Saturday, June 13, 2015

Random plant event: Hoya bella

Hoya carnosa and I technically got along, when I had them: they grew, and didn't die (until they got Sudden Hoya Death Syndrome, which is presumably my fault somehow but I have yet to see a satisfactory explanation for it1), but they also rarely bloomed.2

Hoya lacunosa and H. bella, on the other hand, are super consistent about blooming: H. lacunosa blooms sporadically during the winter, and then produces a lot of blooms starting around March or April, when the angle of the sun swings around far enough to let some direct sun hit its window;3 H. bella blooms every year from about May to June. This year is blogworthy just because there are a lot more blooms than previous years. I didn't get a photo that shows that very well, but it's a tough plant to photograph,4 so you'll just have to trust me that it's a lot.

This is a better photo of some of the actual flowers, though it's still probably not as good as the pictures from 2013:


1 Though I have gotten a couple clues over the years: one, SHDS seems only to happen to plants which are not receiving any direct sun; two, SHDS has so far only happened to plants in plastic pots. So it's probably some variety of root rot, caused by a plant not being able to grow fast enough to take up the water in its pot, or something, in which case a different potting soil might make the difference. But I'm just guessing.
2 There was a single bloom last year, and then the plant was exposed to scale and I figured it was easier to just cut to the chase and throw it out, because by the time you see scale on a Hoya, not only is the plant riddled with them, but it's also given them to everything within six feet (1.8 m) of itself. Ask me how I know.
3 (and then proceeds to make me mildly ill every evening, beginning at about 8:30 or 9 PM, when the plant starts pumping out the fragrance. It's not that I don't like the particular scent (which is basically the scent of a florist's display case). It's just that the plant is in my office, where I spend the bulk of my time, so if it starts to be too much, I can't easily get away from it. This pretty much only happens on nights when I'm already starting to get a headache; I don't think H. lacunosa has ever actually caused any headaches.)
4 (large, floppy, lopsided, Flowers that tend to point downward, on a plant that's fairly large, with long stems, which is also very lopsided in the direction its light comes from)

1 comment:

kahroo said...

After collecting several hoyas over the years, I have noticed that putting them in a soil-less mix that consists of small charcoal chunks, coconut husks, and perlite does the trick. I mix in a small amount of cactus soil (simply because they appear to dry out too fast imho) and Voila! The roots love it... That being said, I also have plant lights in my office/plant room to keep them happy - not much sunlight over here in Pittsburgh. You can purchase the soil (which I understand might be good for orchids as well) at several places -because I be damned if I'm going to go and find coconuts, etc.- that make their own.

PS - I found this blog by searching for info on synadenium grantii - I've been making cuttings and wanted to make sure I was doing it correctly. They (both color types) hit the ceiling and started to curl around on themselves, so off with their heads.

Thanks for the great resource!