Today is all about Hoya Pubicalyx care. This gorgeous climbing and trailing waxy vine looks a lot like the hoya carnosa and is a low maintenance plant that you definitely want to grab for your hoya collection!
How do you care for Hoya Pubicalyx?
Time for another Hoya post! Today we’re talking about Hoya Pubicalyx, pronounced pubi-cay-lex. This is the first hoya I ever acquired, and it makes for a lovely, low-maintenance houseplant. It’s not the same as the hoya carnosa (though I definitely thought it was for a long time) but does look really similar.
The Hoya Pubicalyx is a succulent vine with thick, waxy, glossy leaves and stems that climb and cascade beautifully. It sprouts fuschia, star-shaped flowers that have a subtle, sweet fragrance—though mine admittedly has never flowered 🙁 Many plant lovers say that Hoyas are the easiest houseplants to care for, and the Hoya Pubicalyx is no exception!
Where does the Hoya Pubicalyx come from?
The Hoya Pubicalyx is part of the genus Hoya. It originated in the Philippines, where most other Hoya plants come from. Common names for Hoya plants are wax plants, wax vines, and wax flowers, all of which are perfectly descriptive. Hoyas are known for their small, star-shaped flowers that often grow in bunches and give off sweet scents.
In its native tropical habitat, the Hoya Pubicalyx can reach up to several meters in length. They grow epiphytically, meaning they take their nutrients from other plants and trees they grow on top of. Hoya Publicalyx are moderately fast-growing, evergreen perennials that can now be found growing in many parts of the world.
What is the difference between Hoya Pubicalyx and Hoya Carnosa?
For a very long time I thought that Hoya Pubicalyx was simply a variety of Hoya Carnosa. It’s not a difficult mistake to make, either. They look really similar in a lot of ways, and now that I know more about what to look for, I have noticed that some nurseries just label them both “assorted Hoya plants” or something similar.
In general, though, leaves on hoya carnosas are shorter, a bit wider, and thicker than the leaves on a Hoya Pubicalyx. Similarly, Pubicalyx leaves are longer and thinner. Most Pubicalyx varieties I’ve seen for sale in nurseries are also “splash” varieties, too, meaning they have speckles or “splashes” of silverish-gray on them. The carnosas are typically either solid green or variegated (“krimson queen” or “krimson princess” varieties).
What are the different varieties?
There are a few variations of the Hoya Pubicalyx, each with uniquely colored leaves and flowers. The Pink Silver cultivar has green and silver leaves that turn pink in the sunlight. The Red Button sprouts dark purple flowers that look like they have little red buttons. The Royal Hawaiian Purple has silverish leaves with pink and black star-shaped flowers.
I’m not even entirely sure what varieties my mom and I have, but I know they were both labeled “Hoya Pubicalyx Splash” when we purchased them. I’m hoping they flower one day to give me a clue since it is incredibly hard to tell without flowers. Regardless of the variety you decide to grow, they are all relatively low-maintenance.
How much light does a Hoya Publicalyx plant need?
Hoya Pubicalyx grows best in medium to bright, indirect sunlight; close to a sunny window, but out of reach from the sun’s harmful rays. If your home doesn’t get enough natural light, the Pubicalyx is also suited to grow under artificial indoor plant lights.
Growing a Pubicalyx outdoors might be difficult, especially if your porch is sunny. In that case, you’ll have to put up a shade cloth to filter the sunlight or put the plant under a covered deck or patio.
It’s best to aim for 6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight everyday. But if you’re really committed to your plants, let them get an hour of early morning direct sunshine before moving them to the shade. The more bright, indirect light your plant gets, the more vibrant its foliage will grow.
What is the best type of growing soil for Hoya Pubicalyx?
Rich soil with lots of organic matter will work best for your Hoya Pubicalyx. Although they are climbers, they love to be root-bound and thrive on organic nutrients. The soil should be well-draining and loamy.
If you’re looking to make the best Hoya soil mixture, use equal parts peat, orchid mix, and perlite for proper drainage. Like most other waxy vines, these Hoyas don’t need fertilizer. But they’ll thank you if you mix in some worm castings with their soil each spring!
