Hoya Carnosa Tricolor

The Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is a captivating variant of the Hoya genus, celebrated for its strikingly variegated leaves and stunningly beautiful flowers. This plant, often called the Wax plant or Variegated Wax plant, is native to Asia and Australia, where it thrives in tropical and subtropical climates. The maximum height of Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is around 20 feet in its natural environment, but it typically stays within a more manageable range when grown indoors.

This lovely Hoya variety thrives in humid environments, making it a perfect fit for areas with higher humidity levels. Known by the common name “wax plant,” its leaves feature a mesmerizing combination of three striking colors – pink, green, and cream.

Common NameWax Plant, Variegated Wax Plant
Botanical NameHoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’
Plant TypeEpiphyte, Climbing plant
Mature SizeUp to 20 feet
Sun ExposureBright, indirect light
Soil TypeWell-drained soil
Soil pH6.1 to 7.5
Bloom TimeSummer
Flower ColorPink, Red
Hardiness Zones10 to 11
Native AreaAsia, Australia

Morphology and Anatomy

This lovely Hoya variety thrives in humid environments, making it a perfect fit for areas with higher humidity levels. Known by the common name “wax plant,” its leaves feature a mesmerizing combination of three striking colors – pink, green, and cream. This unique tricolor display adds to its charm and makes it a captivating centerpiece in any plant collection. With its graceful trailing growth habit, striking foliage, and minimal care requirements, the Hoya Carnosa Tricolor is a delightful addition to both experienced and novice plant enthusiasts alike.

The Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ morphology is characterized by its woody stems, extensive aerial roots, and iconic variegated leaves. The leaves are thick and waxy, with green, white, and sometimes pink patches. The plant’s anatomy includes a shallow root system suited to its epiphytic lifestyle. Its flowers are star-shaped, occurring in spherical clusters, and are typically pink with a red center. The plant does not produce a noticeable fruit but reproduces through the growth of new stems and root nodes.

Growth and Development

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ exhibits an epiphytic growth habit, often seen trailing or climbing in its natural environment. Various factors influence this plant’s growth and development, including light, temperature, and humidity. The plant prefers bright, indirect sunlight and does well in a consistent, warm temperature range of 60-80°F. Humidity should be kept high, imitating the plant’s natural tropical environment.

Fertilization is not a strict requirement for Hoya Carnosa’ Tricolor,’ but it can help promote faster growth and healthier foliage. A balanced houseplant fertilizer can be used growing season, from spring to early fall.

Regarding water requirements, the Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ prefers its soil to dry out during watering sessions. More watering can cause root rot and other problems, so it’s important to avoid letting the plant sit in standing water. It does not require excessive rainwater; like many houseplants, it can be sensitive to overly chlorinated tap water.

About Growth and Development

Taxonomy and Classification

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ belongs to the kingdom Plantae, which consists of all the green plants. In the taxonomical hierarchy, it belongs to the species Tracheophyta, indicating its classification as a vascular plant. Its class is Magnoliopsida, and it belongs to the order Gentianales. It is a member of the Apocynaceae family, which consists mainly of flowering plants and is part of the genus Hoya. Other species of Hoya Carnosa include ‘Crimson Queen,’ ‘Compacta,’ and ‘Krinkle Kurl.’


Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ reproduces both sexually and asexually. Sexual reproduction occurs through the plant’s flowers, which produce seeds after pollination. For asexual reproduction, propagation from stem cuttings is a common method. These cuttings can be rooted in water or a moist potting mix to create new plants. Also, Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ can form adventitious roots from stem nodes, enabling it to spread and establish new plants.

Habitat and Distribution

Native to Japan and China, this species has earned its reputation as an excellent house plant due to its ability to tolerate slightly colder temperatures. People often opt to grow it in coco mix soil or soil enriched with proline, providing a well-draining medium for its roots to thrive. One of the remarkable qualities of Hoya Carnosa is its low-maintenance nature, as it doesn’t require frequent fertilizing. However, for those who choose to use synthetic fertilizers, a schedule of once every two months is sufficient to nourish this beauty and promote its healthy growth. With its delightful aroma, resilience to varying temperatures, and ease of care, Hoya Carnosa has become a cherished addition to homes worldwide, bringing joy and fragrance to any indoor space.

