Hoya leucantha

Hoya leucantha was first collected by Cecil Boden Kloss in Indonesia, Papua Province, Utakwa River to Mt. Carstensz, at a canoe camp in 1912-1913. It was part of the Wollaston Expedition in Dutch New Guinea. The epiphytic plant was found at 500 ft in elevation. It is presently known from three localities in Indonesia, West Papua Province, the type collection from Utakwa River, one specimen from bomberai Peninsula, and one unvouchered record from Mimka Regency (Near Timika Town) in Papua Province. Leucantha means white-flowered, and that is what Hoya leucantha’s name is derived from.

I received a small cutting of a Hoya called Hoya sp. Papua Long Leaves (NOID) in late spring of 2022 from an Indonesian vendor who sold plants on Etsy. The cutting arrived in pretty good shape and grew well right from the start. I loved the long pointy leaves, and really wanted to know what I had received. I narrowed it down to two possibilities; it could either be H. leucantha or H. paradisea.

My NOID Hoya with pointed leaves continued to grow well and had a number of up-pottings. It budded up early and I anxiously waited to find out what the real name of the plant I received from Indonesia was. It finally flowered in late 2022, and I have to say that it was somewhat of a let down in that it appeared to be a Hoya that only has its flowers fully opened at night or very early in the morning. When I first viewed the blooms, I knew at once that it was Hoya leucantha and not Hoya paradisea. The next morning I made sure to get up just before the grow lights came on and manage to get the flowers fully opened before they began to close up for the day. I should also note that I was not able to detect any real scent to the blooms.

Right after this plant bloomed the second time, I noticed that the leaves no longer looked as vibrant and many of them started to yellow and fall off. I worried that I might lose the plant so I chopped it all up into multiple cuttings and put them in the propagator. The odd thing was that the roots on the specimen looked to be in good shape, so I have no idea what the problem was that caused so many leaves to fall off. All of the cuttings that I took of my failed plant easily rooted, and I was able to share this plant pretty widely through sales on eBay. Now here is the odd thing, since starting this plant over, twice more I have ended up with spectacular specimen plants that inexplicably failed with tons of leaves that would yellow and drop off. Each time there was no root rot observed at all so I am pretty baffled as to what the issue is. I have never observed another Hoya that would drop leaves without having compromised roots. Other than this problem, it is a stellar plant.

My favorite part of growing Hoya leucantha was how quickly it grew into a stunning specimen with tons of healthy, green pointed leaves. I just loved the overall growth form of this Hoya. Unfortunately, its proclivity to fail, just after it looks its best, is a huge detraction for me. It could also be my conditions that it does not like. I have only grown this one in high humidity grow tents under lights, so it may behave far differently when grown on a windowsill. I would encourage all of you to pick one up and give it a try as I would love to know if I am the only one who has experienced this precipitous decline after the plant matures.