Are you looking for the best fertilizer for hoyas? Hoyas, with common names such as wax plants, are gorgeous tropical plants from Southeast Asia that have the most stunning porcelain flower heads. These plants also have thick leaves that are quite leathery and can hold moisture, so are regarded as succulents.
Hoyas make excellent indoor plants as long as they’re given enough light. In warmer climates, they can also be grown in shady spots outdoors.
I inherited a lovely hoya plant in an old pot that is nestled in the fork of a large tree in my front garden. Since I’ve never propagated these before, I decided to give it a go and ended up with an additional two healthy plants in hanging baskets on my veranda.
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Although these plants are very easy to care for, getting them to bloom is another matter. And, this is where having the right fertilizer comes in.
Most plant fertilizers, whether they’re in pelleted or liquid form will require three essential nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Nitrogen is essential for healthy green growth. However, when too much nitrogen is applied to a plant that you want to encourage to flower, you’ll end up with lots of green growth at the expense of flowers.
Phosphorus is important to healthy root growth and a good cell structure in your plants. For flowering plants, this is almost as important as potassium which is the most vital nutrient for flowers.
Therefore, when you want to encourage a plant to flower, you need a fertilizer that has a good percentage of potassium and phosphorus with an equal or lesser percentage of nitrogen.
These three nutrients are listed on the fertilizer package as a series of three numbers such as 2.0:2.0:2.0. The first number is the nitrogen content, the second number is the phosphorus content and the third number is the potassium content.
These are normally referred to as the N:P:K ratio of a fertilizer. So, when I decide to look for the ideal fertilizer for any particular plant, I always consider what I want to achieve and think about the best way to achieve this.
For example, do I want lots of lush growth or do I want to encourage flowering and fruiting?
In the case of my hoyas, I definitely want to encourage them to flower, so I’m going to look for a fertilizer with a high potassium content.
To give you first-hand examples of this, I did some research on Amazon to see which fertilizers would be best for my hoyas.
Here’s what I’ve come up with:
Although this product says that it’s primarily for hoyas, I still want to know what the N:P:K formulation is. I found it really helpful that one of the images is the product label which has a complete nutrient breakdown of what’s in the product.
By analyzing this, I discovered the following:
- 3.5% Nitrogen
- 3.4% Phosphorus
- 5.1% Potassium
So, this fertilizer has an N:P:K ration of 3.5:3.4:5.1.
Guess what? This is precisely the type of ratio that I would be looking for to encourage my hoyas to flower.
Other important micronutrients contained in this formulation include boron (0.005%), copper (0.002%), iron (0.01%), manganese (0.006%), molybdenum (0.0005%) and zinc (0.002%).
Here’s a quick rundown of what these micronutrients are good for:
- Boron – cell wall development and flowering
- Copper – the production of chlorophyll and seed production
- Iron – the synthesis of chlorophyll and healthy plant structure
- Manganese – aid in chlorophyll production
- Molybdenum – helps plants to utilize the available nitrogen
- Zinc – helps plants to absorb nutrients
As you can see, all these micronutrients are vitally important for healthy plant growth, so this product definitely gets my tick of approval.
Please take note that this product is a concentrated formula and needs to be diluted with water at the recommended rates so that it’s safe to use on your plants. Make sure that you always read the instructions to ensure that you’re providing your plants with the best nutrition.
For those of you who don’t like to mess with mixing concentrated liquid fertilizer, this pelleted slow-release fertilizer from Osmocote is a great alternative. I have something similar that I use on many of my potted plants simply because it’s easy.
All you have to do is scatter the recommended amount of pellets on top of the soil and water your plants. These types of fertilizers are slow-release and are designed to last for around 6 months.
However, keep in mind that hoyas are generally dormant in winter so really only need a fertilizer application in spring and summer. Therefore, if you’re using these pellets, you could get away with only adding them once a year in spring.
I had to read the fine print in order to determine the nutrient content of this fertilizer.
