Hoya thailandica

“Dr. Thaithong collected Hoya thailandica in northern Thailand at 2,000 meters above sea level in the Doi Inthanon mountain range. She described and illustrated it and published it in the Nordic Journal of Botany 19th January 2001″. (from P.S. The Hoyan Vol. 5 #2 written by Christine Burton) This plant belongs to the Hoya albiflora complex and is closely related to Hoya australis ssp. tenuipes. The species was named for its country of collection.

Within 18 months of growing H. thailandica I had my first peduncle; I was so excited and watched it every day for weeks, and it never budded up.
Soon I had a second peduncle and nothing happened. It grew in my basement grow tent where I figured it was not cool enough for it so I moved it outside for the summer. It grew well, but my precious peduncles yellowed and fell off.
I decided to let it live in the regular house over the winter in my bedroom window to see if these conditions would suit it for flowering. It grew a little, and put on another peduncle but no budding.

This pattern of moving the plant around trying to find the perfect location for it went on for a long time – five years to be exact. It had dozens of peduncles over the years which would never bud up and inevitably yellow and fall off. Finally in the summer of 2018, I hung the plant directly outdoors. It looked terrible after a winter inside, and to add insult to injury, the squirrels took a liking to it and chewed the heck out of the leaves. I was close to throwing the entire plant out.

The Summer of 2018 was one of the hottest here on record. Hoya serpens which had flowered regularly in the summer for years refused to flower. My poor Hoya thailandica was close to dead or so I thought, but rather than throw it out, I hung it in my shadiest tent greenhouse under a big maple tree. It kept the squirrels from doing any more damage and slowly it began to recover putting on more new growth and many more peduncles. At summer’s end, I decided to put the plant back into a basement grow tent since it did so poorly in the regular house. It grew well, but I had little hope that it would ever produce buds.

In early 2019, I looked closely at the peduncles of Hoya thailandica, and I thought I could almost see that tiny buds were trying to form on one of them. I was unsure if it was just wishful thinking, but in another week the beginnings of buds were unmistakable. Only one peduncle out of 12 or so was budding up, but I was ecstatic; now would they make it to term?

At the end of January of 2019, I finally got my wish and the rather large buds began to slowly open! The flowers were about 3/4″ across and smelled slightly of musty lemon.

This is a plant that is difficult to obtain as most of the Thai vendors can’t grow it, because their conditions are too warm for it. Floridians who can grow most everything better than I can, will not do well with this plant because of the heat. I believe this might be a good species for those northern gardeners that have good windows that get some sun with adequate humidity. I’ve seen some of these plants grown very well online in semi-hydro, which I might experiment with in the future.