Hoya rope plant care isn’t difficult. Learn how to grow this beautiful and interesting plant in your home!
All about hoya rope plant care
The hoya carnosa compacta plant is an absolutely stunning vining plant closely related 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.
As the plants grow, the stems and leaves vine and drape. That makes these plants gorgeous for hanging baskets as they are mature. They can be solid green or variegated with yellows, pinks, and creams.
- Hoya rope plant care overview
- How much light does a hoya rope plant need?
- How often should you water a Hoya rope plant?
- Hoya rope plant and the most appropriate soil
- Do hoyas like warm temperatures?
- Humidity needs
- Should I fertilize my hoya rope plant?
- Pruning and propagating the hoya rope plant
- How do I get my rope Hoya to bloom?
- Problems with hoya rope plants
Hoya rope plant care overview
- Thrives in bright indirect light; avoid too much direct sunlight to prevent leaf burn.
- Some direct light can “sun stress” the leaves, turning them a reddish-brown on the borders.
- Water when at least the top half of soil is dry; consider bottom watering.
- Plant in well-draining houseplant soil in a pot with drainage; slow grower that requires infrequent repotting.
- Prefers 70s-80s Fahrenheit, not cold or frost hardy; tolerant of various household humidity levels but appreciates extra humidity.
- Pruning is rarely needed; cut off yellowing, excessively wrinkling, or dead leaves.
- Propagate cuttings in water, damp soil, or other well-draining medium.
- Produces pink chocolate-scented flowers; may take years to flower; provide plenty of light and consider a balanced fertilizer.
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.
As you’ll see later in this post, the hoya rope plant produces stunning clusters of small star-shaped flowers. One key component of getting your plant to flower is giving it plenty of light, so keep that in mind if flowering is a goal.
How often should you water a Hoya rope plant?
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 have gone through phases where I bottom water this plant. Mostly because I was worried about some of the leaves wrinkling from top-watering. Since they have so many nooks and crannies in the leaves, it was hard to water the plant without the leaves catching a lot of it.
To bottom water, 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.
However, these days I’ve gotten lazy with bottom watering and generally top water all of my plants. I also use this as an opportunity to rinse off all of the foliage. I water in the mornings and thoroughly shake out all of the excess water from the leaves and stems.
Sometimes this means popping outside—even in the winter—and shaking the plant off. It is pretty resilient and a couple seconds outside doesn’t hurt it! Then I put the plant back in its sunny location to dry.
Hoya rope plant and the most appropriate soil
You should plant them in a well-draining soil. I use a potting mix designed for indoor plants, but I add in a bit of coco coir or fine moss and perlite to help with drainage and aeration.
Hoya rope plants don’t need to be repotted too often because they are slow growers that 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.
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.
Do hoyas like warm temperatures?
The hoya rope plant does just fine in a range or normal household temperatures. It specifically enjoys temperatures that are in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit. But it can withstand higher temperatures—just monitor it to make sure it doesn’t need more water.
It goes dormant in the winter when it gets a bit cooler. That means that growth on this already-slow grower will decrease even more. When temperatures are cooler, the plant needs less water, too.
They are also fine in a variety of different humidity levels. Mine does just dandy indoors with no additional humidity. However, if you can give your plant a bit of extra humidity, it will thank you!
Hoyas love humidity. You can do this by regularly misting the plant in the morning—though that only very temporarily increases the humidity around the plant. I recommend grouping it with other plants for slightly higher ambient humidity levels and adding a room humidifier. If you live somewhere humid, you can also consider moving your plant outdoors to a covered location for the spring and summer.
Should I fertilize my hoya rope plant?
I fertilize my hoya rope plant using Liqui-Dirt plant food that I add to my watering can. This is less a fertilizer and more of a plant nutrient supplement, I know—but I don’t want to split hairs.
I usually add this to my watering can roughly once a month in the spring and summer. I don’t use it in the fall and winter. You can also use a diluted fertilizer for indoors plants if you’d like to—this can especially help with flowering.
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.)
How do I get my rope Hoya to bloom?
I have three hoya rope plants, and all of them have flowered. These plants grow slowly (which is one of the reasons why large, mature hoya rope plants are so expensive), so flowering might take a while.
They bloom lovely little star-shaped white and pink flowers. And the flowers emerge in dense clusters, too. They smell distinctly like chocolate. I have had my large hoya rope bloom many times, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason. It blooms all throughout the year.
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. You can also consider fertilizing your plant in the spring and summer.
Keep in mind that when the plant flowers, you should NEVER remove the peduncle (the little nub the flower emerges from) from the plant. Just pick off the little petals as they die off. The plant will re-bloom from the same spot in the future if you leave the peduncle on. For more on hoya flowering, see my guide for How to Get a Hoya to Bloom.
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. With so many little hiding spots on the hoya rope, I wasn’t willing to risk having a pest move in.
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!
In summary, the hoya rope plant is an interesting and resilient addition to collection. With its simple care requirements—adequate light, infrequent watering, and well-draining soil—it’s an excellent choice for plant enthusiasts of all levels. Enjoy yours!