How To Grow a Stunning Hoya Kerrii or Sweetheart Hoya

Hoya kerrii or the Sweetheart Hoya has become quite popular among houseplant enthusiasts over the past few years. Also called the Valentine plant, Hoya kerrii is loved for its heart-shaped leaves.

Some common names of Hoya kerrii are Hoya hearts, the Sweetheart Hoya plant, Valentine Hoya, and the Lucky Heart plant.

Hoya kerrii is a climbing plant native to Southeast Asia and belongs to the Apocynaceae family. The plant can get quite large in the wild but usually, in home gardens, it remains miniature-sized. With proper care, it can grow up to 4 metres tall.

Sweetheart Hoya Kerrii Flowers

Hoya kerrii blooms in the summer months. The small, star-shaped blooms with their contrasting colours in red and white give a wonderful look to the plant.

Hoya Kerrii Growth Requirements  

Let us take a look at how you can care for this beautiful plant.

Light

Hoya kerrii needs moderate to bright light conditions to grow well. Any spot that receives indirect light throughout the day works fine for its growth. Avoid keeping the plant in dark places as too little light can make your Hoya prone to overwatering-related problems. 

Inside the house place near north or east-facing windows that receive filtered light.  This works well for healthy growth.  If your space lacks natural light, you can grow it under grow lights.

Water

The Sweetheart Hoya is quite hardy when it comes to watering. It needs to be watered only once or twice a month. This frequency of watering will vary depending on other factors in your area.

Check the soil each time before watering by inserting one of your fingers until the second knuckle. If it feels dry and does not stick to the finger, water the plant thoroughly so that it drains out of the bottom drainage holes.

Due to its succulent-like qualities, it stores water for longer periods. Make sure to not keep the soil soggy as it leads to rotting and fungus growth. Allow the soil to dry out significantly in between waterings. I try not to water the leaves as this can increase the likelihood of fungus.

Soil Requirements

Use an airy and well-draining potting mix to grow this epiphytic Hoya. It cannot tolerate soggy and compact soil conditions for too long. Use lots of organic matter in the soil to make it rich and fertile. If the soil feels too tight, add sand or perlite to make it airy.

If you are a beginner, think about growing the Hoya kerrii in terracotta or a clay pot instead of plastic and ceramic pots. Terracotta pots help absorb excess moisture from the soil and prevent root rot if the plant is overwatered.

Ideal Temperature

Hoya kerrii grows well in the temperature range of 18 to 27 degrees Celsius. Do not expose the plant to low temperatures as it is not cold and frost tolerant. Protect your Hoya in winters by moving it undercover or indoors to a warm, bright spot.

Humidity

Hoya kerrii has thick foliage which is largely unbothered by humidity levels. The regular humidity inside homes works well for this plant’s growth. However, if the air in your area gets too dry in summers and winters, consider keeping a humidifier or a humidity tray around the plant.

Fertilizing Hoya Kerrii

Feed Hoya kerrii two to three times a year to keep it happy and healthy. Use a diluted, liquid fertilizer to feed the plant as the Sweetheart plant is not a heavy feeder’

Avoid overfertilizing as it causes salt build-up which could burn the roots. Do not fertilize your plant in winter as the plant will be dormant. Resume it once spring arrives.

How To Propagate Hoya Kerrii?

Hoya kerrii is easy to propagate even though it takes a long time for it to grow vines. Being patient is the key to successfully propagating Hoya kerrii. It can be propagated from leaf and stem cuttings, however with a leaf cutting there is a likelihood that it will not grow any bigger.

The success rate is high when the plant is grown from stem cuttings. Take a cutting with at least two to three nodes from a mature Hoya kerrii. Remove the leaves from the bottom leaving only one or two leaves at the top.

If you propagate it in water, put the cutting in the jar such that the nodes are dipped in water. Change the water every three to four days to prevent rot. You can also root the cuttings in sphagnum moss or an airy soil mix by keeping the medium evenly moist at all times.

Once the roots are one to two inches long, you can shift them to a well-draining potting mix. Keep the soil moist in a warm, shaded location. Increase the light intensity as the plant fully acclimatizes to the new soil conditions. 

Hoya Kerrii Problems

Sweetheart plant problems include some problems that can be slightly difficult to get rid of if left ignored. Let us take a detailed look at some of them.

  1. Root Rot – Root and leaf rot is quite common in most Hoya varieties. Causes of rot include high humidity and high moisture conditions in the soil. It is crucial to have good air movement around the plant to prevent the rotting of leaves, stems, and roots.
  2. Hoya Not Producing Flowers – Hoya kerrii, like most other Hoya plants, does not flower until mature. Only a mature plant that is about a few years old can produce star-shaped blooms, if flower peduncles start forming, think about feeding to encourage strong formation.
  3. Shrivelled Leaves – Shriveling of leaves could be a sign of underwatering or overwatering. Most of the time, it is because of underwatering that the leaves wilt and shrivel. But if you follow a regular watering schedule, check your plant’s roots for rot. If the roots are dark and mushy, then you are overwatering the plant.

Final Thoughts

Hoya kerrii is a stunning plant with unique-looking leaves that make it a must-have for all gardeners. It needs little care and attention and will reward you with beautiful, star-shaped flowers. The varieties available in the market are Hoya kerrii, Hoya kerrii variegated, Hoya kerrii ‘splash’, and Hoya kerrii ‘albomarginata’.

Hoya kerrii grows well in bright, indirect light and warm, humid weather conditions. Feed it two to three times a year with a diluted, liquid fertilizer and propagate it using stem cuttings for better results. 

Isn’t it time you add one of these beauties to your garden?

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