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Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ (Krimson Princess) Care Guide

Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is a beautiful and popular houseplant that is known for its unique, variegated leaves that feature a combination of green, yellow, and pink. This plant is native to Southeast Asia and is part of the succulent family, which gives it its characteristic thick, fleshy leaves. 

In addition to its attractive leaves, Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is also known for its showy and fragrant flowers. These star-shaped blooms are typically pink in color and have a pleasant honey scent. While the flowers are not always present, they tend to appear off and on throughout the year, with peak blooming occurring in the summer or late summer/early fall.

In this article, we will cover all the essential information you need to know about caring for your variegated wax plant. From its origins and preferred growing conditions to propagation and common issues, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re a seasoned plant parent or new to the world of gardening, this guide will provide you with all the knowledge you need to keep it healthy and thriving. So let’s get started!

1. General Information

Scientific name:Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’
Common names:Wax Plant, Porcelain Flower, Honey Plant, Krimson Princess
Native to:Southeast Asia and Australia
Toxicity:Not toxic for pets and humans
Height:Up to 6.5 feet in length (2 m) 

2. Hoya Carnosa Tricolor Care & Growing Requirements

While it’s generally easy to care for this wax plant, you still have to offer it certain growing conditions to thrive.

» Watering

As an epiphytic plant,Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is adapted to growing on other plants rather than in soil, which means that it is naturally adapted to drier conditions. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of the plant’s watering needs and not to overwater it.

When watering your Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’, you should let the soil dry out between sessions. This means waiting until the top half of the soil dries out, and it can take anywhere from a few days to a week or more, depending on the temperature and humidity levels in your home. Be sure to check the soil regularly to ensure that you are not under- or overwatering the plant.

It is generally recommended to water your plant once every two weeks, but you may need to adjust this frequency depending on the time of year. During the hot summer months, the plant may need water more often, compared to the cooler fall and winter months.

Remember, it is better to underwater your Hoya Carnosa Tricolor than to overwater it, as the plant is prone to root rot if it’s left sitting in wet soil for too long. 

» Light

This plant requires bright, indirect light to thrive and produce its beautiful, variegated leaves and fragrant flowers. While Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ can tolerate some lower light conditions, it will do best in a spot with bright, indirect lighting.

When grown indoors, it’s best to place your variegated wax plant near a window or any spot that receives an ample amount of filtered light, while avoiding exposure to intense afternoon sun, as this can be too harsh for the plant. 

» Soil

Choosing a well-draining soil mix that’s rich in organic matter and will not retain excess moisture is ideal, as this plant is prone to root rot if left sitting in soggy soil. 

To create a suitable soil mix for your Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’, you can mix equal parts of fresh garden soil, coco coir, and compost. This will provide the plant with the nutrients and moisture retention it needs, while also improving the soil’s texture and drainage. Alternatively, you can use a soil mix specifically formulated for orchids, which can be purchased at a local plant market.

Pay attention to the pH level of the soil for your Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’, as it prefers a slightly acidic soil with a pH level of around 6.1 to 6.5. 

» Fertilizer 

Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with a ratio of 2:1:2 or 3:1:2 to fertilize your wax plant. This will provide the nutrients it needs to thrive, especially during the growing season, which typically occurs in the summer or spring. Dilute the fertilizer to half strength and apply it once or twice per month, while making sure not to overfeed it. Too much fertilizer can discourage flowering and may even harm your Hoya. During the winter months, when the plant is not actively growing, there is no need to fertilize.

Also remember that the Hoya Carnosa Tricolor is a foliage plant, so it requires a high amount of nitrogen to support healthy growth. When the plant is young, you can give it a high nitrogen fertilizer once or twice a month. However, when it reaches a good size, you can switch to a high phosphorus fertilizer to encourage blooming. This should be done for about two months prior to the plant’s normal blooming time. 

» Temperature 

Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ requires moderate to warm temperatures in order to thrive. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 60 and 80ºF (15 – 26°C), making it well-suited for indoor care in most homes. However, you should keep it away from appliances or locations that can cause sudden temperature fluctuations, such as heaters, radiators, fireplaces, air conditioners, or open windows and doors where cold drafts can blow through.

As a tropical plant, it is not accustomed to experiencing snow, frost, or freezing conditions, and is therefore not adapted to withstand them, so avoid exposing it to temperatures below 50ºF (10°C). 

» Humidity

This plant requires a moderate to high level of humidity to thrive, the ideal level ranging between 40% to 60%. 

One way to increase the humidity around your Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is to set up a pebble tray filled with water and place it below the pot. This will create a moist environment that is more suitable for the plant. You can also set up a larger pebble tray to accommodate more houseplants and allow them to sit close to each other, increasing the humidity in the air.

3. Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ Maintenance & Propagation

» Repotting

Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ doesn’t require frequent repotting. In fact, the plant may even bloom better if you leave it in the same pot for a few years. However, if you notice that its growth has stopped and roots are beginning to protrude from the pot, it may be time to repot.

