If you’re looking for hoya kerrii care and propagation tips, look no further! I’ve got everything you need to know in my guide. Learn how to care for this unique heart-leaf hoya.
Hoya kerrii care and propagation guide!
The Hoya Kerrii is a unique houseplant that has become increasingly popular over the last few years—mostly marketed as single leaves in post as “heart leaf hoyas” or “sweetheart hoyas.” This plant’s defining feature is its large heart-shaped leaves and thick vining stems.
Most of the Hoya Kerrii plants that are sold in nurseries usually remain as a single heart-shaped leaf and may never sprout vines (more on this in a bit). The great part about this cute little plant is that they really don’t ask for much and look adorable all year round!
Where is the Hoya Kerrii plant from?
The Hoya Kerrii is native to Southeast Asia and can be found in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and some Indonesian islands. It was first identified in the mountains of Northern Thailand then taken elsewhere and cultivated into the succulent-like plant we love today.
In nature the Hoya Kerrii can grow more than 12 feet in height and climbs like a vine. A mature plant can produce white and red flowers with a very faint, sweet smell. Its leaves are thick, waxy, and spade-shaped, which makes it suitable for growing just about anywhere.
Do Hoya Kerrii need sunlight?
Yes! The Hoya Kerrii loves full sun. As it is, this plant is slow growing, so plenty of light will ensure its leaf (or leaves!) grows healthy and full. They need at least a few hours a day of direct sunlight, so consider placing it near an east or west facing window.
If your Hoya Kerrii is getting enough sunlight, its leaves will be a vibrant light green. Avoid dark places or shady windows. Without enough light the plant will stop growing and its leaves will look thin and malnourished.
I got my Hoya Kerrii for my birthday (my husband knew I wanted one and ordered it off Etsy). It’s hard to find a vining one around here! I have had mine in a southwest-facing window since I got it. It’s hanging up right but the window and gets plenty of light—brightest spot in my house without grow lights!
Speaking of—here is the Kerrii I got for my birthday right after I took it out of the packaging. I popping the black nursery pot into this white ceramic pot until I could figure out where I wanted to put it.
How often should you water a Hoya Kerrii?
Hoya Kerrii plants aren’t succulents, but they sure behave like succulents! The water requirements for Hoya Kerrii plants are very minimal. More is less with these guys! Their leaves are thick and waxy for sufficient water storage, so you never want to oversaturate the soil.
You should wait until its soil dries out almost completely before watering thoroughly. Be sure to allow all the water to drain through. You never want to let the Hoya Kerrii sit in water! (Again, much like succulents.)
A good way of knowing when you need to water again is by sticking your finger in the soil about one or two inches. If it’s completely dry then it’s time to water. I would say to even give it a few more days to let the bottom of the pot dry out a bit, too.
Yellowing leaves on a Hoya
If any leaves on your Hoya Kerrii turn yellow, it’s likely that your plant is overwatered. Or the plant can be stressed from things like repotting and transit. Here’s a leaf I had to pull off of my plant after I got it.
It went through shipping and repotting a few days later—plus it was fall. And the soil was pretty damp when I got it, so I am not surprised I lost a leaf. I am happy I only lost one, actually!
Soil needs: Think well-draining
There isn’t one soil mix better than the rest, but there are a few characteristics to keep in mind when choosing one. Hoya Kerrii plants need a soil that is loose with very good drainage, this will prevent waterlogged soil that causes root rot.
A standard potting mix containing perlite and orchid bark will improve the drainage while providing nutrients. If your Hoya Kerrii plant is only a single leaf though, its soil will need to be loamy so it retains more water and nutrients.
Temperature & humidity
These heart-shaped beauties are not picky, especially when it comes to temperature. Growing a Hoya Kerrii indoors will pose no issues at all; their ideal range is anywhere from 65–80°F. Although any average indoor temperatures will suffice, they do grow faster in warmer temperatures.
Keep in mind they won’t grow if they are kept below 50°F for extended periods of time. So that means indoors year-round in most places, but some climates will be warm enough for growing during the fall and winter.
