Hoya dekeae

Hoya dekeae comes from Sumatra the sixth largest island in the world.  Sumatra has a large range of plant and animal species, but sadly in the past 35 years has lost over half of its rainforests to deforestation. Many species are now critically endangered. Almost every problem in the world can be traced to over population, but I don’t suppose this is not the place to get into it.  The plant was found in March 1990 by Mr. R. van Donkelaar and D. Jannink and was listed in the collection of Mr. R. van Donkelaar under the number IPPS 4094.  It was originally published as Hoya dekei by Ted Green in 2000, and was named after the lady Deyke Van Donkelaar.  After a while the ending was corrected according to the rules of the ICFN.

Hoya deykeae is part of the Hoya finlaysonii section, and is closely related to Hoya vitellinoides, Hoya vitellina and Hoya finlaysonii.  With its heart-shaped heavily truncated leaves, the plant looks like the product of a relationship between Hoya kerrii and Hoya callistophylla. The flowers are also pretty typical of most of the Hoya finlaysonii complex and are lightly perfumed. 

I received Hoya deykeae as a small cutting in the early summer of 2014 from Thailand.  It rooted fairly easily, but was never a good grower.  I always rejoiced when it put on a new leaf. I grew this Hoya in my regular mix, but it seemed really susceptible to over-watering.  It does not grow nearly as easily as H. callistophylla, but is less difficult than Hoya sp. gunung gading.  It can turn on a dime; one day it will look like it is thriving and the next can look like its on death’s doorstep.  A wrong watering move will make several leaves turn yellow, look jaundiced and eventually fall off. Hoya deykeae will blast buds very easily.  I thought I was going to bring this plant to the blog about six months ago, but just before the buds were going to open, I watered the plant, and they all fell off.  It is just difficult to get the watering right with this plant.

Hoya deykeae is not an easy plant for the northern gardener, but because of its unique leaf shape and beautiful venation it is probably worth the effort to give it a try.  It makes a lovely specimen, and it really matters not if it never flowers as it is all about the leaves with this one.