Hoya Carnosa: Tight Rounded Clusters Of Fragrant White Summer Flowers

Hoya Carnosa: Tight Rounded Clusters Of Fragrant White Summer Flowers

Hoya Carnosa

Photo Compliments Of Dan Huntington

Hoya carnosa or more commonly called wax plant is a climbing or trailing perennial of the dogbane and milkweed family; it is probably the most common hoya grown as an indoor plant. Trailing stems will climb counterclockwise around wire or other thin trellis-like structures, or can be trained to trail from hanging baskets.

This plant features leaves that are glossy, elliptic, fleshy, and dark green (about 2.5 to 4.5 inches long and 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide), and tight rounded clusters (umbels) of fragrant white summer flowers. Each tiny flower (about 2.5 inches wide) sports a distinctive, star-shaped, red-centered corona. Each cluster may include from 10-30 flowers. If you grow this hoya in a window facing north, you’ll get a beautiful green plant with bigger and darker leaves. This hoya produces the most gorgeous flowers so if you want flowers you need to place it in a window (east or west) with substantially more light.

How To Make Your Hoya Carnosa Thrive

Hoya carnosa is a very robust plant. It can stay in the same pot for years, and suffers a level of neglect that would do in most other Hoyas. The only thing that will really make it suffer is to overwater it. It should be treated similarly to a succulent, especially in the winter. Many people complain that they have a tough time getting their hoya carnosa to bloom. They need sufficient light and will bloom starting at around three years of age. You should note they are not early bloomers.

Site and Soil

The wax plant prefers well-drained soil and will not grow in heavy garden soils. Plant Hoya carnosa in a container with drainage holes in the bottom filled with a high-quality potting soil. Hanging baskets are ideal for wax plants as their attractive vines will eventually trail over the sides. Place your Hoya carnosa plant in a sunny, south or west facing window for the best results; again the plant will grow in partial shade, but flowering may be reduced. Bright, indirect light is best and the plant should be kept at temperatures above 45 degrees F at all times. Place a saucer underneath the plant to catch excess water and prevent rotting.

Watering Requirements

Water Hoya carnosa thoroughly about once every two weeks, allowing the soil to dry out completely before you water again. It has a high tolerance for drought conditions, but the plant will not tolerate soggy, or wet soils (the roots will rot). Use room temperature or tepid water; cold water can shock the plant. Remove any excess water that collects in the saucer beneath the plant’s container immediately. After flowering, reduce the frequency of watering to once per month to initiate the dormant period which is essential for the health of wax plant. Dormancy typically lasts through the winter months and regular watering can be resumed in spring when new growth is observed.


Feed your Hoya carnosa plant once per year during the summer months. Use an all-purpose houseplant or succulent fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s directions for the best results. Never fertilize during the winter dormant period as the nutrients are not required and may even cause a reduction in flowering the following year.


Do not cut back the trailing vines as the flower stems grow from the youngest parts of the vines and new flower buds form each year in the same location. Trimming the vines will reduce flowering. Never remove faded flowers as this could damage the delicate flower stems. Instead, allow the flowers to dry and fall off on their own.


Hoya carnosa does not require frequent repotting. It grows slowly and can be kept in the same container for two to three years. Never transplant Hoya carnosa from a small container to a much larger container, as the soil may hold too much water. Instead, move the plant to a container about 2 inches larger in diameter at each re-potting.

  • Quick Facts
  • Common Name: Wax plant
  • Plant Type: House plant, perennial, succulent, vine
  • Hardiness Zones: Zone 9b to 1qa (Grow as an indoor plant)
  • Height: 2 to 35 feet
  • Spread: 1 to 2 feet
  • Flower: Showy, fragrant
  • Bloom Time: Early summer, early fall, late summer, late spring, mid-summer
  • Bloom Color: White
  • Leaf Color: Dark green, can be variegated
  • Sun: Partial Sun to full sun (blooming requires full sun)
  • Water: Medium
  • Maintenance: Low (very rugged plant-don’t overwater)
  • Leaves: Evergreen
  • Special Features: Fragrant flowers, drought tolerant, good for containers (great indoor plant)
  • Soil Condition: Adaptable, loamy, neutral, well drained

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