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Confirm/refute something for me?

16 years ago

In mid-June, I bought a Hoya that I couldn't identify. After much discussion here, and a lucky break in that someone else had the same problem at the same time (and a camera), it was identified as H. carnosa 'Chelsea.'

I had taken cuttings as insurance against something happening to the main plant, when I got it, and the cuttings duly rooted in water and were potted up, BUT --

Neither the cuttings nor the original plant have done anything since then. There are no new leaves, there are no dead leaves. There is no rot, there is no shriveling, there is nothing.

So I was talking plants a few days ago, and conversation turned, as conversations will, to Hoyas, and I mentioned that I was having trouble getting Chelsea to do anything, and she said oh, of course not, when you take a cutting on a Hoya, it won't grow a new growing tip from the stem. The new growing tip starts from the roots.

So then I'm thinking, well gosh, maybe the original plant, despite the fact that I haven't repotted it or topdressed it or anything, is buried too deeply to generate new shoots, and that's why I haven't seen any new growth.

But I've just looked at a 'Krimson Queen' I've had for about a year, which I took cuttings of last fall, and in that case, the new growing tip came out of the stem near where the old one was, or at least appears to have, and so now I'm confused. This is a person who knows her plants: if what she said isn't what happens, then I must have misunderstood what she said.

So my questions are:

1) Where does new growth happen after a Hoya cutting is taken? Does the old plant start over again from the roots, or does it start from near where the cutting was taken?

2) If it starts over from where the cutting was taken, then does anybody have any idea what this person might have been talking about? I mean, let's assume she wasn't just making things up.

3) Whatever was going on in that conversation, I still have no new growth, and it's been three months, so what am I supposed to be doing that I'm not doing? (Or, alternately, what am I doing that I'm not supposed to be doing?)

The plants in question are both in 6-inch pots (there were a lot of cuttings). Light is from a partly-obstructed west window; humidity varies but has been pretty dry since I've had these. Temperature is normal to slightly warm (70-80F; 21-27C). I have been watering only about every three or four weeks, because the original plant is in soil that holds water for a long time, and the cuttings don't have many roots to take water up with. The ends of the cuttings are buried about 3 inches / 8 cm under the soil; I haven't ever taken the original plant out of the pot but I assume it's similar.

Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. (Misleads not so much, but points for trying anyway.)

Comments (7)

  • ines_99
    16 years ago

    I don't know if it applies to all hoyas, but i get new growth all the time from where I take cuttings, along with new growth down at the base of the plant or under the soil. The new growth that comes from where the cutting was taken seems to happen overnight in some cases. I doubt your plant is buried to deep, and even if it were, I get new shoots coming up out of the soil all the time, more so in some varieties. I have also heard that if you remove leaves from a node, new leaves will not replace them, and I have several plants that have done just that! So who knows where the rules come from.

    Some plants just take their time as far as growing is concerned....and it also depends on the time of year. If the plant is getting good light, and you are not underwatering - meaning you should water as soon as the plant starts to feel mostly dry, then it is just a matter of being patient. Do you fertilize at all? I wouldn't recommmend fertilizing heavily, but maybe a very weak solution with each watering will help.

    It can be frustrating, but some plants are like this - wait and see, one day it will start putting out new growth and it won't stop.

  • pirate_girl
    16 years ago

    I agree w/ Ines, I think the person who told you new growth on Hoyas that have been cut back comes from the down near roots is mistaken.

    I've got abt 25-30 Hoyas, abt 20 diff. ones & often cut them back. Most of them grow new vines or another pair of leaves from fairly near the cut. Only once in a while do I get new growth from down below the mix & when I do it seems unrelated to whether I cut back the plant or not.

    I think she meant well but is misinformed.

    A big caveat, Hoyas grow at their own rates, not the rates we might wish. They are know to pout sometimes, that is to say spend a long time doing absolutely nothing (I have found this esp. true w/ Carnosas & older wood Krimson Queens).

  • mr_subjunctive
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Well, that's reassuring. I assume if I were doing something *really* wrong, I'd have dead and dying leaves, and not only do I not have any, I haven't had any since I bought the plant. So okay. Pouting. Fine.

    I don't think I've fertilized any (I don't keep very good records on fertilization, alas). If I have, it would have been half-strength. I might try watering with quarter-strength next time around, or something like that. It's less that I care whether or not they're growing right this second as that I care whether or not they have been permanently stopped from growing. As long as they *can*, I'm fine.

    Though in fairness it *would* be nice to see some growth eventually.

  • ines_99
    16 years ago

    you know, I used to never fertilize any of my tropicals, or did it sporadically and it didn't seem to matter.. but now that I do, I have to admit I do get more growth, especially from the "pouters". So it is worth a try, for sure!

    Now that the growing season is winding down and the plants come inside, alot of them will be getting much lower light, and on some growth slows waaay down. We all hibernate together for the winter, I barely glance at them a few times a week, and water just enough to keep everyone alive.
    Too much water or fertilizer when the plants don't need it is just an invitation for trouble, especially root rot.

    Good luck with your plant!

  • mare2
    16 years ago

    I agree with the above. Hoyas are known for sitting there doing a fake plant imitation for what is sometimes an agonizing amount of time. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if your plant sat there doing nothing until early spring. The good news is that when it does take off, it will probably make up for lost time.

    I think what they're really doing is working on root growth. So if you did think about a fertilizer, I'd make sure it's something that helps root growth and *not* top growth for now (in other words, it should be low on nitrogen or the first number when it's not actively growing). At least that's what makes sense to me, but I hope the scientists among you will correct me if I'm wrong.

  • Denise
    16 years ago

    I would agree with Mare. A "bloom" fertilzer also is a good "root" fertilizer. But going into fall, I probably wouldn't hit it more than once with a conventional fertilizer, whether all-purpose or bloom. Eleanor's VF-11 is good for any time of year...

    Mr. S - we all have those Hoyas that don't want to do diddley. I got a parviflora cutting (rooted) I from a friend in Nov. '05. Spring of '06 comes around and it had done exactly zip. So when I ordered some Hoyas from Hawaii, I ordered a parviflora, too, because I really liked it and WANTED to have one that grew. I got that nice little plant in May '06 and - guess what? It's done absolutely zip, too! They're both still alive and well in the same pot, but I have not had even a hint of new growth. There's nothing that will douse your ego faster as you look in self-admiration at your good growers than a stubborn one that refuses to grow but teases you with not dieing, either! "I'm here," it taunts, "and I'm quite alive, but you're not giving me what I need to grow... na-na-na!"

    Denise in Omaha

  • mr_subjunctive
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    I haven't fertilized yet, because neither pot dries very quickly and there hasn't been an opportunity. There is, though, maybe, a new leaf on the cuttings. Just one leaf, in a six-inch pot that's packed pretty full of cuttings (maybe 10-15 cuttings, and one is maybe growing), and I can't be *sure* that it's new, but even so, I'm stocking up on champagne and stuff, on the off chance that it's going to start.

    The plants are presently about a foot away from a partly-obstructed west window: I have the option of moving them to a south window, where I grew a 'Krimson Queen' last winter. The west window will be less obstructed in about a month, when the leaves drop on the trees outside, so it'll get more light anyway. Is it worth trying to move them? Would they benefit? Part of the motivation is that there's a couple Euphorbias in the south window that got slightly sunburned (I think) last winter, and I was looking to move them somewhere slightly less intense. But if the Hoya wouldn't benefit, I'll ask around: I'm sure *somebody* would be interested in housesitting for the Euphorbias for a few months.

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