The Hoya kerrii is very different in appearance from other varieties. Native to Asia, it’s also called the Sweetheart plant or lucky heart plant because of its heart-shaped leaves. These plants are often sold as a single leaf, as a novelty around Valentine’s Day. While cute, these are merely a leaf cutting and are unlikely to grow into full-sized plants.
Hoya Kerrii Appearance
This Hoya heart plant has leaves like a succulent growing from vines reaching 13 feet (4m) in length. White blooms with bright-pink centers appear in clusters during spring and summer.
Blooms often won’t appear until the plant is two to three years old. Overwatering inhibits the Hoya kerrii’s ability to produce flowers. When they bloom, the flowers produce a strong, sweet fragrance.
Hoya Kerrii Light Requirements
The sweetheart Hoya prefers direct sunlight for several hours a day. A South or West-facing window is ideal. Use a full-spectrum, LED light to supplement low lighting if needed. Never place this Hoya plant in dark spaces as it inhibits growth and blooming. If direct sunlight for extended periods per day is not possible, morning sun with indirect lighting afterwards is acceptable.
Watering and Soil
Let the soil dry out between watering, using the leaves’ appearance as your guide. Thinner and wrinkled leaves signal it’s time to water. Stick a moisture meter into the soil to test the soil if you’re unsure. Water more often during the summer and decrease frequency during winter.
Hoya kerrii is susceptible to root rot and requires well-draining soil. Amend potting soil by mixing in perlite, orchid bark, and sand to create an airy mixture. Repot your Hoya heart plant when it is root bound. For one-leaf plants, repot in a pot one size larger only if new growth has occurred. Young plants with a few leaves need a pot one size bigger every two to three years. Repot mature plants into a pot one size larger no more than every two years.
Temperature and Humidity
Like most Hoya plants, Hoya kerrii prefers warm, humid environments. Keep temperatures between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 29 Celsius). Colder temperatures slow both growth and flowering.
Normal, household humidity levels are often sufficient but dry climates may require a humidifier to supplement. Placing your Hoya heart plant in a bathroom or kitchen is recommended for added humidity.
Pruning and Propagation
Hoya kerrii plants are slow-growing and do not require much pruning. Remove any dead or unhealthy leaves if necessary. Do not prune long, bare vines. The plant sends these out as a sign they are about to create new leaves or blooms.
Propagate your Hoya plant by cutting a healthy stem with at least three leaves attached. Remove the bottom two leaves to expose the nodes and immerse only the nodes into a glass filled with water. Place the cutting in bright, indirect sunlight and refresh the water once a week. In two weeks, new roots should appear. When roots are 1 to 2 inches long plant the cutting in a small pot with a well-draining soil mixture.
Hoya Kerrii Pests and Disease
The sweetheart Hoya is not as susceptible to pests but is a target if your other houseplants become infested with mealybugs, aphids, or spider mites. If this occurs, treat all your plants with horticultural or neem oil to rid them of the infestation.
As with all Hoya plants, root rot is the primary disease to watch for. This results from overwatering your plant. To kill the bacteria causing root rot, mix one part 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with two parts water. When the soil is dry, pour the mixture onto the roots until moist. Repeat until the rot is gone, and inspection shows firm, white roots. Hydrogen peroxide occurs naturally in rainwater and will also encourage healthy root growth.
Hoya kerrii is unique in many ways from its Hoya brethren. Given plenty of sunlight and watered sparingly, it is relatively easy to grow. Though slow growing, it looks stunning when long vines are arranged on a trellis for display.
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Hoya Kerrii FAQ
The soil should feel dry before watering your plant. A good guide is to water every two to three weeks. The plant may need less in the fall and winter.
No, Hoya plants are not considered toxic to pets or humans.
No, the Hoya kerri plant is not considered rare. It is easy to find but often as a one-leaf plant with little growth potential. Plants with multiple leaves are also plentiful and will continue to grow.
The most common reason for yellow leaves is overwatering and poor soil drainage. Insufficient lighting, low temperatures, and disease can also be the cause.
The Hoya heart plant’s slow growth is hard to detect. If the plant looks healthy, there is no need to worry. Ensure mature plants receive plenty of sun, do not overwater, and keep the temperature above 60 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal growth.