hoya retusa

Hoya Retusa: Proper Handling and Care Guide

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The hoya retusa is a popular and easy-to-grow plant. It makes a great houseplant and outdoor plant for both novice or experienced gardeners, as it requires low light conditions, infrequent watering, and does not attract pests or diseases.

Hoya Retusa Overview

Hoya retusa falls under the classification of Hoya, which includes more than 800 species. Native to Malaysia, this tropical plant will grow outdoors as a small bush or indoors as an ornamental plant in colder climates.

Hoya retusa has many common names, including Wax Plant (porcelain plant), Cinnamon Vine, Golden Hoya, Porcelain Flower, and Kitty-Face Plant. Although many types of Hoyas have unique characteristics, most need bright indirect light with some shade. They do not like direct light.

Hoya retusa has many different varieties, including:

  • Hoya retusa var. alba
  • Hoya retusa var. compact H
  • Hoya retusa var. deeana
  • Hoya retusa fma. aurantiaca (Kitty Face)
Botanical NameHoya Retusa
SunlightBright indirect or filtered light with no bright direct sunlight
WateringDaily or every other day
SoilWell-draining soil mix
Temperature50s to 80s °F
PropagationTip cuttings
Re-PottingEvery year
Pests and DiseasesSusceptible to developing fungal rots
ToxicityNon-toxic to humans or pets

Hoya Retusa Features

Hoya retusa reaches heights of up to 3 feet, making it excellent for growing up walls, trellises, fences, or other vertical surfaces. It has heart-shaped leaves that are approximately 2 inches long by 1 inch wide. The flowers’ petals are white or pale pink, surrounded by a deep red center. The leaves are often variegated with white streaks and patches, making them attractive to many gardeners.

Hoya retusa is considered non-toxic to humans or pets if touched. However, it contains latex that could cause skin irritation or severe allergic reactions. It is deer resistant and rabbit resistant, making it an excellent addition to your yard, patio, or inside your home as a potted plant.

Read our related article on Hoya Lacunosa!

Hoya Retusa Care Guide

These tropical plants require low light conditions and infrequent watering. Some varieties, such as Hoya retusa var. deeana, need more bright indirect light than others, such as Hoya retusa var. alba.

It is important to provide the right amount of water because overwatering can cause root rot or fungal diseases that can kill your plant. The best way to water your Hoya retusa is from the top down, allowing the potting mix to absorb moisture until it becomes moist but not soggy.

Ideal Growing Place

Hoya retusa plants are considered to be relatively easy to grow indoors. They prefer bright indirect or filtered light with no direct sunlight shining on the leaves.

Ideal indoor temperatures for Hoya retusa are between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Although most Hoyas originate from Malaysia, they do not like hot weather and become stressed if exposed to temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your Hoya retusa begins to lose leaves or is not the vibrant green it should be, it may be in need of a balanced fertilizer. You can purchase organic fertilizer mix at your local garden center to feed your plant.


Water Hoya retusa from the top down with tap water to allow the potting mix to absorb moisture until it becomes moist but not soggy. Depending on dry air and wind conditions, you may need to water your plant daily or every other day. However, you may only need to water your plant every three or four days during the winter months.

Although Hoyas love humidity, you should not mist them with water because it can cause spotting and fungal diseases. Instead, if the leaves become dusty, you should gently wipe them down with a damp cloth to not damage delicate foliage.


How much light should the Hoya retusa get? Hoya retusas need bright indirect or filtered light with no bright direct sunlight shining on the leaves. While Hoyas do not like cold winters, they also dislike extreme heat from direct sunlight.

If your Hoya retusa begins turning green, it may require more sun, so it is important to rotate or turn the pot occasionally to ensure even exposure to sunlight for your entire plant.


Usually, hoyas prefer temperatures in the 50s to 80s °F. Retusa Hoya plants prefer a pleasant, low-temperature environment. 


Hoya retusa plants prefer a well-draining soil mix and are slightly acidic with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. Be sure to choose a lighter potting soil mix or peat-moss-based soils specifically for Hoya retusas when repotting your plant. These plants typically will not do well in soil mixes with fertilizer built-in.


Hoya retusa loves humidity and needs humidity levels of 30%-50%. This means placing your plant on a tray with pebbles or gravel and water to increase humidity around it. If potting or placing in a hanging basket, ensure there are sufficient drainage holes.

Suppose you live in an area that does not naturally provide the right amount of humidity for your Hoya. In that case, you will need to use a humidifier or place it on a tray filled with moistened sphagnum moss serving as a humidity mat to maintain the correct levels.

Not sure if your home provides the ideal humidity specifications? Invest in a humidity meter to help gauge the levels in your home and help your Hoya thrive.


