Plant and care for porcelain flowers

Plant and care for porcelain flowers


The porcelain flower or wax flower, scientifically called Hoya (named after the English gardener Thomas Hoy), is a plant from the tropics and subtropics of the Far East. Their home area spans relatively large areas of Asia, Australia and Oceania - the various Hoya species occur naturally in China, Vietnam and Thailand, Japan, East India and Indonesia and colonize tropical rainforests as well as dry forests, coastal areas and Altitudes of up to 2500 meters.

  • Natural area of ​​origin: Far Asia, Australia and Oceania
  • Habitats in tropical to dry forests, coastal and high altitude areas

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The porcelain flower is an epiphyte, i.e. an epiphyte, which in the wild select other plants as a growth base. So, like orchids or bromeliads, they prefer to grow on trees. It develops quickly from the point of view of growth and forms flexible shoots - this makes the porcelain flower also well suited for trellis or arched culture. The fact that most species are climbing makes the wax flower ideal for climbing on scaffolding and railings. Over time, the shoots lignify more or less.

  • Actually epiphytes
  • Fast growth, flexible shoots suitable for shaping
  • Many climbing varieties - suitable for climbing


porcelain flower hoyaThe Hoya got its nickname wax flower from the mostly fleshy and waxy texture of its flowers. They appear in cluster-like (false) umbels with small, star-shaped single flowers, which form a very pretty structure due to their five-pointed calyx and petal combination. It is also nice that the porcelain flower blooms again and again from spring to autumn. Many species also give off a sweet, sometimes heavy scent in the evening hours. The nectar that the flowers secrete and that sticks the windowsill is less beautiful.

Characteristics of the porcelain flower bloom:

  • Small, racemose umbel inflorescences with an attractive star structure
  • Often sweet, heavy scent
  • Emits nectar that drips down and sticks


According to its origins, the wax flower likes it warm and bright. However, it does not tolerate full sun exposure - after all, it thrives in wooded habitats in its home. As with all exotic ornamental plants from warmer areas of origin, you cannot cultivate the porcelain flower in our part of the world. It is therefore best kept as a houseplant.

The substrate should be loose and permeable for air and water - it is best to create a drainage with expanded clay in the pot (€ 17.50 at Amazon *). This will prevent the roots from suffocating or waterlogging - they don't like that at all.

to water

So too much watering is taboo with porcelain flowers. You should still give it water regularly, especially during the vegetation phase. Make sure, however, that the ball of the pot is completely dry before the next watering. As a tropical to subtropical plant, the porcelain flower also likes one or the other shower: spray its leaves with a refreshing water mist from time to time.


  • Water regularly, but absolutely avoid waterlogging
  • Regular showering is highly recommended


The porcelain flower can be fertilized with a moderate dose. You should use a rather weak fertilizer for green plants that you add to the irrigation water. However, this is not necessary more often than every 3-4 weeks. The risk of over-fertilization is certainly greater than weak growth or blooming due to a lack of nutrients. In winter there is no fertilization at all.


You do not have to and should not repot the porcelain flower too often. She is just as reluctant to be disturbed on her feet as she is to constantly changing location. So only repot them when it is absolutely necessary, that is, when the pot is getting too tight. The new pot should also not be disproportionately larger than the old one - that would again mean too much getting used to and increase the risk of leaf and flower weakness. The new substrate is again provided with expanded clay drainage and, if necessary, some sand.


In winter, when the porcelain flower does not have enough light here for normal vegetation, you should allow it a corresponding rest period. In general, however, the difference in location to the summer site should not be too great. The winter quarters should also be relatively light and not too cold.

While the optimal temperature for the porcelain flower in summer is between 18 and 23 ° C, it should not fall below 10 ° C in winter. Of course, she must never get frost. But it shouldn't be too warm either, as that is not compatible with the inevitable lack of light. In addition, the risk of pest infestation increases in warm temperatures. A good winter location for the porcelain flower is, for example, a window seat in an unheated stairwell.

You should water the porcelain flower only moderately in winter, depending on its shut down vegetation.

The winter rules:

  • Light location
  • Temperature between 10 and 14 ° C
  • Water moderately

To cut

Apart from the bloomed inflorescences during the summer, you can prune back the wax flower relatively easily. If shoots become excessively long, they can be pruned without much loss. You should make sure that you always apply the scissors directly above a blade axis. This is where the plant can best sprout again. By regularly shortening the shoots, you can keep the wax flower compact or in a special shape.

In general, you should also regularly perform a thinning cut to increase the flowering pleasure.

Does not bloom

hoya-doesn't-bloomA relatively common problem with porcelain flower culture is the lack of the popular flower. With certain mistakes in care, the wax flower can be a bit sensitive.

Most likely for a meager or no bloom is:

  • Frequent change of location
  • Too dark location
  • Cutting off faded inflorescences

Above all, the porcelain flower does not like a change of location. So, right at the beginning of cultivation, pay attention to a suitable, sufficiently bright place, if possible without drafts. If you wait in vain for the bloom, moving to a different location is usually counterproductive.

What can spoil the porcelain flower from blooming is too dark a location. The tropical plant needs a lot of light to produce its flowers. In this case, a change of location to a lighter parking space is of course inevitable.

