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How to Get a Hoya to Bloom

Want to learn how to get a hoya to bloom? I’m sharing all of my tips in this article!

My tips for encouraging your hoya to bloom!

Hi all! If this isn’t your first time here, you’re likely no stranger to the fact that I love hoya plants. They are, in my opinion, some of the easiest plants to care for thanks to their drought tolerance and flexible lighting requirements.

There are also a ton of different types of hoyas, meaning there is something out there for everyone. I’ve written a lot about hoya plants in the past. Here are some of my more popular hoya plant care guides:

In addition to their interesting foliage, houseplant hobbyists collect hoyas for their interesting flowers. One of the reasons why “wax plant” is a common name for some types of hoyas is that their flowers look waxy and, honestly, so perfect that they could be fake.

The flowers emerge from peduncles that sprout along the plant’s stem. The peduncles then sprout flowers in umbels, which are clusters of flowers in which the individual flowers emerge from a common center point.

They can grow in small clusters or clusters so large and dense that they seen like round balls of blooms. Have a look at the blooms below on my hoya carnosa compacta “rope plant.” This is my most prolific bloomer!

hoya rope plant flowering
hoya rope plant flowering

An overview of blooming tips

  • Plenty of bright, indirect light; plants are unlikely to flower in lower light levels.
  • Use a chunky, well-aerated, well-draining soil and a pot that is only slightly larger than the plant’s root system.
  • Do not overwater; withholding water until the leaves begin wrinkling at the end of winter can help force blooms.
  • Give the plant a nutrient boost with fertilizer or concentrated plant food; consider trying an orchid fertilizer spray.
  • Hoya plants can bloom all year long, but they are most likely to bloom in the summer
  • Don’t prune too much; remove only dying or damaged growth to produce heathy new growth and let the plant mature.
  • Never remove peduncles after a plant has flowered; the plant will bloom again from the peduncle.

Why your hoya plant might not be flowering

If you’ve owned your hoya for a while and have yet to experience a bloom, you might be wondering—why is my hoya plant not flowering? There are a few reasons this could be happening, and they relate to light, water, pot size, fertilizer, and the plant’s age.

Troubleshooting issues with plants can be tricky because every plant is unique. But in general, there are some common themes that emerge when discussing getting a hoya to flower. Let’s go over them.

Hoya linearis in bloom
Hoya linearis in bloom

1. You aren’t giving it enough light

Hoyas in general are famous for their flexible lighting needs. I have hoyas in different spots around my house with varying light levels. They can withstand slightly lower light levels—something like medium indirect light.

But if you don’t have the plant in ideal light conditions—which are bright, indirect light—the plant will likely grow slower. Lower light levels are also not conducive to flowering.

Light levels can have a big impact on a plant’s energy levels. Lower light levels will lead many hoya plants to devote all of their energy to maintaining existing foliage, so growth will slow accordingly. This means that the plant will not have any energy to expend on flowering.

To encourage your hoya to flower, give it as much bright, indirect light as possible. Hoyas thrive in bright, indirect light, such as near a very sunny window; in filtered direct light, such as in a south-facing sunny window behind a sheer curtain; or in bright shade, such as under a covered patio just out of the sun’s reach.

Too much light can lead to “sun stress” on many hoyas, which is essentially darkening leaves. I don’t particularly like the sun-stressed look, so I avoid it. Direct light can also burn the plant’s foliage, which is irreversible.

Takeaway: Aim for plenty of bright, indirect light; your hoya will not flower without sufficient light.

hoya obovata flower

2. Your soil is too dense, the pot is too large, or both

Hoya plants are epiphytes. In nature, epiphytes grow on the surface of another plant (e.g., along a branch or up a tree trunk) and derive moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, or organic matter around it.

Imagine a hoya growing up the trunk of a tree. Much of the plant is getting moisture and nutrients from the air around it—and the shallow root system thrives in a chunky, well-draining soil that doesn’t stay wet for too long.

You can encourage your hoya to flower by mimicking this environment. The first step to doing this is by planting your hoya in a chunky, well-draining soil. I start with a high-quality potting mix designed for houseplants.

Ingredients like moss and coco coir in houseplant soils also help to encourage lightweight water retention so the plant gets the moisture is needs. Then I add in some additional perlite or coconut husks, and maybe even some orchid bark depending on how light the soil was to begin with.