Hoya retusa plants require little fertilizer because they contain all the necessary nutrients. Therefore, you should only feed your Hoya retusa fertilizer during the growing season from spring through summer, once every two weeks. During the winter months, you should not fertilize your plant.


Hoya retusas can be easily pruned by pinching off stems or using a sharp knife either at the soil level or just above a leaf. Eventually, new shoots will grow from the area you prune, encouraging a fuller plant.

Potting and Re-potting

Hoya retusa should be repotted during the growing season and can be re-potted into a larger pot every year. Be sure to choose a pot that is one size larger than what your plant was in originally because it will need room for new growth. Not only will your plant be growing width and height-wise, but roots growing beneath the garden soil will also be expanding. If you’re not sure what size pot your Hoya retusa is in, look out for new shoots to appear. That will indicate that your Hoya is ready for a larger home.

Growth Zone

Hoya retusa plants generally grow in zones 10-11, where temperatures don’t often dip below the 40s and 50s °F. In the U.S., Southern states such as Florida, Louisianna, and Texas would be considered Zone 10-11. The further north you go in the United States, the lower the zone number typically is.

Common Pests, Toxins, Diseases & Other Problems

Hoya retusas are susceptible to developing fungal rots such as Pythium, Phytophthora, and Rhizoctonia or bacterial rots such as Pseudomonas and Xanthomonas bacterial leaf spot.

If you notice signs of rot, remove the infected leaves immediately and provide the plant with proper drainage and good air circulation. You can also try removing the plant from the soil and excess water to let it air out. Then, trim any heavily affected areas with garden shears or a sharp knife and repot with fresh soil.


Hoya retusa is an easy plant to propagate. Start by taking tip cuttings off of your plant during the growing season. Next, cut a 4-6-inch stem from the end of a healthy stem and dip it in rooting hormone. If propagating by soil, plant in some peat moss or other growing medium. For propagation using water, follow the same process but with sterilized, room temperature water.

Keep the humidity levels high around the stem tip cutting and add warmth to encourage rooting. You may want to use bottom heat or an artificial grow light to help speed up this process. New growth should appear within six weeks after you pot your new plant on.

Hoya Retusa Mature Timeline

Month 1: After the top layer of soil has dried, continue misting the soil. Do not overwater. Remember, we want to avoid root rot or bacteria from forming. A spray bottle is best for this. The roots of Hoya retusa will begin to develop by the end of the third week.

Month 2: The shoot will start to develop during this stage. Maintain a low watering schedule during this stage. If necessary, you can convert the water propagated plant to soil.

Month 3 onwards: The shoot will begin to take shape during this stage. This will result in a thriving, healthy baby plant.

Hoya Retusa FAQ

Is Hoya Retusa Easy To Care For?

Hoya retusa plants are considered to be relatively easy to grow indoors. They prefer bright indirect or filtered light with no direct sunlight shining on the leaves.

Are Hoya Retusa Fast Growers?

Although Hoyas are not the fastest-growing potted plants, they will grow at an average rate, approximately 10-20 inches per year. Therefore, if Hoya is experiencing stunted growth, measures should be taken to figure out the cause. This can be due to too much or too little light or humidity.

Is Hoya Retusa Rare?

Hoya retusa is not a rare plant, and you can purchase it at your local garden center if they carry hard-to-find houseplants. However, if you are not lucky, check out popular plant websites to order one directly to your location.

What Does a Hoya Retusa Flower Look Like?

While many Hoya species have flowers that bloom in clusters, Retusa Hoya flowers bloom singly. Mostly white, Hoya retusa has a deep maroon center shaped like a star.

Is It Easy to Make Hoya Retusa Bloom?

Hoya retusa plants will often bloom and continue to flower once they begin. However, they require the right amount of light, water, and fertilizer to encourage them to keep flowering during their blooming period. If your Hoya retusa plant is having trouble blooming, you may need to provide it with more light.

Hoya Retusa vs. Linearis: What Is the Difference?

While both of these plants are Hoyas, they do have noticeable differences. While Hoya retusa is more succulent-like in appearance, linearis has softer fuzzy leaves. The way they grow is also different. Hoya retusa grows in more rounded, messy clusters. Hoya linearis grow in longer orderly vines.

The Bottom Line

Hoya retusa is a low-maintenance potted plant that can be grown indoors or outdoors. It requires no pesticides or chemicals, minimal fertilization, and infrequent watering to prevent root rot. When provided with the right amount of light, they will produce pink/white waxy bells that can last up to two months.

If you are looking for a low-maintenance plant that requires little care, then the Hoya retusa may be ideal for your houseplant collection. The beautiful blooms and variegated leaves of this hardy indoor plant will surely bring many compliments on how well you take care of your plants.

Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Gustaf Johansson

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