Hoya Serpens – Everything You Need To Know (Grow, Care, Propagation and Problems)

Did you know that the Hoya Serpens is one of the most popular indoor plants that produce beautiful foliage and fragrant flowers? Do you want to know why it stood in the list of the top 100 indoor plants?

Trust me, if you are having these questions in your mind, then you are at the right place to get enough information. Combined with unique and gorgeous foliage with low care maintenance, this plant has so much to offer and is a must to keep at home. Also, you can grow them both indoors and outdoors. 

Are you ready to learn more about its diverse and fascinating houseplants? 

Today, in this article you will know everything about this beautiful indoor plant, from its care, growing, propagation, and problems, Hoya Serpens.

Let’s delve more deeply into the article beginning with an introduction to this plant!

About Hoya Serpens plants!

About Hoya Serpens plants!

Hoya Serpens belong to the Hoya genus, which is a member of the Apocynaceae family. They are the natives of the Himalayas (India), Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, and Vietnam. These are the tropical plants that thrive with low care. These plants have succulent characteristics. They are known for their low maintenance and their beautiful look. The circle-shaped flowers and fuzzy flowers make them eye-catchy. You can grow them both indoors and outdoors with proper care. 

I will take you to the care guide of this beautiful plant further in this article, but before that let me tell you more about this gorgeous plant.

1. Height: Hoya Serpens can achieve a height of up to 8 to 10 feet when grown in favorable conditions.

2. Width: They occupy 0.25 to 0.5 feet of space.

3. Growing season: The growing season of the plant is between the early spring and the late summer.

4. Dormancy period: Hoyas undergo dormancy in the winter season.

5. Maintenance: These plants can be maintained easily both indoors and outdoors.

6. Toxicity: Fortunately, Hoya Serpens are non-toxic to humans and animals. But, the sap it bleeds while pruning might cause skin irritations.

7. Flowering: The flowers of the Hoya Serpens are pale pink with a sweet fragrance. These flowers add beauty to the plant. They grab our attention towards them. They have a thick furry look. They grow in bunches. Most of the flowering is observed in the mid-growing season.

8. Foliage: They have lovely foliage, the leaves of the Hoya Serpens are round and small, which are usually 1.5 to 2 cm. They are furry and dark green.

How to propagate Hoya Serpens?

How to propagate Hoya Serpens

Propagating Hoya Serpens is as easy as we grow them. There are four propagating methods to know which I will discuss in detail now!

1. Propagation of Hoya Serpens through seeds!

It is the easiest and carefree process of propagating the plant, but it takes a lot of time to see the newly propagated plant. Most plant enthusiasts use this method for increasing the plant’s number in their gardens. Let us know his process in detail!

  • Collect the seed pods from a strong and mature plant. The pods should neither be in green color nor too dry. 
  • Twist the pod to gather the seeds in them. 
  • Prepare a pot with nutrient-rich soil mix and dampen it. It is better to take a shallow pot, as you sow more than one seed.
  • Sow the seeds in the soil mix at an inch deep. Make sure that there is an inch gap between any two seeds.
  • Maintain the moisture in the pot to fasten the root growth.
  • Within 4-5 weeks the roots start growing from the seeds. Transplant the seedlings into different pots, once they start growing.

2. Propagation of Hoya Serpens through cuttings!

According to me, this is the best method of propagating the plant. Because it is also an easy one, a carefree one and the newly propagated plant does not take much time to grow. Let me explain this method in detail!

  • Firstly, cut at least 5 to 10-inch stems (as many as you like) from the mother plant. 
  • Prepare a pot with a suitable potting mix to plant the stems. Dampen the soil.
  • Deadhead the bottom half of the stem cutting (leave some leaves on the top) and dip in the rooting hormone. Dipping in Rooting hormone is optional you can skip the step if you don’t have it.
  • Now, place the stem into the soil at 2 inches deep. 
  • Place it in the bright indirect sunlight and maintain the dampness in the soil. 
  • The roots start growing in 2-3 weeks. If you observe the new growth in the newly propagated plant then it is time to transplant the cuttings into different pots.
Propagation of Hoya Serpens through cuttings!

3. Propagation of Hoya Serpens through layering!

It is the fastest process of propagation. The success rate is also high. But this process is not so easy and needs a lot of attention. Thus many plant growers refuse to propagate their plants in this method. It might sound crazy to follow this method instead of propagating the plant with stem cutting, but some propagators use this method to get faster results. Let us know the process in detail!