The Noot soil (affiliate link) is already very light. But if I’m starting off with something like a Fox Farms mix (affiliate link), which I love, I might also add ingredients like perlite, coco husks, and bark help to ensure that the plant’s soil doesn’t retain too much water.

All of the excess water should be able to easily flow through the soil and out of the pot’s drainage holes. And the chunkiness will create pockets of air that allow oxygen to flow to the plant’s roots.

Once you’ve nailed your soil, make sure you are using a pot that isn’t too big. Hoyas have relatively shallow root systems and also enjoy being somewhat root- or pot-bound. Many people think larger pots will encourage more growth; instead, it will throw off the soil to roots ratio, and the soil will retain too much water.

Shoot for something only slightly bigger than the plant’s root ball. Do not repot the plant until roots begin growing out of the pot’s drainage holes. I have never repotted my large hoya carnosa compacta or my hoya linearis and have had both for many years.

Takeaway: Make sure to plant your hoya in a chunky, well-draining soil and do not use a pot that’s too big. Choose one that is only slightly larger than your plant’s root system.

hoya rope plant flowering

3. You’re watering it too much

One of my favorite things about hoyas is that they are generally very drought tolerant. I can put them on a watering schedule without many issues. I generally water my hoyas once a week in the spring and summer, but I scale way back to once every 2 weeks or so (sometimes more if I am being lazy) in the winter.

Overwatered hoyas will not be happy plants. You’ll notice that many of the leaves will begin yellowing and falling off. The plant will also not produce optimal growth, and it certainly won’t produce flowers.

For my hoyas, I like to let the soil dry out completely before I water the plant again. When I water, I thoroughly soak the plant’s soil, letting all excess water flow out of the pot’s holes and down the drain. (I mostly water my hoyas in my kitchen sink or in a tub.)

Sometimes I’ve even let my plants get juuust to the point of being underwatered. You’ll notice that the leaves will begin to pucker a bit. Don’t let it get too far, though—if you withhold water for too long, the plant will begin to kill off its oldest leaves to conserve energy.

That said, one great tip for encouraging your plant to bloom is withholding water for an extended period of time near the end of winter. I normally water my hoya plants once every 2 weeks or so in the winter depending on where they are in my home.

To help force blooms in the spring, I add another week or so to that timeline. The leaves will begin to pucker and wrinkle a bit. And that’s when I know it’s time for a good, deep drink. The first year I did this, I had two of my hoya plants bloom for the first time.

Takeaway: Don’t overwater your plant; let the soil dry out before watering again.

slightly wrinkled hoya rope plant leaves
Slightly puckering/wrinkling leaves on a hoya carnosa compacta

4. Your plant needs a nutrient boost

Many times I simply rely on slow-release fertilizers present in my plant’s soil to feed them. I don’t generally use fertilizers on my houseplants. Instead, I add Liqui-Dirt concentrated plant food to my watering can roughly once a month throughout the spring and summer.

It isn’t cheap, but you only need to add a tiny bit to your watering can. And since I don’t use it every time I water my plants, a little pouch lasts me the entire growing season. I keep it in the fridge when I’m not using it.

Adding fertilizer or nutrients to your hoya’s soil is essential because you don’t want to repot them often. And that soil can get old and depleted of the nutrients it once had.

Some people also swear by using orchid fertilizer (affiliate link) on hoyas. Generally hoyas enjoy a balanced fertilizer, but spraying an orchid fertilizer, which is high in potassium, can evidently help to improve growth and flowering on hoyas.

It will be impossible to truly tell if it’s the cause, but I am going to try spraying orchid fertilizer on some of my hoya plants early this spring to see what the results are. I’ll report back!

That said, I have had hoya lacunosa cuttings flower when they are rooting in tap water that had no extra nutrients added in, so…make of that what you will! And it smelled sooo good.

Takeaway: All in all, it won’t hurt to give your plant some sort of additional fertilizer or nutrient-rich plant food to supplement aging soil and give your growth a boost.

flowering hoya lacunosa
Lacunosa cutting flowering while rooting in water

5. You’re pruning too much or the plant is too young

Ultimately, it’s possible that you can be doing all of the things outlined in this article and still not have your hoya flower. Sometimes it just takes time and maturity. For example, my large, mature rope plant flowers like crazy.