In addition, you should definitely not cut off the bloomed inflorescences. This will prevent the formation of new flowers in these very places. If you leave them alone, the porcelain flower will soon give you a new umbel of its small, waxy star-shaped blossoms, provided it is not yet autumn.


porcelain flower hoyaThe wax flower can best be propagated using a sinker. You can also cut cuttings, an explanation of this method follows below.

With the lowering method, you lead a tendril of the mother plant into a pot with a sandy, loose soil substrate. This is best done in spring, when the light supply increases. Remove the leaves at the rooting point and cut off the tip of the shoot. An evenly moist and warm environment is particularly beneficial for growth - to create this, it is best to use the tried and tested foil method. Keep the sinker permanently moist, but don't water too much here either.

As soon as roots have formed at the support point, you can cut the connection to the mother plant.


The toxicity of the porcelain flower is a bit nebulous - on the one hand, there are sometimes different information from experts. On the other hand, it is also dependent on the respective species. Some are quite slightly poisonous - above all, there is often a warning against leaving cats, dogs and especially birds alone with the wax flower. But even small children should not necessarily play unsupervised near the porcelain flowers.


Fortunately, porcelain flowers are relatively insensitive to diseases and pests. If there are problems with growth or the formation of flowers, this is mostly due to an unpopular change of location, overfertilization, waterlogging or other care errors.

Nevertheless, the wax flower can also be attacked by pests, especially during the wintering phase when it is slightly weakened. As a preventive measure, especially during this time, make sure to protect it from unfavorable conditions. Aphids, scale insects or mealybugs are most common in porcelain flowers.

If you have an aphid infestation, you should first work with hosing. For scale insects, it is best to add some nettle, garlic or tansy to the spray mixture. The best way to control mealybugs is to remove infected parts of the plant and treat the plant with a solution of alcohol, curd soap and water.


In addition to the casual lowering method, you can also use the well-known cutting method to get a new porcelain flower. In most cases this works without any complications. As with the lowering method, spring is the time to grow cuttings.

You receive a cutting in the form of a shoot cut above a leaf axis - so you can also use one of the regular prunings on the clippings.

You put the cuttings in either a water glass or in a soil substrate. With the water glass method, you should change the water from time to time because of the risk of rot. You can add some rooting hormone to a soil substrate.


The wax flower genus is extremely species-rich - no wonder considering the variety of habitats of origin across the entire tropical and subtropical Far Asia region. There are around 200 different species in total. For a long time only the Hoya carnosa with its flesh-colored flowers was used as a potted plant. In the meantime, however, the range of pot cultivation has expanded considerably. Here is an overview of particularly popular varieties:

Popular varieties

  • Hoya carnosa
  • Hoya kerrii
  • Hoya bella
  • Hoya australis
  • Hoya linearis

Hoya carnosa

porcelain flower hoyaThe Hoya carnosa is named after its pink to flesh-colored flowers. This rather unusual color makes it an attractive ornament on the windowsill or in the winter garden. The flower umbels are upright or hanging and give off a very strong scent. However, they are also highly nectar secreting.

The Hoya carnosa forms soft, later woody and creeping shoots that are covered with fleshy, shiny leaves. Overall, it can reach a height of up to 4 m.

It needs a bright location without too much direct sunlight, in winter it should be relatively cool, i.e. not above 14 ° C.

Hoya kerrii

porcelain flower hoyaThis variety also owes its name to a special visual feature: its heart-shaped leaves. Lately the Hoya kerrii has been enjoying growing popularity, perhaps also because of the Valentine's Day culture, which has been reviving for years. The leaves also have the property that they can be rooted individually. A simple leaf cutting is therefore particularly suitable as a heart-warming souvenir. Whether the heart leaves sprout is very individual and can take up to 6 years!

As a location, the Hoya kerrii prefers a sunny to partially shaded place - it can get by with relatively little light compared to other Hoyas.

The flowers of the Hoya kerrii are white with contrasting red petals and appear between May and October. It forms long, climbing shoots that should soon be guided by a climbing aid. Overall, the heart leaf porcelain flower only reaches a height of about one meter.

Hoya bella

Hoya bellaThe Hoya bella is characterized by its elongated, conical leaves, which give an interesting structure effect. Its rich branching makes the Hoya bella perfect for compact shrubbery. However, it can also be cultivated as a hanging plant without increased pruning. Overall, it is one of the smaller varieties with a growth height of only around 50 to 60 cm.

Its particularly beautiful flowers are white with pink petals from May to October. The Hoya bella is also well suited for a rather shady location on the windowsill.

Hoya australis

The Hoya australis has its origin, as its name suggests, mainly in the tropical areas of northern Australia. It is divided into different subspecies within its kind. It is particularly vigorous and can reach a height of up to 5 meters in total - in indoor culture it therefore usually has to be cut back a little more frequently. Their shoots twist and lignify in a moderate way with age.

Like the Hoya kerrii, the flowers of the Hoya australis are white with red petals and have a very pleasant smell.

Hoya linearis

The Hoya linearis is characterized by particularly elongated, thickening leaves and is very robust. It can withstand relatively warm temperatures even in winter without immediately becoming susceptible to pests. That makes them ideal as a houseplant. Due to its long shoot, it can also be cultivated wonderfully as a hanging plant. Overall, it is a very small variety and only reaches a height of about 60 cm.

Its flowers are white with a cream-colored crown and have a delicate scent. Compared to the other types of porcelain flowers, it prefers cooler temperatures, but overall it should not be colder than about 7 ° C.