Brown Spots on Hoya Leaves – Causes and How to Fix It

A gorgeous plant with health benefits, non-toxic to pets, and low maintenance, hoyas tick all the boxes. Nonetheless, sometimes hoyas may encounter problems, one of them is brown spots on the leaves, which are very common. 

As mentioned it is a common problem in hoya so you need not worry. In this article, you will discover what caused this problem, and how to fix it.

Generally, brown spots can be caused by bacterial leaf spots, fungal leaf spots, and algal leaf spots. The same thing can happen when there are insufficient environmental conditions, like extreme temperatures. You may also see brown spots on your Hoya if you have pests. 

A thorough research of these causes led me to come up with a great solution to fix brown spots on hoya leaves. In this article, I am going to go into more detail about the causes and how to fix brown spots on hoya leaves.

What causes brown spots on Hoya Leaves and their solutions?

You might witness your beautiful leaves having small to large brown spots, reducing the beauty of the plant. If these brown spots on hoya leaves are not treated quickly and properly, they might cover the whole leaves.

It can harm the plant severely and restrict its growth. Your plant may even die if the problem persists for a long time. Several factors can cause the brown spots on hoya leaves, and you need to treat them properly to avoid any issues.

I will simultaneously discuss possible reasons and solutions that may be causing hoya brown spots. You won’t have to go all the way down to find solutions for each problem. Let’s move forward.

1. Watering problems can lead to brown spots on hoya leaves

As you know, water is essential to every plant’s growth. It helps to produce food and supply parts of the plant. But both over and under doing it can cause harm to the hoya plant.

a) Overwatering

If you have been overwatering your hoya plant more often, it can cause an issue. I know you may have done it accidentally, but it can harm your plant to a greater extent.

How can you overwater a hoya plant?

  • You have watered it a lot in a single time,
  • Or, you have given it water many times a week, which might be too much for the plant.

Several other reasons that could cause overwatering are poor drainage or soil retaining too much moisture. If your hoya plant is standing in soggy soil, or you forgot to adjust your watering schedule according to the season, it may cause brown spots on hoya leaves.

Another possible problem is root submerging in the water for a long period. Overwatering is the reason behind this issue. Your submerged roots will be unable to absorb oxygen, drown, and die. If it persists, it can lead to root decay.

Your hoya plant’s roots may become thick, mushy, and start to rot. It is an excellent opportunity for pathogens to attack your plant, leading to the plant’s death. These pathogens, fungi, and bacteria will worsen the rot and cause it to spread to the rest of the plant, potentially killing it.

Your plants may absorb excess water from the waterlogged soil, and the leaves will turn brown. Hoya plants store water in their leaves, and excessive amounts can harm them. In short, your hoya plants don’t prefer to sit in water for a long time.

What to do?

To overcome the problem of hoya leaves turning brown, you should stop overwatering them. Ideally, you should only water your hoya plant when the topmost layer of soil is slightly dry.

You should also check whether or not your hoya plant is suffering from root decay. To check, follow the steps:

  • Take your hoya plant out of the growing medium (pot or container)
  • Gently remove the soil from the hoya plant.
  • Now, wash away the soil from the roots as much as possible. 
  • It’s time to wear your Sherlock glasses and evaluate the roots.
  • It is a prominent sign of root decay if your roots are watery, mushy, fatty, black, or decaying.

If yes, you should repot the hoya plant immediately.

How to repot Hoya plant?

Let us check out the steps to repot Hoya Plant:

  1. First, remove your hoya from the pot, and wash away all the soil.
  2. Prune down the decayed roots up to 30%.
  3. Take a new container or clean the older one. I would advise you to take a new growing medium.
  4. Fill it with the new soil and plant the hoya in it.
  5. Add a fine layer of soil and water it.

b) Underwatering

If you do not overwater your hoya plant too seriously, you might have a hold on your watering. When the soil is dry, nutrients can reach up to the leaves. It can cause brown spots on hoya leaves. 

You may have placed your hoya plant in a location where it receives too much sunlight. It can cause your plant to dry up quickly, and lack of water creates an issue. 

Or, if you are using poor or wrong soil for your hoya plant, it won’t hold moisture well. It can all lead to brown leaves.

Your plants need water to keep their healthy leaves healthy and green. If no water is in the soil, your plant will be dehydrated and wilt quickly.

What to do?

If you witness your hoya plant’s soil cracked up fully, it’s high time to water them adequately. Water your plant till it drains through the drainage hole. Place the pot aside to recover from hoya brown spots.

2. Sunlight issues may be damaging the leaves

Yes, we all know sunlight is crucial for the hoya plant’s growth. But excessive sunlight can cause harm to the delicate leaves. 

Direct sunlight for a long period can burn the leaves, leaving brown spots.

The leaves will become crispy and fall after some time. It is nearly impossible for the crispy leaves to recover.

What to do?

Hoyas prefer bright, indirect light. If you witness your hoya leaves have brown edges and spots, move them to a shadier location. 

If you are growing your hoya plants outdoors, cover them from the direct sunlight. You can place it under a patio or porch where it will receive shade for several hours daily.

