How to propagate hoya – for more of these flowering houseplants

There are two ways to propagate wax plants – and both are easy to try at home

Variegated foliage of hoya carnosa variegata 'Krimson Queen'
(Image credit: Maritxu22 / Alamy Stock Photo)

Hoyas are attractive, vining houseplants that are ideal for placing up high. Popular types include Hoya linearis, Hoya carnosa 'Tricolor' and Hoya carnosa 'Compacta', which resembles a twisted rope. Many will produce pink or white, fragrant flowers alongside their waxy leaves.

Whatever the variety, if you're already growing a hoya in your home, it should be relatively easy to propagate. You have two different methods to choose from – taking cuttings, or layering. Whichever you go for, spring or summer is the time to do so. 'This is when the plant is actively growing,' explains plant expert Autumn Hilliard-Knapp.

Autumn Hilliard-Knapp
Autumn Hilliard-Knapp

Autumn is a horticulture specialist and marketing professional at Perfect Plants Nursery. With four years of experience in the horticulture industry, she has developed a passion for helping people create beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces to enjoy. Her expertise in horticulture encompasses a broad range of activities, including plant care and selection, landscape design, and maintenance.

hoya flowers

Healthy hoyas can produce beautiful clusters of blooms

(Image credit: JulieAlexK / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

How to propagate hoya by taking cuttings

Like many indoor plants, rubber plants and monstera included, hoyas can be successfully propagated from cuttings. Autumn explains how to do it:

  1. Fill a pot with a well-draining potting mix. Autumn suggests Perfect Plants' indoor plant soil mix which contains perlite and sand, as these ingredients help with drainage. Once you fill the pot with soil, water the mix so it is moist but not soaking. 
  2. Take a sharp, clean pair of gardening shears and cut a healthy stem with a few leaves from your hoya plant, making your cut at a 45-degree angle. The cutting should be about 4-5 inches long. Make your cut just below a node (the small bumps where leaves and roots grow), adds gardening expert Tony O'Neill.
  3. Remove the lower leaves from your cutting. This will allow the plant to focus its energy on growing new roots. 
  4. Plant the cutting, making sure the leaves are not under or touching the soil. At least one growing node, however, should be well buried, as Tony highlights.
  5. Once planted, water regularly. But, be careful not to oversaturate the soil, or the root system may rot. 'For best results, keep the cutting in a high-humidity environment,' adds Tony. 'You can achieve this by covering the pot with a plastic bag or placing it in a mini greenhouse.'
  6. The plant will do best in indirect, morning sunlight. Direct sunlight will be too harsh for the young plant. 
  7. The cutting should take about three to four weeks to propagate. To check it, you can give a very light tug to the plant – if you feel some resistance, the root system has established.
Tony O'Neill
Tony O'Neill

Tony O'Neill is an accomplished gardening expert, author, and educator. With a passion for simplifying gardening practices, he has inspired a wide audience through his popular YouTube channel and website Tony's expertise empowers individuals to cultivate thriving gardens and connect with nature.

Alternatively, you can start your cuttings off in water, which allows you to see the roots as they develop. 'Ensure that only the stem is submerged,' says houseplant expert Vladan Nikolic. 'The leaves shouldn’t be in the water. 

'When the new roots grow to be 2-3 inches long, the cutting is ready to be planted in the soil,' he adds.

For the best results, remember to change the water frequently, and stay clear of the common water propagation mistakes.

Hoya carnosa compacta

Hoya carnosa 'Compacta' has twisted foliage

(Image credit: Narinnate Mekkajorn / Alamy Stock Photo)

How to propagate hoya by layering

Another way to make more of these houseplants for free is to use a technique called layering. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Fill a small pot with compost suitable for cuttings, and position it next to your hoya.
  2. Take a healthy, trailing stem of your hoya plant and remove some of the leaves from a section toward the end. Using U-shaped pegs, secure the newly-exposed section down onto the surface of the compost in the smaller pot.
  3. Water it lightly but frequently to keep the compost moist.
  4. Once it has rooted, you can cut the stem away from the parent plant using a pair of clean and sharp pruners.

Hoya linearis

Hoya linearis is an elegant, trailing variety

(Image credit: Image navi - Sozaijiten / Alamy Stock Photo)

Within a month or so, you should see signs of new growth on your hoya – although the time it takes does depend on the variety you are propagating and environmental factors. Keep up a proper care routine as they continue to grow; avoid positioning them in direct sun and mist and water them frequently to simulate their natural, tropical habitat. 

You'll be rewarded with a flourishing new addition to your houseplant collection – and maybe, in time, some of those fabulous, fragrant flowers.

Holly Crossley
Contributing Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then; over the years, she's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator. Having worked for for two years, Holly now regularly writes about plants and outdoor living for Homes & Gardens.