The Hindu rope plant, Hoya carnosa compacta, is a popular houseplant across the US because it is an easy-care succulent and because its unique hanging vines look stunning even before the plant blooms.
Although it is easy to source an adult Hoya, many indoor gardeners like to cultivate some plants themselves.
Table of Contents
- How To Grow Hoya Carnosa (Hindu Rope Plant) Successfully
- Hindu rope plant propagation secrets
- How to grow Hoya carnosa from seeds
- How long it takes for a Hoya carnosa to grow
- How to know your Hindu rope is growing & is healthy
How To Grow Hoya Carnosa (Hindu Rope Plant) Successfully
In this article I will outline some easy steps you can follow to successfully grow Hindu rope plant from either seed or cutting.
Hindu rope plant is a perennial tropical semi-succulent vine that grows natively in India, Australia and other parts of Eastern Asia.
The Hindu rope plant is also known as the Hoya rope plant and the curly wax plant.
It’s botanical name is Hoya carnosa compacta though this is often shorted to Hoya Carnosa or Hoya Compacta.
The Hindu rope plant is a semi-rare hanging vine. Being epiphytic (a plant that relies on other plants to grow) this semi-succulent grows most commonly in the crevices of trees in its natural environment. Hence, a Hoya carnosa houseplant has some very specific care needs.
Although the average home offers an ideal temperature, and light environment, for this semi-succulent the Hindu rope plant has some very specific care needs that you must observe in order to grow the Hoya plant correctly.
I will cover the important aspects of this plant’s care in this article but I advise you to read our Hindu rope plant care article for more detailed information on looking after your plant, once you get started growing a new one.
To start a Hindu rope plant you will want to begin with either Hindu rope plant seeds or cuttings from an existing healthy plant.
As propagation from a cutting is the most popular method for cultivating new Hindu rope plants I will begin with this form of growing first.
Hindu rope plant propagation secrets
To propagate a Hindu rope plant you will need a cutting from an existing healthy plant. The aim is to encourage the cutting to develop roots as once this happens it will eventually grow into a fully mature plant.
There are two ways that I use to root a Hindu rope plant cutting:
- Propagation in soil.
- Propagation in water.
The first method of rooting a cutting in soil is perhaps the most common way of propagating a new plant but I’ve had a lot of success rooting Hindu rope plant cuttings in water and so I have also included instructions for using this propagation method.
How to grow Hoya carnosa from cutting
The most common way to propagate Hindu rope plant, or any Hoya plant, is by taking a cutting and planting it directly into some soil.
Using a small pot, filled with the appropriate type of soil, it is possible to quickly root a new plant from a cutting.
The soil you use should be as follows:
You can substitute the perlite with vermiculite or oak bark if you have those at hand.
Make sure you moisten the soil well before planting the cutting.
When I want to root a new cutting directly in soil, regardless of which plant it is, I will use both rooting hormone powder and rooting hormone gel, to give the cutting a little extra help getting started. This works exceptionally well with Hoya cuttings.
Once I have taken the cutting I will ensure I cut the end that will go into the soil at a slight 45 degree angle. I then dip this part of the cutting first into a good quality hormone rooting gel and then immediately afterwards into a quality rooting hormone powder, before planting the cutting. This little trick will dramatically increase your success rate with propagation.
Hoya carnosa compacta likes high humidity levels. So, once potted, tent the cutting to create higher than normal humidity as this will give the cutting a much better change of rooting and will help it to root much more quickly.
You can use a purpose made plant tent or just use an appropriately sized clean, clear plastic bag which you can place over the plant. Make sure the bag clears the plant and the sides don’t touch it.
Spray some water around the inside of the tent – not directly onto the cutting. This will lock in moisture and heat mimicking the native tropical environment of the Hoya carnosa compacta.
How to root a Hindu rope plant in water
It may seem strange, to readers who are familiar with succulents and semi-succulents, that I have included a section about growing a semi-succulent in water. Hindu rope plant, being a semi-succulent, hates to sit in water or even in water-drenched soil. In fact, if a mature Hoya is left sitting in water or in soil with too much moisture in it, it will develop root rot and die. So can you really root Hindu rope plant in water?
Although a fully grown Hindu rope plant should never sit in water, you can root a Hindu rope plant in water for propagation. In fact, rooting a Hindu rope plant in water is one of the best ways of growing a new plant.
To root Hindu rope plant in water you will need a cutting from a healthy plant.
This cutting should be placed in a glass of water so at least one inch of the lower stem, at the cut point, is submerged in the water. The cutting must have at least one node in the water.
It is perfectly find to remove any leaves at the lower part of the stem that would end up in the water. In fact this is advised because doing so means you are exposing more nodes and giving the cutting a better chance of rooting (roots develop from the node).
Any upper leaves that will be above the water line should be left on the stem.
A trick I use to help a cutting in water root is to add a few drops of normal vase flower feed, like this one, to the water. This gives the newly forming roots a little nutrient boost which greatly helps with the propagation process. Tap water is fine to use.
Place the glass in an area that gets at least 4 hours of strong indirect light.
Replace the water every week with fresh water and a few drops of vase flower feed. If the glass gets grimy wash it out before replacing the water, being sure to thoroughly rinse it clean if you are using dish soap or similar.
It will take at least 2 weeks before you see roots develop that are long enough to allow you to plant the cutting in soil. The roots should be over 2 inches long before you plant the cutting in soil.
Do not wait to plant the cutting after the roots are 3 inches long though. If left in the water too long the cutting will fail to develop and may even die.
