There is arguably nothing better than having a few greens in your home to spice things up. But with a hobby like this, the next question that is in line is are there enough options for us to choose from? Well, the answer has always been yes!
One such option that we can go ahead with is the Hoya Bilobata plant. This plant is from the Hoya species that is home to some of the most ornamental plants there are. But before you decide to bring one home, you must do your research and we will help you with that.
What do we know about Hoya Bilobata?
Hoya bilobata happens to be an evergreen flowering plant native to the Philippines. It, as the name suggests, belongs to the Hoya genus, a group of plants that also goes by wax plants or porcelain flowers due to the unique look of their blooms.
The bilobata wax plant, was in the past, considered one of the smallest varieties of hoya. It produces trailing vines that can grow up to 2 feet (24 inches) long and looks truly stunning when put up in hanging baskets.
Hoya bilobatas are in general trailing plants but can be very suitable to be climbers as well. They can produce lush, thick, rounded, olive-colored leaves with point tips.
If you have managed to score a genuine hoya bilobatas can be tougher to locate at your plant shop because they can often be mislabeled.
The plant flowers are in clusters of 20-25 and are dark red, with a yellow center, and produce a honey-like fragrance during the night. Hoya bilobata, even though slow, is a very reliable bloomer, producing numerous clusters of flowers throughout the year.
The Hoya bilobata’s flowers might be one of the smallest within the Hoya genus, with leaves that are hairless and light.
Know that you have the right plant!
Something that even experienced gardeners have trouble with is identifying a Bilobota from plants that it closely resembles. Several varieties of Hoya look like a Bilobata, which can make buying one a bit confusing.
The plant is not identified by local nurseries either easily. Here are the lookalikes that you need to know about and how to identify your plant out of these.
- Hoya Burtoniae
- Hoya Tsangii
- Hoya Sp. Aff. Burtoniae
- Hoya DS-70
Although all these plants are pretty in themselves and have been around for a long time. But there are a few things that will help you in distinguishing them from a Bilobata.
In the case of a Burtoniae, the leaves are very similar for two, but it is the flowers that give the plants away. The flowers on the plant are closer and more compact on a Bilobata compared to a Burtoniae.
Out of all the species on the list, Hoya burtoniae and DS-70 are the ones that are most commonly available in local nurseries and garden centers. This might be the reason that you’ll likely find them mislabeled as Hoya bilobata.
Take care of checking the way the leaves and the flower clusters look beforehand to make sure that you’re buying the right plant. A true Hoya bilobata has light green, smooth, hairless leaves and small flower clusters that simply give them away.
Taking care of a Hoya Bilobata
There are a lot of people who think that the Hoya plants tend to need a lot of care and attention and are extremely hard to deal with. Well, these people are under the wrong impression because the plant isn’t that hard to deal with at all!
That being said, there still are things that you need to pay attention to when it comes to taking care of a Hoya bilobata.
From light requirements, to potting and repotting, here are some things that you as a plant parent need to be very careful about when caring for your green friend.
Lighting needs of the plant
Hoya bilobata are famous for loving bright, indirect light. However, not unlike many other varieties of hoya with thick, succulent leaves, it can also endure some direct sun. In fact, providing the plant with enough light, especially during the growing season, will contribute to flowering.
When you are growing Hoya bilobata indoors, we recommend placing it near a window that can provide your plant with southern or western exposure. A few hours in the direct sunlight in the morning and evening won’t do any harm to your green friend.
It’s best for the Hoya if you avoid keeping it in a window facing south. The intensity of the midday heat can scorch the leaves, causing discoloration and burn marks. If your Hoya Bilobata is exposed to enough sunlight, it may develop a slight red tinge towards the edges of its leaves.
Be careful that the leaves don’t turn too red because this is an indicator that the discoloration is due to too much sunlight and indicates burning.
Temperature Requirements of the plant
Hoya bilobata has the ability to tolerate a wide temperature range and will grow comfortably anywhere between 60 and 86 F. A maximum temperature of about 96 degrees Fahrenheit works well for the plant.
Since the plants are native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, they adore humidity. This plant is not quite frost-hardy and can struggle to grow or even survive, in temperatures below 50 F.
You can grow it in an outdoor garden in USDA zones ranging from 8 through to 11, but make sure you bring it inside if the nights are getting a little too cold. Also, note that they do well in a variety of normal household humidity levels. You can even get a humidifier to curb the difference if any.
