Hoya Kerrii is a gorgeous tropical plant that’s become a major hit in homes across the US. You may know it well as the Sweetheart Plant or Hoya – it’s a popular gift to give to loved ones on holidays and anniversaries.
Thankfully, providing you’re careful with moisture and humidity – and know how to propagate Hoya Kerrii properly – you’ll likely get years of lovely greenery out of this popular plant.
Propagating Hoya Kerrii is relatively easy, providing you do so with the vine, and in either water or potting soil. You’re going to need to make sure you have a node you can cut – as one leaf alone, unfortunately, won’t allow you to propagate your plant.
Below, I’ll take you through everything you’ll want to know about propagating your Hoya Kerrii – and what is a node, anyway?
Before we get to the tube of the matter, let’s briefly cover how you can care for your Hoya Kerrii from scratch.
Hoya Kerrii care – the basics
Keeping it simple, your Hoya Kerrii is going to need lots of indirect light, a nice balance in moisture and a humid atmosphere. After all, it’s a tropical plant!
This houseplant is also going to need potting mix or soil that drains well, and you’ll likely need to repot your Hoya every couple of years.
Light for your Hoya Kerrii
The most important point to remember when giving your Hoya Kerrii light is to keep it indirect. This is a plant that’s going to suffer in the full direct glare of the sun.
Keep in mind, too, that it’s going to suffer just as much with zero light – so find that balance where it’s constant, but indirect.
In some cases, it may be worth providing Hoya Kerrii with grow lights that are designed to help grow and propagate plants from tropical climates.
Of course, it’s worth knowing, too, that not all Hoya Kerrii follow the same tastes or needs when it comes to light. Some variegated or hybrid species may, for example, need brighter light than most.
It’s worth doing research into your chosen plant species!
Taking care of humidity
As a tropical plant, the Hoya Kerrii is dependent on lots of humidity. This is despite the misconception that it’s a fully succulent plant! It’s not – it’s semi-succulent, which means it despises completely arid environments. Don’t make this mistake when you pot it at home!
Consider housing your Hoya Kerrii in a bathroom, therefore, but don’t let the water from your shower, tub or sink splash around too much. As it happens, the Hoya Kerrii loves a humid room, but doesn’t necessarily enjoy getting drenched. More on this below.
If you’re really struggling, it’s worth investing in a small humidifier you can place in the room where you’ll keep your Hoya Kerrii. Providing your room isn’t left to dry, get cold or suffer from drafts, you should be fine. A little air won’t hurt the plant – just make sure it is kept away from windows.
Watering your Hoya Kerrii
As mentioned, despite loving humidity, you’ll need to balance the moisture in your Hoya Kerrii’s soil very delicately. This plant, unlike many other species you may pot across your home, relies on water it derives from its amazing leaves, rather than its roots.
Ultimately, you should make sure that your soil is dried out between waterings, though never to the point where it is completely arid.
Instead, ensure that your soil or potting mix drains nice and clear, and that it’s plenty loose. Hoya Kerrii will suffer massively in soggy or overly drenched mediums, meaning you’ll need to test the top layer frequently to ensure you’re not bathing it every so often.
If necessary, you may need to get your fingers deep into your Hoya Kerrii’s soil to see just how damp it is below. This will be a clear indicator as to whether or not you’ve given it too much to drink. More on this a bit later on.
What about potting?
Again, the absolute must-do for any potting medium and mix for Hoya Kerrii is to ensure that the mix is loose and well-draining.
This is a plant that typically grows on top of other specimens in the wild, which typically means it’s going to need lots of air circulating around its roots.
It may be worth using a natural potting mix with gravel, perlite or bark to help the air flowing loosely around your roots.
Above all, while it’s great to use a nutrient-rich mix in soil, it’s more important that it’s not densely compacted – otherwise, your Hoya Kerrii is going to start complaining.
How to propagate Hoya Kerrii – the complete lowdown
If you want to bring more Hoya Kerrii into your life (and why wouldn’t you?), it’s relatively easy to do so either through your potting mix or via water. However, the golden rule to remember is that you can’t propagate a Hoya Kerrii through a leaf alone – you’re going to need a cutting with a node.
