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How to Grow Hoya Kerrii: Care (with Pictures)

A Valentine’s Day heart-shaped hoya kerrii is a charming, lovable, and bewitching plant. It defies all sorts of odds including care neglect and pest attack. If you are a Valentine’s Day cupid corner or just a crazy plant lover, this houseplant is what you should think of in your next gift purchase.

Knowing a Hoya Kerrii

Like many hoyas, this one too originates in Southeast Asia namely, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Island of Java in Indonesia. The name Kerrii is a scientific derivation by one botanist. He is thought to have first collected it from the wild and moved along with it to Western Europe.

Hoya kerrii nativity in green and areas introduced in pink
Origins of sweetheart hoya map

In the natural habitat, this one is a vining epiphyte. This means that it has a craving to climb other plants and woods.

Hoya kerrii is one seasonal houseplant that is very popular around Valentine’s Day. It has attractively heart-shaped leaves. This one has waxy foliage though is not considered a typical succulent.

Common modish names: Heart Hoya, Hoya hearts, sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Wax Plant, Wax Hearts or Valentine Hoya

Is a Hoya Kerrii Fast Grower?

No. Hoya kerrii plant varieties are particularly slow growers.

Hoya Kerrii Flower

Like any other hoya houseplant, a kerrii (splash, reverse variegated, albomarginata) bears flowers on the stems. These flowers are normally produced in the summer or spring.

White lucky heart hoya plant flower cluster
White sweetheart flowers of a vine plant

What do they look like? They are normally pink or white. As you can see in these pictures, each flower consists of 2 stacked, star-shaped structures. These are the corona (sepals) and corolla (petals). The corona is on top. It is smaller than the corolla and is pinkish-brown to purplish-brown.

Like many hoya flowers, these ones are sweet-scented too. They do release fragrances during the day. They also produce odorless brown nectar.

Striking petals and  5 star pink hoya flowers
Hoya hearts in pink blooms

The flowers are tiny but so striking. They are produced in clusters. Each inflorescence bears about 25 flowers. Hoya heart flowers are long-lasting.

Width and Height

When mature, these Valentine’s Day houseplants grow to their full potential. And their vines stretch as long as 13 feet.

The width of the plant can best be defined by how you train and support them. That is to say, for instance, staking your plant controls how wide it can get.

Hoya Kerrii’s Care Details

Do you need to grow this one with much ease indoors? This plant has adaptable capabilities indoors where growing conditions need little twisting and tweaking.

It is particularly sensitive to lime and soil pH. The right combination of light-temperature and water-humidity are other game-changer condition sets. Here are simple care details on watering, lighting, staking, humidity, potting, and repotting.

Staking your Hoya Kerii Splash vs Hanging

Since hoya kerrii are light-demanding plants, staking as a support system is mandatory. If you want to have your plant as hanging baskets, you need the same principle of light. That is, grow them near our windowsill or invest in grow lights.

In terms of location for this one, a large or spacious bathroom is as perfect and close to conditions in the natural rainforests.

Lighting (Foot-Candles)

Nearly all types of hoya kerrii do exceptionally well in places that receive dappled or diffused sunlight. Growing lights are also very supportive light sources.

Heart shaped hoya kerrii plant type situated in brightly lit room
Hoya kerrii splash in a sunny spot

To encourage blooming, varieties of these hoyas require regular exposure to constant 10750 – 21500 lux (1000 – 2000 foot candles). This is the kind of light in which shadows produced don’t draw clearly defined outlines.

You can prefer to grow lights if your home is poorly lit. Go for full-spectrum fluorescent light sources. Ensure you have followed all general guidelines on the use of artificial grow lights.

What Amount of Water a Hoya Kerrii Needs

Hoya kerrii varieties are quite resilient to drought and thirst. The top secret with watering in this one is, to allow excess water to drain away.

The crucial step in watering is ensuring the potting soil is adequately soaked.

