Frustrated after 3 or 4 years of putting so much effort into my Hoya imbricata, I decided to put it in a shady spot outside for the summer in 2017, and let nature take its course. Well nature took its course alright, the squirrels tore the plant to pieces a left it all over the yard. I was just going to compost it, when I got an idea for one more go at the plant.
I had a very large piece of aquarium driftwood kicking around for 10 or more years from the days when I kept fish. Only my wife saved me from having thrown it out on numerous occasions. I decided to make this piece of wood into my new mount and fastened a large screened in pocket of soil to the log with clumps of sphagnum also adhered to the wood. I tied the bits of imbricata to the mount with fishing line soaked the entire thing with water and waited.
Miracle of miracles, it started to grow and respond and mosses, ferns and grasses started to pot up.
After the cracked glass incident, I bought tempered glass at a cost of $60 to take the heat. It was all for naught as my Hoya imbricata languished in the aquarium and did not do well at all. I removed it and made a larger mount out of U-shaped bamboo, covered in plastic tubing, covered in sphagnum. This whole contraption sat in a weighted terracotta pot. There the plant lived for two years, and that is all it did was live, if it put on a new leaf it would lose a leaf. It did very poorly.
Below a close-up of the flowers on my Hoya maxima Red Corona:
Realizing that I probably needed to give it more humidity to make this plant flower, I bought it a 30 gallon aquarium to grow in. I had it suspended with egg crate above water and put a heat mat underneath the tank for warmth. I had a HPS grow-light above the 1/4 inch special glass top that I had purchased to hold in the humidity. Within two Hours the heat from the lamp had shattered the glass, which rained down into the tank cutting my plant.
I have no photos of the plant from this time so more photos of my happy fuzzy Hoya maxima flowers:
I received my first Hoya imbricata on a small mount from Gardino’s Nursery in an eBay transaction in 2014. Here is a photo after I had it for a few months and it was outgrowing its mount:
The leaves of Hoya maxima Red Corona are about 3 inches in diameter and grab the mount with a vice like grip.
It was a difficult long process, but finally I flowered one of the imbricate Hoya species. Plant scientists need to do a study and survey on these plants as I am very confused on differences between H. imbricata and H. maxima. They are all shingle plants with the same symbiotic relationship with ants. There are supposedly species whose leaves get to be 10 inches in diameter. That I would love to see!
A big thank you to Christina Karlsson of Sweden for digging into my question about where the white Bella came from and getting the answers. Also, a thank you to Julie Kennedy for contacting Christina in the first place.
The collection number was assigned by Surisa Somadee, and the PES comes from the name of the collector Dr. Piyakaset Ek Suksathan. This is the same collector who found Hoya lithophytica formally known as Hoya sp. Umphang PES01. The plant was likely collected in Thailand and given to Surisa in 2007.
The fact that there is so little of this wonderful plant in the trade after 11 years, I think, is a testament to the difficulty in its propagation.
Finally found out the official name of my all white flowered Hoya bella; it is called Hoya sp. aff. Bella PES 03, but other than the name and that it is extremely rare, I have little else to go on at this point. I will report back when I find out more information. In the mean time here is the only multi-flower photo that I can locate, and it happens to be mine for now.
My poor plant languishes most of the year, but when I can get it outside for a couple months in the summer:
Probably be my last summer with this plant as it has gotten too large for me to have room for it any longer.