What is a hoya mathilde? This gorgeous hybrid hoya will make a wonderful addition to your hoya collection. Learn all about hoya mathilde care, including how to propagate this plant from cuttings!
How do you care for the pretty little hoya mathilde?
I have not written a ton of new plant care posts in the last month because I have been gearing up to get a big batch out—I did a relatively large import (for me at least) of rare plants, and those are higher on my priority list.
However! I treated myself to a little hoya not long ago. The care is pretty much like all other hoya plants, but I figured I’d get a little care post up about it to keep things interesting and fresh on here 🙂
What is a hoya mathilde?
So what’s my new hoya? Well it’s the cute little hoya mathilde! This hoya variety is a hybrid of the classic hoya carnosa and the more rare hoya serpens. The leaves are round and succulent, and they stay on the smaller side.
It really reminds me of a much smaller hoya obovata. Hoya obovata is one of my favorite hoyas, so that’s probably why I’ve always been drawn to pictures of the mathilde. I saw it for a decent price and decided, why the hell not? (Space, that’s why, but this one fits in a windowsill!)
Do all hoya mathilde have splash marks?
As far as I can tell, yes. The leaves are a medium green color with light-colored (white, gray, or silverish) specks on them. The undersides are a bit fuzzy.
The growth pattern of the hoya mathilde is either climbing or trailing. You can easily train it to climb up a small trellis, and I might do that with mine. However, it’s easy to simply let it trail.
Want more hoyas? Check out my Hoya Krohniana Silver Care guide, my Hoya Krimson Princess Care guide, my Hoya Linearis Care guide, and my Hoya Curtisii Care guide! You can also check out all the posts under my hoya category.
How much light does a hoya mathilde need?
As with most other lovely little hoyas, the hoya mathilde will grow best in bright indirect light. I’ve had mine in a window that gets sun from sunrise up until about noon, and it has been pushing our new growth beautifully.
After noon, the plant still gets light in this window. However, the sun is over the house by that point, so it’s shaded light.
These plants can do some direct sun, but too much direct sun will burn the leaves. Monitor closely, and prioritize morning direct sun over afternoon direct sun since it is not as harsh.
You cannot reverse leaf burn, and since hoyas in general are pretty slow growers, it will take a while to grow healthy new leaves.
If you notice that your hoya mathilde variegation is fading or is not pronounced—or if your plant is growing excessively slow or producing super small leaves—the plant is probably not getting enough light. Plenty of bright indirect lights helps fuel those splashy silver speckles!
If you notice that the mathilde’s leaves are darkening a bit, especially around the perimeter of the leaves, it’s possible that the plant is getting “sun stressed.” I have had this happen to my hoya wayetii, and I don’t consider it a burn—but I do consider it to be a sign that I may want to back off the light just a bit.
Hoyas in general do well under LED grow lights, so you can consider adding a grow light to help your plant out. I often supplement my plants with grow lights through the winter and use them very little during the summer.
Watering a mathilde
As a general rule of thumb, water your hoya mathilde when the top several inches of soil have dried out. If you water the mathilde too much, the plant will suffer from root rot.
The leaves will also likely begin to yellow, get flimsy, and fall off. Because mathilde stores water in her thick, juicy leaves, it relies on these reserves in periods of drought.
If you water the mathilde too little, the leaves will become thin, less succulent-looking, and wrinkly. In my experience, most hoyas can bounce back from a bit of thinning and wrinkling. But it’s best not to make a habit of it.
For most of my hoyas, this means watering mathilde about once a week in the summer when it’s super hot out and once every 2 or so weeks in the winter when it’s freezing outside. When you water your plant, do so thoroughly, soaking the soil and letting all of the excess water drain from the planter’s drainage holes.
Choose a chunky, well-draining soil mix to help facilitate drainage and aeration. If your soil mix is heavy and not well-draining, it will suffocate the roots.
When I do, I will use a well-draining houseplant soil and add in some additional perlite, coco coir (I don’t keep husk on hand), and some bark. All of these soil additives help encourage the movement of both air and water–air to the roots, and excess water out of the pot.
I do not overthink soil for hoyas. If it’s well-draining and chunky, hoyas will be happy! And this one is a relatively easy hoya to care for, meaning that you’d probably even be fine with just a regular houseplant mix and no additives 🙂
Temperature & humidity
Like all other hoyas, hoya mathilde is not frost hardy and will not tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees. Indoors, this means that mathilde will do fine year round. Outdoors it depends where you live.
I move some of my hoyas outdoors for the spring and summer. Generally I wait until the temperature doesn’t drop below 50 degrees at night–but it’s fine if it drops into the upper 40s for a quick cold snap.
