Even those very familiar with Hoya plants may not recognize Grass Leafed Hoya, or Hoya Retusa, as a Hoya plant. This member of the Apocynaceae family, with its thin wispy leaves is indeed a Hoya plant despite its dramatically different appearance. Where other Hoyas have thick, waxy leaves, this plant’s common name is an apt description of its leaves which look somewhat like green stick bugs. It does, however, share a trailing growth habit with its Hoya cousins, and will typically grow to a length and width of about 15 to 20 inches. Hoya Retusa also differs from its cousins in how its flowers grow – most hoya plants will grow umbrella shaped clusters of flowers, while Grass Leafed Hoya will grow single flowers in more random places.
Grass Leafed Hoya needs water more often than its cousins, but can still go longer than most houseplants between waterings. Allow the first three inches of soil to dry out between waterings, but never let it completely dry out. As we like to mention with all of our house plant guides, make sure that you are using a pot that drains well. Hoya Retusa should get a good soaking once the top three inches of soil are dry, then be allowed to drain completely before setting it back in a tray or saucer. If your pot does not have drainage, use a Moisture Meter to determine whether or not the soil at the bottom of the pot is still moist, and take lots of care when watering to avoid over watering.
Place Hoya Retusa in a well-lit area where it will receive bright, indirect sun. Watch for browning or curling leaves as this could indicate that the plant is getting too much sun. Use any pot with good drainage for best results (this is a great plant for a hanging pot!), and plant Grass Leafed Hoya in a soil that is also going to drain well. Hoya Retusa’s leaves contain a substance referred to as “latex” that can be harmful if ingested, so keep it out of the reach of pets and tiny humans. Because of its trailing growth habit, Hoya Retusa is a great candidate for a nice tall hanging pot that your children, be they two-legged or four-legged, can’t reach. You’ll want to also make sure you’re placing Grass Leafed Hoya in a spot that is protected from drafts and vents, and in a place where it can enjoy some humidity. To add humidity into the air for Hoya Retusa, a humidifier will probably be your best bet (or place it in a well-lit bathroom). Grass Leafed Hoya should not give newer Plant Parents much trouble, so we feel beginners would do just fine with this plant.