  • To start this process, firstly take a pot with good drainage which is filled with a well-drained soil mix.
  • Bring the pot near the plant. Take an old bottom stem of the plant, which is in contact with the main stem (bottom stems produce roots faster than the others), and cut it. The cut must be ½ inch in depth and 2 inches in height. 
  • Bend the stem, such that the wound gets in touch with the soil in the other pot. 
  • Secure it with some floral pins and place a small rock on the stem.
  • Make sure that the soil is damp in the pot where we are propagating the stem.
  • The roots start growing within 1 or 2 weeks. 
  • Then gently separate the stem from the mother plant. 
  • The newly propagated plant must be provided enough care until it starts growing well.

4. Propagation of Hoya Serpens through Air layering!

It is so similar to the above process, but there is a slight difference between the two. Let me tell you in detail!

  • Select an old and strong stem, which is near to the root system and in contact with the main stem of the plant to propagate. Because these stems produce roots quickly.  
  • Make a wound to the stem. The wound must be at least ½ inch deep and 2-inch in height.
  • Cover the wound with sphagnum or soil and wrap it with a plastic cover. This helps in maintaining humidity. It is better to use a transparent cover because you can observe the root growth. 
  • Be attentive to the plant. Provide proper care.
  • Within a week or two, you can see the root growth in the wound. Then gently cut the stem to plant it in another pot. The pot should be filled with proper soil mix.
  • Place it in a bright indirect place.
Propagation of Hoya Serpens through Air layering!

5. Propagating of Hoya Serpens through different mediums!

The stem cuttings of the plant can be propagated in four mediums. However, you should transplant the stem into the soil after it starts producing roots!

1. Soil

It is a commonly used medium for propagating plants. You should maintain the moisture in the soil to fasten the root growth process. The process of propagating in soil medium is what we have discussed in all propagation methods.

2. Water

Propagating the plant in the water makes the process faster and you can also help in observing the root growth. You can also keep the cutting indoors to decorate the house. Take the plant cutting and dip it in the liquid rooting hormone (optional) and place it in a jar filled with tap water (that is left for more than a day in an open container). A transparent jar helps to see the root growth. All you need to do is to change the water every 2 days to avoid mold growth in it. The roots start to grow in 2-3 weeks, then place the plant in the soil mix.

3. Sphagnum

The sphagnum moss is a material that holds moisture for a long time and thus helps in faster root growth. So many plant growers use it as a medium for propagation. Place the stem cutting dipped in rooting hormone in a small container filled with sphagnum moss. Water it and be attentive to it. Root starts growing from the stem cutting within 2-3 weeks. Then remove the newly propagated plant from the sphagnum and place it into the well-drained soil mix which is in a suitable pot.

4. Perlite

Perlite is also a good moisture holder and is thus used by propagators to boost root growth. Take a plastic container that is filled with perlite, water it and place the stem cutting in the container and cover it with a plastic lid or with a plastic wrap. The stem starts producing the roots in just 2-3 weeks and then plants it in the soil mix.

How to care for Hoya Serpens?

Hoya Serpens plants can be grown easily. It is a low-care plant that thrives with minimum care. Even beginners can maintain the plant happily if they follow some care tips. I will now discuss the care guide for the plant in detail that will make your gardening journey easy!

1. Sunlight requirements of the Hoya Serpens!

Sunlight requirements of the Hoya Serpens!

The Hoya Serpens need bright indirect sunlight for their survival. Like every other plant, this perennial plant needs light for its photosynthesis. But, direct sun can burn the foliage of the plant and cause dehydration in the plant. Thus, it leads to many problems. Placing the plant in a well-lit place in our home that gets enough light for the plant’s growth is enough for it to thrive. 

This is how the plant used to get sunlight in its native place. In the Himalayas, these plants that climb on the trees get diffused light that passes through the foliage of the trees. If you are planning to place the plant outdoors, then, place it in a shade. It’s not a good idea to leave the plant to the direct sun, even though it is surrounded by many other plants. 

Placing the plant near the windows that source bright light can help the plant in thriving. Make sure you cover the windows with a drape during the hot summer to avoid the attack of intense sun rays that passes through the window glass. The plant should get at least 4to 5 hours of direct sunlight for its better growth.

2. Water requirements of the Hoya Serpens!

Water is also an essential thing for the plant’s survival. The Hoya Serpens need a good drink of water whenever the top 1-2 inches layer of the soil mix becomes dry. Do not overwater or underwater the plant. Overwatering results in root rots or fungal growths while under watering leads to dehydration in the plant. 

Being a native to the Himalayas, these Hoya Serpens can’t tolerate too dry conditions. So, always check the soil to water the plant. Watering frequency depends on climatic conditions. It needs a lot of water during the summers and on sunny days. In normal temperatures, the plant needs water on every alternative day. Water the plant slowly. Let the soil and the roots absorb enough water and let the excess water come out of the drainage holes. 

