Hoya maxima Red Corona

Hoya maxima Red Corona was purchased in October of 2017 from AH Hoyas in Thailand.  I had been trying to flower an imbricate Hoya for years and this is the one that did it for me.  Below is my history trying to grow and flower Hoya imbricata/maxima:

I received my first Hoya imbricata on a small mount from Gardino’s Nursery in an eBay transaction in 2014. Realizing that I probably needed to give it more humidity to make this plant flower, I bought it a 30 gallon aquarium to grow in.  I had it suspended with egg crate above water and put a heat mat underneath the tank for warmth.  I had a HPS grow-light above the 1/4 inch special glass top that I had purchased to hold in the humidity. Within two Hours the heat from the lamp had shattered the glass, which rained down into the tank cutting my plant.

After the cracked glass incident, I bought tempered glass at a cost of $60 to take the heat.  It was all for naught as my Hoya imbricata languished in the aquarium and did not do well at all.  I removed it and made a larger mount out of U-shaped bamboo, covered in plastic tubing, covered in sphagnum. This whole contraption sat in a weighted terracotta pot.  There the plant lived for two years, and that is all it did was live, if it put on a new leaf it would lose a leaf.  It did very poorly.

rustrated after 3 or 4 years of putting so much effort into my Hoya imbricata, I decided to put it in a shady spot outside for the summer in 2017, and let nature take its course.  Well nature took its course alright, the squirrels tore the plant to pieces a left it all over the yard. I was just going to compost it, when I got an idea for one more go at the plant.

I had a very large piece of aquarium driftwood kicking around for 10 or more years from the days when I kept fish.  Only my wife saved me from having thrown it out on numerous occasions.  I decided to make this piece of wood into my new mount and fastened a large screened in pocket of soil to the log with clumps of sphagnum also adhered to the wood.  I tied the bits of imbricata to the mount with fishing line soaked the entire thing with water and waited.

Miracle of miracles, it started to grow and respond and mosses, ferns and grasses started to pot up. With my new mount doing so well, in October of last year I ordered a Hoya maxima Red Corona plant from AH Hoyas in Thailand.  It arrived nearly dead, but I saved one leaved and added it to my imbricata mount.  After two months it rooted and started to grow rather well.

I should also say at this time that my mount of Hoya imbricata/maxima sits in a large tray of water and is covered in a clear grow cloche that stands 22 inches high.  It is grown under one 300 watt LED light and is kept warm.  Every day the plant gets misted with RO water and fertilized.

Even with all of this care and as well as the mount was growing, I was taken back when I spotted the first peduncle!  Unfortunately, the first and second peduncle produced fell off.  The third peduncle started producing buds and they promptly fell off as well!

After these failures, I thought that maybe the atmosphere was too small, and I built a polycarbonate extension for the plant bringing it from 22 inches of height to 30 inches.  Finally a fourth peduncle formed and the buds made it to term – I was euphoric.  After almost five years and so many setbacks I had finally done it!

I believe that the complete living ecosystem encompassed in my mount made the difference in getting my imbricate Hoya to finally flower.  Besides the mosses, grasses, ferns, and fungi, there were a hundreds of very small soil mites that made there home in this extraordinary mount.  I believe they contributed valuable co2 that helped the plant grow.  Below you see a Hoya undulata also happily living on the mount.

The flowers on Hoya maxima Red Corona are extremely fragrant and last around five days.  They are around 3/8 inch in diameter and are soft and furry for lack of a better word.  Completely unique, I believe that if you are up for the challenge and can deal with the maintenance you ought to give this one a try.  If you manage to flower it, you will feel an incredible sense of accomplishment!