A quality we love in any houseplant is that it should be easy to care for so that even inexperienced gardeners won’t have a hard time parenting one.
And best of all, problems shouldn’t pop up easily. Hoya kerrii, with its heart-shaped leaves, fits the bill on both counts.
It is a non-fussy plant, and in some instances can survive up to a month without watering!
However, several factors, even seemingly innocuous ones, can trigger all sorts of hoya kerrii problems.
But as is typical with many ‘easy-to-care-for’ houseplants, most of these problems are not fatal to the plant if the fixes are applied in time.
These hoya kerrii problems and the solutions are what we’d be looking at in this article.
Common Hoya Kerrii Problems
Hoya kerrii plants are very popular around Valentine’s Day and are sold as single-leafed plants in cute flower pots.
The heart-shaped leaves seem like the perfect gift for loved ones on such auspicious occasions especially if they are plant lovers.
The leaf would thrive for several months as long as it is watered but would never grow into a full hoya kerrii plant.
Also known as sweetheart hoya or Sweetheart plant, hoya kerrii is generally tough.
With regular care and maintenance, dealing with problems shouldn’t be an issue because these tend to be rare.
When problems occur, though, it is typically due to the absence of one or more vital aspect(s) of hoya kerrii growing condition(s).
Let’s take a quick look at these growing conditions before discussing some problems you’d likely face when growing a hoya kerrii plant.
Hoya Kerrii Growing Conditions
Soil – Well- draining, high-quality potting soil
Water – Once a week in the growing season. Once every 3 weeks in fall and winter. Basically, water only when the soil is very dry
Temperature – 65℉ -80℉
Humidity – At least 40% relative humidity
Fertilizer – If you have, use a small amount of water-soluble fertilizer once a month in the growing season
Light – They thrive best in bright, indirect light. Don’t expose them to direct sunshine for too long or keep them in low-light to dark conditions
Repotting – They love being root-bound. You could repot every 5 years to refresh the soil though. Use a slightly larger pot.
Common Hoya Kerrii Problems
As already stated, most of the common Hoya kerrii problems are the result of extreme neglect.
In essence, properly caring for your hoya kerrii is the best way of fixing most problems or better yet, even preventing them from occurring.
Below are the common Hoya Kerrii problems
Root rot is primarily a fungal infection that affects the roots.
The main cause is over-watering. Soggy soil and soil that retains excessive moisture after watering could also cause the problem.
Root rot damages roots; the roots basically become rotten making them incapable of absorbing nutrients and moisture from the soil.
At the early stage, the symptoms can include leaf discoloration, drooping, shriveled leaves, etc. Ultimately, the plant dies.
Hoya kerrrii root rot is frequently a fatal problem to the plant.
There is usually no way back for your hoya when it is affected. The best solution is to discard the plant and potting soil and start all over after sterilizing the pot by washing it with bleach or dishwasher solution.
Root rot can be prevented by sticking to the right watering regime. This involves watering about once a week in the summer; in winter, water about once every 3 weeks.
The general rule is to water the soil when it is completely dry.
Also, you might want to check that the soil is well-draining. Most high-quality potting soils are good enough.
But if you are unsatisfied, consider mixing a bit of perlite or pumice to improve soil drainage.
Hoya kerrii leaf discoloration
In hoya kerrii, leaf discoloration usually shows up as yellow leaves. Several factors could be responsible for this problem.
The main culprits though are over-watering and plant stressors such as high temperature, repotting, and transit stress (trying to acclimate to a new environment)
The watering issue can be resolved easily by sticking to the right watering schedule.
Temperature stress can be fixed by keeping the plant where temperatures are within the 65°F – 80°F range.
That means keeping them away from areas close to heat vents, air conditioners, radiators, etc.
And in winters, simply relocate them to warmer areas indoors if they are outside.
Shriveled & Rotten leaves
These twin hoya kerrii leaf problems are usually linked to wrong watering, temperature extremes, and too high/low humidity.
Hoya kerrii leaves are likely to become rotten if they are exposed to very humid conditions combined with insufficient airflow and over-watering.
While humid conditions are good for growth, the lack of good airflow might encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi on the leaves especially when humidity is higher than normal.
This frequently happens when several houseplants are packed closely together.
Adequate spacing between plants is important if they are gathered in a bunch.
You might want to relocate the suffering hoya kerrii close to a window for better airflow until the leaves perk up again.
If the problem is solely shriveling leaves, the plant is likely very thirsty. Water the soil to correct the problem.
That said, if you’ve been watering adequately, then the problem could be down to root rot.
Stiff, wooden vines
This is not a regular problem because Hoya kerrii vines become stiff to support the vertical growth of the plant as they get older.
It becomes a problem if you want to train them to grow in a particular shape using a trellis because bending is almost impossible without breaking or damaging the vines.
The best option is to trellis them as soon as possible when the vines are young and flexible. If you missed that window and the vines become stiff, it is still possible to train the vines the way you want.
Simply allow the plant to become dehydrated by not watering for a while.
The vines might lose some of that stiffness and become pliable. With the vines now a bit flexible, you can carefully use a trellis to shape the vines.
‘Carefully’ is the operative word since, at this point, the vines are susceptible to breaking easily.
The jury is still out concerning how to classify this as a hoya kerrii problem.
Thing is, hoya kerrii plants are very slow growers, so it might just be a case of patience and not stunted growth.
If all the optimal hoya kerrii growing conditions are present, all you need to do is wait. Besides that, there is no solution to this ‘problem’.
Hoya Kerri does not bloom
Again, because they are slow growers, it takes at least 2 years for the plant to be matured enough to bloom.
If it doesn’t produce flowers after maturity, it’s likely not getting enough light, and perhaps, one or more growing conditions are less than ideal.
However, if it doesn’t bloom in subsequent seasons after blooming, you could take a look at your pruning strategy again.
For instance, pruning all the short stalks that produced flowers after the blooming season would prevent the plant from blooming again.
Essentially, it’s best to leave some of the stalks because new flowers emerge from there.
The slow-growing hoya kerrii, like most popular houseplants, is easy to grow and requires little in terms of care and maintenance to thrive.
This makes hoya kerrii problems something that doesn’t happen often.
When problems show up, they are generally because of prolonged neglect and exposure to less than ideal growing conditions.
The solutions, in most instances, are simply a case of evaluating the care and maintenance practices so they are in line with the standards expected for optimal growth.