Reduce the frequency and the amount of water during the winter. Because it is the dormant period of the plant and thus it stops growing. So, it will not consume more water. Use tap water that is left for at least a day. This helps in avoiding the harsh chemicals present in direct tap water. Rainwater can be stored to water this plant. Watering with Distilled water is also a better idea.

3. Ideal temperature range of the Hoya Serpens!

Ideal temperature range of the Hoya Serpens!

These plants may be native to places that have low temperatures, but they love to survive in moderate temperature ranges. Room temperatures make the plant happy. That is the temperature between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature range for the plant. It feels warm in temperatures from 68 to 85 degrees and grows better in this case. But the temperatures above 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit can damage the plant. 

Also, temperatures below 55 degrees can make the plant chill and cause a drop in its growth rate. The degrees below 50 can stop the plant’s growth and are not good for the plant’s survival. Try using plant heaters in such cases. You can place the plant near air conditioners to get it cool in the hot summers. Save the plant from cool drafts in the winter. If the plant is placed outdoors, get it indoors during the hot summer and in the cool winters.

4. An ideal humidity level of the Hoya Serpens!

Hoya Serpens thrive in high humidity levels. Being a native to the Himalayas the plant needs a lot of moisture to survive. The humidity levels between 60 to 100 percent are considered suitable humidity levels for the plant. The humidity below this range will have many negative effects on the plant’s growth. 

Try misting the plant whenever you feel that the leaves are dry. Using a humidifier is also a better idea. Some gardeners cover their plants with a plastic cover to maintain the humidity. It is a good idea but I don’t recommend it for beginners. Because it needs a lot of attention and care. misting with good aeration keeps the plant healthy. 

To maintain humidity, you can surround the plant with other plants. Make sure that the plant is dry while you mist it. If the water stands on the foliage for longer periods, it makes the leaf mushy and leads to fungal growth and thus it leads to fungal growth.

5. Suitable soil mix for the Hoya Serpens!

Suitable soil mix for the Hoya Serpens!

Soil plays an important role in maintaining the good health of the plant. The soil’s moisture of the Hoya Serpens must be moderate to low. But, it should not be completely dry or too damp. Dry soil causes dehydration in the plant, whereas damp soil causes root-related issues in the plant. Both cases damage the plant’s health. So use a well-drained soil mix to avoid the storage of the excess water and use perlite and other such materials in the soil mix to hold the moisture. Also, follow the watering tips.

Although many plant stores provide the best quality well-draining soil mixes, it is better to prepare a well-drained nutrient-rich soil mix at home. This not only saves your time and money but also enhances plant growth. 

Well-draining soil mix can be prepared by mixing orchid bark, peat, coarse sand, and perlite with the normal soil in equal quantities to make it well-draining. Peat and orchid bark provide nutrients to the plant, whereas perlite holds moisture. You can also mix coco chips and charcoal to the mix according to your availability. You can observe an increase in the growth rate of the plant.

Remember the soil mix of the Hoya Serpens should always be slightly acidic. It is okay if it is neutral, but maintain the pH level between 6 to 7. Organic matter present in the soil will make the neutral soil slightly acidic so you don’t need to worry about its pH.

6. Potting the Hoya Serpens!

Potting the Hoya Serpens!

The Hoya Serpens need to be potted well. Potting has significance in maintaining the health of the plant. Potting the plant involves the selection of the better pot and the process of potting. You should consider the material, size, and drainage system of the pot while you select the best pot for planting your Hoya Serpens.

a) Material of the pot

Although the Hoya Serpens need a little moistened soil to live in, The hoya plants have sensitive root systems that are prone to root rot. Thus they should be potted in a pot that allows the soil to dry quickly. It is not only the responsibility of the drainage system to make the soil dry, but the pot should also allow the aeration into the soil to dry it. This also helps in supplying oxygen to the root system. 

So, instead of using plastic pots or other such pots that don’t allow aeration into the soil, it is better to use clay pots, ceramic pots, and also cement pots are better choices. These pots have porous walls that allow the passage of air through them and make the soil dry and supply oxygen to the roots. Thus they prevent fungal growth in the soil mix and root rot. These pots are also cheap and are available at any plant store.

b) Size of the pot

The size of the pot should be 2 inches larger than the root system of the plant. Because the larger pots store water for a long time that may lead to root rot.

c) The drainage system of the pot

It is the main aspect of potting a plant. The pot should have a good drainage system to pot the Hoya Serpens. These plants have sensitive roots that cannot live in damp soil for a long time. A drainage hole at the bottom of the pot is enough for draining the excess water. It is even better if you find a pot with more than 3 -5 small drainage holes at the bottom. Remember this is the first thing to consider when you buy a pot.

d) Process of potting

Follow the below steps to pot your plant.

