The Hoya Carnosa Compacta is also called the Hindu Rope plant. It is a unique-looking plant with waxy, curled leaves that are closely packed together, giving the plant its distinct, rope-like appearance.
This semi-succulent vining plant is native to East Asia and Australia. It is relatively low-maintenance, making it a good choice for an indoor hanging plant.
In this article, we will discuss the proper cultural care of the Hoya carnosa compacta, as well as how to correctly propagate it.
So, if you are thinking about adding this plant to your collection, then keep reading.
Hoya carnosa compacta: Plant care
1. Watering requirements
One of the biggest mistakes made by Hoya carnosa compacta owners is improper watering. As we mentioned above, this plant is semi-succulent and can store more water in its leaves and stem than most plants, meaning it can go longer without watering than other plants.
Only water this plant when the soil in its pot feels dry to the touch. Do not water it when the soil is still damp, as you will risk overwatering it.
If the plant is overwatered, its roots will sit constantly in waterlogged soil and this will cause them to drown. They will die and start to rot, and the rotten roots will become more susceptible to opportunistic pathogens. These pathogens will cause the root rot to be more aggressive as it makes its way up the crown root, stem and leaves, and before you know it, the entire plant will be dying.
There is no set schedule to follow when watering your plant; the frequency will depend on the season and the weather. If you are watering the plant every 10 days in the spring and summer, you may just need to water it every 14 days during the fall and winter. Cooler weather means the soil dries out more slowly, so you will not need to water as often.
2. Light requirements
This plant prefers bright, indirect light, and too much direct light can cause sun damage on the leaves. Do not keep it in a dimly-lit area, because although it is tolerant of low light conditions, it will not bloom properly if it receives less than optimal light.
Place the plant in a spot near a west- or north-facing window. If the only window available is a south-facing one, the light that enters may be too harsh, so try to diffuse the intensity with a sheer curtain.
During the winter, use grow lamps to support your plant. The gloomy weather, when sunlight is scarce, can affect the plant’s growth, and providing it with artificial light will help it survive the season in good health.
3. Humidity requirements
The Hoya carnosa compacta likes a higher humidity than most plants, since these are the conditions in its natural habitats.
Help your plant out by misting the leaves every couple of days so they do not dry out. Place the plant next to other humidity-loving plants so that together they can create a microclimate around themselves. You can also increase the humidity by placing a pebble tray filled with water beneath the plant’s pot. As the water in the tray evaporates, the soil in the pot and the plant’s leaves will get moistened.
If you have a hard time keeping up with the plant’s humidity requirements, you can always purchase a humidifier to increase the humidity in your home.
4. Soil requirements
Aside from being semi-succulent, this plant is also epiphytic, meaning its roots need to be exposed to air to a certain extent. The plant’s soil should therefore not be dense or compact; it should be light, porous and airy. A well-draining mix allows both air and water to flow around the roots, keeping them from becoming overwatered and providing them with ample oxygen.
Increase the soil’s drainage capacity by adding sphagnum moss, perlite or orchid bark to your indoor plant potting mix.
No matter how well-draining the soil mix is, it could all be for naught if the pot you use does not have drainage holes. These holes will allow any excess water to flow out from the bottom of the pot, preventing overwatering. Refrain from using steel or plastic pots; rather choose clay or terracotta ones because they are more porous and water seeps through these materials easily.
5. Fertilizer requirements
This plant does not need to be fertilized often, if at all. But if you want to help it out, only give it water-soluble fertilizer at half-strength once a month during its growing phase. Do not fertilize the plant during the fall and winter, because this can lead to possible toxicity.
Hoya carnosa compacta: Propagation
1. Propagation in soil
Choose a vine on the parent plant that has at least one node on it. Using a pair of sterilized scissors, cut just below the node at a 45-degree angle. Remove any leaves near the base of the cutting.
Prepare a small pot with well-draining soil mix and place the cutting in a hole in the middle of the soil. Make sure the node is buried under the soil, because this is where the roots will sprout from.
Place the pot in an area where it can get bright, indirect light. Keep the soil moist, but not damp, at all times. You can keep the humidity high by placing a plastic bag over the plant, but make sure you remove the plastic bag every couple of days to allow the plant to breathe.
After four weeks, check the viability of the roots by pulling on the plant. If you can feel some resistance, then the roots have established nicely and you can now care for the plant the way you would a normal, mature plant.
2. Propagation in water
Choose a vine with several leaves and at least one node. Cut it below the node at a 45-degree angle, using a pair of sterilized scissors. Remove any leaves that are close to the base of the cutting.
Place the cutting in a clear container with water, making sure the node is submerged. Place the container in a spot where the cutting will be able to get plenty of bright, indirect light. Change the water if it starts to look murky, and refill it if the water level drops below the node.
After three to four weeks, there should be roots growing from the cutting, but wait a few more weeks to make sure they are long enough before transferring the plant to a pot with soil in it.
After you have potted it, you can care for it as you would a fully-grown plant.
The Hoya carnosa compacta is an epiphytic, semi-succulent, vining plant that is easy to care for and propagate. It needs bright, indirect light, higher-than-normal humidity, well-draining soil that is airy and porous, a clay or terracotta pot with sufficient drainage holes, and fertilizer monthly during its growing phase. Do not water it unless the top two inches of soil are dry.
You can propagate this plant by planting a cutting in a small pot with soil mix, or you can allow the roots to sprout for a few weeks in a clear container filled with water before transferring it to a small pot with soil mix. Once these plants have established their roots, you can care for them as you would a regular plant.
Image: istockphoto.com / Akchamczuk