Who doesn’t love hoyas!? Unless, maybe your a hoya murderer? If you are, I’m going to help you out, keep on reading.
But who doesn’t love these veining, waxy succulent like leaves that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and textures? When we see them in stores the evoke excitement and screaming. They are the boy band of the plant species.
Hoyas were once grown for their blooms but I think now most of us collect them for the foliage and it’s just a huge plus if we ever get them to bloom. These plants do require some unique care but are not too challenging. One of the most important care aspects is the soil hoyas are grown in.
So, you are obviously here to find about the best substrate you go your hoya in. Why is the soil so important? Well…hoyas are epiphytes. Epiphyte plants grow on other plants in a non-parasitic way. Think, orchids, bromeliads, and air plants. Instead of actual soil they absorb their water and nutrients from the air or pockets where debris has collected on the house plant.
Imagine your hoya growing up on a tree trunk. Its roots grabbing ahold of the bark and growing into all of the crevices. These roots will have a lot of air flow and they aren’t saturated in water even in heavy rain. That is what we need to replicate when growing hoyas. Typically, when buy a hoya at a retailer the soil is very heavy peat based and only lightly amended with maybe perlite. This type of soil works great in hot sunny green house where plants are hooked up to a dripline or mister but not so great when we grow them in the home. Since hoyas really like to dry out between waterings, that peaty soil turns almost into a brick, suffocating the roots and it is very difficult to evenly rehydrate the soil. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are an overwaterer (*raises hand* I am) this soil stays soppy like a sponge, heightening your chances of overwatering your plant. A peat based soil will not make happy hoyas, and that is what we all want.
What type of soil should I use? Coco Coir! It meets all the requirements. Coco coir is airy and lets the roots breathe, it rehydrates well, its a fast draining soil and dries out at a good rate. While coco coir is a great option on its own, we can make it from better to best! By adding a bit of orchid mix (without sphagnum moss), you will really give the roots something to grab ahold off. The bark will simulate their natural growth habits that we talked about earlier in this article. This mix will also add extra aeration and drainage, which is only a plus in the hoya world. Finally, we are going to add a dash of worm castings, I add worm castings in all of my soil mixes. It’s a great way to add nutrients and organic matter to your soil mix and it releases and breaks down very slowly, so it will not harm your plants.
There are a few special consideration to take before changing out your plants soil. First, before you do anything, let your plant acclimate in your home. Your plant as probably had a long stressful journey and it can take several weeks for it to get accustom to the new growing conditions. Hoyas like to be rootbound and have very delicate roots, especially when they are grown in heavier soil. Keep this in mind when you are choosing a pot size. Typically, I just replant in the same nursery pot and drop it in a cache pot. Be very careful when removing the old soil. Trying moistening the old soil so that it is a little easier to remove. Any time you finagle with roots, it will cause a great deal of stress to the plant. Hoyas are no exception to this, it is possible to have some die off of new growth. But don’t be deterred, your hoya will bounce back with vengeance and you will have a happy healthy plant for the long haul.