Hoya Carnosa and its complicated variegated varieties
Updated: Mar 8, 2022
Important message before reading this blog: This is a product of my own researches and therefore my own opinion.... Im not a Hoya expert so this is not an expert opinion.
I think Hoya carnosa species is the most complicated Hoya species. Perhaps because it is the oldest of all the Hoya species, a lot of varieties and cultivars were cultivated or created from this species. And then these cultivars were shared by/to different hoya enthusiasts in different places in the world and then out of these cultivars, hybridizers develop or created more varieties. According to what I have gathered, there are three groups of Hoya carnosa varieties:
1. Hoya carnosa exotica variety
2. Hoya carnosa variegata variety
3. Hoya carnosa Tricolour variety
From the original carnosa , hybridizers created Hoya compacta, Hoya Krinkle 8, Hoya chelsea and other cultivars like Snowball, Carnosa alba, Carnosa red etc etc. Then they created the Hoya carnosa exotica varieties and the Hoya carnosa variegata varieties. Examples are the Krimson Princess and then the Krimson Queen.
How do you differentiate a Krimson Princess from a Krimson Queen ? If the variegation is inside, it is the Krimson Princess and if the variegation is outside or along the margin of the leaves, then it is Krimson Queen.
In one of my researches, I have found an easy way to remember the distinction between Krimson Queen or Krimson Princess:
“The queen wears her white like a crown (the leaf edges are white, like a silver crown) while the Princess wears her white like a gown (white in the middle, edges or margins are green). “
Moving on with the discussion: you would think that hybridizers will be content after creating these Hoya carnosa variegata varieties, but no, they keep inventing and they keep cultivating.
The hybridizers created the Tri-color varieties to solve the problems of the albino in the variegata variety. Albinism as you may know, although really pretty, is not good. Albinism in plants interferes with photosynthesis, which can reduce survivability. Eventually your plant will die if it keeps growing white leaves because the plant is not creating enough food to sustain itself, so the plant will become weak and then eventually will die.
Below is a Hoya carnosa Krimson Queen producing albino leaves (Photo not mine, grabbed from the internet).
In this tri-colour variety comes the answer to your question why you have a Hoya carnosa Krimson Queen with pink leaves, and the KP with the darker almost red leaves. The hybridizers wanted more beautiful and stronger, healthier variegated Hoya carnosa that’s why they created new varieties. One of them is what is now called Hoya carnosa “Rubra” and a lot of other varieties like the Hoya carnosa Brazil, Hoya carnosa Suzie, Hoya carnosa variegata "Purple Pride" and other beautiful varieties.
Excerpts from the Publication of the Hoya carnosa “Rubra”. (Note: I only copied the easier part to understand) - You may skip reading this bit if its too much for you to read.
Plants of the Hoya carnosa Tricolor variety have variegated leaf blades which are similar in pattern to those of the Hoya carnosa Variegated variety but are preferred because of certain characteristic colors which, in immature and newly matured growth, appear in the albino or variegated areas of the leaf blades.
Plants of the Hoya carnosa Exotica variety have variegated leaf blades but in contrast to the albino leaf blade border areas of the Hoya carnosa Variegated plant variety are characterized by an albino center field in the leaf blade.
The main object of the invention has been to develop a plant variety which is related in general appearance to the Hoya carnosa Exotica plant variety but which exhibits colors in the albino leaf blade areas that are similar to those found in the Hoya carnosa Tricolor variety. This new plant invented is called Hoya carnosa “Rubra”.
Plants of the new variety generally resemble plants of the Hoya carnosa Exotica variety and are not only related to this variety but also related to the Hoya carnosa Variegata and Hoya carnosa Tricolor varieties. The new variety is mainly distinguished from its antecedents and related varieties known to the inventor by a combination of certain color and structural characteristics which will be apparent subsequently. The new variety appeared as a sport on a plant of the Hoya carnosa Tricolor variety which was under cultivation in a nursery at Winter Garden, Fla, and since the initial discovery of the new variety,has been asexually reproduced by the inventor at the Winter Garden nursery by the propagation of stem cuttings taken from the original plant.
Through successive propagations it has been ascertained that plants of the new variety generally resemble plants of the Hoya carnosa Exotica variety but are distinguishable from this plant variety and from other related varieties known to the inventor by a growth habit which combines the following characteristics:
(1) Larger diameter stems than those of the Hoya carnosa Exotica variety and which in color are dominated by purple, purplish red, red, reddish brown and/or pink hues prior to becoming glaucous;
(2) Leaves with petioles that in color are dominated by purple, purplish red, red, reddish brown, pink and/ or yellowish pink hues prior to becoming glaucous, and with leaf blades that are somewhat broader than those of the Hoya carnosa Exotica variety, that are variegated in patterns characteristic of the Hoya carnosa Exotica variety, that have an albino center area which in color is dominated during early immaturity by purplish pink, purplish red, red and/or yellowish pink hues, and that have a green border area which is overcast during early immaturity with color endowing the border area to the ordinary eye with a blackish and/or brownish appearance; and
(3) An inflorescence that has a peduncle color dominated by purplish red, red and/or reddish brown hues prior to becoming glaucous, a pedicel color dominated by purplish red and/ or red hues, a sepal color dominated by purplish red, red and/or reddish brown hues, and a petal which in color at its upper epidermal side is dominated by purplish pink and/ or pink hues and which in color at its lower epidermal side is dominated by a purplish red hues.
Photos of my own Hoya carnosa "Rubra"
Now back to my blog for additional information and photos:
1. Hoya carnosa variegata Purple Pride (Photo not mine, from the internet)