Above all, do not water on schedules. But rather moisture level in soil and surrounding air indoors. When watering, consider the pot size, and conditions in your home – light, temperature, and material of the potting container.

Growing New Kerrii Splash Plants – Propagation

The best way to propagate these plants is through the manipulation of stem cutting. You can either use water or sphagnum moss as means to get them rooted.

What you need:

  • A mature kerrii splash mother plant.
  • Water glasses/small container
  • Sterilized sharp pruning shears/scissors
  • Freshly obtained sphagnum moss

Rooting your Stem Cutting in Water

Steps to follow:

  • Cut a stem with 3 leaves and nodes from your hoya kerrii splash
  • Remove the two bottom leaves including the petiole
  • Fill the water glasses with water
  • Place each of the cuttings with the bottom side in the water
  • Situate your cuttings in brightly lit and warm rooms

As you wait for them to start rooting, keep refilling the glasses with water when the level has gone low. Ensure the top leaf does not touch the water.

The great thing about water propagation is you can monitor rooting progress. In 2-3 weeks your cuttings should have grown at least 1 inch long. Transplant your rooted cuttings in a well-draining potting mix.

Rooting in Sphagnum Moss

Before you start the propagation, you need to soak the moss in water for a few minutes. Then squeeze extra water gently. Follow a similar procedure above.

Replant your cuttings after 2 weeks in a fresh potting mix. Use small 4-inch pots. Water well and keep them in warm and humid garden rooms.

Potting Medium/Soil

As mentioned, hoya kerrii are Sensitive to lime. This means that growing them in ground soil is consequential.

Being an epiphyte this hoya is particularly suited to soils with perfect air circulation.

A regular indoor houseplant potting blend is great for these kinds of plants. More importantly, the key to happy growth, consider choosy aspects of your blending that ensure excellent aeration. Go for perlite, orchid bark, and course sand.

Avoid heavy ingredients.


Along with the potting mix quality, is the fertilizer question. Does feeding your hoya kerrii of any importance? Well, these plants are not heavy or high feeders. But regular feeding during the growing seasons can be of great benefit.

Feed your hoya kerrii using balanced liquid food. You should apply the fertilizer when watering. Feeding should be once a month.

Hoya Kerrii Types – Pictures

Golden yellow variegated sweetheart vine albomarginata
Hoya kerrii albomarginata
Flowering Valentine hoya dangling from a WINDOWSILL
Hoya kerrii heart underside leaf view with flower

Common Growth Issues and Problems

Here are the two main growth issues with sweetheart hoya.

Curled-up Foliage

The houseplant does not have many leaves. However, if the leaves show signs of calling, the following are some of the common reasons

  • Overwatering
  • Underwatering
  • Extreme/abrupt shifts in temperature

If this houseplant is underwatered, the leaves become stained and all tarnished. And this is attributed to the fact that the leaves have qualities of semi-succulents.

Overwatering is another growth issue. Unlike dehydration, overwatering often leads to root rot.

Growing Less

Sometimes it is expected that your houseplant doesn’t seem to increase in height or size for a lengthy period of 1 year. One of the obvious reasons behind this is the fact that they are slow growers.

The second thing is that when the roots are exposed to an unhealthy potting medium. It won’t establish. Even if it seems to grow, these need to constantly check the rooting system routinely.

  1. Sweetheart Hoya Is the Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift for a Plant Lover. Better Homes & Gardens. https://www.bhg.com/gardening/gardening-trends/sweetheart-hoya-valentines-day/. Accessed online 28 Jan 2023
  2. Hoya Kerrii. NATIONA PARKS. https://www.nparks.gov.sg/florafaunaweb/flora/1/4/1414. Accessed online 26 Sep 2022
  3. FAOR People Who Are Obsessed With Hoyas. A Natural Curiosity. https://anaturalcuriosity.org/for-people-who-are-obsessed-with-hoyas/. Accessed online 26 Sep 2022
  4. Hoya | Costa Farms. Accessed online 26 Sep 2022

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