I then begin transitioning the plants back indoors when the 10-day forecast is showing temperatures consistently in the lower 50s with a day or two of the upper 40s.
As far as humidity goes, more is better! More humidity—along with plenty of bright indirect light and well-draining soil—will help encourage the best and healthiest growth. Hoyas go NUTS in higher humidity—which is another reason I love taking them outside for summer where I’m at.
However, mathilde is pretty patient with all indoor humidity levels, as long as they are at least 40%. My house is pretty dry, but most of the year, it stays above 40%. If you can’t swing that with ambient humidity levels, you can add a humidifier.
Hoya mathilde pruning & propagation
I do not really prune my smaller hoyas unless the new growth is leggy (lots of space between the new leaves on the stems) or I want to contain its size. Pruning time is a great time to take cuttings for propagating, too.
Just remember never to deadhead flowers if you are lucky enough to have your hoya mathilde bloom! New flowers will emerge from these peduncles in the future, so if you remove the flower/peduncle, it won’t come back. If you take a cutting with a peduncle on it, it will still eventually come back!
How to root a hoya mathilde cutting
To root a hoya mathilde cutting, I recommend a stem cutting. Take a cutting from a plant using a clean knife or pair of scissors. Make sure the cutting is several inches long and contains a few sets of leaves.
If necessary, remove the bottom-most set of leaves. (This is also a great reason why I like to propagate leggy stems—that leggy growth or leaf loss often means there are leaf-less nodes already exposed.)
You can propagate the cutting in water, moss, soil, or LECA (see this post for more on LECA). My favorite method for rooting hoya cuttings is in moss. I have a whole guide for how to propagate cuttings in sphagnum moss and perlite if you’re interested.
But here’s an overview—dip the exposed nodes in rooting hormone or gel if you have it. If you don’t, no biggie. Then pop the cutting in damp moss and perlite.
Keep the humidity high using either a clear plastic bag or a DIY plastic plant propagation box. Monitor the cutting to ensure the moss stays damp and the cutting doesn’t experience any rotting from conditions that are too wet.
Once the cutting has roots that are a few inches long, you can transplant the cutting to soil. This is also a good general rule for rooting a cutting water—however, the cutting might transition less smoothly from water to soil since water roots are different from soil roots.
If you put the cutting directly in soil to root it, keep the soil moist and the humidity high. It will probably be fine, but I enjoy monitoring the root development. You can’t really do that with soil 🙂
Should I fertilize my hoya mathilde?
I haven’t traditionally fertilized my hoya plants, but I acquired my mathilde after I switched over to using Liqui-Dirt to fertilize my plants. If you use a fertilizer, make sure you dilute it to avoid burning the plant.
If you use something like Liqui-Dirt, you don’t run the risk of over-fertilizing and burning your plants, which is why I like that method!
What’s wrong with my hoya mathilde?
My hoyas are some of the hardiest when it comes to pest problems, but that doesn’t mean they are without issues. I have experienced spider mites and mealybugs on hoya plants. If you notice webbing on your mathilde, particularly around the area where the leaf meets the stem, it’s likely spider mites.
Mealybugs, on the other hand, show themselves as balls of cotton-looking nests—also around the area where the leaves meet the stems and the undersides of the leaves. Learn more about mealybugs here.
Scale is also potentially a concern. If you notice a sappy brown-orange sticky residue on or around your plant, it’s almost certainly scale. The sap is the result of the little bugs feeding on your plant.
And, finally, there are thrips. Thrips are the worst. They have a longer life cycle and are a bit harder to battle, further underscoring why it’s so important to inspect and quarantine new plants when you get them.
For all of the above pests, with the exception of thrips, I recommend rinsing off the plant leaves with cool water and thoroughly spraying down the plant with a store bought insecticide like Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew. Make sure to get under the leaves.
I recommend doing this for thrips, but depending on what stage you’re at in the thrips lifecycle, you may need to employ a system insecticide in the soil to help prevent the eggs from hatching.
What about fungus gnats?
Fungus gnats are usually a sign of overwatering. While the gnats won’t hurt your plant, they are super annoying and might be a sign of a less-than-ideal care routine. You can also read more than you’ll ever want to know about fungus gnats here.
To get rid of them, make sure you’re letting the top several inches of soil dry out before you water your plant again. Maybe even stretch it a bit longer to ensure the top of the soil dries out thoroughly—fungus gnats don’t like dry soil.
Are hoya mathilde plants safe to have around pets and kids?
Hoya plants are not toxic, so they are safe to have around kids and pets. This is true of hoya mathilde as well. However, they aren’t meant to be ingested, so neither humans nor pets should consume it. I always recommend keeping plants up and away from curious kids and pets.