Ask a Question forum: Hoya carnosa HELP

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Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegowi
mescha10
Jan 2, 2018 7:55 AM CST
Hello there,

I recently got this Hoya carnosa from my grandmother, and it's more than 10 years old. It had its blooming years.
This is my favourite plant and I'm really attached to it.
Thumb of 2018-01-02/mescha10/43cbe3
Thumb of 2018-01-02/mescha10/7c33b6

Anyways, I was out for a week and a friend watered it too much by mistake. When I came home i noticed that some of the leaves were falling off. The leaves weren't getting yellow or anything, they just fall off at a slight touch. I'm really a beginner with plants, but as far as I could figure, the plant is rotting (but only on the parts where multiple leaves are connecting - soft, dark stems).
Thumb of 2018-01-02/mescha10/f76b36
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Thumb of 2018-01-02/mescha10/5c84e6

Also, the main stem fells like the outer skin is loose.
Thumb of 2018-01-02/mescha10/ec89fe
Thumb of 2018-01-02/mescha10/dabee8

I was so scared for my hoya, and decided to repot it into dry soil, and remove as much of the wet soil as i can.
A couple of days have passed and I am still noticing leaves dropping (mostly on one vine). The biggest vine on my hoya seems to be ok for now (firm stem and no leaf dropping).
Is there any way I could save this plant? My mother suggested putting cinnamon on parts that seem to have rotten (that's what she does with her orchids), should I try that?
If there isn't any option to save this plant, will I at least be able to make cuttings and try to save some parts of the plant?

Also, I noticed some red dots on the underside of some leaves, what are they?
Thumb of 2018-01-02/mescha10/120d1a
Thumb of 2018-01-02/mescha10/5b56b9

P.S. I live in Sarajevo, and we don't have much sun during the winter, so that is also a big concern for drying the hoya.

Sorry for the long post and any help and advice would be appreciated.



Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Jan 2, 2018 8:33 AM CST
Hi @Mescha10. Hoya are very tough plants, even when they have been overwatered. Your plant may loose some leaves, but it will snap out of it when the soil dries. The leaves falling off does not mean the plant is dying though. It's just having a tantrum. If the Hoya was moved to your home recently, it's acclimating to a new environment. Being repotted on top of that along with overwatering. well; your plant has been thru quite a bit. It needs a little time. Did you inspect the roots when you repotted it. Were they light colored and plump or dark and slimy? Keep it much dryer. Here is a link I enjoy for hoya care.

https://www.joyusgarden.com/th...
Hope it's helpful for you.

Is the soil drying quickly enough now? If not let us know. There are a few tricks you can do to help with that.

I think you plant will be ok, and become one of your most treasured. Good luck.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Xeramtheum
Jan 2, 2018 12:17 PM CST
I'd like to add that Hoya does way better in an Orchid Mix type medium than regular soil.
"The Universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice. It speaks in the language of hope; It speaks in the language of trust; It speaks in the language of strength, and the language of compassion. It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul. But always, it is the same voice. It is the voice of our ancestors, speaking through us, And the voice of our inheritors, waiting to be born. It is the small, still voice that says: We are one. No matter the blood; No matter the skin; No matter the world; No matter the star; We are one. No matter the pain; No matter the darkness; No matter the loss; No matter the fear; We are one. Here, gathered together in common cause. we agree to recognize this singular truth, and this singular rule: That we must be kind to one another, because each voice enriches us and ennobles us, and each voice lost diminishes us. We are the voice of the Universe, the soul of creation, the fire that will light the way to a better future. We are one."

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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jan 2, 2018 1:00 PM CST
I agree with Anne. Hoya are epiphytic, meaning they live in trees with no or very little soil. All of mine live with my orchids so in the summer, they get watered daily. But the plants are very rootbound the soil is very loose and fast draining.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 2, 2018 5:55 PM CST
Overwatering is not something that occurs with a single watering or over the course of a week. It results from keeping the soil, very moist (and deprived of oxygen) for an extended period of time, typically several weeks or more. The symptoms you describe are not necessarily caused by overwatering. Inadequate watering and even under watering could cause those symptoms.

In any case, replacing the soil was not a good idea, I'm afraid to say. Hoya roots are fairly fragile and do not like to be disturbed. In addition, Hoyas do best when kept moderately potbound and rarely need to be repotted. The soil must be quite porous and the pot small enough that the soil dries out quickly after watering. Hoyas will survive drought better than constantly damp soil.

There is no way to assess the potential damage done by the repotting. However, it is important for your Hoya to now be in a warm sunny location close to a window. Water very sparingly.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
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Name: kathy
Michigan
Zone 4b, near St. Clair MI
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katesflowers
Jan 3, 2018 7:41 PM CST
My hoya had a hissy fit when I moved it from the kitchen to the bedroom (same sun exposure & care), dropped leaves for months. I just ignored her whining and she's good now.
"Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing." Shakespeare
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Jan 4, 2018 12:33 AM CST
@katesflowers, I agree. They can be real diva's about being moved. I think going from Grammas to Mescha's is probably the cause for the leaf drop. I had a newly purchased hoya that had some terribly water retentive soil. The soil stayed wet for so long, I had to repot, and take cuttings to try to salvage it.
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegowi
mescha10
Jan 4, 2018 8:43 AM CST
Wow, thank you for all the replies!
I'm so glad to hear that this might not be the end of it. And the fact that you called them divas with hissy fits makes me love them even more.