If you are keeping your hoya plant indoors, place it near an east or west-facing window. Windows facing south will be too harsh for the plant to endure the light. 

You can also lower the light level by covering your hoya plant with a sheer curtain over the window.

How to take care of Hoya plants?

As I mentioned earlier, the hoya plant loves indirect sunlight, so you cannot take away all the sunlight from them. They need sunlight to grow healthily

If you don’t have enough sources of sunlight for the hoya plant to grow, you can add grow light to balance the effect.

3. Repotting can also cause hoya leaves to turn brown and fall off

Another possible reason could be repotting. Yes, it may shock you, but repotting causes a lot of stress to the plants. 

Repotting may be easy for you, but it isn’t for your hoya plants. They have to adjust themselves in their new home. It may take time.

Hoya plants do not respond well to repotting initially and will show signs of stress by wilting leaves. Your leaves may also fall off. The changes may alarm you, but in general, they are normal. 

What to do?

If you witness any hoya brown spots, do not panic. You should provide your hoya plant with a natural home environment close to its ideal growing conditions. It will help the plant to adjust better and faster. 

4. Location change can affect the hoya plant’s health

If you are constantly swapping the places of your hoya plants, it might give them a shock. It may be just a location swap, but it is a complete temperature change for them. They have to adjust themselves all over again. 

What to do?

Do it gradually if you want to move your hoya plant from indoors to an outdoor garden. Let your plant adjust to it slowly. 

Place your hoya plant outside for one hour on the first day, and then increase the time spent outside by 30 minutes each day. 

Continue doing this until the plant can tolerate spending the entire day outside, but it should still spend some time in the shade.

5. Frost damage can cause brown spots on Hoya Leaves

Hoya plants thrive in tropical climates. They are not accustomed to extremely cold temperatures. 

You can easily expect hoya leaves to turn brown and fall due to the frost damage. You can witness the damage after a few days. It is permanent and relatively hard to save your plant once it has spread to the whole plant. 

What to do?

You can only save your hoya plant by removing dead leaves and hydrating them.

6. A chemical burn can cause brown spots on hoya leaves

If your fertilizer has too many chemicals and salts, it can cause hoya brown spots. Salt can draw moisture from plants, causing them to dry out. 

The nutrients won’t be able to reach the leaves, causing them to fall off. 

What to do?

You should use organic fertilizer in small quantities. Like all other beings, Hoyas demand adequate nutrition to obtain both necessary and functional nutrients for survival.

7. Fertilizer issues cause hoya leaves to turn brown and fall off

Hoya plants need fertilizer to grow healthily. But both under and overdoing it won’t work for them.

a) Over Fertilizing

You have skipped feeding your hoya plant and now want to compensate for it by overfertilizing it, a bad idea. It can cause hoya leaves to turn brown and fall off.

b) Under Fertilizing

On the other hand, you completely skipped feeding your plant. Hoya plants need enough nutrients in their soil to grow. The fertilizer supplies these nutrients for better growth.

What to do?

Examine the symptoms and determine what is causing the hoya brown spots.

Start by evaluating the area around the symptomatic leaves. Older leaves indicate a lack of mobile nutrients, while younger leaves indicate a lack of immobile nutrients. Feed your plant with an organic fertilizer in their growing season in a sufficient amount.

8. Diseases can cause brown spots on hoya leaves

If your hoya plants are suffering from diseases, brown spots are a common problem. You should stop the spread of the disease early on via the elements, insects, or contaminated gardening tools. Else it would be impossible for your hoya plant to recover.

If your hoya plants have open wounds, they are more easily infected. Before using them on another plant, you should clean the tools.

These are some of the diseases that can cause hoya brown spots which are given below. Let’s check them out:

a) Anthracnose

Anthracnose is caused by the fungi of the Colletotrichum genus. It causes brown spots on Hoya leaves with yellow outlines.

You can witness large brown spots with grey spores on infected leaves. They typically affect plants in rainy, humid, and warm climates.

If your hoya plant is wounded, it is a major risk. It affects more wounded parts of the plant as they are easy to contaminate.

b) Botrytis cinerea fungi

It can also cause brown spots on hoya leaves. As the leaves begin to fall off, the plant will rot.

c) Alternaria Leaf Spot

It is a common problem for many fruits and vegetables. It may have a major impact on your indoor hoya plants. 

You will usually notice a dark brown, yellow, or black spot in its early stages. If the problem persists, it can extend to the stems. Your entire plant will wither, fall off, and die.

d) Mildew Powdery

These are common in many indoor plants. They thrive in high humidity. You may notice a white or grey powder coating the hoya plant’s leaves and fruits. Hoya may turn yellow or brown if left untreated for a long time.

e) Septoria

It commonly affects tomato plants. Septoria can cause brown spots on hoya plants as well. You must treat your plants sooner as it rapidly spreads to the entire plant.

What to do?

