I received Hoya lyi as a cutting in in June of 2021 from a kind-hearted collector right here in Vermont named Naomi. I rooted it in a 3 oz clear cup with nothing but coconut husk chips, and it has been living there ever since. It rooted and grew quickly and put on a peduncle in short order. I was not highly excited about the peduncle on Hoya lyi as I knew that it was closely related to Hoya thomsonii and that plant would only flower as the day length shortened in the autumn. I provided a constant 14 hour day length in my grow tent so I was very surprised when the peduncle actually started budding up! It is watered after the coconut husk gets visibly dry, which seems to be about every 4 days or so. The flowers unlike most Hoyas actually opened up in the day time and are wonderfully perfumed.
I want to thank Mary Carroll for finding the paper published by Michele Rodda on Hoya lyi and Hoya yeuenanensis that gives endemic data on the plant. Hoya lyi has a wide distribution range spanning Southern China, into Laos and Vietnam. The plant is a lithophytic species found on limestone in deep shade growing tightly to rock surfaces. It is surprising that the plant has done so well for me growing in coconut husk with no added limestone, but I may add some in the future. The leaves on Hoya lyi can vary considerably in size and shape and the flowers can vary in color from fully white to pink with pink to purple centers depending on where it was collected.
I have yet to flower Hoya yuennanensis, but it differs from Hoya lyi in habitat and flower characteristics. H. yuennanensis is a rampant climber that is found in exposed locations where as Hoya lyi is found in the deep shade. Hoya lyi has a different shaped corona that is broadened and flatter with smaller pollen masses then those found on Hoya yuennanensis. Both of these Hoyas are found among the furthest north of any Hoya species and can survive temperatures that briefly dip below freezing. I don’t think that I want to try it on my little specimen, but perhaps the reason that it flowered so quickly for me this winter is because my day time temperature rarely got over 74F and night time temps dropped into the upper 50s.
Hoya lyi ticks all the boxes for a Hoya. It does not take up a lot of space, it flowers early from a cutting, has a terrific fragrance, and seems to do well with minimal care. This Hoya gets my highest recommendation!!