It might be surprising, but this succulent-like plant thrives in humid conditions. That’s one thing that makes it different from real succulents. Although it will tolerate dry air, if you can keep the humidity above 50%, it will grow faster and help with propagation, too.
If you live in a drier climate, you can keep your Hoya Kerrii in the bathroom or kitchen where the humidity is naturally a bit higher. But don’t worry, their waxy leaves make this plant extremely durable and tolerant, so even lower humidity isn’t a huge concern.
Are Hoya Kerrii slow growing?
Yes, Hoya Kerrii plants are slow growing—much like their relatives the Obovatas (see my Hoya Obovata care guide here). This is one reason they are so expensive. If you can find a mature Hoya Kerrii plant, it has probably been growing for a while!
There isn’t much you can do to speed up their growth except for keep them in ideal growing conditions. That means lots of bright light, warm temperatures, high humidity, and well-draining soil to prevent the plant’s roots from rotting and get waterlogged. In time it will grow—and it will be worth the wait.
Is there a variegated Hoya Kerrii?
Yes! There is a variegated version of the Hoya Kerrii. The variegated version is yellow and green. And the yellow on the variegated version is distinctly different from the yellow on the overwatered version of a regular Hoya Kerrii.
Trust me, you’ll be able to tell the difference! Variegated Hoya Kerrii plant also have a slightly higher price tag…much like many other variegated plants. Here’s a shot of a variegated Hoya Kerrii at a local nursery. I didn’t buy it—had to control myself!
Repotting a heart-leaf hoya
Since Hoya Kerrii plants are slow growing, they don’t need repotting very often. Maybe every few years or so depending on their growing conditions. Look for roots growing out of the bottom of the pot’s drainage holes.
Also look for signs of stress. Hoya Kerrii plants don’t mind being a bit root-bound and water-deprived, but if they are too root-bound, they’ll need some more room. It’s time to repot—and make sure to use fresh soil!
How to propagate a Hoya Kerrii
The Hoya Kerrii is not only easy to care for, it’s also easy to propagate! The only downside is that it may take several months for roots to grow. (Remember: slow-growing.) The best method is to use stem cuttings that have at least two leaves.
Leaf cuttings won’t work because it doesn’t have a dormant bud from which new stems can grow, so you will end up with a single rooted leaf and no stems or other leaves. (Again—see below in my “does my Hoya Kerrii have a node?)
To propagate, cut a healthy stem and make sure there are 2–3 nodes (where the leaf attaches to the stem). Place this cutting in a jar with fresh water and keep it in a warm, sunny window. Keep the top of the jar covered to increase humidity and change the water out every other week.
In a few weeks you’ll notice tiny roots growing from the stem. Wait until these roots are about two inches long before transferring to a pot with fresh, loose soil. Then voila, a new Hoya Kerrii plant!
You can also skip this step and root the cutting in some damp sphagnum moss and perlite, which is one of my favorite ways to root hoya cuttings. A DIY clear plastic propagation box is also a nice way to increase humidity.
For more hoya propagation, see my Hoya Carnosa Propagation Guide!
Does my Hoya Kerrii have a node?
So one of the biggest controversies about heart-leaf hoya plants is that people don’t realize that when they buy a single-leaf Hoya Kerrii, that those plants will never grow. That’s because Hoya Kerrii plants don’t have a node. And they need a node to grow.
And these single heart-leaf hoya plants are not marketed as “these will stay a single leaf forever, which is cute, but we aren’t going to tell you that.” The Hoya Kerrii leaves can root, but they won’t ever grow a stem and mature into anything else.
Sometimes you can get lucky and find a single Hoya Kerrii leaf that actually has a piece of a stem and a node planted with it. I have seen pictures from Walmarts where people dig up the plants to check for nodes! Don’t do that. So tacky.
Keep in mind that it’s fine to have a single heart-leaf hoya—they are adorable! But just know that they won’t grow into anything else. So be mindful of how much you’re paying for them, too. Especially around Valentine’s Day 🙂