For those of you who watch my YouTube videos, you will remember that in May of 2019 I received a box of Hoya cuttings from Thailand. Hoya australis ‘Lisa’ was in that box.
I started out with this plant, which came rooted in coconut husk, by putting it into a 3 inch net pot so I could be careful and more attuned with its watering needs. It was not long before I move the plant up to a four inch net pot and had to insert a metal hoop to use as a trellis. The plant continued to grow well and the next up-potting, I decided to sing the entire net pot into a six inch regular pot rather than risk upsetting the roots.
I was thrilled with getting a peduncle in the early spring of 2020, but the tiny buds quickly aborted and I could not fathom why. The summer of 2020 was not a good one for Lisa. She ceased growing altogether, and I feared that I had rotted the roots and would have to start the plant over. I brought the plant back inside from the greenhouse in September, and miraculously it started growing quite vigorously.
Lisa put on a number of peduncles through the late fall of 2020, but time after time the buds would dry up and fall off. I simply could not figure it out, but came up with a hypothesis that maybe the day length of my lighting cycle was too long for it to bud up. I use about a 15 hour light cycle in my basement because it helps to heat the tent for more hours in the day. I works out well for most plant but not all. I moved the plant to my only upstairs tent with a 12 hour daylength. Immediately after introducing the plant to a 12 hour light cycle, it began to bud up on four different peduncles. The buds grew very quickly. Lisa soon flowered in splendiferous profusion!
Hoya australis ‘Lisa’ definitely was not created in nature. Hoya australis ssp. tenuipes was taken and somehow its genes were manipulated with chemicals, and, or radiation to create this variegated wonder. All I know about it was that it came into the trade around 2004, or 2005 and started the entire variegated Hoya craze.
While I have been slow to jump on the variegated Hoya bandwagon, thinking that many of these creations look sickly, I have to say that Hoya australis ‘Lisa’ makes a very handsome specimen. The very fragrant flowers that last about a week are a huge bonus that seem to appear when the day length begins to shorten. It is slightly sensitive to over watering, but seems otherwise to be pretty unproblematic. It gets my highest recommendation!