  • If you are growing your hoya plants indoors, make sure to separate them from other plants. The Hoya plant may spread its disease to others as well. It will improve air circulation too.
  • If you suspect poor soil, remove it immediately and replace it with a clean one.
  • To prevent the diseases mentioned above, you should clean and prune down all the affected leaves as soon as possible.
  • Before using gardening tools on your hoya plants, disinfect them to avoid cross-contamination.
  • To strengthen your hoya plant’s immunity, make sure it has adequate lighting, water, and fertilizer.
  • If your hoya plant has fungi disease, place your Hoyas in a cool, shady location. 

9. Pests that can affect your Hoya plants

Several pests like mealy bugs, aphids, scale insects, and spider mites can cause brown spots on hoya plants. After sucking out the plant nutrients, they usually leave brown lesions.

What to do?

  • These pests attack in small numbers. You can physically remove them before they multiply. It would be hard to deal with your hoya plant’s whole army of pests. 
  • Apply insecticidal soaps if you find aphids, thrips, or spider mites. You can coat your hoya plants or continuously spray them on the affected leaves.
  • You can use sticky traps to catch fungus gnats and whiteflies. 
  • If the brown spots extend to the stems, you can use rubbing alcohol to get rid of the mealybugs.
  • If scales are bothering you, remove them with a soft brush.
  • You can use pressurized water sprays. Pests can’t keep up with the constant pressure of the water. They’d have no choice but to release the plant.

10. The rapid absorption of water can lead to Edema

Basically, Edema is the result of a faster rate of water absorption from the roots leaving other parts of the plant dehydrated.

As a result of the buildup of water pressure inside the leaves’ internal cells, blisters develop. In most cases, they are found on the underside of the leaves. Usually, this happens at the end of winter and when it’s cloudy.

As blisters form on Edema, wart-like growths erupt in white or brown colour. As the condition progresses, leaves turn yellow and fall off. 

What to do?

Before you water your plant again, let the soil dry up a bit. By doing this, it will be able to recover and re-adjust. Always check whether the soil is wet before watering more, and never let the hoya sit in the water.

11. Downy Mildew causes brown spots on hoya leaves

Pseudoperonospora cubensis is responsible, an oomycete and not a fungus. At temperatures ranging from 41-86°F (4-28°C), it can start infecting plants.

When humid conditions prevail, mildew spores rapidly reproduce and spread, causing severe damage to the plant. Nevertheless, it only grows on moist leaves and living tissues.

Usually, Hoya leaves develop pale green or yellow spots on the upper surface, which later turn brown.

What to do?

Use wide plant spacing to avoid the spread of downy mildew, and promote good air circulation and water early in the day.

12. Hoya plants suffer from algal leaf spots in humid climates

Algal leaf spot, or green scurf, is caused primarily by Cephaleuros virescens. This problem affects Hoya plant species in warm, humid climates.

It can also affect twigs and branches, resulting in pale green or reddish brown lesions. Grey, green, orange or brown spots appear on leaves. However, it rarely kills plants, which is its only advantage. Your hoya won’t die if you get this disease, so don’t worry.

What to do?

With a soft cloth and vinegar, you can remove them. Tap water may contain additives, so do not use it. Alternatively, you can use rainwater or distilled water.

How to keep your hoya plant healthy?

I will tell you the secret to keeping your hoya plant healthy. Make sure to follow the steps that I have given below to get a healthy hoya plant!

  1. Before planting your hoya plants, you should clean your gardening tools.
  2. You should use the right pot size as the bigger growing medium will cause brown spots on hoya leaves.
  3. You should prune the diseased or affected leaves to promote better growth.
  4. Use well-draining soil for your hoya plants.
  5. You should always choose the right and appropriate amount of fertilizer for healthy development. Do not fertilize in the winter season as the plant is in dormancy.
  6. Do not fertilize your hoya plant after repotting.
  7. Make sure to give your hoya plants an adequate amount of water. Water your beauties when the topsoil is 1-2 inches dry. 
  8. Choose the best location for your hoya plant. It should have adequate lighting and a high humidity level.
  9. If you find any pests, immediately get rid of them. It will spread quickly and will take over your hoya plant.


Hoya plants are an excellent pick if you are looking for low-maintenance plants. Not only their ease of care, but the beautiful vines, waxy leaves, and clusters of pretty flowers capture attention quickly. 

Let me take a quick recap on the 9 causes that can make brown spots on the leaves of your hoya plant:

  1. Watering problems
  2. Sunlight issues
  3. Repotting
  4. Location change 
  5. Frost damage
  6. Chemical burn
  7. Fertilizer issues
  8. Diseases
  9. Pests

If you have made it this far in this article, I am damn sure, all of your questions regarding this amazing plant are taken care of. But if you still have any questions in mind, feel free to comment down below. Also, let me know if you know of any other way to get rid of hoya brown spots, I will be happy to hear and share in my next article. I know it’s too much to ask but please don’t forget to share this article on social media and with your friends and family!

Related Articles


  • Navya Rathour

    Navya is an Agriculture graduate with a keen interest in plants. She is a plant lover and loves to share her knowledge to the best of her abilities. She has worked for the welfare of plants since she was ten years old, has grown more than 50 houseplants inside her home, and loves to share her experience.

Leave a Comment