It is an epiphyte that naturally grows on trees and rocks in humid, shady areas. Although native to these regions, it has been widely cultivated as a popular houseplant. It can thrive in various habitats, including forests and domestic settings, as it can adapt to various light and temperature conditions.


Hoya Carnosa Tricolor, commonly known as the Crimson Princess, is a captivating and vibrant plant renowned for its stunning foliage. In shady conditions, its leaves display a striking combination of green and white hues, creating an alluring contrast. However, when exposed to more sunlight, this enchanting beauty undergoes a remarkable transformation, as the leaves take on a delightful pinkish shade, adding a touch of elegance to its appearance. The duality of colors, with green and white in the shade and a mesmerizing pink under the sun, is truly a sight to behold. The accompanying figure aptly showcases the breathtaking splendor of the Hoya Carnosa Tricolor, revealing its fascinating color variations and making it a delightful addition to any indoor garden or collection of plants.

in shade and in sunlight

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ has developed key adaptations to thrive in its environment. It has waxy, variegated leaves that help reduce water loss, thus enhancing its drought tolerance. Its epiphytic nature is another significant adaptation, allowing the plant to grow on trees and taking nutrients and moisture from the air and rain. It can also grow in lower light conditions, simulating the understory of forests where it naturally grows.

Threats and Conservation

Being a cultivated plant, the Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ does not face significant threats from habitat loss, climate change, or invasive species. The major challenges are care-related, such as overwatering, inadequate light, and pest infestations. However, due to their popularity in the houseplant trade, it’s crucial to source these plants responsibly to avoid potential overharvesting in their native habitats.

Plant Nutrition and Soil Requirements

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ requires well-draining soil to prevent waterlogged conditions that could cause root rot. It prefers a bit of acidic to neutral soil pH, between 6.1 and 7.5. Essential nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, which can be supplied through a balanced houseplant fertilizer during the growing season. The plant can also benefit from trace elements such as calcium and magnesium.

All About soil Requirements

Notable Plant Features/Types

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is particularly noted for its striking variegated leaves, which can have patches of white, pink, and green, giving the plant an incredibly unique appearance. The leaf coloration can vary based on light exposure, with higher light intensities causing more white and pink variegation. The plant’s star-shaped flowers, often pink with a red center, are also a key feature. The plant’s ‘Tricolor’ designation is based on this tri-colored variegation, making it a unique variant of the Hoya Carnosa species.

Importance and Uses

In its native habitats, Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ serves a critical ecological role, providing shelter and habitat for various organisms due to its climbing habit. For humans, the plant is predominantly used for ornamental purposes. Its vibrant colors and unique growth pattern make it popular for houseplants and indoor decor. Although not known for medicinal uses, it contributes to indoor air purification and thus improves overall well-being.

Fun Facts and buying tips

Hoya Carnosa, a patient beauty, often takes up to three years to reveal its stunning blossoms. However, once it finally blooms, it’s essential to adjust the fertilizer regimen to support its flowering phase. Indicators of a healthy Hoya Carnosa include thick, luscious leaves with a glossy, waxy surface, signifying its ability to thrive. If you find your plant not flowering, a helpful tip is to let it dry out a bit more between waterings. This means watering less often, as this plant tends to flower when it perceives stress or thinks it might be facing adverse conditions. By providing the right care, including adjusting fertilizer and allowing slight drying between waterings, you encourage this marvelous Hoya to showcase its exquisite blooms, rewarding your patience with a breathtaking display of beauty and fragrance.

Photosynthesis and Plant Metabolism

Like all green plants, Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ uses photosynthesis to convert light into chemical energy. This process occurs in the plant’s chlorophyll-rich leaves. During photosynthesis, the plant takes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water from the soil, which is converted into glucose and oxygen in sunlight. The plant also engages in respiration and transpiration processes that help in nutrient absorption and water regulation.

Plant Diseases and Pest Control

Like many houseplants, it can be susceptible to mealy bugs or other sap-sucking insects, but they can be managed with treatments such as neem oil or insecticidal soap. However, caretakers should be cautious not to overwater, as root rot can be a potential issue. Maintaining a careful balance of sunlight, temperature, and water will ensure that the Hoya Carnosa Tricolor remains healthy, vibrant, and ready to showcase its gorgeous blooms in the right conditions.

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ can be affected by common houseplant pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. Overwatering or waterlogged soil can lead to root rot, a serious disease. Regularly monitoring the plant and maintaining proper care practices are preventive measures. If pests are detected, natural insecticidal soaps or neem oil can be used for environmentally friendly control.

