Hoya Compacta Care – How to Care for a Hindu Rope Plant

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Hoya plants come in many different types. One of the most popular, and perhaps most unique looking, is the Hoya Carnosa Compacta. Or as it is more commonly known in households as, the Hindu Rope Plant.

This popular houseplant is known for its curly, thick leaves that twist and turn along vines that look wonderful draping out of a hanging pot. Hoya Compactas can be either solid green or have variegated leaves. They are slow growers, so you will not have to worry about this plant overtaking an area of your house.

Hoya Compacta plants are a surprisingly easy to care for plant that can be great for new plant lovers. In this article, we go over how to care for a Hoya Compacta plant and answer common questions new owners often have about the plant.

Hoya Compacta Plant ( aka Hindu Rope Plant or Krinkle Kurl ) in a Hanging Pot
Hoya Compacta in a Hanging Pot

Origins of the Hoya Carnosa Compacta

Hoya Compacta is a subspecies of the Hoya family plants.

Originating from East Asia, Hoya Compactas are epiphytic plants. This means that they grow on other plants or trees.

There are about 300 different species of Hoya plants, and the Hoya Compacta is one of the most popular in households because it is one of the most common types of Hoyas sold in stores.

There are two varieties of the Hoya Carnosa Compacta: The Hoya Compacta which has dark green leaves and the Hoya Compacta Variegata that has variegated leaves.

It is an evergreen semi-succulent plant that grows in a vinelike fashion. And it looks great in a hanging basket.

While its vines grow slowly, over the years they can grow up to 20 feet long.

Other Names for Hoya Compacta Plants

  • Hindu Rope Plant
  • Hindu Rope Hoya
  • Indian Rope
  • Angle Rope
  • Hoya Carnosa Compacta
  • Hoya Compacta
  • Krinkle Kurl Plant
  • Curly Hoya
  • Curly Leaf Hoya
  • Wax Plant
  • Porcelain Flower
How to Care for a Hindu Rope Plant

Plant Care Guide for Hoya Compacta Plants

With the right care and attention, Hoya Compacta plants can be a very easy to care for plant.

Be careful of watering your plant too much. Hoyas can easily become subject to root rot due to too much water.

Make sure that it is in a pot that allows for drainage and it is in a soil medium that doesn’t get compacted and is well-draining.

Brightly lit areas are best for these plants. But they can tolerate lower light if necessary.

Under the right conditions, Hoya Compactas can produce beautiful porcelain-looking flowers.

How To Water a Hoya Compacta

Watering your Hoya Compacta is one of the most important aspects of keeping your plant happy.

This plant can be very sensitive to overwatering.

During the growing season of the plant (spring and summer) it will need to be watered more often than during the fall and winter.

Overwatering and allowing the plant to sit in soggy soil can lead to root rot. This is the most common problem that people have when it comes to keeping Hoya Compacta plants.

Let the soil dry out between waterings. Always feel the top few inches of soil to make sure it is still not damp or moist before you water your plant again.

Hoya Compactas hold water in their leaves, so paying attention to what the leaves look like can help you determine if it needs water or not.

If you notice that the leaves start to look a bit wrinkled then it would be time to start increasing the water amount when you do water the plant. Or water the plant more frequently.

Yellowing leaves that do not dry up can be an indication that you are watering the plant too much. Cut back on watering the plant if you see this or you could end up with root rot.

Hoya Compacta Plant Light Requirements

While they can survive in low light, Hoya Compacta plants do best in brightly lit areas with indirect sunlight.

They can tolerate up to 2 hours of sunlight directly per day. During the growing season, this can be good for your Hoya to help it bloom.

If your plant is in an area without enough light you will start to see some of the leaves lightening and turning yellow.

If you start to see signs that your plant needs more light and you don’t have any windows to allow for that getting a small grow light is a good option.

What Soil to Use with Hoya Compacta Plants

It is best to use a well-draining potting soil mix that is well aerated.

I find the best combo for my Hoya is to mix a regular potting soil mix with equal parts succulent soil mix.

The main thing to avoid with soil for this type of plant is one that would compact the roots.

Another common recommendation for these plants is to use a mix of orchid bark, peat moss, and perlite as a soil medium.

There are many sellers on Etsy who sell a premade Hoya potting soil mix, so that is also another option.

Do not add sand to your potting mix. Sand can cause the soil to become compacted and restrict airflow to the roots of the plant.

Hoya Compacta with Flower

The Best Type of Pot for a Hoya Compacta

You always want to make sure that whatever pot you choose for your Hoya, that it has drainage holes. Root rot can wreak havoc on these plants if the soil is not allowed to drain properly.

These do best in a hanging pot because of the vines that grow from the plant. Having the plant in a hanging pot allows for these vines to drape over the side of the pot and grow freely.

