How to Propagate Hoyas
A few months ago we visited octogenarian plant collectors Alan and Jill Collins in their Sydney garden. Their favourite plant to collect is the humble hoya – they’ve got around 150 different species in their rambling suburban backyard! They’re growing up trees, along verandahs, inhabiting around 5 greenhouses and more. They’re everywhere.
Alan and Jill invited us back in November to see the hoyas flowering. Of course, we accepted immediately, and arrived the next day. Whilst there, I took the opportunity to get Alan and Jill’s advice on propagating hoyas – if anyone knows how to grow hoyas it’s gotta be them. Read this, and you’ll never need to buy a hoya again. Just take your secateurs and get snipping (with permission, of course!).
Take a cutting from a healthy plant in spring/summer. This is the best time to propagate hoyas as it’s their growing season so they’ll develop roots and grow faster than during winter when they’re sleeping.
The cutting should be around 10-15 centimeters long and have at least two leaves. It can have up to 6 leaves, suggests Alan.
Make sure the cutting has quite a long stem, to anchor it into the pot.
There are two ways of encouraging the cutting to develop roots.
1. Place it in a glass of water and wait until it develops roots, around 5-10 cm long.
2. Place the cutting in a small pot with Alan’s special propagation mix. (Recipe: 3 parts perlite, 3 parts coco-peat, 1 part vermiculite). All these products can be bought at your local garden centre.
You could still strike hoyas in normal potting mix, but the benefit of the mix Alan suggests is that it holds water well. The cuttings need to be constantly damp to develop roots.
Once the cutting has developed roots (you’ll be able to see the progress clearly in water, or if propagating in a pot gently remove the cutting from the pot and check its root system).
Fill a small pot – around 140mm with fine orchid mix.
TIP: Alan and Jill add a product called Rooster Booster to the potting mix to give it a little bit of je ne sais quoi.
Plant the cutting in the pot, making sure there’s enough stem beneath the surface of the mix to anchor the plant into the pot.
It will take around 2 years of growth time before the plant needs a larger pot. Hoyas are rather slow growers!
Alan feeds his hoyas every month with a liquid organic fertilizer.
According to Jill, hoyas prefer morning sun. If they get too much shade they won’t flower. Full sun, however will turn them yellow and they’ll not be happy.
Her tip for the best hoya for beginners is Hoya carnosa. She says it’s the easiest to grow and the best flowerer. Alan loves Hoya ‘Mini Belle’. It’s a good one, he suggests, as it doesn’t get too big, like Hoya carnosa can.
The best hoya for indoors is, again, Hoya carnosa. It will thrive in a warm, well lit area inside. But do remember to take outside for short holidays every month or so.