My medium-sized rope plant, however, has not produced a single peduncle. Another one of my hoya plants that I’ve had flower is my large linearis. But I’ve had some younger plants flower, too. So it can kind of be a crapshoot in my experience.

I recommend going easy on the pruning unless you’re removing dead or damaged foliage. Prune for shape and to encourage healthy new growth, but don’t go wild cutting off pieces of the plant to propagate.

Takeaway: Prune dead, yellowing, or unsightly foliage off. The more you let your plant produce healthy new growth and mature, the better chances you’ll have of seeing flowers.

brittany goldwyn merth holding a flowering hoya rope

There are some other really critical things to know about hoya flowering. Have a look at them below to supplement the five things I’ve already outlined.

1. What time of year does Hoya bloom?

I’ve read that hoya plants are generally most likely to bloom in the summer. That said, I have had my plants bloom all year long with absolutely no rhyme or reason. I could get eight blooms on a single plant in February, but then go all summer with no blooms.

My friend with a large hoya collection has said the same. They bloom throughout the year, seemingly constantly. Neither of us are complaining, though.

hoya linearis flowering

2. How long does it take for a Hoya to flower?

In my experience, more mature plants are more likely to flower. Generally hoya plants have to be happy, healthy, and about 5 years old before you have a good chance of seeing blooms.

However, it’s possible that a younger plants can bloom. For example, when I cut off several hoya lacunosa cuttings to propagate in water, one of them had a peduncle on it. I consider this to be a new plant now. Despite that, the peduncle bloomed while the cuttings were rooting in water and then after I transferred them to soil.

My bilobata also flowered the year after I got it, and the plant was not super mature at the time. So sorry to give a wishy washy answer here…but I’m going to have to go with “it depends, but you’re probably going to have to be patient.”

hoya bilobata flowering
A flower on a hoya bilobata about to open

3. What is the easiest hoya to bloom?

In my experience, it has been the hoya carnosa compacta, or rope plant. I would say that if you’re looking for the easiest type of hoya to bloom, go with a hoya carnosa or a carnosa variety (like a krimson queen, krimson princess, Chelsea, etc.).

I have a ton of different hoyas, and the ones I’ve had bloom are my carnosa, carnosa compacta, carnosa compacta variegated, linearis, bilobata, lacunosa, obovata, obscura, and mathilde. My mathilde is fairly young and has gone absolutely nuts with blooms. And my obovata really took off with blooms after many, many years of nothing, too.

hoya mathilde bloom
Hoya mathilde in bloom
hoya obscura in bloom
Hoya obscura in bloom

4. Do hoyas need sun to flower?

Yes. Hoya plants can survive in lower light levels, but they won’t thrive. And they certainly won’t flower. Hoya plants need plenty of bright, indirect light to help encourage flowering. Avoid too much direct light, as this can burn the plant’s leaves.

5. Do hoyas bloom from the same spot?

And I’ve saved the best for last! Once your plant has flowered and the tiny flowers begin shriveling up and falling off, just let them do their thing. You can also gently pick them off the plant when they start wilting.

But by no means should you EVER cut off a peduncle. That’s because hoyas will bloom and rebloom from the same spot. That’s why getting a peduncle is so exciting. Once it blooms, it will likely continue doing so.

Each time it blooms, the peduncle will get larger and larger. Have a look at the peduncles below. The first and second pictures are relatively new peduncles that have bloomed maybe once or twice.

The third and fourth pictures are of peduncles that are budding up for a 4th or 5th round of flowering—I can’t keep track. See how long they are getting? Keep them on the plant, and they’ll continue doing their thing!

hoya peduncle
Hoya peduncle that has bloomed once or twice
hoya peduncle beginning to sprout buds
Peduncle that has bloomed four or five times
spent hoya blooms removed from the peduncle
Spent hoya blooms removed from the peduncle

In conclusion…

As we wrap up here, I want to encourage you to stay the course with your hoya. Sometimes the best tincture is time; you can’t force nature. But you can help it along by making sure you are implementing an optimal care routine for your hoyas. Happy planting!

Pin my tips for how to get a hoya to bloom!

collage that says how to encouraging hoya blooms with pictures of plants

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