Hoya love and knowledge shared
GYMPIE gardener Wes Vidler shared his extensive knowledge of hoyas with Gympie Municipal Horticultural Society members at their recent meeting in Robyn Bowman's Southside garden.
Les has around 200 different species and one of the most spectacular in the Australian flora, hoya macgillivrayi is a fast-growing root climber and twiner which thrives in tree tops or along open creeks in the McIIwraith Range area of the Cape York Peninsula and produces rich burgundy flowers up to 6cm wide.
Hoyas, commonly known as wax plant, are evergreen with leaves and flowers varying in size, texture and colour depending on the variety. Hoyas can be grown on a trellis or in a hanging basket where you can admire the geometrically perfect flowers from beneath during October through March with some of them producing two or three flushes (or flowerings) during the season.
Gardeners are advised not to pick or remove blooms even after the blossoms have faded. The blossoms are produced on knobby spurs which needs to be left on the plant in order to encourage prolific blooming for many years.
Questions asked are: Where will I position the hanging basket? and "Is this the ideal location?"
No-one thinks to ask, "What if the flowers are constantly forming drops of sticky nectar onto my deck?", which is normal for hoyas.
Try to delay repotting for two to three years as hoyas seem to improve flowering when they are almost pot-bound.
Never repot a plant when it is in bloom because it may drop its flower buds. The best time to repot is in early spring by placing it into a slightly larger pot (about 5cm larger than the old one).
During winter months, restrict watering, keeping the potting mix or soil almost completely dry.In spring and summer, watering should be increased, making sure that the medium is moist. This is also the best time to apply fertiliser such as organic seaweed extract solution.
Start with a weak solution - if hoyas respond favourably to the liquid food, then gradually increase the mixture and apply three or four times during the growing season.
One of the most common pests is mealy bugs - easy to detect as they are small, white and fuzzy. Wipe them away with a cloth with methylated spirits on it - a better alternative to using insecticide spray.
By following Wes's tips, gardeners will be rewarded with their hoyas for many years.
The next meeting of the Gympie Municipal Horticultural Society will be held in Don and Lil O'Donnell's Fisher Rd garden on Saturday, June 21.