When using a decorative hanging pot it is good to use a second pot to pot the plant in and then place that in the hanging pot.

Another option is to get a pot that has drainage holes and use a macrame hanger to place that pot in.

Terracotta pots can be a great option. Not only do these have drainage but they also help wick away moisture thus helping prevent root rot.

Repotting

Repotting of a Hoya Compacta does not need to be done too often.

These plants only need repotting once every couple of years. And they prefer to be a bit root bound in their pots.

If you do decide to repot your Hoya Compacta it is best to do so in the spring or early summer. Do not repot your plant if it is currently blooming or you could damage the flowers.

There are a few reasons that you might need to repot your Hoya:

  • Soil has compacted not allowing the roots to get enough oxygen.
  • The drainage holes of your current pot are clogged by the plant roots.
  • Root rot has occured.
  • The current soil is retaining too much moisture.

When picking out a new pot to put the plant in, do not choose one that is too large. Usually when upgrading in size only go about 2 inches bigger than the current pot.

Hoya Compacta plants prefer smaller pots for their roots to be tightly packed together.

Smaller pots also dry out faster than larger ones, this can help prevent root rot from occurring.

To repot your plant remove it carefully from its current pot and remove as much of the soil as you can from around the roots. Do not try to untangle the roots though, if they are tangled just leave them this way.

Give the roots a good inspection and remove any damaged or dead roots that you find with sterilized scissors or cutting tool.

Hoya Compacta Plant Propagation

Propagating this plant is very easy. Hoya Compactas can be propagated through stem cuttings.

You can either take a cutting and place it in water or in soil. Either way works well for propagation.

To get a stem cutting, cut off an end from a vine that is at least 4 inches long. Remove the bottom leaves and place that part of the stem in the water or soil.

Roots should start growing within a few weeks.

Hoya Compacta Toxicity and Pets

According to the ASPCA, the Hoya Compacta is not toxic to cats or dogs.

The main problem I have with my cats and my Hindu Rope plant is that they like to try to play with the vines and can easily pull one off the plant.

If you find that your pet is chewing on the leaves of your plant you can either use a homemade lemon juice spray or use a spray such as Bitter Apple.

Fertilizing a Hoya Compacta

Hoya Compacta is a light-feeding plant.

You should use smaller doses of fertilizer during its growing period in the spring and summer.

Once a month with a water-soluble fertilizer is best.

Temperature Needs

Hoya Compacta plant does best in warmer areas that have temperatures around 75 degrees Fahrenheit for the daytime and about 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the night.

Do not let the plant be in an area that goes below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you live in an area that you put your Hoya outside, make sure to start bringing it back inside once the temperature starts dropping below 50 degrees.

Humidity

40% to 60% is the range of humidity that Hoya Compacta’s prefer.

If you find that the space that you are keeping your plant has lower humidity levels, you can get a small humidifier for the area or mist your plant regularly.

Pruning Hoya Compacta Plants

This is a slow-growing plant, so you will not need to prune it very often. Its vines only grow a few inches in a year’s time.

If you find that you need to make the vines shorter you can cut the stem where you want the length to be.

Any pruning should be done during the spring, this will allow it time to recover.

Remove any dead or damaged leaves and stems to help the plant thrive and also look better.

Flowering

Hoya Compactas do flower. It can take 1 to 3 years for one to start flowering.

Fertilizer, water, and sunlight are all important factors to get one to flower.

When your plant is flowering avoid rotating the pot or repotting the plant. Doing either can cause the flowers to be damaged.

Hoya Compacta in a Pot

Common Problems With Hoya Compacta Plants

The most common problems that people have with their Hoya Compacta plants is root rot and pests such as mealybugs or spider mites.

With the leaves being so curly and thick it is easy for pests like mealybugs and spider mites to go undetected for a while. By the time many plant owners notice these pests in the Rope Plant, it can be too late because they have done so much damage.

Be sure to inspect your plant regularly and closely to see if you notice any signs of pests.

Cleaning the leaves off and removing any dead or damaged leaves can help discourage pests from trying to make your Hoya a home.

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are small white fuzzy-looking bugs. Usually, you will find them on the backside of the leaves near the stem of the plant.

If you find mealybugs on your Hoya it is best to use Neem oil to get rid of them. Neem oil is usually the best option for Hoya Compacta and mealybugs.

Another method some people use is rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip. You can remove mealybugs directly from the plant this way. After doing so rinse off the leaves with water.

The drawback of this method is that you are only removing the bugs that you see, not the eggs. Also with the thick curly leaves of this plant, it makes this a very hard way to get all of the active adult mealybugs off the plant.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are very small and can easily go undetected for a while due to their tiny size.

The first indication of spider mites on a Hoya Compacta plant that plant owners notice is usually small speckled dots appearing on the leaves.

