Learn all about the gorgeous hoya obovata plant, the perfect addition to your hoya houseplant collection! Hoya obovata care and propagation is easy, much like many other hoya hobbyist plants. Learn more.
Hoya obovata care and propagation
Hey all! Today we’re talking hoya obovata care. I am not a crazy hoya collector (my pockets are not that deep lol, but I love looking at hoya collectors’ goodies!). Mostly I just stick to the basics. I have written a lot about plants in the hoya genus, including hoya carnosa, hoya pubicalyx, hoya carnosa compacta, hoya australis, and hoya linearis. These are all varieties I own.
Today I am adding another hoya to my hoya care post rundown—the hoya obovata. I would call the hoya obovata a more intermediate hoya. Not because it’s difficult to grow, but because it’s somewhat difficult to find. I don’t see it locally here in Maryland much, so I had to order online. (See my tips for buying plants on Etsy as well.)
It’s a really cool plant, though. Much like other hoya plants, it has thick, succulent-like leaves. It climbs and twines, making it the perfect plant for a small trellis or pole. It also grows the familiar five-point star-shaped waxy flower that hoya plants are known for.
How do you care for a hoya obovata?
The obovata’s leaves are what makes it stand out from other hoyas, though. They are thick, flat, round/oval and grow in an alternating pattern. Each leaf is a deep green color with a gray/whitish “splash” variegation pattern on them. A lot like the pubicalyx splash.
I’ve heard that obovata grows faster than some other hoya varieties, but I can’t say that that has been the case for mine. Like my other hoyas, it seems to be a bit of a slow poke. Care is fairly straightforward, though: bright light, well-draining soil, not a lot of watering, and normal household temperatures.
Hoya obovata light needs
Lets dig into hoya obovata light needs first. I like to cover light first since I feel like it’s usually the most challenging aspect of houseplant care for me. (I want a sunroom!)
The obovata specifically enjoys bright light. It will not do well in a low-light scenario. A southern window in your home will likely be the best since it will get late morning, afternoon, and early evening sun.
You can also place it under a grow light, which is where mine is now—in my Ikea greenhouse cabinet. I am currently keeping the lights on about 10-12 hours a day in the cabinet. However, I’m considering moving this plant outside to my covered patio this summer. Will update if I do.
Outdoors, obovata plants should be shielded from harsh direct sun. They can build up a bit of a tolerance, though. In nature, they typically enjoy bright light filtered through the canopy of trees. So that prevents their leaves from burning.
However, hoya obovata plants don’t like super cold temperatures, so if your climate gets below 50 degrees F at night, I wouldn’t keep your plant outside. I move hoyas outside for the spring and summer here in Maryland.
How often should I water an obovata?
We all love a plant that isn’t too demanding with water. Obovata falls into that category—in fact, obovata plants will not be happy if you overwater them. I use regular water to water my hoyas (I don’t have time for plants that need filtered water lol).
Water them when the soil dries out. The timeline for watering obviously depends on a lot. How much light does it get? What is the temperature? Is it really humid? All of these things can lead to the soil drying out faster or slower.
Yellowing or faded limp leaves are tell-tale signs that you are overwatering your hoya obovata. If the leaves become limp and thin, however, you may be underwatering.
Hoya obovata soil needs
Soil is also a big part of the equation. If you use a dense soil like you’d find in a garden bed, your obovata will likely rot from retaining too much water and the roots not getting enough air circulation.
Most well-draining houseplant soils will work just fine. My obovata came in a very peat-based soil. When I repotted it, I added some perlite as well. Things like peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark help to make the soil less dense, facilitate air and water flow, and give the roots room to breathe.
What fertilizer should I use?
Umm…you can use any run of the mill houseplant fertilizer. But I am going to be honest. I don’t fertilize my plants anymore! If you’re using high-quality potting soil when repotting plants, they are usually just fine.
To help with nutrients, I have been simply adding a handful of worm castings to soil whenever I repot. If a plant is already potted, I just use a fork and work some of the castings into the top inch or so of soil. Super easy and no risk of burning the plant from overfertilizing!
Another reason why I don’t both too much with fertilizer for hoyas is that they are Epiphyte plants. Epiphytes grow on other things (trees, other plants, rocks, etc.). This is why your obovata will appreciate a trellis!
