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.

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!

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

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