I am a compulsive overwaterer; I simply can’t walk by a plant and not water it. I have killed many a plant from too much kindness, and I think that is what happened to my previous Hoya darwinii. By being able to observe the sides of the net pot, I was able to go between 10 days and 2 weeks between waterings. Believe me it was hell trying to stop myself from watering, but I held to it. I went from a plant that would die almost immediately to a plant that was able to hold its own, put on a little new growth, and actually form a peduncle and begin to bud up.
I opted to pot both darwinii up in four inch net pots using a modified bonsai mix in which I had added a little fine orchid bark, charcoal, and vermiculite. I then trellised the using a rabbit wire trellis that I made myself. By using the net pot, I was able to observe, by taking the pot out of the cache pot, exactly when to water, and was shocked at how little water this plant actually required.
The box arrived from Thailand in May of this year (2019), and for the most part the plants arrived in pretty good shape spending about 8 days in the post. The Hoya darwinii were quite large, and I was generally pleased with them. The roots were grown in a coconut husk plug that was impossible to remove without cutting all of the roots off and re-rooting so I was faced with the task of deciding what growing mix to pot them up in?? I had failed with this plant a few times in soil, so I really did not want to go that route again. Below the leaves of Hoya darwinii:
This spring (2019) I put together my annual 12 plant Thai order and decided to add both color variations of Hoya darwinii to the order. It was going to be the very last time that I tried to grow the plant. Both plants were considered large size and cost me about $29 each, and when the shipping cost were divided out among all plants, the total cost came to about $36 per Hoya.
Somewhere in 2017, I tried ordering a Hoya darwinii from Thailand in a group order and it arrived completely crispy and totally dead. I’m unsure if this counts as one of my failures as I never even planted it as there was no point. A good Hoya friend of mine in North Carolina sent me a small rooted cutting in 2018, and despite taking a little longer to die, it died none the less.
Trying desperately to save my plant I took a cutting and managed to get it to root, but the main plant died, and shortly there after the cutting, after growing a new leaf, died as well.
My first Hoya darwinii plant was purchased from Gardino Nursery on eBay way back in 2013. It was small, had about 10-12 leaves, and did not last very long at all. I had it growing in soil in a grow tent under T-5 fluorescent lights, and it began to lose leaves almost immediately. Below the buds on the plant:
I really never thought that we would ever be talking about Hoya darwinii as I had failed with this plant so many times, but here we are, success at last!
Here is a photo I snapped this morning of the flowers of Hoya lockii, and Hoya darwinii side by side – similar yet so different. Much more on Hoya darwinii starting tomorrow.
I have been growing Hoya soidaoensis experimentally in a modified bonsai mix now for about four months. I seems to like it and has now flowered twice for me in a very short amount of time.