Wax Plant – Hoya carnosa, Hoya bella

WaxPlant is very attractive, bearing pinkish-white flowers with a waxy appearance which makes them look almost artificial. The scented flowers have a red centre and grow in clusters from graceful, twining branches. The leaves are a glossy, dark green in colour.

Wax Plant does not like to be moved once it has settled down, preferably in a bright window. Young foliage can be supported by a wire hoop in the pot, but older branches will need a sturdy trellis.

After the plant has flowered, do not remove the short woody spur that the flowers have grown on. New flowers will be produced on the same spur the following year.

This fast-growing plant can grow into an extemely large specimen with branches more than 3m (10ft) in length.

Two forms of Hoya carnosa have variegated leaves: ‘Exotica’ has gold centres and ‘Variegata’ has creamy-pink leaf margins. There is also a miniature Wax Plant, H. be/la, with branches up to 40cm (16in), with white flowers with purple centres.

Looking after your plantWax Plant - Hoya carnosa, Hoya bella

Young plants need potting on into the next size of pot fairly frequently. Do this in late winter, or in early spring before new growth starts.

To avoid any root disturbance, top-dress older plants every year by carefully replacing the top 5cm (2in) of soil with fresh compost.

Mature plants should not be repotted until the roots get so big that they are over-flowing out of the pot. Do not knock the plant out of the pot. Instead, break the pot and remove the pieces carefully. If the pot is plastic, cut it carefully away from the plant. It will be easier if there are two people to do this job. One can hold the plant while the other removes the pot.

As the stems of your plant grow longer, provide support for them to cling to.


Cuttings can be taken in both spring and early summer. Take young shoots with at least one pair of leaves. Trim and remove lower leaves as shown and insert cuttings a pot of equal parts peat and sand. Water, then cover with a polythene bag with airholes.

Pests And Diseases

Mealy bugs may attack your Wax Plant. Treatment: Spray with a suitable insecticide.

Other insects may attack where conditions are too dry and warm.

Prevention: Keep leaves clean and free of dust by wiping them with a soft, damp cloth. Mist the plant regularly with a hand spray and soft water to keep red spider mites at bay.

Treatment: Spray with an insecticide and repeat after 14 days.

Poor flowering is a result of the plant not getting enough light.

Treatment: Move it to a bright window position, but avoid direct sun.

Spots on the leaves may appear because of scorching in summer or contact with a cold window pane in winter. Treatment: Move plant away from the window.


Generally trouble-free, given good indirect light and fairly high humidity. Do not remove woody spurs after flowers have faded, and support foliage with stakes or a trellis.

  • Potting: Repot young plants in the spring using a soil-based compost, and top dress older specimens. Repot mature plants only when absolutely necessary.
  • Water generously during active growth period in spring and summer. In winter, water moderately and allow to dry out between waterings.
  • Feeding: Feed with a high-potash liquid fertilizer every 14 days during the growing period. Do not feed while the plant is resting during winter.


  • Light: Place the plant where it receives bright light, avoiding direct sunlight. An east or west-facing window is ideal.
  • Temperature: Normal room temperature in summer is fine. Keep the plant cooler during the rest period, but do not allow the temperature to fall below 10°C (50°F).

Buying Tips

  • Small Wax Plants already in bloom are available from March to September at garden centres and nurseries. The variegated forms are available throughout the year.
  • Buy well-shaped plants with dark, glossy leaves and plenty of flower buds. For variegated plants choose those with strongly marked leaves.
  • Wax Plants can thrive happily for many years, given good conditions.

Wax Plant has been grown by greenhouse gardeners for generations and is now finding favour as a house plant climber.

The waxy, scented flowers hang in beautiful clusters.

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