Plant Conservation and Biodiversity

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is not currently at risk as a cultivated plant. However, preserving its native habitats in Asia and Australia is essential for maintaining plant biodiversity. The conservation of these ecosystems and the myriad of species they harbor is a vital task that requires global attention and sustainable practices.

Gardening Tips and Cultivation Techniques

Hoya Carnosa Tricolor is an ideal choice for hanging baskets, adding a touch of natural elegance to any indoor space. As a low-maintenance plant, it prefers being watered only when the soil has completely dried out, preventing overwatering and keeping its roots healthy.

When growing Hoya Carnosa’ Tricolor,’ remember that it prefers well-draining soil and bright, indirect light. Overwatering should be avoided, allowing the soil to dry out between watering sessions. The plant enjoys high humidity and appreciates occasional misting. Fertilizing with a balanced houseplant fertilizer during the growing season can encourage lush growth. Pruning can be done to maintain size and promote bushier growth.

Gardening Tips

Medicinal and Herbal Plants

There’s no specific medicinal use recorded for Hoya Carnosa’ Tricolor.’ However, like other houseplants, it contributes to air purification by removing environmental toxins, indirectly promoting human and pet health. Always ask a healthcare professional before using any plant therapeutically.

Ornamental Usage and Landscaping

Hoya Carnosa Tricolor is a fantastic choice for plant enthusiasts seeking a versatile and low-maintenance addition to their indoor spaces. With its trailing growth habit, it makes for an excellent hanging plant, cascading gracefully from baskets or shelves. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, this Hoya variety boasts air-purifying qualities, helping to improve the indoor air quality by filtering out pollutants. Furthermore, its impressive drought tolerance makes it a resilient house plant, thriving even when watering may be infrequent. A particularly attractive feature is its ability to flourish under artificial light, making it a popular choice for office spaces or areas with limited natural sunlight. With its combination of attractive foliage, air-purifying benefits, and adaptability to various lighting conditions, the Hoya Carnosa Tricolor is undoubtedly a delightful and practical addition to any indoor environment.

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is a star player in ornamental plants, thanks to its spectacular leaf variegation and attractive flowers. This evergreen perennial is often grown as a houseplant but can also be used in landscapes, particularly in tropical and subtropical regions. The plant’s cascading growth makes it ideal for hanging baskets or trellises, adding an exotic touch to gardens, patios, or indoor spaces.

Ethnobotany and Traditional Uses of Plants

While Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ doesn’t have specific historical or cultural significance recorded, the broader Hoya genus has ties to Asian cultures. Some Hoya species are utilized in traditional medicine, and others are featured in cultural ceremonies or folklore. More research is needed to reveal any ethnobotanical uses specific to Hoya Carnosa’ Tricolor.’

Ecosystems and Food Webs

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ plays a role in its native ecosystems by providing shelter and potentially food sources for certain insects. As a cultivated plant, it can contribute to local ecosystems indirectly by supporting a healthier indoor environment and promoting local biodiversity when grown outdoors responsibly.

Life Span

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is a long-lived plant that can survive for many years with good care. It generally reaches maturity and begins flowering after around two years. The best time to plant Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is in the spring when the plant is beginning its growth season.

Flowers, Roots, and Seeds

Hoya Carnosa Tricolor is a captivating plant with unique characteristics that make it a true gem in any botanical collection. Its spongy waxy leaves are a distinctive feature, boasting a green border that surrounds a beautiful cream-colored center. As it matures, this fascinating plant undergoes a stunning transformation into a draping succulent vine, enhancing its allure and making it a delightful addition to hanging baskets or trellises. Moreover, the Hoya Carnosa Tricolor produces striking star-shaped waxy flowers that add an enchanting touch to its already captivating appearance.

Hoya Carnosa Tricolor flowers

However, when grown indoors, this plant can be a bit patient, taking its time to bloom and rewarding the caretaker’s patience with a spectacular display of blossoms. Despite the wait, the Hoya Carnosa Tricolor’s charming foliage and stunning flowers make it well worth the effort, offering an evergreen and mesmerizing sight for any plant enthusiast.

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ produces star-shaped, fragrant flowers, typically during summer. These blooms are often pink with a red center. Its roots are fibrous, designed to support the plant’s climbing growth. Seeds are rarely produced in cultivation, so propagation is typically done via stem cuttings.

