INSIDE : Learn the best practices for Hoya Kerrii Plant Care + Tips! Get some helpful ideas for Hoya ‘Sweetheart’ Care like their watering needs and light requirements so you can grow big healthy indoor plants.
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This post has been updated since it’s original publish date of January 2021.
For the last few years, around Valentine’s Day, I have started seeing these adorable little heart shaped plants show up in stores. Typically they are just one small terra cotta pot with soil and about a 3″ tall “green heart” leaf. After doing some research, I found out these little cuties are called, Hoya kerrii and I knew immediately I needed to find myself one!
Hoya plants come in many shapes, sizes, and even colors (Variagated hoya are such beautiful plants), but hoya kerrii are unique vining succulents.
Where are Hoya kerrii from?
Hoya kerrii is native to the mountainous regions of China and Java, one of the largest Indonesian islands. It is a small, evergreen, climbing plant that can grow up to 13 feet in length.
The plant was first discovered in 1911 by Arthur Francis George Kerr, an Irish physician and botanist. He collected a specimen in Northern Thailand. The plant was later described by William Grant Craib and named after Kerr.
Hoya kerrii slow grower
About a four years ago, my family purchased a small Hoya ‘kerrii’ as a birthday gift for myself. I was so smitten and couldn’t wait for it to start growing me some new little hearts.
My plant sat dormant for a solid six months, growing maybe one or two small leaves. I was so worried and concerned about him. Then suddenly, it had settled in enough and did some major growing… and hasn’t stopped since!
Currently, I have wrapped my hoya vines around a few rounded stakes in it’s pot multiple times. I bet it if was completely un-staked, the vines would be at least 6′ long.
My plant really was a slower grower, but during each growing season he adds on at least a foot of new growth now.
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What are the best growing conditions for Hoya kerrii?
Once a Hoya Heart plant settles in a bit, they really are very easy plants to care for. They like having bright sun, but can tolerate bright indirect light too.
They have thick, juicy almost succulent like leaves which hold water. These plants don’t like a weekly watering, typically. Maybe just a drink every two to three weeks is ideal for them. When you notice that the soil is completely dry and the leaves start to wrinkle a bit, then you know it’s time to water your Hoya ‘kerrii’.
How often should I water a Hoya kerrii plant?
Since the Hoya ‘kerrii’ plants have thick succulent type leaves, they are good at storing water longer than your average indoor houseplant. I have found watering them on a bi-weekly schedule seems to work well.
I always think it’s smart to pick a watering day and check in on your plants each week on that day. Your plants may not even need a drink that day, but it’s a good habit to get into.
Each Friday I stick my finger into the soil about a knuckle deep. If the soil feels hard and dry, then you can go ahead and water your plant. If the soil feels damp or wet, it’s best to wait another week to water.
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Once it is time to water your hoya, I have been taking my plant to the sink and really soaking the soil. Even trying the method of sitting your plant in a tupperware filled with water to fully let the soil become saturated is a good idea.
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What kind of light do Hoya Heart plants need?
I keep my Hoya in a bright window with 6+ hours of daily sun during the summer time. Although they can get by with less light, they just aren’t quite as happy.
Now that summer is starting to fade into fall, my Hoya still is in the same window, but he doesn’t get near the amount of direct sunlight. They will still thriving with indirect light, but it may slow down their growth a little bit.
A west- or south-facing window is ideal. If you lack natural light, adding a grow light to your setup may be a good idea. A full-spectrum LED grow light is an excellent choice for hoyas.
WHAT SUPPLIES DO I NEED TO GROW Hoya Kerrii?
Will my single Sweetheart plant ever grow into something bigger?
Sadly, if you get a single Sweetheart plant, it is very uncommon that they will ever grow bigger than that single leaf. The leaf will stay green and the plant will grow roots, but without a stem node, it will just stay as it is.
If you hope to have a full, lush hoya kerrii, steer clear of these single-leafed plants and get a plant with a rooted stem with at least two leaves.
Why isn’t my Hoya ‘kerrii’ plant growing?
When I first got my hoya ‘kerrii’ I could not wait to start seeing new little green hearts popping up all over the place. However, it seemed to just sit there for months without really doing much of all. A few little tiny leaves grew here and there, but it was nothing to write home about.
I have read that you need to give your hoya time to settle and acclimate to it’s new surroundings. Once mine had done that, I was sure to give it plenty of sunshine and once on a bi-weekly watering schedule, I really started seeing my plant take off.
Shortly after his initial big burst of growth, I got a U shaped bamboo stake and started wrapping all of this long limbs around that for extra support.
However, hoyas just seem to have somewhat uneven growth and as long as your plant is remaining healthy without any major red flags, if he slows down his growth… just give it time and soon you should start seeing new leaves and stems growing!
What are other names for Hoya ‘kerrii’?
The Hoya ‘kerrii’ can sometimes go for a few different names. Some people call them the Sweetheart Plant. It’s also called Hoya Heart, Hoya Hearts, Valentine’s hoya, Wax Heart, or a even the Lucky Heart plant.
How do I get my Hoya to bloom?
Hoya plants need to be fully mature to grow flowers. This means you may need to wait for your plant to be about 5 to 7 years old before you see it’s first bloom.
Other reasons your hoya may not bloom are having your plant in a pot that is too big, too much water or too much fertilizer. Surprisingly, it is not bad for your plant to be pot-bound; it may actually encourage flowering.
Where can I buy a Hoya ‘kerrii’ Sweetheart plant?
I’m thrilled to say, although you may need to do some hunting for local shops to carry Hoya ‘kerrii’ year round, it is not too difficult to find them online. Etsy, Amazon and The Sill all have multiple options for single heart leaves, as well as more mature plants.
Personally, I like the mature plants more because I like to see my plants grow and change. But both are lovely and great investments!
Help, my Hoya Kerri is turning yellow!
Typically if leaves on your plants turn yellow, it’s because of overwatering. And this is also true for Hoya Kerrii. Other reasons for yellowing leaves is plant stress or even sun burn. Once a leaf turns yellow, it won’t go green again so the easiest thing to do is remove the leaf and adjust your plant to help it better from there on out.
How to care for a variegated Hoya Kerrii
The Variegated Hoya Kerrii has beautiful yellow, green and sometimes white marks on it’s leaves. They are a beautiful variation on the normal Sweetheart Hoya that can add a touch of elegance to any home.
Here are some tips for caring for your variegated Hoya kerrii:
- Light: Variegated Hoya kerrii prefers bright, indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, while too little light will cause the leaves to lose their variegation.
- Water: Water your variegated Hoya kerrii when the soil is dry to the touch. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it is important to let the soil dry out between waterings.
- Soil: Variegated Hoya kerrii prefers a well-draining potting mix. A cactus mix or a mix specifically for hoyas is a good option.
- Fertilizer: Fertilize your variegated Hoya kerrii once a month during the spring and summer with a balanced fertilizer.
- Humidity: Variegated Hoya kerrii prefers high humidity. If your home is dry, you can mist the leaves regularly or place the plant on a pebble tray filled with water.
- Temperature: Variegated Hoya kerrii prefers warm temperatures. The ideal temperature range is 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pests and diseases: Variegated Hoya kerrii is relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, it can be susceptible to mealybugs and scale. If you notice any pests, treat them immediately with an insecticidal soap or neem oil.
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