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Plant Profile: Hoya Carnosa 'Compacta'

One of the most memorable Hoya is the Hoya carnosa 'compacta'. Hoya can be very hard to identify between species because their leaves are so similar in shape, color, and texture. However, the Hoya carnosa 'compacta', also known as Hindu rope and Krinkle Kurl has very distinct characteristics.


The Hindu rope Hoya has verdant rope-like leaves that directly reflect its nicknames. Their leaves can either take on a dark solid green in color or produce natural variegation, although both have an attractive glossy texture in appearance.


The Hindu Rope is a popular houseplant because the crowded, contorted leaves are eye-catching when cascading from hanging pots or ledges. With a bit of patience and added attention, your plant will produce lovely pink blossoms.


A quick botany lesson is needed to fully start to understand how to care for this plant.


Hoya carnosa 'compacta' is native to southern India and epiphytic by nature. Epiphytic plants grow upon another plant for physical support and do not have another known source of nutrients. This means they are not parasitic to the supporting plant. The Hindu rope plant has thick succulent-like leaves and caring for them is similar to other air plants, succulents, a snake plant, or zebra plant.


If you are familiar with any of these plants, you might be able to recognize a similar pattern; all are very forgiving and easy to care for. Hoya are no different. Hindu rope tolerates almost any conditions of growth but will thrive if you take a few things into consideration.


Pot Size: Small, drainage holes necessary

Potting medium: airy and light

Light: Many hours of indirect, bright light

Humidity: 40-60 percent

Water: Every week in the summer, every other week in the winter

Fertilizer: Every month in the growing season

Propagation: Stem cuttings



Everything Pots


Hindu rope plants require a light-weight potting medium. Because this plant is naturally epiphytic, their roots can easily be suffocated by heavy, dense soil. These plants need airflow to the roots in order to survive. Drainage holes are essential in a pot for Hoya because their roots are sensitive to root rot which will surely kill the plant. Use a pot on the smaller side because Hoya like to be root bound.


Light


Hindu Rope can survive in low light but will grow slowly and will not flower. In order to help your plant thrive, give it bright indirect light. South-facing (north-facing for the Southern hemisphere of course) windows are optimal for growing Hoya. Western and Eastern will work if bright enough. Direct sunlight, especially if hot, will burn the leaves of the Hindu Rope plant and wither the flowers it has produced. Growing lights are always a good option if needed or necessary.


Humidity

Most Hoya thrive with high humidity, and the Hindu rope is no different. It needs airborne moisture because the roots do not naturally grow underground. If your environment is not naturally humid, a humidifier works wonders or you can even leave a pot of water and rocks under the pot so the evaporation nourishes the plant.


Watering


The Hindu rope does not ask for much when it comes to watering. The succulent-like leaves hold water and, like most Hoya, is drought-tolerant. When watering, use the flood and drain method. Water thoroughly until excess water seeps through the drainage hole. Be sure to never let the pot sit in a puddle of water for more than 15 minutes.


Wet roots are fatal to this plant; it does not tolerate having soggy roots or soil. Overwatering will surely cause root rot and kill your plant. Water only when the soil is dry (you can determine this with your finger).



Something else to consider while watering is humidity. If your area is more humid, the soil will dry slower and the plant will not need as frequent watering. If you live in more of a dry area, the soil will dry fast and need to be watered more often.


Fertilizer


Hindu rope is a light feeder. It does not require a lot of fertilizer; they are generally happy with a monthly feeding during vegetative growing (mid-spring to the end of summer).


Overfertiziling is more harmful than under fertilizing. Signs of overfertilization include: dry, crinkled leaf edges, new growth die off or producing small unhealthy leaves, and nitrogen build up on soil (or white residue).


If you suspect these symptoms, you can treat your plant by flushing the soil thoroughly with water or repot with new soil. I will go over instructions for repotting later in this article.


Propagation


To propagate the Hindu rope Hoya, take a stem cutting. Like all other Hoya, the Hoya carnosa 'compacta' propagates easily from the nodes on the stem of the plant. To learn more about propagation in detail visit our journal article here.


Flowers


All Hoya produce lovely round flower clusters called umbels. These perfect little peduncles contain 20 or more buds that extend from short stalks on the tip of the main flower called a spur. Hoya blooms are breathtakingly beautiful, waxy-looking, representing porcelain flowers.



One of the greatest achievements of a Hoya grower is getting a plant to bloom. Some varieties are more stubborn than others when it comes to producing flower clusters. The Hindu rope tends to bloom easier than others. In order to achieve this, you must give your plant optimal growing conditions and extra attention.


Spurs of the flower clusters are perennial, meaning they remain after the buds wither away and the plant uses the same spur the following season to bloom. Do not cut or trim spurs because the plant will then have to produce new ones before blooming again which greatly delays the process.


Good light is also important when encouraging blooms. Sometimes, however, simple patience will be enough to make your plant flower. Many Hoya must have a couple of years of maturity before blooming is even possible.


Repotting


Hoya seldom need repotting because they thrive being root-bound. However, if the potting medium is quickly drying out after watering or compacted roots are obstructing drainage you might need to repot. If repotting is necessary be sure that the new pot is no more than 2 inches (5 cm) bigger than the new one.


You want to repot before growth really takes off (early spring to mid-summer for the Hindu rope).


Hoya carnosa 'compacta' is a beautiful variety of Hoya that is so easy. It is perfect for beginners and experts the same. Share your journey with your Hindu Rope plant at the Hoya-Blue nursery! Click here.

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