One of the most captivating features of this Hoya variety is its sweet-scented flowers. Growing in clusters of 10 to 30, these blooms create a stunning display, adding a touch of beauty and fragrance to any indoor setting. The Hoya Carnosa Tricolor is not only a joy to care for but also a rewarding plant that brings both visual and olfactory delight to any plant lover’s space.

Hoya Carnosa Tricolor is a stunning plant that requires specific conditions to bloom its beautiful flowers. It won’t flower unless it receives abundant bright indirect sunlight, making it crucial to place it in a well-lit spot to encourage blooming. While it enjoys warmth, it’s best to keep it away from direct exposure to heating vents or air conditioners, which can cause stress and damage to the plant.

Plant Care/ Fertilizers

Hoya Carnosa Tricolor is a delightful plant that comes with easy care instructions to ensure its thriving health. During winter, it doesn’t require any fertilizer, but once the growing season kicks in, adding fertilizer once a month can give it the necessary nutrients for robust growth.

Hoya Carnosa Tricolor, with its enchanting foliage, requires a specific lighting balance for optimal growth. Morning or late afternoon sunlight is ideal, as it provides the right amount of brightness without the risk of leaf burning. Strong and direct sun rays can be harmful, causing damage to the leaves. Similarly, exposing the plant to unfiltered light can lead to the unfortunate yellowing and eventual shedding of leaves. During winters, the growth of this lovely Hoya variety may slow down compared to the vibrant growth seen in summers. To keep it thriving year-round, a bright and sunny spot indoors is the perfect setting, providing the necessary light to support its well-being and showcase its captivating colors.

Care for Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ involves a well-draining soil mix and bright, indirect light. Overwatering should be avoided. Pruning can be done to manage size and shape. Feed with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Propagation is typically done via stem cuttings rather than seeds.

Best Care Forever Green


Hoya Carnosa, a delightful and resilient plant, benefits from careful pruning, ideally done at the start of spring. When you prune these plants, they may release a milky sap, which some refer to as “bleeding.” To minimize this, it’s advisable to water the plant before pruning. As for its ideal location indoors, placing it in the brightest, most well-lit window will promote faster growth. Hoya Carnosa thrives in indirect strong light, and providing it with ample brightness will encourage healthy development and lush foliage. With proper pruning and optimal lighting, this charming Hoya variety is sure to grace your indoor space with its beauty and elegance, rewarding you with a flourishing and stunning addition to your plant collection.

Propagation of Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is best achieved through stem cuttings of about 3 to 4 inches in length. Take a cutting with at least two nodes, let the cut dry out for a few days, then plant in well-draining soil. Keep in a warm, bright location until new growth indicates the cutting has roots.

Interaction with Animals/Pets

Interestingly, Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is a night bloomer with flowers that often open up after sunset. It has a distinct and pleasant fragrance that is stronger at night. The plant also has a long lifespan and, with good care, can live for several decades. It’s worth noting that Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is not edible and should not be consumed by humans or pets due to potential toxicity.

In its natural environment, Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ may serve as a habitat for small insects and birds. However, it is not typically a primary food source for animals. At home, this plant is generally safe around common household pets. However, as with any plant, it’s advisable to prevent pets from ingesting large amounts to avoid potential digestive upset. Always consult a vet if your pet has consumed a significant quantity of any plant.

Commercial Availability

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is widely available commercially in the United States and Europe. The plant can be found in many local nurseries, garden centers, and online plant shops. The standard price ranges from $20 to $50, or approximately £15 to £36. This can fluctuate based on plant size, health, and the seller’s location.

Growth Rate/watering

Hoya Carnosa, in its early stages, is a delicate plant that requires cautious care. Direct sunlight can prove harsh on young Hoya plants, potentially causing leaf burn. Finding the right balance with watering is also essential, as overwatering can lead to yellowing leaves while underwatering might result in the plant’s demise.

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is generally considered a moderate grower. In ideal conditions – bright, indirect light, warm temperatures, and well-draining soil – it may add several inches to its length each month during the growing season. Both indoor and outdoor settings can provide healthy growth, but indoor conditions often allow for better control over light, temperature, and humidity, promoting faster growth.

