Ask a Question forum→Dying hoya?

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Orange County
icie
Jun 4, 2020 2:19 PM CST
I got this hoya plant from a plant convention a while ago (don't know the exact name since it wasn't labelled and the seller didn't know) and for the most of the year it was doing great. However for the past few weeks its been a slow descent to death and I don't know why. I think i may have over watered it once? (I generally just gave it a soak after it had completely dried up, but between me and my mom it might have overlapped once) But basically each branch is slowly drying up from the tip, with the leaves turning yellow and wilting. I've just been cutting them off as it happens, but I think the roots were permanently damaged or something.

I tried repotting the soil (using cactus mix and lots of perlite) and watering it a little more but it made not difference. I kept it in a kind of semi-lit area and I live in Southern California so it's a kind of dry, but it had been completely fine up until a few weeks ago.

Is there anything I can do to save it at this point or is it just doomed Sad (I was thinking of maybe just cutting it to try and propagate at this point)

(I moved it to our backyard for these photos-maybe I should leave it there? It would get more light but also risk more heat since its warming up.)
Thumb of 2020-06-04/icie/ef22ca
Thumb of 2020-06-04/icie/77b3e5
Thumb of 2020-06-04/icie/e279c6

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 4, 2020 2:45 PM CST
Overwatering and root suffocation occur when the soil is not allowed to dry out sufficiently over a long period of time. A brief period of too much water such as you described was not enough to cause your Hoya to decline. Indeed, it is possible you may have been keeping it too dry. No way to tell now.

Unfortunately, repotting is not the answer to either over or under watering and it often does more damage to the roots.

When you repotted, how much of the original soil did you replace? Did you put it back into the same pot or a larger one?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Orange County
icie
Jun 4, 2020 3:58 PM CST
Ah thank you for letting me know, its possible that happened instead. Just for future reference around how long would that "long period of time" be? Like a month?

I thought repotting might help clear out the dead roots and provide more nutrients but I see that wasn't the move. When I repotted I replaced most of the original soil, like around 2/3 of the pot, and put it back into the same one because it didn't seem to need more space. Is there no hope for it at this point then? Sad
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jun 4, 2020 4:14 PM CST
Welcome!

Hoya are epiphytic. That means they live in trees without any soil so, to make them live within our paradigms (in a pot), we need to understand what they need. In the jungle, there are minutes long torrential rains followed by dry periods. The pot needs to be just big enough to hold the root ball and the potting medium needs to be something that absorbs water but dries fast.

What you choose as a potting medium depends upon your watering style. If your Hoya gets watered daily because it lives in a greenhouse, put it in something like crumbled cork or leca. If you water once a week or so, put it in cactus soil with lots of added perlite or pumice or a medium made for epiphytic orchids (a combination of bark with leca, perlite, pumice...).

When you give your plant a good soak, does it perk up a bit? If it does, you aren't watering enough. If it doesn't, time to think about the roots. The tips drying are an indication of lack of water but, if water doesn't help, the roots are dying or dead.

How many shoots come out of the soil? Are all of them wilting or just one? Usually, multiple plants are potted together so, if one dies, you still have the rest.

Hoya are easy to grow from cuttings. Cut pieces out of the stem, each with a set of leaves and an inch or so of stem above and below the leaf set. Pot them in your chosen medium with the leaf joint buried beneath the soil so just the leaves and the little piece of stem above them are sticking out of the soil. Keep it damp but not wet. Its sometimes takes months to root (you will know when it grows new leaves).
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Orange County
icie
Jun 4, 2020 5:23 PM CST
DaisyI said: Welcome!

Hoya are epiphytic. That means they live in trees without any soil so, to make them live within our paradigms (in a pot), we need to understand what they need. In the jungle, there are minutes long torrential rains followed by dry periods. The pot needs to be just big enough to hold the root ball and the potting medium needs to be something that absorbs water but dries fast....


Thank you for all this great information! Unfortunately all the branches are from the same shoot so theyre all wilting at this point. I have a couple questions that I would appreciate if you could answer though!

I feel like my mix of cactus soil + perlite still retains a lot of water, would it be best to use a mix more for orchids (bark) even if I only water once a week or even less for my hoyas?

For cuttings, I've read that cutting off part of the leaf can help improve root growth. Do you think this would be necessary? Also I've had some cutting grow in water. Would you recommend planting them directly in soil over that?

"When you give your plant a good soak, does it perk up a bit? If it does, you aren't watering enough."
Lastly, in regards to this, does it apply to all plants? I usually wait for my pothos to look a little wilty as a signal that I should water them and to prevent over watering.

Thank You! Thank You!
[Last edited by icie - Jun 4, 2020 5:24 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jun 4, 2020 5:39 PM CST
Some of my Hoyas are in half cactus soil half perlite and do fine. I don't like the mostly bark mixes but others seem to do fine with them. But, I don't grow my orchids in bark either so my personal bias. The important part is that the medium dried quickly, within 1 or 2 days.

Even though you just repotted, if you think the soil is wrong, it is safer to repot again into the right soil mix than leave it in soil that won't dry. In the right medium, the Hoya will grow more roots if the stems are not rotten. Using the same pot again was a smart move - it will be happy in that pot for the rest of its life.

Don't fertilize.

If you can notice when your Pothos is just a touch wilty, yes but, if you wait too long, your Pothos will have burnt leaf edges. I water all my plants by touch and sight. In the Pothos, you should be able to feel the turgor in the leaves.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 5, 2020 7:26 AM CST
Root suffocation takes place slowly and gradually over time. The longer a plant goes without proper aeration (oxygen), the more damaged the roots will be.

A porous potting mix is important, but so is the pot size. A very large pot with the excess potting mix will tend to retain moisture wound the roots for too long.

In general, plants should be watered shortly BEFORE they reach the wilt-point. But you cannot rely on that for all plants because some plants don't wilt; their roots just shrivel and die.

Removing leaves will not have any effect on root growth.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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