  • Select a suitable pot that is 2 inches larger than the root system of the pot. 
  • Fill the first layer of the pot with gravel or with small pieces of bricks. This avoids blockage of the drainage holes. Then fill the second layer with the suitable soil mix.
  • Place the plant on the soil and support the plant by adding soil mix around the plant.
  • Water it slightly and place it in a well-lit area.

7. Repotting the Hoya Serpens!

It is important to report the Hoya Serpens plant every 2-3 years. The plants that are grown in the ground get enough nutrients. But the plants that are planted in pots may suffer from a lack of nutrients after some time, the soil loses all the nutrients present in it. Also, the plant spreads its roots and there may be no space for their further growth. So, it is better to repot a plant every 2-3 years which keeps the plant healthy and also improves its growth. Moreover, it reduces the chances of fungal growth in the soil.

To repot the plant, firstly take a suitable pot which is 1-2 inches larger than the old one. Then follow the potting process.

8. Pruning Hoya Serpens plant!

Pruning Hoya Serpens plant!

Pruning dried leaves, stems, and flowers is a way of caring for your Hoya Serpens. This saves the energy of the plant. You can also prune the leggy stems of the plant to maintain its shape. It is better to prune the plant in the early spring as it is the growing season of the plant. Pruning in the growing season not only boosts the growth of the plant but also avoids the risk of stress caused by shock due to pruning. 

Always wear gardening gloves while pruning the Hoya Serpens, because these plants bleed sap that might cause skin irritations. The pruners you use must be sterilized before and after the process. Don’t over-prune the plant. Avoid pruning the new leaf nodes and the old flowering spots, because you can observe the new flowering there. Don’t prune the plant in winter.

9. Fertilizing the Hoya Serpens!

Hoya Serpens need fertilization in their growing season to support their growth. The plant gets damaged equally when it is over-fertilized or unfertilized. So, fertilize the plant with balanced mild fertilizers to boost its growth. Once or twice during the growing season is enough for the plant’s health maintenance. Avoid fertilizing the plant during the winter season as this may cause stress in the plant. The best time to prune the plant is just before the growing season or in the early growing season. You can feed it again after 3-4 weeks.

Use balanced fertilizers and mild ones to feed your Hoya Serpens. Read the instructions given on the container of the fertilizer before you feed it. NPK fertilizers help the plant produce better roots, stems, and flowers. Organic fertilizers are also the better choices for feeding the plant.

Common problems of the Hoya Serpens!

Your Hoya Serpens plant is not invincible or superhuman just because it is a native plant of the Himalayas! Of course, pests and diseases can also affect the plant if you fail to take care of the plants or neglect them! But don’t worry, now I will discuss those pests and diseases that can affect your Hoya Serpens so that you can identify them easily and prevent them from spreading as soon as possible!

1. Pest attacks

Pest attacks

Hoya plants are often considered tropical plants that are prone to pest attacks. Don’t worry! They can be treated when identified soon after their birth. Mostly Hoya Serpens are bothered by the following pests.

a) Mealybugs

Mealy bugs are small cottony insects that grow on the stems and undersides of the leaves. They consume the plant’s fluid to survive. This results in dehydration and a lack of nutrients in the plant. It causes leaf drop, yellowing of the leaves, and makes the stem dry.

b) Scale

These insects look like small bumps on the plant. Many new gardeners think that is a part of the plant, but later it turns into a brown insect. It can be removed by hand or you can use some methods to remove these infestations.

c) Spider mites

This infestation looks like white or yellow spots on the back side of the foliage. Later they develop web formation in the infected areas. In such cases, the leaves become yellow or brown. This too sucks up the plant’s fluid like other infestations and causes damage to the plant’s health.

d) Aphids

These are also small insects that suck up the plant’s sap and damage the plant’s growth. They are in black or brown color and lie on the foliage and stems of the plant.

e) Whiteflies

These look like white 3D dots on the bottom sides of the leaves of the plant; they too live on the plant’s sap. The foliage becomes thin and turns yellow. Eventually, the infected leaves fall off.

Methods of avoiding pest attacks

  1. Using mild pesticides to avoid infestations is a good idea, but heavy usage of them will damage the plant’s growth. Strong and matured plants can resist mild pesticides.
  2. Wipe the infected area with a cotton ball or a tissue dipped in the rubbing alcohol. 
  3. Spray soap water or diluted dish wash can help the plant to get rid of these troubling insects.
  4. Apply neem oil on the infected parts to remove the pests.

