Sunday, November 21, 2010

Random plant event: Hoya polyneura flower buds

At least, I assume that's what's going on here.

I wasn't particularly concerned with whether this plant would bloom: I knew it was a Hoya, and therefore it had the potential to do so, but I'd been pretty happy with it as a foliage plant, so I didn't really care whether it gave me flowers or not. So this is a pleasant surprise.

The plant's been hanging about a foot below a fluorescent light (you know the big light boxes doctors use for looking at x-rays? It's one of those, via the University of Iowa Surplus store.), in my office, near enough to a window that it might be getting a little natural light too, when we have some. Compared to the rest of the house, my office tends to be warmer and drier, especially since it got cold enough out that the heat is running pretty consistently. Having the heat on is the only thing I can think of that would have changed for the plant. (Weirdly, one site says that they need cool night temperatures to set buds: possibly this might have happened during the transition from summer to winter, when we stopped running the air conditioning or heat at night, but that would have been quite a while before I saw any buds.)

And now, suddenly, there are flower buds. I counted four. A few of the other stems have what look like leaf buds in the same spot: I'm not sure I grok the growth habit here.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how this develops, or whether it develops. So far, in the two or three weeks since I first noticed this, nothing visible has changed, though that doesn't mean nothing's happening. Google image search tells me that the flowers are fairly standard-looking Hoya flowers, white or pink with a pink, red, or brownish . . . is "corolla" the term? Smell is reputed to be weak but pleasant; that's as far as the descriptions I've seen go. I will, of course, follow up if/when anything interesting happens.


Aralia said...

Wonderful! I love hoyas. Sadly, in Finland the only way of getting any for house plants is to order cuttings from Sweden. If you're lucky enough to live in the capital, you may find some plants for sale, but usually they are the most common ones. Or then they are mislabeled for something else.

My copy of The Genus Hoya - Species & Cultivation says:
"Hoya flowers are made up of 3 parts: The united sepals (the calyx) are usually small and insignificant, at least for the grower(...) The most prominent part of any Hoya flower is the petals (the corolla), which form the typical 5-lobed, star-shaped hoya flower.(...) In the centre of each flower is the corona, which also is five-lobed. Inside the corona are the stamens and pistils hidden. Pollen is produced within a structure similar to that found in orchids; these are called pollen sacs. Pollen is then dispersed to the pistils as units called pollinia." (a very good book for the beginner like myself)

What Hoyas do you have?

mr_subjunctive said...


Ah. "Corona" was the word I was looking for.

So far, I have:

four H. carnosas ('Krimson Queen,' 'holliana,' 'Chelsea,' and an all-green revert of 'Krimson Princess')
H. kentiana
H. lacunosa
H. polyneura
H. pubicalyx
H. bella
H. lacunosa 'Royal Flush'
H. tsangii 'DS-70'
H. obovata

The last four (plus H. carnosa 'holliana') were through trades; the rest I found for sale around here or salvaged from work.

All are doing well except H. carnosa 'Krimson Queen,' which has root problems and looks to be dying, and H. pubicalyx, which has been whining about something lately but I can't figure out what.

Julie said...

This is a very exciting event, Mr S. Best wishes with it and hope to see your blooms soon!!!

Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ said...

I've had H. carnosa 'Krimson Queen' for a few years and I just noticed about 2 weeks ago it has flower buds also. They look like your picture and I can't see that they have changed at all since I first noticed them, but at least they haven't dropped off. That's an accomplishment in itself! Keep us posted on how yours develops please so I can compare progress.

Kirarra said...

How is your polyneura doing? I just got mine last week and see little flower buds as well :)

mr_subjunctive said...


It dropped most of its leaves during the winter of 2011-12 and never really came back from that, so I threw it out in June 2012. I had taken some cuttings, which I tried to root in 4-inch (10 cm) pots, but those got scale and spider mites and were discarded in July 2012.

I like Hoyas and think they're cool, but apparently it's not mutual; of the ones listed a few comments up, I only still have H. bella and H. lacunosa 'Royal Flush,' and 'Royal Flush' . . . has been better.