The Q&A Archives: Hindu Rope Plant

Question: What is the scientific name for "Hindu Rope"? How hard is it to grow from seeds? What kind of climate is it native to? Anything you have on this plant would be great. I saw it in a botanical garden. It smelled just like chocolate. I wanted to get some of them as gifts for all of my chocoholic friends.

Answer: Hindu Rope is Hoya carnosa 'Compacta'. It's an indoor plant that produces vines (to 10 feet long), with oval leaves and big, round, tight clusters of flowers in the summertime. The plant is extremely sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, doesn't like to be disturbed once the flower buds appear, doesn't want the spent flowers removed, and does not like to be repotted until very root-bound. Hoya's grow best from cuttings taken from mature shoots. They like bright light - some direct sunlight is beneficial. Water liberally from spring to autumn and sparingly in the winter months, mist the leaves regularly - except when the plant is blooming and keep the plant cool in the winter (50F - 55F degrees). Plan to provide a trellis or some other support for your Hoya, in a permanent spot so it doesn't have to be moved, and it will reward you with fragrant flowers all summer long.

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