Hoya ‘Nathalie’ is a Mike Benardo hybrid Hoya where he crossed H. erythostemma with H. ‘Joy’ (Hoya erythostemma X Hoya ‘Joy’). Hoya ‘Joy’ itself was a cross between Hoya sp. Laos and Hoya vitellina so in Hoya ‘Nathalie’ there are some interesting genetics going on. The plant was named in honor of Nathalie Evelinadotter Simonsson, now Nathalie Simonsson Juhonewe. She is Swedish, and a present day botanical explorer who has discovered a large array of new Hoya species on collecting trips all over the Hoya growing world. She has also done amazing work with the deaf population of Papua New Guinea.
Hoya ‘Nathalie’ came to me as a cutting from Patrick Vance in Michigan four years ago. I feel that it is important to give him credit for it; as in the early days after the release of this plant, it sold for huge dollars. I saw one plant go on eBay for $165.00! So thank you Patrick for supplying me with the cutting! Growing the plant was no picnic for me. It was a long slow slog with many interminable stops along the way. It grew in my regular chunky mix, but I think the roots must have suffered some rot at some point as it would just sit there and act like a plastic plant – not growing at all for months at a time.
The plant always grew best in the summer when placed outdoors in the greenhouse. After long periods of steady growth I was checking the plant at least weekly for signs of it first peduncle, always disappointed when I found nothing. Finally after three years I spotted my first vestigial peduncle, these are half atrophied peduncles that never fully develop and are not necessarily a precursor to flowering. After four full years of growing, at last I noticed a real peduncle that actually started to bud up. I was so excited that finally I would get to see the flowers on this plant that I had spent so much time cultivating.
I feel that I got off to a bad start with this plant, possibly if more care would have been taken, the plant could have been flowered much faster. Now that I have the plant grown to a large size though, all it wants to do is flower. It could also be one of those Hoyas that just have to get some age on it before it will bloom. Regardless, Hoya ‘Nathalie’ makes a great specimen for the collection and I can highly recommend the plant to everyone!