2. Diseases


Although the Hoya Serpens are hardy plants they too get troubled by some diseases that are caused due to changes in the climate or improper care. Let us know them in detail.

a) Root rot

This is considered a dangerous disease since it affects the plant’s survival. We know that the roots are responsible for the plant’s survival. Roots absorb the water, oxygen, and nutrients from the soil and air and transfer that to the plant’s other parts. If the roots of the plant get rotten, it fails to perform well and that results in a growth drop. The plant eventually dies if you ignore it. This is commonly caused by overwatering, poor drainage of the pot, usage of compact soil mix, or other such cases. 

The signs of root rot are yellow and mushy leaves, and black spots on the foliage and the stems. Mold growth on the soil and emission of a foul smell from the plant. Repot the plant and use a sterilized pot filled with well-drained soil mix to pot the plant. Prune the rotten parts completely before you pot it in another pot to avoid the spread of the fungus.

b) Fungal growth

Fungal growth in soil or on the parts of the plant is due to the storage of excess water and lack of aeration. Do not overwater your plant and let the topsoil dry between waterings. Do not mist the plant too frequently. This fungal growth can be treated by using fungicides. 

If the damage is high then gently prune the infected parts. Place the plant in a well-lit place. Let the plant get enough air. Take required precautions to avoid the spread of the infection.

3. Discoloration in leaves

Discoloration in the leaves can be caused due to improper care. You can observe the change in the color of the foliage in different cases. Let us know them in detail.

a) Yellow and mushy foliage

If the leaves of our plant turn yellow, droopy, and mushy then the cause might be overwatering. The excess water which is absorbed by the root system is stored in the plant cells and thus the foliage becomes fleshy and yellow. Be attentive! It is also a sign of root rot.

b) Thin yellow leaves

If the leaves are thin and pale yellow then underwatering, lack of fertilization, or improper light might be the causes, provide enough care to avoid the problem.

c) Browning in leaves

Brown and dry leaves are caused by underwatering. If the plant is facing dehydration, the foliage becomes dry and turns brown. Eventually, they fall off. Sunburns cause brown patches on the foliage. Overfertilization can also make the foliage brown. Provide enough care to treat the plant.

d) Leaf-fall

Your Hoya Serpens can leave their leaves in winter to save their energy for growth in the growing season. However, old leaves drop off from the plant at any time. But if the plant is leaving its new leaves, even in the growing season, then it is due to a lack of nutrition. Provide enough fertilization and sunlight to avoid this case.

e) Droopy leaves and stems

This can be caused due to water issues. Both over and underwatering can cause this case. If the plant does not get enough nutrients, the plant can become droopy. This case can also be observed due to the lack of light. Even shock can be a reason for this. Follow the above care tips to treat the plant.

f) Fall in the growth rate

It is naturally observed in the winter. However, improper care habits can cause this even in the growing season. Read the care tips completely and follow them. Your plant will get well soon.

4. The plant stops flowering

Hoya Serpens stop flowering in the winter as it is the dormant period of the plant. It is not a disease until it stops blooming in the growing season. You need to be concerned about the plant, only if it stops producing blooms during the growing season. This is due to a lack of sunlight or lack of fertilization. The plant needs enough sunlight to thrive. It flowers when it gets enough care. If the plant does not get enough light it stops flowering. 

In the growing season, the plant needs extra feeding, other than the food prepared by itself. Light fertilization once or twice during the growing season, supplies enough energy for its growth and flowering. If you refuse to fertilize the plant, it may stop flowering. Follow the above care tips to get the plant on its track.

Grow this magical plant with care!

Hoya Serpens are beautiful succulent plants that are suitable for growing indoors as well as outdoors. Their attractive look adds beauty to your interior. The fragrant flowers spread peace in the home. These vining plants are easy to maintain and will not stress you until you provide enough care. Keep an eye on it and follow the above care tips to keep it healthy. You can easily increase their number as they are easy to propagate.

Note: Also, this plant produces latex that can be toxic for your children and pets. Keep this plant away from that to be safe!

I hope you get enough information to grow this healthy looking plant. Last but not the least, your love for the plant makes it long-lasting. Thank you for reading this post! I hope this article helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you’re looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family!

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  • Purnima

    She is a Forestry and Agriculture graduate with over two years of experience in designing, planting, and maintaining an indoor plant and herb garden. She is an evergreen plant lover and plant parent.

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