I have to thank my good friend Mandy from California for getting me this plant, which I had not heard of before. When she asked me if I was interested in the plant, I looked it up and thought that it looked a lot like Hoya pandurata, which I grew at one time. I had high hopes for H. pandurata, but it proved difficult and disappointing in cultivation. When I received H. burmanica, it was rooted in sphagnum, which I did not like, could already see signs of root rot. I was able to easily get 3 nice cuttings out of it and I threw out the root ball.
The cuttings very quickly put on roots in a jar of water with a couple of drops of KLN Concentrate. I decide to try growing it two different ways. One cutting I put in a two inch pot with potting soil and the other two cuttings I grew in semi-hydro using a 4 inch pot with leca. The two nicer cuttings that I grew in semi-hydro put on very rapid growth with a peduncle growing at every leaf axis. The cutting in the two inch pot grew much slower, but grew a peduncle that began to bud up almost immediately.
One morning I went down to check on my plants in a basement grow tent, and I was horrified to find that around 30 percent of the leaves on the H. burmanica growing in the semi-hydro container had turned to gray paper. I was as if someone had burned or dehydrated the leaves. In all of my years of keeping Hoyas, I had never seen anything like it. I had a couple of theories that maybe I had burned the plant with fertilizer, or that the grow tent was too hot for it.
The burned leaves (that is the best way I can describe it) rapidly fell off the plant until I was left with just over half of my original leaves. The plant growing in the small pot of soil flowered in the meantime. I have just taken cuttings of all the stems growing in semi-hydro to re-root and grow in soil. I just have to surmise that the plant just did not like growing in s-h. I will hopefully be successful and be able to bring this plant back soon.
Hoya burmanica was described by Rolfe in 1920; it is endemic to Miramar (formerly Burma – hence the name), and India. Hoya pandurata has much thicker and more rounded leaves than the thin triangular leaves of Hoya burmanica. The flowers are also different in that the corolla of H. burmanica is much more cupped shaped than the reflexed corolla on H. pandurata. There also must be different clones of Hoya burmanica in circulation as the corolla on my flowers are light pink as opposed to the bright yellow or green that I have seen online.
I am intrigued with this Hoya and hope to be able to be more successful with it in the future. If you are going to grow it, I urge that you stay away from semi-hydro as the plant seems susceptible to some sort of rapid leaf die off when grown this way. This is a plant that has an unusual shrubby growth habit and could make a handsome hanging basket if the conditions can be found that suits it. It flowers very quickly from cutting and the flowers have no detectable scent.