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Hoya Bella Care Guide

Learn all about hoya bella care! Otherwise known as the miniature wax plant, hoya bella is a subspecies of hoya lanceolata. Learn how much light this plant needs, how to get it to flower, and more!

Hoya bella care & how to care for the miniature wax plant

Today I’m writing about a hoya type often referred to as a “miniature wax plant.” Hoya plants—generally hoya carnosa plants—are often referred to as wax plants because of their thick, shiny leaves and waxy-looking flowers.

The hoya bella is actually a subspecies of hoya lanceolata, so it’s technically named “hoya lanceolata subspecies bella.” However, most people just drop the “lanceolata” and call it a hoya bella. 

large hoya bella plant on a table

What does a hoya bella look like?

The nickname “miniature” wax plant tells you one thing about the plant—its leaves are smaller than the leaves on a hoya carnosa. They are shorter, more narrow, and thinner than hoya carnosa leaves.

But the plant overall is also smaller with stems growing only up to a couple feet long. So, it’s smaller all around. The small leaves are also pointier and a lighter green. They remind me a lot of hoya lacunosa or hoya cumingiana leaves.

How much light does a hoya bella need?

As a houseplant, hoya bella does well in bright, indirect light. It is not a low-light plant, and if it isn’t getting enough light, it will start looking a bit scraggly. The leaves will emerge even smaller than normal, and they will be very spaced out.

Near a sunny window is best. In fact, while too much direct sun can burn this plant’s delicate leaves, it can do some direct morning sun. The hoya bella won’t really sunstress like some other hoyas (browning/reddening on the leaves from direct sun exposure).

If you bring your hoya bella outdoors for the spring and summer, make sure to shield it from direct sun. Under a large, dense tree is a great spot—that way the plant will be exposed to only dappled sunlight. Or hanging under a covered patio. 

hoya bella foliage

Hoya bella care: Water needs

How much you water your miniature wax plant is an important part of the hoya bella care routine. I generally water my hoyas only after the soil has almost completely dried out.

However, I would not recommend stretching the hoya bella that long before watering it again. As a hoya with thinner leaves, the bella stores less water to pull from in periods of drought.

It is pretty drought-tolerant, though. I would recommend letting the top half of the plant’s soil dry out before watering it again. If you stick your finger down a few inches into the soil and it is dry, you’re good to go!

If you water your hoya too much, you’ll likely notice the leaves begin to yellow and die off. This is a sign of root rot, and you’ll want to back off watering. The plant can rebound if it hasn’t lost too many leaves.

However, if the leaves are thinner and yellowing, eventually falling off, that might be a sign of underwatering. The moisture levels in your soil will tell you whether it’s over or underwatering.

cat sniffing a hoya bella plant

What is the best soil?

Soil is, of course, a critical part of the hoya bella care routine as well. Soil and water go hand in hand! If the soil is too dense, it will retain too much water and suffocate the plant. It will also prevent oxygen from getting to the plant’s roots.

The best soil for a hoya bella is a nice well-draining mix. I plant my hoyas in a high-quality soil mix designed for houseplants, but I also throw in some extra perlite, coco coir (a great alternative to peat moss), and coconut husks or bark.

While the well-draining store-bought mixes are generally pretty good options, I like to throw those other things in to help enhance aeration, allow oxygen to get to the plant’s roots, and facilitate water flow through the soil and out the plant’s drainage holes.

plants and a fish tank on shelves

Temperature & humidity needs

The hoya bella will do well in a variety of normal household temperatures. It does tend to thrive in chillier temperatures, though, which might seem strange since it is a tropical plant. Keep in mind that even tropical areas can experience lower temperatures at night.

However, that doesn’t mean this plant likes the cold! It isn’t frost hardy, and it generally shouldn’t be in temperatures lower than the high 40s/low 50s Fahrenheit. Its USDA grow zones are 10, 11, and 12, meaning it can only be kept outdoors in those areas of the country.

Don’t hold back on the humidity, though. Hoya bella does not tolerate dry air very well. It will probably do fine in normal household humidity levels, but keep an eye on it. Especially in the fall and winter. You may need to add a humidifier. 

