi-succulent with thick, waxy leaves - and are sometimes known as "waxplant" or "waxflower". If you are close to my age, your mother or grandmother most likely had a Hoya in her house as you were growing up! They were very popular in the 70s.

What it likes: All Hoyas like bright light, but this plant is also tolerant of medium light. Hoyas also like to be misted occasionally - the humidity is similar to the native, warm, tropical environments where Hoyas are found. (Don't mist during flowering.)

What it dislikes: Over-watering; the big leaves of this plant hold a lot of water. Wait until the soil is nearly dry between waterings. Also dislikes (direct) sunny windowsills and dark corners.

Fun facts:  

  • Hoya carnosa (a related plant) has been shown in recent studies at the University of Georgia to be an excellent remover of pollutants in the indoor environment.
  • Hoyas are easy to propagate, and are commonly sold as cuttings, either rooted or unrooted.
  • The name “Hoya” honors Thomas Hoy, gardener to the Duke of Northumberland.

The hanging plant (top right) in my Window No. 1 Linocut print is inspired by the Hoya Obovata. It's a favorite! I'd love to know - do you grow any Hoyas in your home?