After that, the next indication many plant owners notice is small webs on the plant with the leaves affected by the spider mites dying. This usually occurs after the spider mites have grown in substantial numbers.

There are two options that are best for battling spider mites. The first is Neem oil and the other option would be an insecticidal soap. Both of these are effective at getting rid of spider mites on plants.

No matter which one you choose to use, consistency is required when treating the plant for spider mites. Follow the directions on the package and make sure to repeat as directed so you can fully eradicate the spider mites from your plant.

Root Rot

Root rot is one of the most common Hoya Compacta problems that plant owners have with this plant.

If you don’t have a pot that allows for drainage and don’t keep the plant in proper soil condition root rot will easily start.

To try to save a Hoya Compacta from root rot you will need to let the soil dry out, if this is hard to do go ahead and remove the plant from the pot. Get as much soil off the roots as possible. Then remove any damaged roots with a sterilized cutting tool.

Replant the plant in a pot that has good drainage with soil that is well-draining. Terracotta pots might be the better option if you are having repeat issues of root rot. This type of pot will help keep moisture out of the soil since it will naturally take away moisture from the soil.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves on a Hoya Compacta usually means one of three things.

The first culprit of yellowing leaves can be too much light. If you are keeping your plant in direct sunlight for most of the day this could be why its leaves are turning yellow with a bit of burning on the edges.

Another reason for yellowing leaves on Hoya Compacts is too little light. If you have your plant in an area that there isn’t much indirect light you will start to see the leaves yellowing.

The third reason for yellowing leaves can be too much water. These plants cannot be watered too often and cannot be left sitting in soggy soil. If you have yellowing leaves that are starting to turn squishy and the soil is moist cut back on watering.

Fungus on the Leaves

Most often if you have a fungus on your Hoya Compacta leaves it is going to be Botrytis cinerea or Grey Mold.

First, you will notice spotting on the leaves. After this, they start to become squishy with greying along the leaf edges. The leaves will then fall off and the fungus will move to other parts.

If you find this on your plant make sure to isolate the plant away from other plants in your house so the fungus doesn’t spread.

You will want to put it in a place that has good light and good air circulation.

Remove the leaves that have the fungus and then apply a fungicide to the plant.

How to Care for a Hoya Compacta Plant

Frequently Asked Questions About Hoya Compacta Plants

How fast does a Hoya Compacta grow?

They are not a very fast-growing plant. The vines on a Hoya Compacta plant will only grow a few inches each year. To make sure you are getting the best growth rate from your plant, place it in a brightly lit area and keep it out of low-light areas of the home.

Are Hoya Compacta easy to care for?

They are very easy to care for as long as you have them in the right soil mixture and the correct pot type. They need well-draining soil and a pot that has drainage holes. Overwatering is the number one issue that people have with this type of plant. They don’t grow very fast, so you will not have to provide much upkeep for the foliage.

How Do You Get A Hindu Rope Plant To Bloom?

The biggest factor in getting a Hoya Compacta to bloom is the amount of light that the plant gets. If you keep your plant in a lower-lit area you will probably not get any blooms.

Do hoya plants like direct sunlight?

Hoya plants prefer bright indirect light. The most direct sunlight you want to allow your hoya to get is 2 hours per day. Too much direct sunlight can burn the leaves causing them to turn yellow and brown.

What does an overwatered Hoya look like?

Overwatered Hoyas get yellowing leaves and wilted leaves. If you notice wilted leaves that are soft and going limp this is a sign of the plant getting too much water. If you notice the leaves yellowing and getting squishy with no signs of fungus and damp soil this could also indicate too much water.

Are coffee grounds good for Hoya Compacta plants?

Hoya Compactas can tolerate mildly acidic soil. So putting in some old coffee grounds that have been through the coffee maker should be ok. It is best however to add your coffee grounds to compost and then use compost in your soil mixture for your plant.

Why is my Hoya Compacta wrinkled?

Many times wrinkled leaves indicate that the plant needs to be watered. Feel the soil to see if it is dry, if so water the plant and the wrinkles should go away within 24 hours. If the soil is still moist to the touch this could be an indication of root rot. Repot your plant and remove any damaged roots.

Should you mist Hoya Compacta?

If you have low humidity levels (less than 40%) you can mist your plant to help give it more moisture. Another option to help low humidity levels is to get a small humidifier for the area that you keep your plant in.

How Can I Save an Overwatered Hoya?

If it is only a mild case of overwatering you should only need to stop watering it and let it dry out before watering again. If it is more severely overwatered to where root rot has set in you will need to repot your plant and clean the roots up by removing any damaged roots.

Is a Hoya Compacta plant a succulent?

They are semi-succulent plants. Hoya Compacta plants store water in their leaves but unlike succulents, they are not as drought tolerant.

References:

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