The node is the ‘heart’ of the plant. This is where new Hoya Kerrii will grow from – it’s technically a vine plant that’s frequently cut down to look like a heart (which helps its marketing chances around Valentine’s Day, for example).
It’s unlikely you’ll have nodes if you’ve simply bought or received a single leaf as a gift. The sad fact is, it’s not always easy to come across Hoya Kerrii as full vines as they can take a long time to grow to full maturity!
Nodes are small bumps that appear along the vine of the Hoya Kerrii. These are typically where you’ll find roots sprouting, meaning we’ll need them if we stand any chance of propagating them to a healthy standard.
It’s well worth taking a look at online garden suppliers (and even websites such as Craigslist and Etsy) to see if anyone’s selling the full plant and node that you can easily grow from at your leisure.
So, the bottom line is – you’re going to need at least one leaf and one node to start propagating your Hoya Kerrii. Typically, one or two leaves will do.
Preparing your Hoya Kerrii for propagation
Before you start the propagation process via potting mix or water, take the time to carefully prepare your node. Here are the steps you’re going to need to follow.
- With a pair of scissors or secateurs, carefully measure up to three inches of vine on your Hoya Kerrii and cut – again, you’ll need at least one leaf on your node for this to work.
- It’s worth leaving any cuttings you clip out for around 24 hours so that it can develop calluses. Many houseplant parents also apply a little honey at either end of their cuttings – it’s great at protecting your vine from bacteria attacks.
- Decide whether you’d like to propagate in water or potting mix. Neither method is more efficient than the other – it’s all down to personal preference!
Keep in mind at the start of this process that it will take Hoya Kerrii considerable time to root. In fact, you may expect it to take up to two months – and that’s regardless of whether you’re using a soil medium or water.
Propagating via potting mix or soil
Choose a medium or potting mix that’s lightly damp and not densely packed – you’ll need to moisten it yourself in a small pot to begin with.
Make sure you bury the node and keep your leaves growing clear of the medium. You’ll then need to make sure you place your pot somewhere in your home where it can expect bright light that’s indirect – no direct sun, please!
It’s then worth misting your cutting regularly so the roots are kept nice and moist under the mix. Keeping things humid is a must, too – if you want to speed up the process, place a loose plastic bag over the top, not touching the vine.
Keep a close eye on your plant; within a couple of weeks to months, you’ll start noticing root growth. This means you can now start treating your fresh vine cutting much like a real plant!
Propagating with water
Ideally, you should prepare a small jar of oxygenated and dechlorinated water. This means you’ll need to leave it for around 24 hours to dissipate any trace chemicals from your faucet.
A quick route to success here may be to use a water filter, such as those developed by Brita.
In some cases, plant parents also use a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per water cup to help oxygenate the mix. I’ve tried both methods – you’re good to grow either way!
The water should be at around room temperature, and you should ensure the nodes are submerged – again, keeping your leaves clear of the water if possible. As with potting mix, make sure you place your jar somewhere humid and with indirect light.
Be sure to keep replacing the water if it starts to develop scum or grime – you shouldn’t need to do this more than once every two weeks, on average.
It’ll normally take a couple of weeks at least for roots to grow long enough (around three inches is a good indicator) for you to repot your plant. It’s a slow process – but certainly worth it if you’re serious about making the most of your Hoya Kerrii!
Points to remember
Regardless of how you propagate a Hoya Kerrii, remember that you’ll need to check your leaves and cuttings for healthy, green growth. If there’s a color change, you may need to check for rot – in which case, be sure to cut away until you see a white-colored sap.
If this happens, make sure to repot your plant after you’ve treated it with a little fungicide.
Hoya heart plant care – FAQs
Now we know all about how to propagate and regrow Hoya Kerrii from scratch, let’s run through a few frequently asked questions about care tips and maintenance.
How do I get rid of pests around my Hoya Kerrii?