It has an N:P:K ratio of 15.0:9.0:12.0. This is perfectly acceptable for flowering plants such as hoyas because the concentration of potassium is fairly close to the nitrogen content.
After further research, I found that the product also contains magnesium (1.3%), Sulfur (6.0%), Boron (0.02%), Copper (0.05%), Iron (0.46%), Manganese (0.06%), Molybdenum (0.02%) and Zinc (0.05%).
So, this product contains all the micronutrients that the liquid fertilizer above does plus a couple of extras – magnesium and sulfur.
Here’s a quick explanation of what these do:
- Magnesium – helps plants to metabolize phosphorus
- Sulfur – helps the plant to metabolize nitrogen
Overall, I think that this is a great fertilizer for your hoyas and I love the fact that it’s so easy to apply and only needs to be added to the soil once a year.
I selected this fertilizer for those of you who find it difficult to remember when it’s time to fertilize your hoyas. This formulation is gentle enough when diluted that it can be applied every time you water your plants.
It has a fairly simple N:P:K formulation of 3.0:1.0:2.0. I would still consider this fairly adequate to have enough potassium to encourage your hoyas to flower.
All you need to do to apply this to your plants is to add 1 teaspoon of the concentrated liquid to 1 gallon of water and use this to water your plants.
I think this is a fairly new product by Gardenera because I couldn’t find any other information about it. However, I do believe that it’s an excellent choice for hoyas and very easy to use.
Expert Tips For Caring For Wax Plants
Although wax plants are fairly easy to care for, here are a few top tips from experts in the plant community to bring out the best in your plants:
- Ensure your plant gets plenty of bright light but keep it out of direct sunlight. Place it directly in front of a window if you’re growing it indoors where it will receive indirect sunlight.
- If growing outdoors, place your hoyas in a spot where they will receive dappled light like under a large tree or even under the roof of a veranda.
- Hoyas do flower best when they’re a little root-bound so don’t repot them too often and only choose a pot that is one or two sizes larger than the previous one. The best time to repot is after flowering has finished or when the plant is dormant.
- Remember to choose pots that have adequate drainage holes as these plants can be prone to root rot if they’re allowed to sit in any excess water.
- Keep your hoyas fairly dry when they’re dormant (often during the winter months) because too much water at this stage may inhibit flowering during their growing season.
- Ensure enough humidity as hoyas love this and keep the room temperature moderately warm.
- Watch out for pests such as spider mites when growing your hoyas indoors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hoyas will grow in a well-draining soil mix but an orchid bark or a mix suited to succulents and cacti is also ideal. Avoid any potting mix that has peat moss in it because this is detrimental to the environment as it destroys the peat bogs.
Most orchid fertilizers should be ideal for hoyas because these will contain sufficient potassium to encourage your plant to produce those gorgeous hoya flowers.
Make sure that your plant gets plenty of bright, indirect light. Use a fertilizer that is fairly high in potassium, especially during the summer months.
As hoyas are considered succulents, they really don’t benefit from having their leaves wet. Therefore, it’s best to only water your plants at the soil level. Allow any excess to drain away so that the root system is not allowed to sit in water.
It might just be that your plant is not old enough yet. Some hoya species will start flowering when they’re just two to three years old. Others need to be five or seven years old before they’ll start blooming. So, it will depend on the hoya variety that you’re growing as to how old it needs to be before it is ready to start flowering.
Hoyas are perfect for growing in hanging baskets. Their stems can easily trail down over the edges of the basket.
Hoyas, commonly referred to as wax plants, are fairly easy-to-grow succulents that really don’t need a lot of specialist care. Hoyas are generally popular house plants but they can also be grown outdoors in warmer climates.
However, if you want your hoyas to thrive and produce lots of outstanding blooms, you’ll need to fertilize them regularly.
In order to encourage flowering, choose a fertilizer that is relatively high in potassium and not too high in nitrogen. This added potassium will prompt your plant to start flowering and delight you with those gorgeous waxy blooms.