Friday, July 25, 2014

Random plant event: Hoya

A very long time ago (September 2007), I cut back some Hoya carnosa plants at work. I think the reason was that some of the vines had reverted to solid green,1 though I cut the Hoyas back from time to time regardless if they didn't sell pretty quickly, because they got tangled and unmanageable if I didn't. Anyway.

It rooted well, and has even grown nicely for me in the seven years since, turning into this monster as of July 2011:

And, obviously, it's grown even more since 2011. But it wouldn't bloom. It has thought about it a couple times, most recently last year, but it never bothered to finish the job. So it was sort of exciting to see this, finally:

I expected there to be a lot of nectar dripping on things, but so far that hasn't been a problem. I also haven't been able to detect much of a scent from it, which is surprising; that's one of the things that everybody talks -- and sometimes complains -- about with Hoyas in general, and H. carnosa in particular.2

In any case, 2014 is apparently the year in which all the plants everybody says are easy bloomers, but which have never actually rebloomed for me, go ahead and bloom for me. (Previously: Phalaenopsis.) In which case maybe I should be getting ready for some Begonia blooms.3


1 The plant in question originally had green leaves with white to yellow centers, like this:

I'm not sure what the variety name was, but I've seen similar things sold as 'Exotica' and 'Krimson Princess,' so maybe it's one of those. In any case, variegated Hoyas are prone to revert to solid green, and like with most plants that do that, the solid green shoots tend to be more vigorous. So if you find the variegation attractive, you need to remove the unvariegated parts when they appear, lest they take over.
2 Though there is a substantial variation in scent production over the course of a day. I could practically set our clocks by the H. lacunosa in my office, which starts producing substantial fragrance every day between about 9 and 9:30 PM. Some Hoyas allegedly don't get going until about midnight. The trouble is that I can't smell much of anything from this plant between 9 PM and midnight either.
3 I will not actually see Begonia blooms. At least not this year. The reason why I don't get them is because I don't have enough light to offer the plants, which is probably also why it's taken so long to get flowers on the Hoya. The Phalaenopsis was probably more of a temperature problem, though inadequate light could have been an issue as well.


Diana at Garden on the Edge said...

Congratulations on the Hoya bloom. Mine is definitely most fragrant at night. I have woken up in the middle of the night and been able to smell mine despite the fact that my bedroom is on a different floor of the house from the plant! One of the few perks (?) to insomnia.

Sheena said...

Yup, that is H. carnosa Krinsom Princess alright. It is easy to identify. It seems like sometimes scent varies in intensity each time the plant blooms. Unfortunately it may be less scented because the plant is variegated. I'm not an expert, but I've done a fair bit of reading and other people have run into the same thing, whatever is causing it.

Apparently H. lacunosa is just about the strongest scented Hoya out there. I've not had any others bloom for me yet, but I'm not expecting them to be as fragrant. I'm going to try to get H. DS-70 which seems a lot like H. lacunosa but with dark pink flowers and a homemade buttery caramel scent. It's supposed to be nearly as fragrant.


I just bought mine and I cant wait to see it bloom

Deanna said...

Funny thing is I also have one these darlings trailing up my well lit stairwell and yet it only produces a single flower each year. Frustrating but so appreciated when it comes.