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ Variegata

“variegata” or “variegated” refers to plants with leaves featuring multiple colors. Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is a variegated version of the Hoya Carnosa species. The ‘Tricolor’ descriptor highlights the three distinct colors found on the leaves: a creamy white or yellow border with green and pink patches on the interior. The extent and pattern of variegation can vary between plants and can be influenced by factors like light levels and overall plant health.

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is my Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ turning brown?

A: The browning of your Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ could be due to several factors, most commonly overwatering or underwatering. Overwatering can cause root rot, which causes the leaves to turn brown. On the other hand, underwatering can cause the plant to dehydrate, leading to browning and shriveling of leaves. Ensure the plant gets the right amount of water and has proper drainage.

Q: Why are my Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ leaves shriveling?

A: Shrivel in Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ leaves usually indicates underwatering or low humidity. These plants prefer high humidity levels and well-draining, consistently moist soil but never waterlogged. If leaves are wilting, check your watering schedule and make sure the plant takes adequate moisture.

Q: Is Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ toxic to cats?

A: Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is generally considered non-toxic to cats. However, each animal may react differently, and consumption of any plant material could result in mild gastrointestinal upset. Always watch your pets around plants and consult a vet if you realize any unusual behavior.

Q: How often should I water my Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’?

A: Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ typically prefers soil that is kept consistently moist but not waterlogged. The watering frequency can depend on several factors, including the pot size, the size of the plant, and environmental conditions. A good rule of thumb is to allow the upper top inch of the soil to dry out before watering again.

Q: Can Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ grow in low light?

A: While Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ can tolerate low light conditions, it prefers bright, indirect light to thrive. Too little light can result in slow growth and loss of variegation. If your plant isn’t getting enough light, consider moving it near a window or supplementing it with a grow light.

Q: Why do i see spots on the leaves of Hoya Carnosa?

Hoya Carnosa, a beautiful and popular houseplant, can display small white spots on its leaves for various reasons. One possible cause is sunburn, which occurs when the plant is exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods, typically around 3 to 4 hours. To prevent sunburn, it’s best to provide indirect or filtered sunlight. Another reason for these white dots is the use of hard water with excessive salts. The accumulation of salts on the leaves can result in the formation of these spots. To address this issue, opting for distilled or filtered water is a simple yet effective solution, as it minimizes the salts’ presence and helps maintain the plant’s health and vibrant appearance. By being mindful of the plant’s sun exposure and water quality, Hoya Carnosa can thrive and grace your home with its alluring foliage and charming blooms.

Propagation and repotting

To keep this beauty at its best, it’s crucial to maintain room temperatures between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, as it thrives in this comfortable range. As the plant grows and its roots begin to outgrow its current pot, repotting is recommended, typically done after about two years. This allows the Hoya Carnosa Tricolor to continue flourishing and spreading its stunning foliage, rewarding its caretaker with an evergreen spectacle that adds a touch of elegance to any indoor space.

Hoya Carnosa ‘Tricolor’ is an excellent plant for propagation, allowing you to multiply your collection or share it with others. The most common propagation method is through stem cuttings. Take a stem cutting with a few leaves, let it dry for a day or two to let the cut end callous, then plant it in a well-draining soil mix. Keep the soil slightly moist; your cutting should develop roots in a few weeks.

Hoya Krimson Queen vs Hoya Tricolor

At first glance, Hoya Krimson Queen and Hoya Tricolor may appear similar, but upon closer inspection, they reveal their distinct characteristics. The two are easily differentiated by comparing their leaves. Hoya Krimson Queen’s leaves are shaped like little cups, featuring a narrow and pointy structure. On the other hand, Hoya Tricolor displays a unique tricolor pattern on its leaves, showcasing stunning shades of pink, green, and cream. By carefully observing their leaf shapes and colors, it becomes evident that these two Hoya varieties each possess their own alluring features, making them truly captivating additions to any plant collection.

Watering via leaf test

The vines of Hoya Carnosa have a natural inclination to climb, making them perfect for adorning walls or hanging in special containers, adding a touch of natural elegance to any space. An effective way to assess their water needs is by performing a simple leaf test. Gently folding a leaf and observing its response can indicate whether watering is necessary; if it folds easily, it’s a sign that the plant is thirsty and should be watered accordingly. By providing mindful care, Hoya Carnosa will thrive and reward its caretaker with a splendid display of glossy foliage and, in due time, its enchanting and fragrant blossoms.

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