Guide: Hoya Kerrii

Aren’t Hoya kerrii the cutest plump, plush babies? This pudgy plant is a must have, but there are some things we need to discuss. From those single-leaf plants, to care, to properly propagating, here is a guide to everything you need to know about them.

Hoya kerrii vine
Photo by Hoya lover @hiyakerrii

If you aren’t super familiar with Hoya, which are one of my favorite pet safe plant families, they’re kind of a cross between a plant and a succulent. I’ll talk more about Hoyas in another post, but keep this in mind; they have thick, juicy leaves which hold water like a succulent would. Hoya are typically found in Thailand, China and India and they make the best houseplants.

This post isn’t about all Hoyas though, it’s about Hoya kerrii. As you see, these chubby babies are not only pet safe and pinchably cute, but also look like a little heart vine. Like, I can’t.

Caring for a Hoya kerrii

Sunlight: Again, these guys have plump leaves that hold water like succulents do, so they need lots of sun. I keep all of my Hoya in a very bright window with 6+ hours of daily sun. Low light = sad Hoya.

Watering: Water when the pot feels dry. If you have a moisture meter you can test that way, or go by feel. When the pot is light, gently aerate the soil and water throughly. Never let these stand in water.

Humidity: I always have a humidifier running (my fav is this one by Vornado), but Hoya like some humidity over dry air.

Soil: For all of my Hoya, I do an orchid bark, perlite, sand, and soil mixture. This keeps the soil well-draining so when it’s watering time, there’s not a root rot risk.

Hoya Kerrii Varieties

These guys are hard to find, too, at least in a mature plant form. H. compacta and H. carnosa are probably the more common varieties you see in greenhouses and garden centers. A slow grower, Hoya kerrii is a trailing vine that comes in a few different varieties:

Hoya kerrii

Hoya kerrii
Photo by Hoya lover @hiyakerrii

Hoya kerrii “Splash”

Hoya kerrii splash
Photo by Megan @meg_barria

Hoya kerrii “Albomarginata”

variegated hoya kerri albomarginata
Photo by @alisplants

Hoya kerri “Sweetheart” single-leaf

single leaf hoya

Yes, the variegated ones are amazing, but let’s talk a bit about this last one, those single leaf Hoya. Let me tell you a story.

Those Single Leaf Hoya Kerrii

A few months ago I bought one of these babies for $8.

Sweetheart hoya

So cute, I thought. Now I have the beginnings of a Hoya kerrii, one that will turn into a plump, gorgeous vine, like this:

Sweetheart hoya vine in planter
Photo by Hoya lover @hiyakerrii

Nope, incorrect.

You may have seen these single “Sweetheart leaf” Hoya around, specifically around Valentines Day, sometimes with I Love You on them or something stupid. After looking around on the internet for far too long, I have come to this consensus – you cannot grow a Hoya kerrii with a single leaf. Generally, Hoya are very easy to propagate. Like other plants, they need a node in order to successfully continue to develop into a plant. Well here’s the problem, these little cuttings have no node.

Single leaf hoya kerrii roots

These “single leaf” Hoya kerrii are just that, a leaf. These will stay in this adorable heart shape state as they contain no node or way to grow. Sure, you may get lucky, and some may have some tiinnnnyy piece of stem on them, but 9.5 times out of ten they are just a leaf with roots. This is called a blind leaf. Essentially, the leaf will never amount to anything except, well, a leaf with roots. It’s not uncommon to see Fiddle leaf Fig leaves (just the leaves) being propagated with a hot flood of roots on Instagram. While this may seem like legit #rootgoals, know that it will never turn into a plant. A piece of the stem with a node is the only way to get a plant to sprout new and continued growth.

Hoya carnosa roots

I did an experiment. I have a Hoya carnosa leaf that fell off (above). It developed roots but has not popped out anything in else for months whether it is in water or soil. It just has roots. Adding rooting hormone may seem like a good idea, but it just encourages more roots, not stem growth.

By contrast, here are two cutting with nodes (below). They put out new growth and aren’t even in soil yet. They are actually younger than the single leaf cutting.

Hoya carnosa propagation

Caring for a single Hoya kerrii leaf…

While I’m sorry for the depressing news about single leaf Hoya kerrii, I have good news. These are still adorable little plump plants that you should still care for like any other plant. These guys will continue to stay this shape and remain green. Care is similar to regular Hoya as I described above.

Single leaf hoya kerrii

…And Propagating a Plant

If you do manage to get your hands on an actual cutting, be sure it has at least two leaves and attached to a healthy piece of the stem. If you purchase a cutting online, look for the same. Be sure the seller always shows a photo of the actual plant. I’ve been seeing cuttings and smaller plants on ebay and Amazon for for about $20-40 USD.

Hoya kerrii node
Photo by Hoya lover @hiyakerrii

Once you have the cutting, you can plop it in water to grow some useful roots. Be sure to keep the leaves above the water, only the roots submerged. After a few months you can plant in a well-draining mix (similar to mine above). Hoya kerrii are the slowest growers, but you should see some good stuff happening in a few months and you’ll be on you way to a lovely looking vine.

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  1. I have questions. So many questions! I bought one of these guys maybe a year and a half ago. It was a full plant with several stems and a couple little leaf only sections. I put it in a hanging pot. Trailing vine is not what I got. This thing has grown straight up and is now creeping along my ceiling. The top part is super leggy with little outshoots to help hold itself into the ceiling. What I want to know is, how do I groom it. It seems to be thriving but I’m unsure of the best way to help it out as far as leading out at the top. At this point it’s about 3 feet tall and I’m afraid to touch it for fear of making it sad

    1. Hi Rachael! It does sound happy, but it also sounds like it may need more light, hence the legginess. These shouldn’t have too much space in between leaves and more sunlight will fix that. You should definitely prune it. I would take off a foot or so and you can propagate into smaller plants. Alternatively, you can not chop anything off and just get a pole for it to climb on. Either way I would move it to more light and I think it would benefit from a trim, but don’t do it if if make you anxious!