Our Hoya, A Generation of Patience.
My dearly departed mother-in law Rose was one of the most talented persons I have ever seen in growing houseplants. This is the story of Rose’s Hoya.
I’m sure most of you who have had loved one pass away understand the difficult task of disposing of the material things left behind. Many if not most have no monetary value but do hold a great deal of sentimental value. My mother-in-law Rose had many houseplants throughout her home. Most were African violets and one was a Hoya that hung in her front porch during the summer and spent the winter in the house. Every time you approached the front door the sweet aroma of the Hoya greeted you. So, when Rose went on to her great reward, taking her green thumb with her, my wife Sharon accepted the task of caring for her mother's Hoya; it was brought into our home and carefully cared for.
Year 1, no blooms.
Years 2 thru 5, no blooms. We moved it to several locations, to no avail.
Years 6 thru 10, the same thing. If it had not carried so much sentimental value it probably ended up in the compost pile.
Years 11 thru 24, the same old stuff: very nice foliage but not a flower to be seen. In the summer of year 25, my wife excitedly summoned me. After 24 plus years our Hoya had a flower, one sweetly scented Hoya bloom.
Guess what………another few blooms the following year. Since then the blooms have progressively multiplied each year. This year our plant was loaded with the small white flowers. What brought this about? I wish we knew.
Over the years I tried various fertilizers, watering plans etc. Here in zone 6, I bring the plant out to the deck in late May. It sits in an area which receives afternoon sun. It is watered infrequently (I let the soil dry out completely before watering.) During the winter I bring it indoors and place it under my grow lights. I have no idea why it took so long to bloom but believe me we are going to keep on with what we are doing.
When we are gone we hope our kids or grandkids will take over and keep grandma Rose's Hoya blooming for many years.
Let me share some information about Hoyas I have gathered over those 30 years.
Hoyas are sometimes known as wax plants or wax flowers. They are native to Asia more specially India, China, and Viet Nam. Several species are also found in the Philippines. This plant can grow quite large, up to 60 feet if given sufficient support. We are finding this out with our plant.
The leaves of this plant are quite substantial; in fact, I believe these are some of the thickest leaves I have ever seen on any plant in the succulent group.
We have not encountered any pests, which I find remarkable seeing that our plant spends the summer outdoors. It is reported that spider mites, mealy bugs, and aphids are the insects that normally are attracted to Hoyas.
One thing I would like to mention, I use a product called Bonide Houseplant Insect Control on all of the plants that are outdoors during the summer and brought indoors for the winter. I apply it 7-10 days before bringing them inside. It kills any insects or eggs that might be lurking in the potting soil. Nothing is more annoying than bringing plants inside and being bombarded by soil gnats.
The moral of this story is if you have a favorite or sentimental plant that is not doing well, have patience; you never know what Mother Nature has in store for you. Even if it does take 30 years! Remember, "Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet."
The Chicago Cubs waited for 71 years to return to the World Series. And because they had patience, in 2016 they finally made it.