Growing Hoya in Canada
Growing Hoya in Canada can be hard. Sometimes they don’t grow at all, sometimes they drop leaves. Sometimes they just completely die. They also grow painstakingly slow. However, their beautiful leaves and flowers make them some of the most sought-after plants in the house plant trade. Their difficulty and rarity also make Hoya some of the most valuable plants on the market.
Here’s Hoya Shop Canada’s guide on growing Hoya successfully in Canada.
Hoya plants naturally grow in places such as South East Asia where it’s hot and humid, all the time. If you haven’t been to South East Asia, imagine Cuba except more humid and lush with wild rain forests. You won’t want to be hiking there. It’s wet, muddy, with overgrown plants everywhere.
We are in Canada, so how do we replicate those environments so that your Hoya can bloom regularly?
Hoya grow best in humidity of 70% and above. The best way to achieve this is to grow your Hoya in an enclosed environment such as a grow tent.
In a grow tent, you can replicate the humidity of a tropical rainforest without damaging your home. Grow tents can be 100% sealed, therefore allowing them to hold humidity. Whenever you walk into a grow tent, you’ll smell the humid soil and leaves, just as if you were in a tropical rainforest. Another benefit of a grow tent is the inside is lined with a reflective material (mylar). With this reflective material, you can get direct light coming from your lights, and also lots of ambient light reflecting off the mylar.
If you don’t want a grow tent, you can grow your Hoya in humidity domes. Their small size makes them easy to put anywhere. However, due to their small size, you can only grow small Hoya in them. Also, they create poor visibility as the domes fog up.
Another popular option is to grow them in Ikea glass cabinets. The main challenge with these cabinets is that they require further modifications in order for them to be greenhouse-worthy. When you first buy them, they are not completely sealed. In order for them to hold high humidity, you’d have to modify the doors/panels so there is no air leakage. Or you can add a humidifier. These Ikea cabinets are also heavy and do not have a lot of space as your collection expands. Lighting is also difficult to install in them as these cabinets are designed to look pretty and not for growing performance.
Everybody’s definition of high light vs low light is different. We’ve seen some customers who have supplemented with artificial lighting in the form of a make-up light. That’s not enough. Luckily, most Hoya do not need a lot of light either. You want somewhere between cheap make-up lights and professional cannabis-growing lights.
Hoya can also thrive under natural light. We recommend direct sunlight with a caveat. First of all, our Canadian direct sunlight is not the same as South East Asia direct sunlight. Our sunlight is much weaker, that’s why people don’t come to Canada for a tropical vacation. So feel free to put your Hoya in direct sunlight. There’s a caveat though! With direct sunlight, it’s difficult to maintain humidity. If humidity is not maintained, the Hoya will suffer.
The quickest and most common way to kill your Hoya is to overwater. Hoya need to be watered with expertise. They’re epiphytes, meaning that they grow on trees. Hoya grow like a vine from tree to tree. They’re able to grasp onto trees and other plants using aerial roots. Most of the Hoya’s root mass is actually stuck to tree bark instead of being stuck into the ground. In a tropical rainforest, there’s so much foliage and the forest is so dense, that the forest floor does not always get wet. That’s why when there’s a lot of water in your substrate, the Hoya gets confused and likes to die.
Watering should match the growth rate. If your Hoya is in the right humidity and light, it will uptake water faster, and grow faster when all 3 elements are balanced. However, if your Hoya is not in the right humidity or light, it does not need a lot of water as it will be growing very slowly.
Our general rule of them when it comes to watering Hoya is when the soil is dry, however only water 65% through. There’s no need to flood the pot. You will find that the Hoya root system is quite small and you’re just watering the soil instead of its roots.
Substrate & Nutrients
The key to Hoya substrate is for it to be fast-draining. That means when you water your Hoya, most of the water will drain out the bottom of your pot. Hoya grow in all types of substrate such as perlite, coconut husk, sphagnum moss, and LECA. Your goal is to create a substrate that drains fast so you don’t overwater your Hoya.
The Hoya Shop Premix is 40% perlite, 30% orchid bark, 30% peat. This creates a perfect balance between drainage and nutrients (coming from the peat).
If you have any specific questions, we’d be happy to answer them on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hoyashopcanada