Variegated Hoya Sweetheart

A Beginner's Guide to Variegated Hoya Sweetheart Care | All you Need to Grow!

Family: Apocynaceae
Common Name: Valentine Hoya, Sweetheart Plant, Heart Leaf Hoya
Botanical name: Hoya kerrii ‘Variegata’

Finding and adding new hoya varieties to your growing indoor plant collection is almost as irresistible as acquiring art or antiques! The Hoya kerrii ‘Variegata’is a plant filled with “love”, with its heart-shaped leaves making it stand out among other houseplants. The Sweetheart Plants fill many homes with elegance, beauty, and glamour. The Valentine Hoya will give you bursts of flowers in suitable environments. However, their bloom time is brief, so keep your eyes peeled for their fragrant and fleeting offering. Hoyas are easy-care indoor plants if you have the medium to bright indirect light that they need. They don't require constant watering and do not require high humidity levels.

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The Sweetheart Hoya likes heaps of bright, indirect sunlight and will be right at home if they can make contact for at least 6 hours each day (indirect contact, that is!). Hoya kerii can tolerate medium light, but they’ll become weak and leggy and produce fewer leaves in lower light. Ensure these heart-shaped leaves are close to an east, or north-facing window or set back from a south or west-facing window. The more natural dappled light they absorb, the greater the odds they will shower you with flowers during the summer!


Let your Hoya Sweetheart dry out between watering. Soak the soil thoroughly until the water drains out of the drainage holes. You’ll need to water more when they’re receiving more light, so adjust accordingly. If you find the soil has become compacted, soak the entire root ball in water for ten minutes and this will soften the soil. Avoid over-watering as this is the most common way to kill a Hoya Sweetheart! When the colder months arrive, cut back on watering; in wintertime, only water when their soil is completely dry. 


Almost all types of hoyas need soil with excellent drainage. Sweetheart Hoyas should never be planted in dense soil mixtures with moisture-retaining crystals. You can use a universal potting soil for the love-symbol plant, 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 Hoya Sweethearts! If your soil is not draining well, mix 1/2 cactus soil with 1/2 potting soil to increase drainage of the soil.


The Sweetheart Hoya loves warm environments - 65-85℉ - and should be kept away from drafty windows and doorways during the colder months.


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


For the Hoya Sweetheart, a higher nitrogen fertilizer encourages foliar growth. When they’re about to bloom, switch to a fertilizer with a higher phosphorus content. Fertilize with a complete liquid fertilizer (diluted to 1/4 the recommended strength) or fish emulsion twice a month during the summer. You can also apply a top dressing of worm castings or compost in the spring, as this acts as a slow-release fertilizer. Only fertilize during the growing season (spring through summer).

Growth Rate

Hoya kerrii is not a fast-growing plant. Most Hoya Sweethearts will grow up to 2-3 feet in height. Sometimes Hoya kerrii can grow over 7 feet tall. But that can take years and with the most perfect conditions for the plant. Single leaf Hoya Sweethearts may develop into vines, but it can take many years for this to happen, and sometimes they will not develop vines if they were not planted with a stem.

Pet Friend or Foe

Hoya kerrii is non-toxic to pets! Friend.

Pro Tips

  1. Valentine Hoyas like to be root bound so don’t be so quick to re-pot!
  2. You can train your Hoya Sweethearts to grow up a pole or some other support - if you are fond of that look.
  3. When you find the right spot for a Hoya Kerrii, 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 it!
  5. Do not over-water these indoor vines and make sure the excess water drains from the soil after every watering session!

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