Hoyas: Be Careful What You Prune

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Hoya in bloom. Photo: pistilsnursery.com

The 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 all year and moderate watering). Most people report seeing the first flowers only after about 5 years. Under low light, it will likely never bloom at all.

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!

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Spur several years old showing new flower buds at the tip. Photo: jdeeannsblog.blogspot.com

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 be eliminating future blooms!

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