You can tent the newly rooted cutting as you could for an unrooted cutting or just allow the plant to develop unaided if conditions are optimum.
How to grow Hoya carnosa from seeds
Another method for cultivating a new Hoya carnosa Hindu rope plant is to grow it from seed. I find this to be the most rewarding way to grow plants as you are literally starting out fresh and creating a plant that never existed before.
By using seeds you will also give yourself the best chance of successfully growing a new plant simple because you have more chances of growing one. With a cutting you have only once change. With seeds you have a potential plant in every seed.
In fact, the likelihood is that you will end up with several good quality seedlings from your efforts when you use seeds.
Growing a Hindu rope plant from seed is a very easy and straightforward process.
You can source Hoya carnosa seeds online or take them directly from an existing plant that has finished blooming. The seed pod is located where the flower was growing close to the spadix, as shown in the image above.
Get yourself a fairly good sized pot and fill it with the appropriate type of soil as outlined above. It is essential you use the correct soil or your seeds will never germinate.
Before sowing the Hoya seeds moisten the soil well. I find that it’s best to spray the soil rather than using a watering can. However, a fully grown Hoya can be watered from the top – see our how often should you water a Hoya article.
Place the seeds directly on top of the soil. You may need to do this in a draught-proof room as Hoya seeds are attached to fluffy light membranes that are designed to help them float on the breeze for pollination – much like dandelions.
Once you place the seeds on the soil, spray them with water and then gently push them into the soil. You are not trying to push the seeds underneath the soil, you only want to push them down so they do not float away with the next breeze.
Tent the pot with a plant tent or a clear plastic bag to lock in moisture and heat and to increase humidity around the plant.
How long it takes for a Hoya carnosa to grow
So, how long will you have to wait to see those beautiful hanging vines from your Hindu rope plant?
Hoya carnosa seedlings grow in about 2 weeks however, it can take up to 1 year for a plant to grow to a size that resembles an adult plant and it can take up to 7 years for it to mature enough to bloom.
Although Hoya carnosa is slow to mature it is well worth the effort cultivating this semi-succulent vine, as it looks stunning even before it blooms.
The Hindu rope plant is a slow mover
How fast can you expect to see growth from your Hoya carnosa?
Hindu rope plant does not grow fast. It is a slow growing plant. It can take a year for the plant to grow large enough to have hanging vines and up to 7 years before it produces flowers.
Don’t expect fast growth from a Hindu rope plant. It is a slow growing vine.
Many people opt to purchase a mature Hoya carnosa plant because it grows so slowly.
How long it takes to grow Hoya from seed
So how long will it take to grow your Hoya carnosa to full size when starting with only seeds?
It takes most Hoya species about 1 year to grow to full size from seed. It is a slow growing plant. Although the germination process starts within 7 – 10 days, the overall time it takes for seedlings to develop into a fully grown plant is fairly long. Typically it can take up to 3 years before a Hoya is mature enough to bloom though some species can take up to 7 years.
Although growing Hoya from seed is very regarding it can be frustrating for some people due to the length of time between sowing and having a mature plant.
Even growing Hoya from a cutting is a long process and so many indoor gardeners prefer to start with a more mature plant that has already had time to develop.
How to make a Hindu rope grow faster
Many people get frustrated with the growth rate of Hoya plants especially when they own a Hoya carnosa compacta. They want those hanging vines growing quickly. So, how do you encourage new growth on a Hoya and make your Hindu rope plant grow faster?
The key to making a Hindu rope plant grow faster is to give it conditions that are similar to its natural habitat. Ensure the plant is growing in the correct type of soil, with temperatures between 65°F – 80°F. Give the plant humidity levels over 40% and make sure it gets at least 4 hours of good strong indirect light per day.
Hoya plants are naturally slow growers so there is only so much you can do to encourage the plant to grow faster. However, by ensuring your care routine is correct and by making sure you are giving the plant exactly what it needs you will be doing as much as you can to increase the plant’s growth rate.
If your plant is growing extremely slowly, and slower than you would expect, then you may want to increase its exposure to indirect light. Try giving the plant a few hours more indirect light every day and consider using a grow light.
6 – 10 hours of indirect light per day is recommended for encouraging growth. This light can come from a combination of natural indirect light and light from a good grow light.
Also ensure the plant’s soil has sufficient nutrients in it by fertilizing the plant every 2 weeks, but only during growing season. Be sure to always dilute the feed you use to half strength!
Another important key to increasing the growth rate of a Hoya carnosa compacta is to use a humidifier, like this. This will increase the humidity levels directly around the plant without affecting the entire room.
How to know your Hindu rope is growing & is healthy
The Hindu rope plant is a naturally slow growing vine. It can be difficult for new plant owners to determine if their plant is growing or if its growth has stopped. So, how do you know if your Hindu rope plant is still growing.
You will know your Hindu rope plant is growing when new leaf growth is evident. Hoya carnosa compacta is a slow growing vine so don’t panic if it looks like the plant is not growing. Just ensure you are giving the plant the correct care and watch for new foliage development over a period of several weeks.
Although Hoya carnosa compacta can produce long vines up to 26 feet in length (it’s more usual for indoor Hindu rope plant vines to reach about 6 feet though) it can take a Hindu rope plant anywhere from 3 years to 7 years before it produces its first bloom. So, never gauge your plant’s growth rate by its ability to bloom.
It can also take several weeks to see new foliage appear on your plant even in growing season. If you want to increase the speed of your plant’s growth rate follow the advice given in the previous sections of this article.
You may also be interested in reading the article about Hindu rope plant problems as it has tips for dealing with potential issues that can arise with this plant.