The best time to do this is in the early spring to early summer, when the plant is not blooming. Choose a pot that is slightly larger than its current container and has sufficient drainage. Use a high-quality potting mix that is rich in organic matter and has a coarse texture. Fill the new pot with half of the potting mix, place the plant in the center, and fill the rest of the pot with the remaining soil. Water your Hoya thoroughly after repotting.

Avoid repotting your wax plant during its flowering season, as the stress of being moved can cause it to lose its flowers. Also, if your Hoya is struggling or not flowering well, repotting it in fresh soil may help provide it with the nutrients it needs to thrive.

» Pruning

Pruning your Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is essential for maintaining the shape and health of your plant. You can do minor trims throughout the year to keep the plant looking its best, depending on whether it is in a hanging basket, pot, or climbing a trellis. It is generally recommended to prune at least once a year, removing any spent foliage and flowers to keep the plant vibrant and healthy. 

Overall, pruning helps the plant branch out, encourage new shoots and flower growth and can also prevent the onset of diseases.  However, avoid cutting off the spurs (flower stalks), even after flowering has finished, as new flowers will grow from the same tip. 

» Propagation

To propagate Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’, you can start by taking stem cuttings in the springtime. These cuttings should be 4-5 inches long and have at least one or two leaf nodes, which are the areas where new roots will grow. Using a clean knife or shears, cut the stem just below a set of leaves, and remove the lower ones to expose the nodes.

You can then choose to propagate the stem cutting in water or soil. To propagate in water, place the cutting in a jar filled with water, making sure the nodes are submerged. Change the water every week. To propagate in soil, dip the cutting in rooting hormone and plant it into well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist for the first few months to help the roots develop.

Cuttings propagated in water can be transferred to soil once the roots are 1-2 inches long.

4. Common issues 

» Lack of Flowers

Sometimes Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ plants may not produce flowers, and there can be several reasons for this.

  • Insufficient lighting → These plants need bright, indirect light to thrive and produce flowers. If your plant is not getting enough light, it may not flower.
  • Improper care or an unhealthy plant → Wax plants need well-draining soil and regular watering, but they do not tolerate overwatering. If the plant is stressed due to over- or underwatering, it may not produce flowers.
  • Not getting the proper nutrients → Make sure to fertilize your plant regularly with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to ensure it has all the nutrients it needs to grow and produce flowers.
  • The plant is not old enough → Hoyas take a long time to mature and may not flower until they are several years old. Be patient and continue to care for your plant properly, and it may eventually produce flowers.

» Leaves Turning Yellow

The most common causes of yellowing leaves are insufficient lighting, improper watering, lack of proper nutrients and infestations with pests such as aphids or mealybugs. Double check if your plant receives everything it needs in order to thrive. 

» Wrinkled & Crisp leaves

Wrinkled or crisp leaves are usually a sign of underwatering. Optimize the watering schedule for your plant to ensure it is getting the proper amount of water and doesn’t sit in dry soil for prolonged periods of time. 

» Flower Bud Drops

One common cause is temperature fluctuations, which can cause the flowers to drop. These plants prefer warm, moist conditions, so be sure to keep your plant away from cool drafts. However, low humidity can also cause this issue, so consider increasing the humidity around your plant.

5. Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ Diseases & Pests

While wax plants are generally resistant to pests and diseases, they can still be affected by various pests and diseases from time to time. Some of the pests that may affect a Hoya carnosa ‘Tricolor’ include:

  • Aphids: Aphids are small, pear-shaped insects that suck the sap from the plant’s stems and leaves, causing them to become yellow or stunted. They can also produce a sticky substance called honeydew that can attract ants and lead to the growth of sooty mold.
  • Mealybugs: Mealybugs are small, white insects that tend to hide in the plant’s joints and leaf axils. They also suck the sap from the plant, causing the leaves to turn yellow and wilt.
  • Spider mites: Spider mites are tiny, eight-legged creatures that spin webs on the plant’s leaves and stems. They feed on the plant’s sap, causing the leaves to turn yellow and become speckled with small, yellow dots.
  • Thrips: Thrips are slender, winged insects that feed on the plant’s sap, causing the leaves to become distorted and turn yellow or silver.

In addition to pests, these plants may also be affected by diseases like:

  • Root rot: Root rot is caused by a fungus that attacks the plant’s roots, causing them to become soft and rot. It is often caused by overwatering or poor drainage.
  • Powdery mildew: Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that appears as a white or gray powdery substance on the plant’s leaves and stems. It is often caused by high humidity and poor air circulation.
  • Leaf spot: Leaf spot is a fungal disease that appears as small, dark spots on the plant’s leaves. It is often caused by high humidity and poor air circulation.

To prevent pests and diseases from affecting your tricolor wax plant, make sure to keep it clean and healthy by growing it in proper conditions. Also, check your plant regularly for signs of pests and diseases and take appropriate action if you notice any.

Conclusion 

Proper care is essential to keeping your variegated wax plant healthy and thriving. By following the tips mentioned above, you can help ensure your continues to grow and flourish, while also maintaining its Instagrammable appearance.

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