It's time to vote on our 2017 photo contest! Vote for your favorite photos of the year here!

Is there a small growing Hoya for beginners?

Chicago, IL(Zone 6a)

I have been growing tropicals for over 30 years. I love anything in the Apocynaceae (or whatever respective members are currently called) family. Hoyas are new to me. The reason is that the heavily scented flowers of the most common species/cultivars give me a headache. Literally. Too sweet. To heavy. Ouch!

I can spend hours in an overheated greenhouse with rather smelly Stapeliads or Aroids and don't mind it too much. Don't get me wrong: I don't enjoy that either but at least it is not giving me a headache.

Now here's my question: Is there a small growing Hoya that is NOT too heavily scented and not too fussy?

Let me clarify: I don't consider "LFS" or "high humidity" or "terrarium" or "likes Dolomite" or anything like that fussy - I just need to know if it needs to be pampered all the time. If it has to be, I don't want it. LOL

Ann Arbor, MI

Others will undoubtedly have better suggestions, but one that I find quite easy and isn't scented at all (to my nose) is hoya multiflora a.k.a. shooting
star hoya. The flowers are quite attractive as well.

I hope this helps!


Hoya multiflora in bloom :

Thumbnail by wiggiej
DeLand/Deleon Spring, FL(Zone 8b)

Hoya Bella Variegata...I don't think it has much scent either.........very pretty has a solid green form and the variegated.

Chicago, IL(Zone 6a)

Thanks everyone! Sorry for not doing that sooner... :)

Alameda, CA(Zone 9b)

I only just came upon this thread. The Hoyas that follow are all compact or smaller. In addition to the two already mentioned, these are plants that I've some experience with:

H. lacunosa does well in a 3"-4" hanging pot or small trellis. It's small flowers are among the most fragrant Hoyas I know of. The variety, pallidiflora is very easy to flower. I've gone from cutting to flowering plant in less than six months. [Flowers pictured.]

H. Mathilde' (H. carnosa x H. serpens) This is a compact hybrid. H. serpens is a miniature species with half inch leaves that is itself a candidate, though it grows best in a cool climate. The hybrid is quite compact, and is very easy to grow and flower. The flowers are fairly large compared to the 1"- 2" leaves.

H. curtisii with half inch, attractive mottled leaves looks best as a hanging plant, though mine isn't flourishing at the moment.

H. nummularioides has 1.5"-2" roundish, pubescent leaves. The plant resembles a very compact carnosa, but is much slower growing. The flowers are similar also.

H. cumingiana is quite compact but can't quite make up its mind if it's a vine or a bush. Not the most attractive of Hoyas, but looks fairly nice when several rooted cuttings are planted close together in a small pot (3"-4")

Of the two Hoyas already mentioned in previous posts, H. bella and H. multiflora, I have both solid green and variegated versions of. There seems to be some consensus among Hoya growers that variegated Hoyas tend to grow slower and flower less often than their fully green siblings. I do find this to be the case with my H. bella's, but my variegated H. multiflora is growing and blooming neck and neck with it's all green counterpart. H. multiflora can reach beyond a compact plant but will take a few years to reach such size, but blooms well along the way. Truly a bush habit when grown in very bright light.


Thumbnail by atisch
Chicago, IL(Zone 6a)

Thanks Allan! This helps a lot! I will try and get some of the described Hoyas and see how they'll do.


Alameda, CA(Zone 9b)


Your welcome. I meant to say a bit more about fragrance. I agree with the first two suggestions, Hoyas multiflora and bella as weakly scented Hoyas with very attractive flowers. Of the ones that I mentioned the only strongly scented one is H. lacunosa. However, of those Hoyas I've observed--I'd pick it as my favorite scented Hoya. To me it's not the cloying fragance of H.carnosa, though there are similar notes. It's more of a transient, almost haunting fragrance. Perhaps it's partly that the flowers are so small. It's strongest at sundown and at night I sometimes pick up a hint of it's fragrance from across the room and it never fails so make me smile. If you haven't experienced it's scent, I'd still suggest trying it. Perhaps other people here could comment more on this. One good website, run by a DG member (Chistina), is Christina has wonderful photos of her rather large collection and she usually comments on the fragrance of the flowers.

Oh, I failed to mention one other compact Hoya I'm currently growing, H. tsangii. I haven't bloomed it yet, but the plant is an attactive one with 2.5" medium green leaves.

Best of luck to you,


Chicago, IL(Zone 6a)

Thanks so much Allan!

That's some invaluable information. Thanks also for the website. I just checked it out and that's very good hints on the scent. Boy, what a collection she has! Wow!

Thanks to a kind soul, I just received some Hoya (tsangii, lanceolata bella, pbicalyx, 1 NOID and 2 carnosa) and one Dischidia rucifolia cuttings.

One carnosa cutting has two peduncles. I'll see in a while if my reaction to its scent still is the same. I guess, that's the best way to find out anyway.

H. lacunosa, I've seen and smelt a while ago at a local conservatory. What an adorable, little plant. And its scent I remember as a bit spicy and not bothersome. Not as sweet and heavy as carnosa.

Looking at all the beautiful pictures of Hoyas on the website, I have decided to give the a second, much closer look. I did not realize how large the genus actually is and never had I thought that I would try and grow a Dischidia. Many years ago, I grew a collection of about 30 Ceropegias and several other Stapeliads. It's funny how the rather foul smell of Stapeliads has never bothered me and how the smell of the sweetly scented Hoya carnosa has given me a headache.

Thanks again for this treasure trove of information!

Have a great weekend and good growing!


Alameda, CA(Zone 9b)


Congratulations on your haul! I only really got into Hoyas the last few years after having a carnosa that grew and bloomed through most of the seventies, while I was living in Wisconsin. Sites like Christinas helped sway me and I haven't any real regrets. They are wonderful indoor plants that are generally forgiving of mistakes. Also good companion plants to my main fancy, orchids. I've even recently discovered that some of the cool growers survive fine in pots outdoors in my climate. My test plants included H. carnosa and H. pubicalyx, which survived over the winter. I wouldn't try it in Chicago though--lol.

Best of luck. Let us know how they do for you

PS: first Hoya bella bloom last year

Thumbnail by atisch

Post a Reply to this Thread

You cannot post until you , sign up and subscribe. to post.