Why isn't my hoya flowering? Pro tips to encourage beautiful blooms

Help your wax plant look its best with this expert advice

close-up of white hoya flowers
(Image credit: kaewphoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

Q: I bought a hoya last year for my home office. I was looking forward to the fragrant flowers, but sadly, none have appeared. It seems healthy, so what am I doing wrong?

A: A lack of flowers on your hoya, although disappointing, can simply be down to age. Houseplant expert Kiersten Rankel says, 'Most hoyas need to be mature (three to five years old) before they'll even think about blooming. If your plant is still a youngster, patience is key.'

However, if your tropical plant is well established and still not putting on a dazzling display, it may be time to adjust your maintenance routine. Below, experts reveal what to look out for.

purple hoya flowerhead

Hoyas produce clusters of star-shaped flowers if conditions are right

(Image credit: Supersmario / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)
smiling headshot of Kiersten Rankel from Greg with a leaf
Kiersten Rankel

Kiersten Rankel is a certified Louisiana Master Naturalist and regularly volunteers with local community gardens and nonprofits to help restore critical ecosystems along the Gulf Coast. She earned her master's degree from Tulane University in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology after her undergraduate degree in Environmental Biology, also from Tulane. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking and tending to her 150+ houseplants and vegetable garden.

How to get a hoya to flower – 3 expert tips to encourage beautiful blooms

Hoyas make some of the best indoor hanging plants, especially when they're in bloom. Here's how to help yours look its best.

1. Provide enough light

white hoya flowers

Bright, indirect light is best for these plants

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

Kiersten says, 'These plants need bright, indirect light to bloom. If your hoya's lounging in a dark corner, it might be too busy trying to survive to put on a flower show.  

'Move your hoya to a brighter spot, but avoid harsh, direct sunlight,' she continues. 'An east- or west-facing window is often perfect.'

Once you've found the right place for your houseplant, try to leave it there. Moving it too often can cause stress and might result in it dropping buds and leaves, warns Anastasia Borisevich of Plantum.

Anastasia Borisevich of Plantum
Anastasia Borisevich

Anastasia Borisevich is a resident plant expert for the Plantum app, which helps users identify plant species, diagnose their conditions, and get specific care advice. She has three years of experience consulting on botany-related topics for Plantum (formerly NatureID).

2. Avoid excessive pruning

white hoya flower with green background

Only prune your hoya if essential

(Image credit: imageBROKER.com GmbH & Co. KG / Alamy Stock Photo)

Kiersten highlights how hoyas bloom on old growth. 'If you've been a bit too snippy with your pruning shears, you might have accidentally removed potential blooming sites. 

'Resist the urge to prune unless absolutely necessary,' she says. 'Let those stems grow and mature.' 

Amy Enfield of ScottsMiracle-Gro adds: 'Once your hoya does bloom, don’t be quick to remove the old blooms because new flowers will often emerge from the base of older flowers.'

smiling headshot of Amy Enfield
Amy Enfield

Amy has over 25 years of experience in the lawn and garden industry and has been with ScottsMiracle-Gro for 11 years. She has a BS and MS in Horticulture from Michigan State University and a PhD in Plant and Environmental Sciences from Clemson University. She specializes in live goods research with focus areas in consumers performance, lighting, and ecommerce shippability.

3. Ensure it has enough nutrients

close-up of pink hoya flowers

Some hoyas have pretty pink blooms

(Image credit: Frida Natalia / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

Summer Thompson of Love, Plants, says, 'Nutrient deficiency, particularly in phosphorus, can prevent flowering.' She recommends using a fertilizer with a higher phosphorus content (the middle number in N-P-K) during the growing season (spring and summer).

We like the look of the Miracle-Gro Blooming Houseplant Food, available from Amazon. Remember to always follow the application instructions on the label.

Top tip: Don't forget to water your houseplants properly, too. Summer notes how overwatering or underwatering can stress hoyas and inhibit flowering. 'Allow the soil to dry out between waterings,' she says. 'Hoyas prefer to be on the drier side, so ensure good drainage and avoid letting the plant sit in water.'

A moisture meter, available from The Sill, is a useful tool for gauging when your plants need a drink.

headshot of Summer Thompson
Summer Thompson

Summer Thompson is a Colorado Master Gardener and lead creative and operations manager at Love, Plants, a Boulder plant care startup. Love, Plants connects home gardeners with professional-grade fertilizers from the organic agriculture industry. These products are made from upcycled agricultural waste, mycorrhiza fungi, and mushroom extracts that help improve soil health and plant immunity.


Should you repot your hoya to encourage more flowers?

If you haven't repotted your plant for a long time, Anastasia Borisevich of Plantum, recommends doing so, as the plant may be lacking essential macro- and micronutrients in the old substrate. What's more, she explains how soil gets compacted over time, inhibiting proper air circulation and making watering more difficult, which causes the roots to suffer. She advises using fresh soil and a new pot that's an inch bigger than the root system, with drainage holes and a saucer for excess water.

However, Amy Enfield of ScottsMiracle-Gro says repotting your hoya too frequently may also be preventing the plant from flowering. According to her, hoyas, like Christmas cacti, prefer to be slightly root-bound.

She explains that frequently moving your hoya to a larger container causes it to use its energy producing more roots and growing bigger, instead of on producing flowers. 'Only repot your hoya when roots start to grow out of the drainage hole.'

What time of year do hoyas usually flower?

Houseplant expert Kiersten Rankel says, 'Most hoyas bloom in spring and summer, but some varieties can flower year-round if conditions are right. Each species has its own quirks, so it's worth researching your specific variety.

'In ideal conditions, a mature and healthy hoya should bloom annually,' she continues. 'However, some hoyas are more prolific bloomers than others. Some might flower multiple times a year, while others might take a year off now and then. It's all part of the hoya's charm.'

How long do hoya flowers last?

According to houseplant expert Kiersten Rankel, individual flower clusters can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the species of hoya and environmental conditions.

Once you've got these plants to bloom and seen how gorgeous they can be, why not learn how to propagate hoyas, too? That way, you can fill your home with more flowering houseplants, for free.

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 Gardeningetc.com for two years, Holly now regularly writes about plants and outdoor living for Homes & Gardens.