Does hoya bella like to be misted?

Because hoya bella likes higher humidity levels, misting it won’t hurt. However, keep in mind that misting only temporarily increases humidity levels around a plant. Something like a continuous mister might be better than a spray bottle, too.

caterpillar on a leaf

Potting & pruning: Is hoya bella a fast-growing plant?

As far as hoya plants go, the hoya bella is a moderately fast grower in ideal conditions. It stays relatively small, but I’ve found that hoya bella plants are generally sold as small plants. So you should be able to experience its growth rate firsthand!

Keep in mind, though, that hoya bella does not like too much excess soil in its pot. It likes to be a bit snug in the pot, so it probably won’t need to be repotted for a few years. When initially potting the plant, choose a pot size only about an inch or so bigger than the root ball.

Pruning your plant can help encourage bushiness and an overall healthy appearance, too. In general, you can snip leggy growth off of your plant to encourage the new growth to branch out a bit. Make sure you don’t prune off a stem that has a flower penduncle on it, though!

large hoya bella on a brown table

How do I get my hoya bella to flower?

Light is a critical part of flowering for hoyas. Make sure the plant is getting plenty of bright, indirect light to get your hoya to flower. You can also fertilize the plant using something with a high phosphorus number to encourage blooming.

Overall, keeping your hoya bella in optimal care conditions is also a good way to encourage flowering. High humidity and making sure your soil dries out a bit before watering is another good strategy.

And pruning to encourage the plant to push out new growth can work, too. Sometimes with new leaf growth will also come new penduncle growth. 

large hoya bella plant on a table

What do hoya bella flowers smell like?

My hoya bella has not bloomed yet. However, I have read that the hoya bella’s flowers have a rich, sweet scent. They can smell a bit like honey (unlike the hoya rope plant’s flowers, which smell like chocolate!). 

Fertilizer needs

I mentioned using a fertilizer high in phosphorus to encourage blooming. I don’t fertilize my plants too regularly, and when I do, I’ve generally been using a Liqui-Dirt concentrated fertilizer that I just add to water.

Hoya plants in general don’t need a ton of fertilizer. So I aim to add a Liqui-Dirt fertilizer dose roughly once a month in the late spring and summer.

woman holding a large hoya bella plant

Pest issues

Hoya plants in general are vulnerable to a variety of normal houseplant plant pests: mealybugs and spider mites, mostly. I have posts on IDing and treating both of these pests: how to get rid of mealybugs on houseplants and how to spot and treat spider mites.

If you notice very fine webbing and tiny crawlers on your hoya bella plant, especially around where the stems meet the leaves, it’s spider mites. If you see cotton-looking masses or white fuzzy bugs on your plant, it’s mealybugs.

Another pest that a lot of houseplant owners experience is fungus gnats. They are those tiny annoying flies that buzz around. If you notice them, they are often accompanied by moldy soil. That’s because fungus gnats lay eggs in the top few inches of soil—and they like wet soil!

Read my post about how to get rid of fungus gnats for more. A quick fix is to aerate the top few inches of soil with a fork to encourage drying and let the soil dry out.

large hoya bella plant on a table

How do you propagate Bella?

Hoya bella is best propagated using stem cuttings. Simply take a cutting from your plant with a few leaves and remove the bottom 2-3 leaves. This exposes the growth points on the plant where new roots will sprout.

There are a number of ways to root a hoya bella cutting: in water, in LECA, in moss, or in soil are my go-to methods. I recently rooted lacunosa cuttings in water for a while and then transitioned them to soil.

You can put the cuttings right in soil, but make sure to keep the soil moist to encourage root development and growth. Water rooting first just helps give them a bit of a jump start.

I have rooted many hoya cuttings in sphagnum moss and perlite, too. See my sphagnum moss 101 propagation guide for more on that.

Hoya lacunosa propagating in water
Hoya lacunosa propagating in water

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hoya bella plant with text overlay that says hoya bella care & propagation
collage of hoya bella plants with text overlay that says hoya bella care & propagation

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