After reading more about hoya care, I'm now aware that repotting was a mistake. I didn't have any orchid or succulent mix at home, only regular potting soil. I have to say that this hoya has been living all these years in regular soil. When I repotted it I didn't really mess with the root system, I was surprised to se that the root clump was'nt soil but something almost like clay (which is a really water retentive medium). Anyways, I didn't touch that clump, I just moved it into a pot the same size, but with dry soil (the only medium I had).
Should I move her in a cactus/succulent/orchid mix medium in spring? This current soil can't be good for her. I should add that she hasn't been repotted for over 5 years, and I read in some articles that people repot hoyas every two or three yrs.

For now, I have literally hung my hoya on the window so that it gets most of the light from this cloudy fogy weather. I also stuck some parchment paper on the glass behind her so that she doesn't get sunburns when there is actual sunshine. There is also a radiator under the windowsill so the temperature is always around 23C. I decided not to water her for some time now, but I will mist her leaves every now and then because of the dry air. I'll just leave her be for now and hope she'll pull herself together.

Thumb of 2018-01-04/mescha10/0566d9
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 4, 2018 3:15 PM CST
I'm confused. You write that you didn't touch the original rootball and put it back into the same sized pot. If the pot was the same size, how was there room for new soil?

I am not trying to be picky, but if you added little or no soil than it will probably be okay. Otherwise, I would suggest removing the soil you added and put it into a smaller pot that doesn't require any new soil.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegowi
mescha10
Jan 5, 2018 10:38 AM CST
WillC said:I'm confused. You write that you didn't touch the original rootball and put it back into the same sized pot. If the pot was the same size, how was there room for new soil?

I am not trying to be picky, but if you added little or no soil than it will probably be okay. Otherwise, I would suggest removing the soil you added and put it into a smaller pot that doesn't require any new soil.


Sorry for not explaining the situation clearly (english is not my native language). I made a little drawing to explain it better:
Thumb of 2018-01-05/mescha10/b0b70f

The roots have never filled the whole existing pot. The drawing is the situation I found when I repotted it, the rootball is marked with "A", and when i took the hoya out of the pot the rootball wasnt really merged with the remaining soil (marked "B"). So I just replaced the "B" soil with the same amount of dry soil, and the rootball was left intact.
But the soil forming the rootball wasn't the same texture as the "B" soil. It seemed dense like clay. The roots that I could see looked white.
Should I have put it in a smaller pot?
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Jan 5, 2018 11:23 AM CST
Hi mescha10, Welcome!

In photo's #6 and #7 of your first post, the stem of your Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa) look dry and desiccated and you may need to take cuttings from the viable stems, to root for new plants.

From your drawing, I'd say that the pot is way too large for the root ball. I also don't think it's wise to have any plant hanging above a radiator, whose heat will cause excessive drying of stems, leaves and roots. If the original soil around the roots was extremely dense, dry and compacted, there probably was not sufficient air circulation for the roots to take up proper moisture to survive. Hoya plants are Epiphytic in nature and although a snug pot/container is fine, the soil should be well draining because roots need air, as well as water to thrive. A well draining potting medium that allows good air circulation is paramount for healthy growth of most plants and especially for Hoya's and other Epiphytic type plants.

If the roots and basal stem of your Hoya are not dead, then I agree with WillC and you should put the plant back into it's original container (or one of same size as the original) but if the stem is no longer viable, you will have to take and root cuttings.
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 5, 2018 11:29 AM CST
I love your artwork. Photos and drawings are a universal language. Now I understand the situation. It seems that someone repotted it before you got it and didn't use the right sized pot and right kind of potting mix. Follow Lin's advice.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegowi
mescha10
Jan 5, 2018 12:14 PM CST
Thanks for the replies, Will and Lin :)

I thought that the woody stem was because it's so old (I read that older hoyas develop woody stems near the soil).

I'm just so scared to do her any more harm. My grandma told me that she has another hoya for me if this one doesn't make it, but I really don't want to give up on her.
Tomorrow I'll go to a gardening centre to buy some less retentive potting medium and a smaller terracotta pot. I don't know if I should remove all of this soil and replace it with succulent/orchid mix?

I found some aerial root bumps on some parts of the stems so I'm gonna cut and try to root one or two small parts just in case. Crossing Fingers! Crossing Fingers!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 5, 2018 1:44 PM CST
A small terra cotta pot would be good. Remove the soil you added, but leave the original rootball alone. The new pot should not be much larger than the original rootball.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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