Hoya Chelsea care is easy and rewarding—this gorgeous variety of the Hoya Carnosa plant is a beautiful trailer and is easy to propagate. Learn all about it in this post!
All about Hoya Chelsea care, a gorgeous variety of Hoya Carnosa
Today we’re talking about another Hoya plant. The Hoya Chelsea—or “Hoya Carnosa Chelsea,” as it’s actually a variety of Carnosa—goes by many names: Honey plant, Chelsea Wax plant, Porcelain Flower, Wax vine, and more.
This gorgeous plant is the perfect addition to any plant lover’s collection. Whether in a garden or your living room, this beautiful plant will thrive with the proper care and attention. With a variety of suitable options for the plant’s environment, it makes an excellent choice for beginners who have little experience caring for plants.
Where is the Hoya Carnosa Chelsea from?
The Hoya family has been cultivated for over 200 years, which has prompted the creation of many different variants. The Hoya Carnosa Chelsea, much like many species in its family, originate from Eastern Asia and Australia. As Hoyas have become popular among plant lovers, it has made its way across the world.
The Hoya Chelsea is now found naturally growing in the wilds of Queensland, China, East India, Taiwan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Fiji Islands, and the Japanese islands of Ryukyu and Kyushu.
How does Chelsea grow?
So what does Chelsea look like? It is distinguished by its waxy, puckered, glossy leaves and sweet scent. The plant so similarly resembles wax that it is often mistaken as fake. This is encouraged by the plant’s distinctive, flesh-colored flowers that also have a waxy appearance.
Hoya Chelsea plants can grow quite long—up to 12 feet, in fact. Though you likely won’t achieve that as a potted plant indoors. They can grow long and trailing from a hanging basket, or you can train them to vine up a trellis. I have mine in a hanging basket, and it’s lovely.
The leaves on the Hoya Carnosa Chelsea do not unfurl at full size, either. So don’t panic if the new growth is very small. Leaves sprout from the stems and remain small and lighter in color for a while, eventually growing to their full size and color.
How much light does the Hoya Carnosa Chelsea need?
Chelsea needs bright indirect light. Too much direct sunlight will burn your plant. However, Hoya Chelsea can withstand direct morning sun since it is not as harsh.
Outdoors, make sure it is in a bright but shaded area. Our backyard gets a lot of light from late morning well into early evening, and I have mine hanging under my covered patio. It is shaded all day but receives dappled light through the upper deck slats.
If Chelsea isn’t getting enough light, it will start to drop leaves. The leaves will also be farther apart on the stems and likely smaller. (This is called “leggy”—it’s actually “reaching” for the light.)
How much water does Chelsea need?
Hoyas in general are very drought tolerant, making Hoya Chelsea care very straightforward. You should wait until the top few inches of soil has dried out before you water the plant again. However, you can also let the soil dry out completely.
I water my Hoyas roughly once a week in the spring and summer, much less in the fall and winter. Outdoors the temperature is much higher, so although it is super humid, the soil dries out faster.
I usually try to let mother nature do her thing with my outdoor plants, but I’ll give my hanging baskets an extra drink during dry spells. I usually just feel the basket for its weight or stick my finger in the top of the soil.
Signs of overwatering a Hoya Carnosa Chelsea
The worst thing you can do for this plant is water it too much. Overwatering Chelsea will lead to root rot. If your plant leaves are developing dark spots, are wilting, and are getting mushy, you might want to check the roots.
Your plant is suffering from root rot if the roots are getting gray and mushy. Snip the affected roots off of your plant (and the gross leaves) and then repot the plant in fresh soil. Wait a few days to water and then resume care as normal.
Hoya plants are hardy, and Chelsea might be able to rebound if it wasn’t damaged too badly. Avoid root rot in the future by waiting to water Chelsea until the soil dries out and potting it in a planter with a drainage hole.
Speaking of soil, let’s cover that. Most high-quality well-draining houseplant soil mixtures will do just fine for Hoya Carnosa Chelsea. I usually throw in an extra handful of perlite to further enhance drainage. You can also use orchid bark, but I find that makes some soils too well-draining.
Succulent soil mixes can also work for Hoyas. See my recipe for how to mix succulent soil at home. So if that’s all you have on hand, it will work! Whatever you choose, keep “well-draining” in mind.