Getting rid of pests that frequent Hoya Kerrii is relatively easy. If you can’t catch them by hand, be sure to use a spray bottle with water, or even invest in an insecticidal blend of soap. Make sure to invest in a blend that’s cruelty-free and kind to the environment.
You normally won’t see many pests around your Hoya Kerrii unless you open your windows frequently. Typically, these plants fall prey to the likes of aphids, which prove to be some of the biggest headaches for indoor and outdoor gardeners alike!
When should I repot my Hoya Kerrii?
Hoya Kerrii will probably only need repotting if their growth medium is seriously compacted or dense. Otherwise, you won’t expect these plants to need moving on for a couple of years. Root or pot-bound Hoya Kerrii is fairly common, so don’t panic!
An extremely quick-drying medium, or a pot showing Hoya Kerrii roots growing through the bottom both indicate it’s time to repot. This is nice and easy – but make sure you do so with a bigger pot that drains well.
Ideally, avoid doing this when it’s flowering, and lean more into the warmer months if you can.
Is Hoya Kerrii growth rate quick?
No – Hoya Kerrii is one of the slowest-growing houseplants around, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! These plants simply require perfect growing conditions if you really want them several feet tall.
You’ll normally expect a couple of feet of growth over the years, providing you’re not just growing from a cute leaf.
Is it hard to look after Hoya Kerrii?
Hoya Kerrii is relatively easy-going providing you keep it humid and away from direct sun. These are the most critical conditions you’ll need to remember.
The fact it grows so slowly is to the advantage of many indoor gardeners – it’s not going to get out of control any time soon. Just be careful not to overwater it!
How do I know if I’m underwatering my Hoya Kerrii?
A Hoya Kerrii that’s not getting enough moisture will start to shrivel up – a tell-tale sign is if its leaves are drying and crisping up too much. However, some drying of leaves is to be expected, so don’t take a crispy leaf completely for granted!
How do I know if I’m overwatering my Hoya Kerrii?
It’s generally easier to tell if you’ve overwatered your Hoya Kerrii, or if the growth medium is too moist. You’ll normally find the leaves starting to wilt or if they are developing black spots.
Leaf yellowing, meanwhile, is perhaps the most common side-effect of too much water.
Too much watering can also lead to root rot – again, yellow leaves are a key indicator of this. To take care of root rot, you may have to perform open surgery on your plant, and keep your fingers crossed you can repot a healthy vine and node.
When does Hoya Kerrii flower?
Hoya Kerrii flowers are truly beautiful in white and pink – but they flower rarely, if at all. You’ll need to make sure that your growing conditions are absolutely perfect, and in fact, going root bound is a must!
You can give your Hoya Kerrii a helping hand to flower by ensuring you feed it occasionally with a high-phosphorus mix. Read more on fertilizing and feeding below.
Will I need to prune a Hoya Kerrii?
Not necessarily – Hoya Kerrii grow extremely slowly, meaning there will be little need to prune to stop them getting out of control. However, there’s nothing stopping you from scaling back your plant to keep it looking neat.
Never clip off flowering parts – they won’t flower from anywhere else!
How do I support a Hoya Kerrii?
You can easily house a Hoya Kerrii in a hanging basket or pot, but like bamboo, it’s also really simple to train a Hoya Kerrii to climb – again, its slow, steady growth helps in this regard.
Choose a simple trellis that you can set up indoors and gently tie parts of the plant with cables or twists from your local garden supplier. This will encourage your Hoya Kerrii to grow steadily over the coming months.
When should I fertilize my Hoya Kerrii?
This amazingly undemanding plant isn’t likely to need much food. Be sure to balance its food with a half-strength mix that’s rich in phosphorus – monthly feeding should do during spring and summertime. Any more, and you risk harming the plant!
Is it worth propagating Hoya Kerrii?
It’s absolutely worth propagating Hoya Kerrii – just be prepared to set up tropical conditions and to ensure you give it plenty of patience. This highly rewarding grower is more than just a heart-shaped leaf!
Why not give propagation a go and see what beautiful plants you could train across indoor trellises for years to come?