I received Hoya gildingii as a small rooted plant from Jimmy Meyers from North Carolina in summer of 2019. Jimmy is a great grower and had done extremely well with this plant so I was hoping for the same for myself. Unfortunately it did not turn out that way.
I was very excited with this Hoya at first as it started out really well out of the gate, but I made the mistake of bragging on it, and that was the end of that. It went downhill slowly and dropped a couple of yellowing leaves. Before it could get any worse, I inspected the roots which showed moderate rot and were not healthy looking at all. I took two cuttings from the plant hoping to salvage it. I rooted the cuttings in water and used two, 2 inch net pots with outer cache pots to grow them in as to better monitor when to water. The winter of 2019/2020 these very tiny plants did nothing. One had four leaves and the other had only three. I was determined to get them outside early in the summer of 2020 with hopes that fresh air and cooler temps would bring them around.
Being outside in the summer of 2020 did absolutely nothing for the plants except make them deteriorate further. There was no new growth at all and one plant lost one leaf that the bigger of the two plants lost a couple of leaves. It did not look good for the future of Hoya gildingii in my hands! They came back inside in September and held their own with a little bit of new growth actually starting to show on the plants after what seemed like an eternity!
My two little plants put on enough new growth that I was having a hard time keeping the net pot wet enough. I made the decision to transplant them into 3 inch terracotta pots, which apparently made a big difference as the plants really started to grow well for the first time since I had acquired the species over a year previously. By Christmas of 2020, I was able to transplant again. The larger of the two plants went into a six inch terracotta pot and the smaller Hoya went into a 5 inch pot. In late February of 2021, the larger of the two plants developed a peduncle, but I dared not get too excited as I had a peduncle before and lost it. I guess that I need not have worried as very slowly it began to bud up, and other peduncles began to form. The buds held and it flowered for the first time on May 5th.
While I was elated about flowering my larger plant, my second plant had foundered. It had not grown in months and after taking it out of the pot found massive root rot even in the terracotta pot. So once again, I took two cuttings, and I will start the process over. The silver lining in all of this is that if both cuttings take, then I have increased my stock of the plant. It is always best to have a safety net on these rare Hoyas.
Hoya gildingii was named for Edward Guilding. Ed Gilding did some of the early work in hybridizing Hoyas having created Hoya Kamuki, Seanie, Noele, and Jennifer among others. He was the first to find this species so he clearly is very deserving of the naming recognition! This plant has only been found on Mount Kinabalu, Sabah in lower montane forests between 1,200 and 1,600 meters in elevation. It is known as a cool grower, because of the high elevation where it is found. I have discovered that many of these cool growers don’t grow well in really cool temperatures. This plant does best when day times highs reach about 75F degrees with nights going down to about 65-70F. Cool does not mean growing these ‘cool growers’ in the 50s and 60s.