Hoya carnosa 'Exotica'

A Beginner's Guide to Hoya Exotica Plant Care | All you Need to Grow!

Family: Apocynaceae
Common Name: Hoya Exotica, Wax Vine
Botanical Name: Hoya carnosa ‘Exotica’

Caring for your Hoya carnosa ‘Exotica’ is as easy as a four-piece puzzle! The waxy leaves store water, so you will not have to water them often, and they rarely (if ever) need to be re-potted. These divine wax vines have gorgeous leaves with colors ranging from white to pink. If you have a light-filled space and love how vining plants soften hard lines of tables and shelves, then read more to learn about the minimal care they need to grow in your home.


Hoya Exotica wants heaps of bright, indirect sunlight and will be right at home if they receive at least 6+ hours each day. Wax plants can tolerate medium light, but they'll become weak and leggy and produce fewer leaves in lower light. The more natural dappled light they absorb, the greater the odds they will shower you with flowers during the summer, grow faster, stronger and become fuller! Artificial light can be a game changer if you have limited light in your home, but the light should shine for at least 8 hours a day! Learn about indoor lighting for houseplants!


Water the soil thoroughly after the soil is almost completely dry. When the leaves first show signs of wilting, is the best time to add water. Make sure you add the water slowly and evenly making sure that all the soil can absorb the water! Water more often in the growing season (spring and summer, into early fall) and reduce the frequency during winter. If the soil becomes compacted, soak the entire root system (root ball) in a bucket of water for 10 minutes to help loosen up the soil. A great way to test the soil for dryness is to pick up the plant; if it feels very light, it is most likely time to water it! You will need to water more often during the summer, or if your hoya is living in a space that is consistently warm or hot. Make sure to check the soil for dryness every few days and water accordingly as you can never rely on a schedule! Read more about when and how to water your hoyas!


Almost all types of hoyas need soil with excellent drainage. Hoyas should never be planted in dense soil mixtures with moisture-retaining crystals. You can use a universal potting soil for hoyas, but reduce the watering frequency when using this type of soil as it will retain water longer causing potential damage to the roots! Nutrient-rich, loose soils are perfect mixtures for wax vines! If your soil is not draining well, or you are transplanting your hoya, mix ½ cactus soil with ½ potting soil to increase drainage of the soil.


Feel free to bring your Hoya carnosa 'Exotica' outside for the warmer months, but make sure to bring it back inside well before the temperature turns chilly (below 50°F) and keep it in the shade to avoid the intense sun from burning the leaves! This is a plant that originates from tropical climates, so hoyas like to be warm and really prefer temperatures above 65°F. Avoid placing your hoyas near any vents, drafty windows, or exterior doors, particularly during the colder months.


Although wax vines can handle most household humidity levels, they will grow more rapidly when the humidity level higher than 60%. Do what you can to increase the humidity for these tropical, hanging, indoor plants. Try adding pebble trays filled with water under your indoor plants, group plants together, or use a cool mist humidifier. Learn how to increase the humidity in the air around your indoor plants!


Feed your hoya with a ¼-diluted complete liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season (early spring through early fall). You can add organic compost, worm castings, or slow-release fertilizer in the spring as well! Keep in mind that most houseplants are sensitive to being over-fertilized, so always dilute any concentrated fertilizer before you apply it! You can fertilize with liquid fertilizer even if you have amended the soil with organic compost. If you applied a time-release chemical fertilizer, we recommend that wait a few months before adding any additional liquid fertilizer. Do not feed during the winter or in the colder months.

Growth Rate 

Hoya Exotica can grow 12’-20’ long vines in the right hands and environment, but they may take years to reach these lengths. Newly planted, young hoyas will expend most of their energy developing a robust root system first. After the roots have filled in, the vines will start to grow more rapidly. Give your Hoya Exotica time, light, and warmth to become lush and more beautiful!

Pet Friend or Foe

Hoya carnosa ‘Exotica’ is non-toxic to pets. Friend! 

Pro Tips

  1. Hoyas tolerate being root-bound, so don't be so quick to re-pot!
  2. You can train your Hoya Exotica to grow up a pole or some other support as their aerial roots will cling to the surface as the vines grow.
  3. When you find the right spot for your Hoya Rosita, and it is living its best life, try not to relocate it.
  4. New growth on a hoya can look like a dried-up and dead vine; please do not cut off this new growth! Give it a few weeks, and you will be glad you did not remove the adorable fresh leaves and vines!
  5. If the soil becomes compacted from infrequent watering, soak the soil in water for ten minutes to open the capillaries. This will loosen up the soil.
  6. If your plant isn't thriving, try to flush the soil of possible salt and mineral build-up. Place the potted plant under running water for a few minutes to help eliminate the excess minerals and salts!
  7. Find out the do's and don'ts for your new indoor plants! 

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