Hoyas Don’t Like the Cold!
Hoyas generally live in tropical areas. They are adapted to relatively high humidity and temperatures, so what can you do to look after them in winter? Some Hoyas have more specialist needs and may need more care and attention in colder months, but this guide should help you keep your tropical plants alive and healthy over winter.
The perfect solution is to maintain tropical conditions throughout the winter. If you had the resources, it would be great to be able to keep your plants growing in a warm, humid environment. For many of us this just isn’t possible, so we have to do a bit of work to ensure our plants over-winter successfully.
As temperatures get near freezing it is time to prepare your plants for winter, if you haven’t already. If UK winters are anything like recent years we could be expecting temperatures below -15°C. This is not something your Hoya will enjoy!!
It is important to be in control of your plants’ environment – this means taking action to help your tropical plant survive the winter. Keep out of cold draughts. Do not place Hoyas near doors as the constant opening and closing can cause cold blasts of air.
Keep Hoyas Away From Frost!
Exposing your Hoya to frost is a sure killer. They do not have the capability to survive freezing temperatures for long, which is pretty much common sense, considering they usually come from tropical regions. Make sure you do not have Hoya leaves touching external glazing. Glass, especially single-glazed, can get extremely cold.
Minimum Winter Temperature
All of my Hoyas are kept at a minimum temperature of 12°C. However, during the depths of last year the temperature dropped to 5°C for over a week as my system couldn’t cope. None of my plants suffered badly though. These guidelines have been successful for me for several years and I am now completely confident in over-wintering my plants. To solve most problems you can use low level heaters. These usually have a thermostat you can control the ambient temperature with fairly accurately.
If you really can’t keep your plants warm enough, try wrapping their pots in bubblewrap to provide some protection.
Reduce or Stop Watering Your Hoyas
Cold, wet compost can provide perfect conditions for fungi which can lead to rot. Rot of various descriptions can easily attack the roots of your prized plants and quickly kill them. To prevent fungal infections,
I hardly water my plants at all over winter. The pots are generally bone dry for weeks before I administer the odd dribble of water just to keep a little moisture around. Some hobbyists advocate not watering at all over winter, but I like to pour a dribble on every now and then, but not using enough water to actually moisten the whole pot of compost.
Keep Your Tropical Plants Dry in Cold Periods
Many tropical plants have relatively low minimum water requirements. Think about the plants you have forgotten to water in the past but have recovered nicely. Please err on the dry side – cold, wet compost will lead to rot, which can quickly kill your plants. You can always water a plant that is too dry but you can’t revive a rotten one!
Check Your Hoya Plants Regularly
Inspect your plant regularly by actually picking the plant up and rotating it. This could turn up issues that would otherwise go undetected. Remove any dead leaves, and trim off any dead or decaying shoots or vines with a sharp, clean pair of scissors.
Rest Periods can be Beneficial
As many of you will be aware, some plants benefit from cooler periods, and many actually flower during the shorter day lengths we have in winter. For some tropical plants like orchids, and many cacti, cold weather can be beneficial in promoting flowering, so should be built into the plants’ year if appropriate.