Hoya Chelsea care: Temperature & humidity
Hoya Chelsea does well in all normal household temperatures. However, it does best in warmer temperatures. Shoot for over 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If it gets too hot, you may need to water it more.
Like other Hoyas, it will struggle under 50–60 degrees Fahrenheit, though it can survive a few cold snaps. It is not frost-hardy and will die in temperatures below freezing.
The Chelsea also does best in a variety of normal humidity levels, but it will really thrive in higher humidity. My Chelsea was plugging along happily indoors, but once I took it out on my patio for the humid Maryland summer, it exploded with growth!
Indoors, you can add a humidifier or consider something like a higher humidity greenhouse cabinet. Check out my Ikea greenhouse cabinet for more ideas.
Potting, repotting, & pruning
Hoyas in general are pretty slow growers, but they can grow quite well under the right circumstances. Mine is growing like nuts outside on my covered patio—it loves that summer humidity!
Therefore, Hoya Carnosa Chelseas don’t need to be repotted often. Every few years should be fine. I don’t plan to repot mine until I see roots start to peek out of the drainage holes. That means it’s crying for more room.
Simply repot your Chelsea with fresh well-draining soil and give it a thorough watering. At this point, you can also prune off any excess foliage. I have trimmed mine a few times to encourage fullness. And as a bonus, you can propagate the cuttings!
How to propagate Hoya Carnosa Chelsea
Speaking of propagation—let’s move on to that! I love propagating plants, and Chelsea is an easy one to propagate. You should propagate your Chelsea in the spring or summer since it is actively growing and will take root faster.
The best ways to do it are through stem cuttings, leaves, or air layering. Stem cuttings are my favorite way to propagate, so I’ll speak to that first,st.
Propagating the Hoya Carnosa Chelsea through a stem cutting
To propagate a Hoya Chelsea through a stem cutting, take a cutting that’s a few inches long from the plant. Make sure it has a few leaves and an exposed node.
The best way to do this is by finding a stem that has already lost a leaf. However, if you don’t have one of those, you can simply take the cutting and remove the bottom two leaves to expose the stem.
I occasionally dip my stem cuttings in rooting hormone before planting them, but I also don’t. Just depends on if I remember, really 🙂 You can then put the cutting in a growing medium. Here are your different options:
–Put the cutting in water. You can put your cutting in water to root. Once you get roots that are a few inches long, you can plant the cutting in soil. Keep it moist for a few weeks while the cutting takes root in soil.
–Put the cutting in soil. You can also plant the cutting directly in soil. Keep the soil moist for a few weeks until you feel resistance when you tug the cutting. This is the worst option for me because I like to monitor rooting progress, and you can’t do that in soil.
–Put the cutting in sphagnum moss. This is my favorite way to propagate Hoyas. Put the cutting in a mixture of damp sphagnum moss and perlite. Keep a plastic baggie over the top so the moss retains moisture and let the humidity do its thing.
You can take the baggie off to check the rooting process, but usually you can see it through the container if you use a clear plastic container. Another option is to use a DIY plant propagation box, which I love to do.
–Put the cutting in LECA. LECA is also a great option for rooting Hoya plants. For more about this topic, check out my post about how to root plants in LECA.
Hoya Carnosa Chelsea also generates inflorescences—or clusters of flowers—from “spurs” on the stems. Spurs will form first and over time, buds will appear from the tips. In the winter, these flowers may die off but the spurs remain. In the spring, new flowers grow in these same spots. Each flower typically takes 2–3 weeks to fully mature.
Chelsea’s flowers are unique and immediately recognizable, much like other Hoya flowers. They are grouped in star-like clusters. Not only is the arrangement in the shape of a star, but each flower also has the appearance of a five-pointed wax star.
The flowering season typically takes place in the early summer for the Hoyas. However, this is largely dependent on the surrounding temperatures in their environment. During this time, the plant also releases seeds that look like small tufts of hair.
Pest issues with the Hoya Carnosa Chelsea
Normal household pests can be problems on Hoya Carnosa Chelsea, but these plants are not particularly vulnerable to pests. If you notice signs of a pest infestation, spray your plant down with a store bought insecticidal soap.