Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Hoyas: Be Careful Not to Prune Out Future Flowers

20150115The hoya or wax plant (Hoya carnosa and similar species) is an attractive indoor climbing or hanging plant with thick waxy leaves. Fairly easy to maintain, it can however be slow growing and especially slow to bloom. Usually, it takes at least 2 years before you see the first flowers and that’s when it grows under ideal conditions (bright light, warm temperatures year round, and moderate watering). Most people report seeing the first flowers only after 5 to 7 years. Under low light, it will likely never bloom at all.

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Spur showing remains of past blooms.

The good news is that once a hoya does begin to bloom, it will usually bloom every year from then on… but only if you’re very careful where you prune it! Its pretty umbels of attractive and fragrant flowers are borne on a short stalk (spur) that remains on the plant after blooming. From then on, the plant will continue to bloom from the same spur, which elongates a little every year. So be careful not to damage the spur when removing faded flowers and, if you need to prune your hoya, try not to remove the spurs, otherwise you’ll eliminate future blooms!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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