Hoya Pubicalyx care and watering needs
All Hoya plants have the same watering requirements, and watering is an important part of Hoya Pubicalyx care. They only need to be regularly watered during their growing season, which is about every week or so in spring and summer. During winter they only need to be watered every few weeks, in my experience.
To gauge when you need to water your Hoya Pubicalyx, check the top 2 inches of soil. If it’s dried out, it’s time to water. However, the more light your plant gets, the more you’ll have to water it. Don’t allow your Hoya Pubicalyx to sit in standing water; you’re overwatering if its leaves start dropping! If they begin to wrinkle and look crepey, the plant might be thirsty.
My mom has the most gorgeous Hoya Pubicalyx Splash. She kept it in the hanging nursery pot it came in, and once every week or so, she takes it up to her shower and waters it that way. She then lets it sit overnight in the shower to completely drain and dry a bit. It is so healthy! This also helps to prevent dust buildup on the leaves.
Ideal temperature and humidity conditions
The Hoya Pubicalyx is native to the Philippines where it gets very warm. Its ideal temperature range is 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They do not handle frost well at all, so if the temperature gets below freezing for long periods of time, the plant will not grow and could die.
If you’re growing this plant outdoors, move it inside for the winter if it consistently dips below 50 degrees. I will be bringing some of my hoyas outside for the first time this summer and putting them under my covered patio. I’m hoping they love the Maryland summer temps and humidity!
Speaking of, its tropical origins mean Hoya Pubicalyx loves humidity. We’re talking at least 60% humidity, so if you live in a dry climate, you’ll have to artificially raise the humidity. You can do this by misting the leaves often, or keeping it near a humidifier. Keep in mind the higher the humidity, the less water it needs.
Hoya Pubicalyx propagation steps
Your Hoya Pubicalyx can be easily propagated with stem cuttings. Like most plants, the best time to propagate is during spring or summer. First, take a 5-inch cutting with at least three nodes (where leaves connect to the stem). Then remove any leaves from the bottom end.
In a pot with fresh soil, plant the cutting with nodes about 4 inches deep in the soil. Keep the pot in a warm and humid place, out of direct sunlight. Water at least three times a week, keeping the soil moist. In about a month, roots will develop and it will be ready to be repotted.
You can also propagate cuttings in sphagnum moss. I like to use a mixture of sphagnum moss and perlite instead of soil for rooting since you can see the root development easier than you can with soil. Keep the moss moist as roots develop. See my post on how to root plants in sphagnum moss for more detailed instructions.
You can also check out my recent post on how to root plant cuttings in LECA, which is a method I’ve had a lot of success with for snake plant leaves. I have a Hoya Linearis cutting rooting in LECA now and will update this post!
Why is my Hoya Pubicalyx plant not blooming?
Generally a lack of blooms on a Hoya Pubicalyx means that the plant is not getting enough light. Make sure you are giving your Hoya plenty of bright indirect light. It might not be totally happy where it is, either. I’ve found that plants can thrive in some areas of my home and putter out in others, even though they have similar lighting conditions.
Play around with where you put your Hoya Pubicalyx to find the best spot for it, and give it a summer vacation in a shady spot outside if you can! You can also consider upping the light and humidity for your plant by putting it in a greenhouse cabinet—check out my Ikea greenhouse cabinet post for more on that.
Is Hoya Pubicalyx toxic?
Hoyas are not toxic to pets and kiddos. However, the plant is not meant to be ingested, so it’s always a best practice to keep plants away from curious critters and little ones. Luckily these plants look amazing hanging from the ceiling.
One of my cats is very interested in munching on leaves, while the other is not. He mostly leaves my hoyas alone since he prefers leafy greens over the hoya’s thick, succulent leaves. Check out this post for more on pet-safe houseplants!
How do I train my Hoya Pubicalyx to vine?
One of the coolest things about Hoya Pubicalyx plants is their tendency to climb up and vine down. My mom’s is just loving life where she has it, and she hasn’t had to train it to vine at all. It just started climbing the hanging part of the pot, while some stems trailed down.
To begin training your Hoya Pubicalyx to vine, just start wrapping a few vines around things you want them to trail on. The plant will then begin “grabbing” the existing vines and twisting around one another. It’s a super easy one to train.