Succulents We Love: Hoyas

Hoyas, or Wax Plants, have been one of my favorite vining house plants ever since I inherited one with the instructions: “just barely water it, and keep it in a bright place. You won’t believe the flowers!” That is the type of plant I like: easy care with a surprise in store--fragrant flowers. This Hoya carnosa is one of the most common varieties available, and has my house smelling like sweet chocolate nectar through the evening as it twines along my window!

Hoyas are a genus in Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed), a subgenus of Apocinaceae (Dogbane).

Native throughout Asia, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia, the succulent forms of Hoyas are often epiphytic (live up in trees), or scramble through rocky areas of their tropical and subtropical habitats. The structure of their individual fragrant, plump star-shaped flowers is worth close examination and admiration. They exhibit a variety of textures from waxy to furry, and a range of colors and combinations from creams to pink blush and burgundy-red.

We have some fun varieties in at the nursery right now, and we have been enjoying combining them with other succulents that can tolerate growing indoors or outdoors in bright shade conditions. I use hoyas to spill over the side of a pot. (Put the container garden up on a stand so the plant has room to vine around!) You can also train hoyas to grow along a window or around a wreath frame.

Hoya Varieties in Stock

Hoya lacunosa has the most delicate succulent leaves, and tiny sweet-smelling fuzzy cream flower clusters.

Hoya 'Tricolor' is variegated with pink /cream and green leaves, and Crimson Princess is another variety with slightly less variegation.

Hoya multiflora, or Shooting Star, is the least succulent, and has a more lush green look typical of a tropical house plant.

Julia Bell
Julia Bell