Updated: Jan 7
Do you like hoya for its foliage or for its flowers?
Initially, I was a sucker for hoyas with big leaves and with pronounced leaf venation. That changed when I saw the flowers of Hoya archboldiana in person… they’re incredibly beautiful!
I've seen plenty of photos of them in the internet, but it's quite different when you see the bloom in person, when you get to touch it and smell it! I was completely blown away by its flowers, so I begged the nursery owner to sell that mother plant to me. He did not disappoint me and I went home happy that day and for the next 7 days because the blooms stayed that long.
The following week after one of my big Hoya hauls, one of the hoyas that I bought, the Hoya vittelinoides, flowered under my care. It was 9:00 pm when I first saw and smelled its flowers. I was in the kitchen making “Creamy White”, (that’s a 3-in-1 coffee that comes in small sachet, that my husband got addicted to). It was so beautiful, and the scent was amazing that I wanted to eat the whole Hoya vittelinoides. I thought it will be a perfect match for my cup of creamy white… the blooms smells like a lemon flavoured cake with lemon butter icing.
So right then, I made a decision that I will always check for the flowers before I buy another hoya.
SOME INFORMATION I GATHERED ABOUT HOYA FLOWERS
Hoya flowers are beautiful and intriguing. Intriguing because they vary among species and can be found in many colours, sizes and shapes.
The hoya flowers have three unifying characteristics:
1. Fleshy, 5-lobed corona
2. Umbel inflorescene
3. Waxy appearance
An umbel is an inflorescence that consists of a number of short flower stalks (called pedicels) which spread from the peduncle, somewhat like umbrella ribs. The peduncle should not be removed because it is where you see the flowers each time. (See photo 1 for parts of a hoya flower and photo 2 for rachis). You can tell from the rachis that a hoya is a frequent bloomer or not. If the rachis is long, then it flowered a lot already.
The photo below shows the floral development of a hoya flower from the formation of the peduncles to opening of the bloom. Depending on the growing condition, your hoya may flower several times a year so the rachis is not really the determining factor of how old a hoya is. Some hoyas if not grown in proper growing condition will never flower at all, it will grow and get old but will never bloom.
PARTS OF A HOYA FLOWER
Hoya flowers are made up of 3 parts: the corolla, the corona and the calyx. The most prominent part is the petals or the corolla, which form the typical 5-lobed, star-shaped hoya flower. In the center of its flower is the corona, which is also 5-lobed. Inside the corona are the stamens and pistils hidden. Pollen is produced within a structure similar to that found in orchids called pollen sacs or pollinaria. Pollen is then dispersed to the pistils as units called pollinia. The calyx refer to the united sepals .
TYPES OF HOYA FLOWERS The type of hoya flowers depends on the shape of the corolla. Some corollas are revolute, inflexed, reflexed, campanulate(bell-shaped) urceolate (urn-shaped) and flat. The corona can be upright, pointed and flat.
Some hoyas have only one flower, like the H. pauciflora and H. retusa, while others like the H. latifolia have over one hundred flowers per umbel. The variation in the flower size is great. Hoya bilobata has minute flowers while the largest flowered hoya is Hoya macgillavrayi with its impressive 8 cm flowers.
Fragrance is highly varied. Some have chocolatey scent like H. sheperdii, Hoya carnosa "Krimson Queen" and some have citrus scent (H. vittelinoides, H. cummingiana, H. campanulate) while others have unbearable scent; Hoya magnifica has unbearable horse manure scent.
Flower color will vary—and it’s not uncommon for the same plant to have different flower colors as well. This is partially how certain plants, like Hoya pubicalyx has so many different cultivars, or cultivated varieties of plants featuring such a wide range of flower colors. Hoyas that seem to have a semi-succulent leaf, like the ever-popular Hoya carnosa, will often require a short dry period in order to flower. In the case of H. carnosa, 4-5 weeks of drying out in the spring, along with good window light will likely encourage the plant to flower more.
Note: Some hoyas do not retain the peduncles like Hoya bella, Hoya cummingiana, Hoya nummulariodes and Hoya densifolia. The peduncles drop after flowering.
That’s all for now, and I hope you learned something from this post. I wish you all the best in getting your hoyas to bloom.
Credits to my mentors from UPLB : Dr. Inocencio Buot, Jr., Marj Delos Reyes and the beautiful Ms. Alcona. Thanks to Ms. Andrea Agillon also because one of her beautiful photos was used in the materials during the training.