Today in my greenhouse, my Hoya pubicalyx or harlequin porcelain vine is blooming. It has bloomed before, so I decided to look back and see when I started this plant.

The beginning

I saw this plant growing along a room divider in a hobby shop in a small town in Michigan.  It was going crazy! I asked if I could have a piece and the owner gave me one. (I always ask. Never take a cutting of a plant that you haven’t been given permission to take.) The cutting below is just a piece of the long vine he gave me. I took multiple cuttings from the one long piece. Each cutting just needs a short piece of the stem along with 1-2 leaves. Note: If you try to grow just 1 leaf without a short piece of the stem attached, you may never have a vine, just a leaf. This is especially true of the heart-shaped hoya, Hoya kerrii that are popular around Valentine’s Day.

Cutting of a hoya

August 2013

From the dates on the pictures, I see I started these cuttings in August of 2013. I took a few cuttings and pinned them with pieces of a paper clip to moist potting medium, keeping it moist while the plant formed roots. As you can see, I used the bottom of a carry-out plastic container to hold the medium. I had this container and cuttings on my light stand where it received 12 hours of light a day, every day. Starting them under lights isn’t necessary, but it’s where I had room and it worked for me.

Starting to grow

December 2015

Below is a picture of it in December 2015 with all the cuttings planted up. I left it in the take-out container much longer than I needed to. I am a procrastinate person….


Don’t you love those light pink speckles on the leaves?

Love that variegated leaf!


Fast forward to today and it is flowering. It flowered last year, too. I don’t know exactly the first time it bloomed so it may even have bloomed in 2017. I don’t remember. Anyway, look at what can happen from just a small cutting!

Old flowers. They fell off today.

In full bloom

Like an upside-down umbrella

Naming the plant

Aren’t those flowers gorgeous?! Why is it called Hoya “pubicalyx”? See how the large burgundy part is fuzzy? Pubescent means hairy or furry and the calyx is the sum of all the sepals which protect the flower petals until they unfurl. So those burgundy sepals were tight around the pink center flower before they opened. Thus the sepals which all together form the calyx are fuzzy–pubicalyx. I love the names they use to describe plants.

Up close and beautiful

Hoya care

Hoyas are easy plants that benefit from plenty of light and actually like cramped quarters, so don’t put them in too large a pot. Keep them evenly moist, but not wet, neve allowing them to completely dry out. If the leaves wrinkle as your fingers do in the bathtub, they are extremely dry at that point. They will usually recover after watering, but it is best to NOT let them become that dry. Also, one last note. Do not cut off the peduncle or small stem the flower cluster is coming from. Next year’s flowers will come from the same small stem.

Do you have a hoya? Has it flowered for you?

Have a great week! 

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