Humidity Requirements of the plant
Like most other tropical plants you might have owned, Hoya bilobata prefers medium to high humidity. If you ask us, you should aim for a humidity level of around 60 percent. The easiest way to achieve the desired humidity levels is to place the pot on top of a pebble tray half filled with water, and the evaporation will be perfect for the humidity requirements.
During the day, you should strive for an air humidity of around 60 to 80 per cent. During the nighttime, you need to increase the humidity all the way which should be kept between 80 and 100 per cent.
Misting works well for the plant too, but on one condition, you need to have excellent air circulation at your place, and preferably a humidifier. If the foliage of your Hoya Bilobata remains drenched in wet soil, this will result in fungal problems. Keep your Bibolta in a well-ventilated room of the house, and allow the leaves to dry out before misting them again.
Watering Habits to be followed
Keep watering your Bibolata regularly, but allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Your watering habits for this plant will vary depending on the amount of light your greens receive, the temperature, and the season.
All sorts of Hoyas in general are very sensitive to overwatering. This can suffocate the roots and lead to root rot. Be careful to let the soil dry completely between waterings.
Conduct a finger test to make sure the perfect watering conditions are. If the top few inches of the soil are dry, give your plant a thorough drink.
On average, watering your Bibolata beauty once every 7 to 10 days from spring months until autumn, but during the winter months, you can reduce the schedule to once every two weeks.
It is recommended you use the soak and drain method for watering Hoya bilobata. It would be better if you wait until the top 2 inches of the soil is dry, then go ahead and soak the soil from the top until you see water dripping from the drainage holes on the pot. On that note, make sure your pot has a proper drainage system.
The important part is to allow the soil to completely dry out, as this can permanently damage the leaves and cause them to drop. Underwatering is not as bad as overwatering but it still isn’t a good thing for your plant.
The Right Soil is important
The most ideal soil mix for your Hoya bilobata is the one that can be very well-draining, loose, and aerated. When a part of its native habitat, this plant is an epiphyte, that likes growing on trees and branches. As a result of all the mooching, it has adapted to living on a very little substrate.
To have a great potting mix for your Bibolata, you can mimic the natural growing conditions of the plant. This can be achieved by combining, 1 part peat moss, 1 part perlite, and 1 part orchid bark, along with a handful of horticultural charcoal to boost drainage and prevent root fungal problems.
Hoya bilobata, as was mentioned, is vulnerable when it comes to overwatering and can be very susceptible to root rot, which is caused by a thick, compacted soil mix rather than too much water. The soil your plant lives in needs to be perfect.
Use one that is very well-draining and aerated, go ahead and allow the top to dry a bit before watering, you should never have any problems with overwatering this plant.
Fertilizing needs of the plant
Hoya bilobata is not very choosy and has moderate fertilizer needs. Throughout the months of spring and summer, which happen to be the plant’s growing season, you can give it a nutrient boost once every two weeks.
A universal fertilizer, properly diluted to half the strength should do the trick. The plant doesn’t necessarily need any additional feeding during the winter season.
If your Hoya bilobata is about to flower, you can go ahead with a fertilizer that has a good amount of phosphorus. The phosphorus content in the fertiliser will stimulate the blooms and also encourage the plant to flower again the same year.
Or, if your plant happens to be in the blooming season, you can choose a fertilizer made specifically designed for the blooms.
Pruning habits to be followed
Your Hoya bilobata, like most other plants you own, will need little pruning. You can make it prettier by getting started with a trim some of the longer vines if you want to give them a bushy look or simply keep it contained. For this, use a sharp, sterilized blade to prune the plant when needed.
If you are dealing with stems that are too flashy or vibrant for your house’s charm, you have a few options to choose from. To get started, you can opt for a trellis and wind the stems around it.
You need to be rather careful when it comes to pruning a hoya that has flowered. After the blossoms on your green friend drop, you will notice that the peduncle on the Hoya will develop a thin, woody tip. This is a Hoya spur which means that this is where the new blooms will grow out.
If you accidentally cut the spur and the peduncle, the plant won’t be able to produce any more flowers from that stalk.
When you cut your Hoya, you might witness some of the latex seeping out of the cuts you just made.
Like most people, you can choose to stem the cut and use glue to stop the plant from leaking latex, this is not what everyone does though. People leave it just as it is too. The choice will definitely, always be yours.
Potting and repotting the plant
Bilobata likes, or rather needs, to be repotted once every two or three years. As has been stated in the previous paragraphs, this plant grows in very little substrate in its natural habitat, so it happens to be happy being a bit root-bound.
