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Hoya Obscura Plant Care

Learn about my adventures in Hoya Obscura care, including how to propagate and root this rare hoya, how to care for it, and where to find it!

Adventures in Hoya Obscura propagation & care!

I’ve got good and bad news for you…first the good news: the Hoya obscura is a breeze to care for, requires very little maintenance, and yields beautiful leaves and plenty of flowers once it’s mature! Now for the bad news: this is a very rare houseplant and exceedingly difficult to find.

Where’d I find mine, you ask? Well, a little plant fairy friend of mine visited the area for the holidays and brought me a few cuttings! He imports a lot of plants and has a greenhouse in his backyard. I benefit from his generosity 🙂

What is a Hoya Obscura?

Hoya Obscura has stiff, dark green stalks and glossy leaves that range from green to maroon. It produces an abundance of small, pink flowers with a yellow starry center—but only once the plant has matured a bit. They give off a sweet, fresh fragrance at night. 

If you do happen upon a Hoya Obscura, follow these tips to keep this fast growing, sun-loving epiphyte healthy and happy!

Want more Hoyas? See my Hoya Linearis Care Guide, my Hoya Macrophylla Care Guide, my Hoya Wayetii Care Guide, and my Hoya Obovata Care Guide!

hoya obscura plant

Where is the Hoya Obscura from?

The Hoya Obscura originated in the Philippines, specifically the island of Luzon. The climate in Luzon is very warm and humid, as you might have imagined. The tropical weather means there is no cold season and no dry season. This should tell you almost everything you need to know about caring for the Hoya Obscura!

As an epiphyte, the Hoya Obscura grows naturally atop other plants and trees in nature. As they climb and grow, they derive their nutrients and support from other plants. Since they grow so quickly and freely in nature, you will likely have to prune your houseplant and give it plenty of space to grow.

Learn about my adventures in Hoya Obscura care, including how to propagate and root this rare hoya, how to care for it, and where to find it!

Rooting my Hoya Obscura cutting

For my Hoya Obscura cutting, I decided to use the same method I used for my hoya cumingiana cutting. In fact, I had them in the same Tupperware for the first few weeks of the rooting process!

I like using damp moss and chunky perlite to root hoya cuttings. I can spread the mixture out in a container or put it in little cups—then I can lay out the cuttings to ensure all of the growth points are in the damp mixture.

To keep humidity high, I kept a clear lid on my container for a few weeks and noticed that the Obscura cutting began to root very quickly. The damp moss, high humidity, and excellent light likely helped jump start the rooting—I didn’t use any rooting hormone at this point.

Once the roots were a few inches long, I added a bit of rooting hormone and planted the cutting in a shallow planter with fresh well-draining soil. (I used an old candle holder with holes drilled in the bottom—these are the perfect size for propagations!)

propagating hoya cuttings in moss and perlite
roots sprouting on a propagated hoya obscura cutting
roots sprouting on a propagated hoya obscura cutting

Hoya Obscura care & lighting needs

Hoya Obscura plants absolutely love the sun! They need lots of sunlight, and unlike most houseplants, they can tolerate direct light. While they can tolerate some shade or indirect light, you’ll see your plant grow to its full potential in a south-facing window with several hours of bright sunlight everyday. 

Without enough light, the Hoya Obscura will start to drop leaves. So this is definitely unlike some of the other lower-light-tolerant Hoyas like the fan-favorite and much more common Hoya Carnosa.

I first had mine rooting in a moss and perlite mixture in a container with a clear plastic lid. This was to keep humidity high. And I had it in my Ikea greenhouse cabinet right under the grow lights, which I keep on for about 12 hours a day.

Once I transferred the cutting to soil, I kept it in the greenhouse cabinet but moved it to the top shelf so it would be even closer to the strip grow lights. I’ll likely move this one outside in the spring once things warm up. (Read more about using grow lights with houseplants.)

propagating hoya cuttings in moss and perlite

Water & soil needs

This Hoya isn’t demanding when it comes to soil. You can use virtually any standard indoor or houseplant potting mix you find at the store. If you’re feeling fancy, you can add perlite and orchid bark to add chunkiness to the soil. 

This improves the roots’ oxygen intake and improves drainage, but it isn’t necessary. Just remember, whatever you use should be well-draining. That’s because watering is the only requirement that you might have to pay more attention to. 

The Hoya Obscura is semi-succulent, which means it can go long periods of time without water and is sensitive to soggy soil. Allow most of the soil to dry out completely before watering again. This means watering about once every two weeks. Coincidentally, giving your plant plenty of sunlight will also solve the issue of overwatering.

beautiful hoya obscura plant

Temperature & humidity

Hoya Obscura come from a very warm island in the Philippines, so their ideal temperature is between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit—typically on the higher end. During the summers, it can even tolerate up to 100 degrees, a normal temperature in their natural habitats. 

They have zero frost tolerance, though, so never let the plant be below 55 degrees. Definitely keep this one indoors for the fall and winter if you’re somewhere with four seasons like I am!

As with temperature, the Hoya Obscura’s humidity requirements mimic its place of origin. It thrives in high humidity and produces more vibrant foliage and flowers. High humidity means anything above 60%. 

Realistically, most of us can’t keep our homes at such a high humidity, so luckily this plant will grow fine in average room humidity. To artificially increase humidity, you can mist the plant regularly, or place it on top of a pebble tray with water. Keeping it in a cabinet helps a bit with humidity too.

DIY plastic propagation box
Amazing humidity helping the cutting root!

Propagation & rooting Obscura

Seeing as the Hoya Obscura is a rare houseplant, propagating it might be a good idea! The best way to do this is using the stem cutting method. And then the process just mimics the same process I outlined above for my cutting.

This is a fast growing plant, so if your plant is somewhat mature, you will have plenty of options to choose a healthy cutting. Try to propagate during spring, right before the growing season.

Choose a stem with two leaves, and cut below the node. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone and prepare a cup with damp moss and perlite or fresh, moist potting soil. Plant the cutting and cover the top of the cup to increase humidity. 

Keep the cuttings in bright, indirect sunlight. Rooting should only take about a month, after which you can transfer to a larger pot. Repeat as often as you’d like to make more 🙂

Learn more about Hoya propagation with my Hoya Carnosa Propagation Guide!

propagating hoya cuttings in moss and perlite
roots sprouting from a hoya obscura cutting
roots sprouting from a hoya obscura cutting
roots sprouting from a hoya obscura cutting

Where can I buy a Hoya Obscura?

I mentioned that mine is from a friend who imports a bunch of stuff from Southeast Asia. But! Never fear. There are a lot of hobbyist collectors out there. I recommend trying local Facebook plant buy/sell/trade groups to find a cutting.

Or you can check online plant shops, including Etsy—which is often a good place for rare cuttings. Just make sure to filter for the country you’re in so you don’t get too excited at a cheap price…only to realize the plant is in Southeast Asia and you have to pay a billion dollars for shipping and import fees!

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hoya obscura plant with text that says hoya obscura care and propagation
collage of hoya obscura plants with text that says hoya obscura care and propagation

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