Ask a Question forum→Worried about my Hoya carnosa

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Astoria, New York
NitaNYC
Jun 3, 2018 7:39 PM CST
Dear Hoya experts,

I've had two small Hoya plants since February (orders from online), an Obovata and a Carnosa. I live a NYC apartment and they have thrived on my living room window sill (& often I move them to my bedroom window sill which gets a good amount of sunlight in the afternoon to soak up some sun). I water them once a week. They both seem healthy and green with the approach of spring & the Obovata especially is growing quickly. A week ago, I re-potted them into pots just one size larger than they came in and didn't remove the original soil. Basically I just added more soil (a mix of regular house plant soil and more perlite) under and around the existing hoya soil. Also, when I pulled the carnosa out of its original pot, I noticed the white roots all around the edge of the soil. Today I discovered a yellow leaf in the carnosa and am now worried the plant is responding negatively to being moved. (One more note: even before I repotted the carnosa, I noticed how the water went straight down the little pot and accumulated in the dish. This didn't happen with the Obovata.) What should I do? Return it to its smaller original pot? Or? It's lost two leaves so far and now this yellowing leaf. Thank you in advance!

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 4, 2018 1:35 PM CST
It seems that you did the repotting correctly, but probably unnecessarily. Hoyas have relatively small root systems and they are more inclined to flower when kept quite potbound. The problem with the larger pot is that the added soil will retain water for longer than before and may lead to root suffocation.

You can leave them as they are now potted, but you will have to remove any soil you added to the top of the original rootball and reduce the frequency of your watering. The soil around the rootball needs to dry about halfway down before it needs water.

As an alternative, you can undo the repotting, which should not be too difficult because you left the original rootball intact.

In either case, provide as much indoor direct sunlight and warmth as you can.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Astoria, New York
NitaNYC
Jun 4, 2018 3:51 PM CST
Thank you, WillC. This is what I'd worried about (that I'd unnecessarily repotted just to see them in nicer pots!) I've also observed that one of the newer leaves of my Obovata plant is starting to curl (see attached pic) and I'm also starting to notice darker spots in places (in the Obovata leaves) and am worried the recent move has adversely affected this Hoya too! Gak. (I'm especially sensitive I think because my very first Hoya, also an Obovata, that I'd gotten back in November, died by January though I think it's because it lacked sunlight and got overwatered. So now I'm compensating by doing my darn-dest to make sure these two new plants get enough sun and not too too much water.) I think I will scrape off excess soil from the tops of the plants but may end up re-re-potting them to original pots. Any other recs are greatly appreciated!
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 4, 2018 4:51 PM CST
It's all about good light and proper watering. It's as simple as that.

For future reference, the desire to have something more attractive than the plastic nursery pots can be easily accomplished by double-potting the plastic pot inside a more attractive planter.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Astoria, New York
NitaNYC
Jun 11, 2018 6:02 PM CST
Dear WillC (& anyone else),

Looks like my Hoya Carnosa plant is dying. It's been two weeks since the repotting and I decided to just leave it in the new pot but remove a layer of the top soil. Well, the yellow leaf (mentioned in my earlier post) is now distinctly yellow brown and shriveled and there are 1-2 others with dark spots looking sick. Is this root rot? Can I save it? I just re-potted it into the original (smaller) pot this morning. There seem to be a few still somewhat healthy leaves left but I'm not sure for how long. Thanks in advance for any recs!

ps my other Hoya, the Obovata, seems to be doing okay in its new pot thankfully (& knocking on wood) for now.

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 12, 2018 8:36 AM CST
Nita - I see you are in Astoria, as am I (30th Ave and 49th St)!

The leaf shriveling is because the roots are not absorbing water properly. That could be because the soil is completely dried out or because the roots have rotted from too much water or because the roots were damaged as a result of the repotting.

How did the roots look to you when you most recently repotted?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Astoria, New York
NitaNYC
Jun 12, 2018 10:22 AM CST
Will,

Thanks for your reply! The roots look okay (?). (Posting a pic here in service of my plant so you can see if they look healthy or not.) If they are not getting enough water and not obviously rotting, should I just water it? I remember noting how before I repotted it a couple weeks ago, whenever I would water this plant, the water would not seem to absorb and just collect in the holding dish. Maybe the roots just got enough H2O in its original pot as the water slid @the sides? Im wondering/have wondered if the original soil @the plant is just not allowing any water in. Suggestions? Thanks in advance.

Also yes we're neighbors: I'm at 34th St & Bdwy!
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