If you observe that the roots of your green friend are popping out of the drainage hole(s), it’s time to bring your Hoya in a container that’s at least a size bigger.
The best time to go ahead with the repotting process is in the spring and summer months. Avoid repotting the plant if there are any developing buds on the Hoya. Moving a plant into a new plant in itself is a very stressful process for any plant, and one which is about to blossom will just be torture on your Hoya.
Terracotta pots work really well with most Hoyas. The material of this pot will be porous and provide better air circulation around the roots when compared to materials like plastic. It also facilitates in wicking the moisture from the soil, which prevents it from staying wet too long and resulting in root rot.
Propagating Hoya Bilobata
So far, this Hoya has not proven to be a very complicated green to own. It isn’t very hard to keep up with even when it comes to propagating this plant either. Once you grow to love a plant, it is natural for you to want to grow more of them.
Propagating your Hoya thus becomes an instinct. Here is how you can go about this process.
Via stem cuttings
As the name suggests, in this method, you propagate the said plant using a part of the stem cutting. Look for some stems that are green or semi-green in color, with at least one growth node.
If you select a woody stem, it will take a longer time to root than green ones. Also, as was mentioned that stems with flower buds are delicate, avoid propagating stems that have flower peduncles.
Step 1 – The right tools and cuttings
- Start by sterilizing your pruning and cutting tools to avoid any infections that might be a result of dirty hardware.
- Get a stem cutting, keeping in mind the aforementioned instructions. After obtaining this from your parent plant and cut the stem 5 inches above the node, leaving at least 1-2 nodes with few leaves.
Step 2 – Selecting a medium
Once you have obtained a cutting from your plant, you must choose how you want your plant to root and go ahead with the propagating. Let us discuss the different mediums that one can choose from.
- Obtain any container or a jar, possibly one that is a clear jar, to keep track of the plant’s progress.
- Go ahead and fill the container with fresh water and carefully place the cutting in the jar.
- Make sure that the nodes on your cutting are submerged in the liquid while preventing the leaves from establishing any contact with water.
- Place the jar containing the cuttings jar in a location with bright indirect light.
- It is important that you change the water every 2-3 days to prevent root rot or any other fungal infections.
- After waiting for about 28 days, you might start noticing the development of the roots and then transfer your plant to a soil-based medium.
- Prepare a clean and clear container and fill it in half with the sphagnum moss. After this, moist the moss but be careful not to overwater it.
- Place the cuttings till their nodes in the moss. Avoid dipping the entire leaf.
- After placing the cutting, water sphagnum daily, making it moist and hydrated.
- In about a month, i.e. 4 weeks, you’ll notice the stem developing tiny roots.
- When the roots have developed and grown about 1-2 inches, you can transfer the recently rooted stems into their ideal soil medium.
- Keep the cutting hydrated by watering the rooted stems timely and keeping them in a bright indirect location.
- To start with, prepare a well-draining soil mix of 50% peat and perlite in a terracotta pot with drainage holes.
- Before placing it in the soil, take your 5 inches cutting and place it in a rooting hormone to speed the development of the cutting’s roots.
- Regularly water the soil enough to keep it moist, but never clogged. Avoid overwatering it.
- In the said soil mix, poke a hole with the help of a chopstick and place your cutting in the soil, and firm up the soil around the cutting.
- Place your newly planted cutting in a well-lit location and keep it moist until you start witnessing root development. Keep an eye out for root rot because the Hoya is susceptible to it.
- You’ll notice the root development show up in about 2-3 weeks.
Common problems with Hoya Bibolata
Here are a few problems that have been noticed more often than not when one is cultivating a Hoya Bilobata.
Leaves dropping off your Hoya Bilobata plants are most commonly caused by the plant not getting the right amount of sunlight. Make sure of placing your Bilobata in a bright place that receives many hours of sunlight a day.
You can just follow the instructions regarding the sunlight that were started previously in the article. It’s best for the Hoya if you avoid keeping it in a window facing south. Providing the plant with enough light, especially during the growing season, will contribute to flowering.
Root rot has its most common cause in overwatering. Like most plants, not just Hoyas but all kinds of plants, root rot might cause the death of the plant because the roots tend to suffocate and not receive the right amount of nutrients.
Be sure that you use potting soil that drains easily and that you are careful in allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. Root rot might be the cause of yellow, decaying leaves. Be careful to let the soil dry completely between waterings.
