The hoya carnosa compacta plant might look super unique, but hoya rope plant care actually isn’t that difficult! Learn how to grow this beautiful and interesting plant in your home.
Hoya rope plant care: How to grow hoya carnosa compacta
The hoya carnosa compacta plant is an absolutely stunning vining plant closely related (obviously) to the hoya carnosa (see my hoya carnosa care guide). It’s also known as the rope hoya, the hoya rope plant, the Hindu rope plant, and the crinkle hoya.
It’s in the apocynaceae family, hoya genus. And although the leaves are crinkled and curly, they have the same coloring and waxy coating that other hoya carnosa plants have. The leaves grow long—about 1-1.5 feet long—twisting and turning to give them a rope-like appearance.
The plants start as small and bushy looking, but as they grow, the stems and leaves vine and drape instead of staying full. That makes these plants gorgeous for hanging when they are mature. They can be solid green like mine is or variegated with greens, yellows, and creams.
How much light does a hoya rope plant need?
Hoya rope plants, much like more traditional hoya carnosa plants with flat leaves, like bright indirect light. When I first got my small plant, I put it in my bedroom under my two grow lights. Lower light won’t necessarily kill the plant, but it will definitely not grow as prolifically.
If you put a hoya rope plant in too much direct sun, the leaves will burn. This is typically not a huge issue with indoor plants because the light is often filtered through windows. However, if the leaves are up against a window that gets very hot, that could be problematic as well.
The succulent-style leaves are thick and waxy, storing water for the long haul. So they don’t need a ton of water. I wait until the soil is almost dry before watering the plant again. I’ve even mildly neglected the plant while first trying to get on a watering schedule—and I noticed that the leaves started to wrinkle a bit when it was thirsty.
Now I check the soil before watering, but I typically water these types of plants once every 1.5–2 weeks depending on whether it’s spring, summer, or early fall. In the winter, I water my succulent-like plants about once a month. (See my post about easy DIY succulent soil.)
I recently started bottom-watering my large hoya rope plant because I was worried about some of the leaves wrinkling from top-watering. Since they have s many nooks and crannies in the leaves, it was hard to water the plant without the leaves catching some of it.
To do this, I just filled my sink with a bit of water and set the plant in it for about 15 minutes. The plant will soak up water through the drainage hole in the pot. Bottom-watering also helps to prevent fungus gnats. Fungus gnats love it when the top few inches of soil are wet—it makes the ideal conditions for laying their eggs.
Hoya rope plant and the most appropriate soil
Since hoya rope plants do not like a lot of water, you should plant them in a well-draining soil. I used a potting mix designed for indoor plants, but I added in a bit of peat moss and perlite to help with drainage and aeration.
Hoya rope plants don’t need to be repotting too often because they are happy being snug in their pots. So don’t put this plant in too large of a pot. It will likely drown in the soil when it retains too much water. I wanted to plant mine in a slightly larger pot, so I decided to put a layer of perlite at the bottom of the pot.
Then I turned the small black plastic pot one of the plants can in upside down in the pot and filled around it with soil. This was basically just to fill up some space in the pot that water would drain directly through. It’s usually a tip I use to take up space in very large pots, but it also works in smaller pots!
Drainage is a very important facet of hoya rope plant care, so make sure the pot you use has a drainage hole in it. If your pot doesn’t have a drainage hole, you can pot your plant in a black plastic nursery pot (like the kind they come in when you buy them) and set it in a nicer pot.
You can also check out my tips for planting succulents in pots without drainage holes. If you want to add a drainage hole to a pot, check out my post how to drill drainage holes in ceramic pots. And if you love my giant hoya, it’s from my friend Scott, owner of Charmed Flora! He specializes in rare and exotica plants and is just now working on his internet shop. Check him out—his packaging and shipping is superb!
Temperature and humidity
The hoya rope plant does just fine in a range or normal household temperatures. It goes dormant in the winter when it gets a bit cooler and enjoys temperatures of above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They are also fine in a variety of different humidity levels.
Fertilizing the hoya rope plant
I fertilize my hoya rope plant using a regular diluted indoor plant fertilizer that I add to my watering can. I fertilize it roughly once a month during the summer. However, this plant doesn’t need to be fertilized, and I sometimes forget. It will be totally fine.
Pruning and propagating the hoya rope plant
I have not had to prune my hoya rope plant yet, but they do tend to grow a bit unruly when they are more mature. You can easily remove old or unattractive growth using sanitized shears or a clean knife. Don’t cut back the long leafless stems—flowers grow from those.
Pruning your plants is a great time to try your hand at propagation, too. You can propagate your hoya rope plant using cuttings from a single stem. Simply cut a piece of the plant that is a few inches long. Then root the cutting in water or damp sandy soil. (As always, I prefer rooting in water if I can so I can monitor root growth.)
Hoya rope plant care and flowering tips
I’ve mentioned flowering a few times. My plant is still so young, so it hasn’t flowered yet. But it’s definitely a goal. These plants grow slowly (which is one of the reasons why large, mature hoya rope plants are so freaking expensive). They bloom lovely little star-shaped white flowers.
The best way to encourage flowering is to provide enough light, don’t overwater, and be patient. You’ll likely have to take good care of your plant for a few years before it flowers.
Problems with hoya rope plants
These plants are not terribly vulnerable to pests, which is another point in favor of this plant! If you find a run-of-the-mill pest is invading your plant—mealybugs, scale, or fungus gnats—simply isolate the plant and treat it with a insecticidal spray.
I recently had a plant with scale near my hoya. Even though I didn’t notice any issues on the hoya, I decided to spray everything that was on the windowsill for good measure. I did it in the kitchen sink because it was a hot, sunny day, and I didn’t want to burn the plants. The neem oil spray didn’t hurt the plant. It actually left it looking quite clean and shiny after I’d sprayed and rinsed it!
Overwatering your hoya rope plant might also lead to a rot-causing fungus. A sign of this is gray or discolored patches on the leaves. Another reason to double check the last time you watered your plant before grabbing that watering can!