Hoya Retusa Care: Beginner’s Guidelines

Last Updated on May 28, 2022 by Gary Stephen

Hoya retusa is one of the most popular varieties of hoya plants. Just like its relatives, it is also very easy to care for. Yay! This characteristic makes them an ideal choice among novice gardeners

Aside from being low-maintenance, hoya retusa also has quite a unique look. It features slim cylindrical leaves with cute heart-shaped tips. It is also a trailing foliage thus it is best displayed as a hanging plant.

More than a feast in the eyes, it is a treat for your sense of smell too. During the fall season, this hoya produces clusters of white and red star-shaped flowers. And guess what – they smell fresh and sweet. Almost like a lemony fragrance, I would say.

All that and more, hoya retusa got it all. Pretty amazing, right?

In this article, we will teach you how to basically care for your hoya retusa. We will cover details from lighting to watering and even feeding and propagation. Moreover, we will also include links to the best products you can use when growing such a houseplant. 

The origin of Hoya retusa

Hoya retusa is an evergreen flowering plant that belongs to the Apocynaceae family. It is originally native to India but it has now grown and spread across Southeast Asia.

This variety is unique among the other types of hoyas It comes with thin and flat foliage resembling that of a wispy grass. Thus, it is also referred to as the grass leafed hoya.

Care Guidelines for Hoya Retusa

1. Lighting

Hoya Retusa Care

As a tropical plant, the hoya retusa loves plenty of bright sunlight. However, you should also take note that it doesn’t fair well with direct lighting. Rather, it prefers filtered lighting to prevent the plant from getting scorch. Prolonged exposure to intense light can cause its leaves to curl up and turn brown. 

When growing indoors, the south or south-west facing windows seem to be the best location. These spots tend to receive good amounts of less harsh sunlight throughout the day. So your plant would still be getting what it needs without the risk of getting sunburnt. 

On the other hand, hoya retusa can also adapt to low lighting conditions. Although, be aware that such an environment will definitely have an impact on its growth. Getting not enough sunlight will cause the plant to least likely produce flowers. 

To counter that, you can use artificial lighting to supplement the lack thereof. Grow light is a great solution if your indoor space happens to have no access to sufficient sunlight. Moreover, it also comes in different bulb types, color temperatures, and intensities. So, you have more freedom to customize your lighting according to the needs of your hoya.

Our top picks for grow lights:

Briignite Programmable Clip-On Full Spectrum LED Grow Lamp

Ghodec Sunlight White Dimmable Dual Head Grow Light

LBW Full Spectrum Grow Lamp with Adjustable Tripod Stand

2. Soil for Hoya Retusa Care


Hoya retusa thrives well in a well-draining potting medium. So, look for soil mixtures that contain portions of peat moss, coco coir, perlite, or coarse sand. These substrates are likely to loosen up the soil enabling the water to flow through easily. Moreover, it also promotes good aeration to the root system. 

By encouraging proper drainage, you are minimizing the chances of water pooling at the bottom of the pot. Consequently, this also prevents the development of diseases such as root rotting. 

You can conveniently buy ready-to-use well-draining potting soils in any garden shop. Or, you can also choose to create it yourself. Just mix equal parts of peat, perlite, and orchid mix. This will give you a light and loose potting medium for your hoya retusa.

Our top picks for soil substrates:

Espoma Organic Peat Moss

Miracle-Gro Orchid Potting Mix Coarse Blend

Sun Gro Black Gold Perlite

3. Temperature & Humidity

ThermoPro Digital Hygrometer & Indoor Thermometer Hoya Retusa Care

The hoya retusa plant is not a big fan of extreme and fluctuating temperature levels. Instead, it thrives best under consistent and normal room temperatures. That should fall ideally within the range of 50 to 80 degrees Celsius. 

Constant deviations from this said parameter can affect the health of the plant. Too much warmth or coolness can cause its leaves to shrivel, turn brown, and eventually fall off. 

As for humidity, hoya retusa likes it a bit more humid. This is quite understandable considering that they are originally tropical plants. Nevertheless, the typical humidity level within the room will work just fine. 

On drier days, though, it would help to mist your plant with plain water every now and then. This will keep its leaves moist and supple. Just make sure to use a fine-mist sprayer to get better control over the amount it dispenses.

Alternatively, you can also try to place your pot on top of a tray of pebbles. Fill it halfway with water. So as it evaporates, it humidifies the immediate surroundings too.