Conduct a finger test to make sure the perfect watering conditions are. If the top few inches of the soil are dry, give your plant a thorough drink.
Change in leaves’ color
Red or brown-looking leaves on a Bilobata are usually caused by the plant receiving too much direct sunlight and burning. A Hoya Bilobata receiving the right amount of sunlight may have only a bit of red on the leaves, but not really a lot that is impinging.
Make sure that your green friend receives a lot of bright indirect light.
The intensity of the midday heat can scorch the leaves, causing discoloration and burn marks. Be careful that the leaves don’t turn too red because this is an indicator that the discoloration is due to too much sunlight and indicates burning.
Hoya bilobata are known for being resilient to the invasion of pests but due to any sort of unfavorable conditions, you might find one or two pets causing harm to your plant. Common pests for a Bilobata might be mealybugs and aphids.
Mealybugs are probably the most common pests for all types of hoyas. When the plant is infected, you need to quarantine your plant and pick these off one by one. Another way to go about this is by spraying them off with a jet spray.
But before we just go about providing solutions, let’s talk about the problems in detail.
- Mealy Bugs – when your plant is dealing with such an infestation, you will start witnessing lumps on the leaves of your plant. You might even mistake these for honeydew if you are not paying attention to your plant. An infestation of this sort will result in the curling and further discoloration of the leaves on your Hoya.
- Aphids – these are quite stubborn sorts of pests for your plant. These ones are small green bugs that normally form clusters by the blooms of these plants. You can try and get rid of these by removing them by hand or go ahead with spraying the plant with a strong jet of water. These tend to hamper the growth of your Hoya.
- Spider mites – like a spider, these pests form a silky web on the underside of the leaves of your Hoya. When affected by these, your Hoya might experience yellowing of leaves. This discoloration is followed by the wilting and loss of leaves by your lovely green friend.
- Scales – this infection on your Hoya might result in round bumps on the leaves of your Hoya. This can be also spread to the stems of the plants too. In cases that turn out to be too severe for your plant, the plant might witness wilting of leaves which is accompanied by black fungus on the stem and leaves of your Hoya.
- Wipe the leaves on your Hoya with water once every few weeks to prevent the accumulation of dust.
- Control the amount of water you provide your plant with and do not overfeed your plant.
- Keep checking on your plant regularly to keep an eye out for pests.
- You can also apply pesticides every once in a while to avoid the plant.
- When pruning or cutting your Hoya, always sterilize the tools and equipment you are about to use.
- Use a combination of rubbing alcohol, water, and a few drops of non-toxic dish soap and spray the mixture over the plant.
- You can even opt for spraying your Hoya with a high force of water to eradicate pests.
- Applying neem oil and/or horticultural oil to the foliage of the plant will also help your plant deal with the issues.
- Be careful in isolating the infected plant to avoid any damage to other plants.
- You can even opt for an insecticidal soap on the plant to eliminate pests without polluting the soil with hazardous waste.
- Apply pesticide every two to three days till you witness the pests on the plant.
Can a Hoya Bilobata be toxic to my pets?
Bilobata makes an ideal plant for your home, this includes the fact that it is a non-toxic one. These wax plants happen to be completely safe for humans and pets. You don’t really need to worry about any harm to your pets or children.
If you see that any of them have consumed the leaves and have an upset stomach, you can approach a doctor.
Can a Hoya Bilobata be toxic to my pets?
For a Hoya Bilobata, bottom watering might be the ideal choice. This is because the plant appreciates humidity and bottom watering will provide the Hoya with ideal conditions. Fill a bowl with water and put it in the plant’s pot and let your plant enjoy.
The root absorbs the water through drainage holes. Just keep an eye out for overwatering because that is not very ideal.
Why is my Hoya Bilobata not flowering?
A Hoya bilobata when healthy and provided with the right growing conditions should bloom when it turns 4 years old.
To facilitate the blooming, try giving your Hoya a few hours of direct sunlight in the morning or evening, increasing the humidity, and making sure that the soil never dries out completely. A phosphorus-rich fertilizer also helps in the flowering of your Bilobata.
A bilobata with its trailing vines and sweet-scented flowers, this Hoya can make a truly gorgeous addition to any home. If you are interested in a Hoya, we have nothing against this plant at all.
Since it is easy to care for it will be an ideal fit for your home if you have just ventured into the world of gardening. Just a few quirks to keep in mind, and it will be one of the prettiest addition to your garden.
Be a responsible plant parent, and it will be a great friend for you and a resilient one at that.
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