I received a small rooted plant of Hoya maingayi in May of 2019. It arrived in decent shape for a plant coming all the way from Thailand. It grew a little, but what I did next is a cautionary tale, and one I recommend to guard against. Someone approached me and desperately wanted a cutting of Hoya maingayi in trade, and I violated my no cut until it flowers rule and took a cutting. What remained of the plant never bounced back, and developed root rot. There was just enough left to take a one node cutting, but it never really took and I lost the plant.
By taking that early cutting for use in a trade, did not leave myself any kind of insurance against failure of the main plant. I recommend to never take a cutting of a plant until you have had it at least a year. I managed to find another plant for sale from UPT in the summer of 2020, and I paid what for me was a goodly sum for it, but what I received was an outstandingly healthy plant rooted in coconut husk chips. It was well worth the money paid.
Now that I had a new plant to work with, I was very excited and really did not want to end up losing it. It grew well right from the start and required several up-pottings. One of the things I wanted to guard again was losing this one to root rot so I kept it in pots that allowed me to see more easily when to water this plant. I finally took to actually writing down when I watered the plant to better track it. This is a Hoya that takes very little water. I have been able to go as long as a month in between waterings which is unheard of for me.
My plant was growing into a behemoth that finally had to be moved up to an 8″ pot and then I had to engineer a trellis to work with it. What puzzled me was how could I have such a large plant and never been able to spot a peduncle on it. I felt that there must be some missing element like day length that was not allowing it to want to form peduncles and bud up. I finally got so frustrated that I reached out to Julie Kennedy from the UK to see if any of her European connections had been able to flower it and to find out there secret.
The only person Julie could find that had flowered this plant was a woman named Lina from the Ukraine. I was unable gather much info from her primarily because of the language issue. From what I gathered she flowered it without lights in the early summer, and watered it very little in the winter. I took this as a sign that perhaps this is a plant that needed increasing day length to trigger flowering. I moved it from 12 hours of light to 15 hours. It took a long time, but on one of its rare waterings, I finally found a short hidden peduncle. It just started to bud up!
I was so excited to see those early buds, but within 2 weeks I was crushed when the buds began to turn red (This is almost always a sign that you will lose the buds). It was not long before my suspicions were confirmed when I touched the tiny buds, and they fell off. I moved the plant to another area of the tent and promptly almost forgot about it. Within 3 months of the buds blasting, I was blown away when two additional peduncles formed and this time the buds started growing in earnest. I was extremely careful to barely water the plant this time as I believe that it was the watering that caused me to lose the first buds. This time around the buds actually grew well on both peduncles; I started to gain confidence! Finally, after 3 1/2 years since I got my hands on the plant I finally got my flowers in December of 2022. I believe that I was the first in North America to get this one to bloom, but if I am wrong, contact me, and I will make it right.
Hoya maingayi was named for Alexander Carroll Maingay (1836-1869), who collected it in 1867. British physician, botanist and botanical collector, he was killed during prison riot. I believe that this Hoya was one that was fairly recently rediscovered as it was not listed in a sale listings prior to 2018. Hoya maingayi is found in Four locations, Malacca, Gunung Arang Para, Perak, Pahang forests, southern peninsular Thailand. It mainly can be found deep in Pahang forest and southern Thailand. But it is said that Hoya maingayii from Malaysia look a bit different from the one found in Thailand.
I feel very fortunate to have been able to flower this difficult to bloom species. The flowers have no scent, but they are extremely beautiful. This plant gets my highest recommendation as a fabulous addition to any Hoya collection and hope that it becomes very widespread!