Epiphyte plants take in moisture and nutrients from the air around them, so humidity is really important. Hoyas have adapted to do well in lower humidity environments, but they appreciate higher humidity!
…and should I mist my hoya obovata?
To up humidity levels around your obovata, you can use a humidifier, put it in an enclosed glass cabinet, set it on a tray with pebbles and water, or mist it. Though misting is only a temporary increase in humidity, it’s the lazy way, so it’s usually what I do 🙂
How often does an obovata need to be repotted?
Hoyas in general are pretty slow growers, so I’d say the obovata needs to be repotted every few years depending on how quickly it is growing. Make sure to size up only about an inch or two. Otherwise, there will be too much soil and the plant might get waterlogged.
Repot with fresh well-draining soil for nutrients. Choose a pot with a drainage hole since hoyas are prone to root rot. A drainage hole will take the guesswork out of watering and, coupled with a well-draining soil and infrequent watering, will keep your hoya’s roots happy! (Learn how to drill a drainage hole in a ceramic pot.)
How do I get my hoya obovata to bloom?
Full disclosure, I haven’t had any blooms on my plant yet. But I will tell you the general tips and what I’m doing to encourage blooming in my obovata! First, the plant has to be on the more mature end. So if it hasn’t been in your care but a few months, have patience.
It can take years for a hoya obovata to bloom. If you’ve had your plant for a while and it has never bloomed, it may not be getting enough light. Bright, dappled light outdoors or bright, indirect light indoors is what you want to shoot for.
A lack of nutrient-dense soil may be causing the problem, too. If your soil is old—especially if you choose not to fertilize—try repotting the plant with fresh high-quality well-draining soil. I add worm castings to my plants in the spring for extra nutrients, too!
I have also read that keeping hoya obovata plants rootbound helps encourage blooming. This just means that they are a bit snug in their pots. When your plant does flower, I’ve also read NOT to dead-head (remove) the stalk. If you leave it, it can bloom again!
How to propagate hoya obovata plants
You can propagate hoyas through division and through stem cuttings. Propagating a hoya obovata through division is as easy as separating a piece from a mature plant. Try to keep as much of the root structure in place as you can.
Propagating a hoya obovata through a stem cutting takes a bit longer, but it’s not hard. Simply take a snip of the plant. Make sure you have a few leaves. Remove the bottom leaf or two, exposing nodes. (The area where the leaf grows from the stem.)
The most common ways to root cuttings are in water or directly in soil. If you propagate the cutting in water, wait for roots to form before planting. Don’t be surprised if the cutting is a bit shocked when you plant it; it may need some time to rebound and adapt.
If you are propagating the cutting directly in soil, keep the soil moist for a few weeks to help encourage root development. You can also dip the cutting in rooting hormone before planting it to give it a bit of a jump start.
Other propagation methods include using a moss/perlite mixture or LECA. I have really been enjoying using a moist moss/perlite mixture with just a bit of worm castings put in. I keep them covered by a plastic bag for moisture retention or in my plastic propagation box.
LECA, or clay pebbles, are also a really cool way to root plants. I don’t use LECA as a permanent potting medium, but I do like to root plant cuttings in LECA before transferring to soil. I also like to put them in cups or trays and fill them with water to keep humidity levels higher!
Are hoya obovata plants vulnerable to pests?
They are about as vulnerable as most other houseplants. Look out for common things like fungus gnats, which are usually caused by overwatering; scale; aphids, and mealybugs. If you see fine webbing on your plants stems and leaves, it’s probably spider mites.
To help keep plants healthy, I like to spray them down with a mild soapy water solution when I repot them. This also helps keep the foliage looking its best by removing extra dust and debris.
Wiping down leaves with a solution of heavily diluted neem oil and water also helps keep things clean. (See my post about how to clean houseplant leaves for more—there are many ways people choose to clean their plants’ leaves, this is just what I do.)
If you notice signs of a pest infestation on any plant, isolate it immediately for treatment. I’d also treat anything that was right by the problem plant. There are a bunch of different things you can do to treat your plants, but generally a run-of-the-mill houseplant insecticide spray will work just fine.
Is hoya obovata safe for pets?
Yes, hoya plants are safe to have around cats, dogs, other pets, and kids. They are not toxic. However, they are not meant to be ingested, so it’s best to keep all plants away from curious munchers. For more on pet-safe plants, check out my post 16 non-toxic houseplants you can have around pets.