For both temperature and humidity, it is best to monitor the levels using thermometer and hygrometer devices. This will help you keep track of untoward fluctuations. Thus, enabling you to act accordingly as the changes occur.

Our top picks for thermometer & hygrometers:

ThermoPro Digital Hygrometer & Indoor Thermometer

AikTryee Digital Thermometer & Indoor Hygrometer

Smartro Professional Digital Hygrometer & Indoor Thermometer

4. Watering for Hoya Retusa Care

Snugell Distilled water Hoya Retusa Care

As we know by now, hoya retusa is quite sensitive to water pooling. Thus, it is important to water the plant only when the top 3 inches of the soil already feels dry to touch. There is no specific frequency. Rather, it is best to physically inspect by sticking your fingers into the soil and feeling for moisture.

When watering, you should give it enough amounts to moisten the soil thoroughly and evenly. However, be careful not to overdo it as it may turn the soil soggy. This is usually where root rotting starts to develop.

The type of water to use is also important. Hard water contains high concentrations of salts, minerals, and even chemicals. The long term use of this water can eventually cause build-ups. When this happens, it alters your plant’s ability to absorb moisture. On that note, it is best to use distilled or filtered water.

For practical reasons, you can also use regular tap water. Just make sure to let it sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours. This period is long enough to allow the chlorine content to dissipate from the water.

Our top picks for distilled water:

Nestle Water Distilled Water 

RPI Distilled Water

Snugell Distilled water

5. Fertilizing

Jack’s Classic All-Purpose Plant Food Hoya Retusa Care

Hoya retusa plants don’t require much fertilizer to thrive. Although, these extra nutrients can be of great support to its health. Hence, enabling the plant to grow more vigorously.

A balanced all-purpose fertilizer applied once a month will do it just fine. Make sure though to dilute the solution at half the recommended strength. Watering down the concentration minimizes the risk of causing root burn.

Moreover, it would also be beneficial to use a water-soluble preparation. When the solution is properly mixed with water, it makes it much easier for the plant to absorb. Thus, rendering it more efficient.

Alternatively, you can also use organic fertilizers such as coffee grounds and tea. They are completely natural and rich in nutrients that can help boost the health of your plants. 

Our top picks for fertilizers:

Jack’s Classic All-Purpose Plant Food

Schultz All-Purpose Plant Food

Grow More General Purpose Fertilizer

6. Propagation for Hoya Retusa Care

Bonide Bontone II Rooting Powder

A good thing about hoya retusa is that they are so easy to propagate. The best and most common way to do this is through cutting. You can either propagate your plant using your usual well-draining soil. Or, you can also opt to grow it in water.

Soil Propagation:

  1. Prepare the potting soil and fill the container. 
  2. Get your plant and look for a healthy stem with a length of at least 7 inches.
  3. Using sharp and sterile garden shears, cut away the chosen stem as close to the roots as possible. It is also ideal to cut at an angle for better absorption of moisture.
  4. Dip your fresh cuttings into the rooting hormone. This step is optional but it will help expedite the growth of stronger roots.
  5. Poke a hole in your soil and plant the cutting.
  6. Cover the hole with more soil and gently tap to secure the placement of the cutting.
  7. Water the new plant to moisten and activate growth.
  8. Place the pot in a warm and humid environment. Avoid direct sunlight.

Water Propagation:

  1. Choose a container and fill it with distilled or filtered water.
  2. Follow steps 2 to 4.
  3. Dip your cuttings into the water-filled container.
  4. Place the pot in a warm and humid environment. Avoid direct sunlight. 
  5. Change your water daily to prevent root rotting.
  6. Wait for new roots to grow about an inch long before transferring to potting soil.

Our top picks for rooting hormones:

Bonide Bontone II Rooting Powder

Dyna-Gro K-L-N Rooting Concentrate

Maxi Root Organic Rooting Gel

Wrapping Up about Hoya Retusa Care

The uniqueness of the hoya retusa indeed makes it a great addition to your garden. They are not only eye-catching, but they are also very easy to care for – perfect for those new to gardening. So, as long as you follow the basic care tips we have provided in this article, you can assure that your hoya will live and thrive happily. 

Gary Stephen
Gary Stephen

Hi, I am Gary Stephen. I have been gardening for a long time. Gardening gives us much benefits and pleasure. Many of us desire to have a garden, but it cannot fulfill the desire for the proper guide or instruction of gardening. So, I am eager to help them. For this purpose, I have developed the MyGardenPlant.com website to make a garden with the proper guide. So, you will get me beside you if you want to know anything about gardening.