A succulent vine, the Hoya Kerrii also goes by the name Valentine Hoya or Sweetheart plant because of its heart-shaped leaves that give this plant an endearing look.
Although the Hoya Kerrii is often sold as a single, heart-shaped leaf, as the plant reaches maturity and starts to grow, you can eventually enjoy a bushy plant with multiple thick, heart-shaped leaves.
Despite its succulent-like leaves, the Valentine Hoya is a tropical plant native to Southeast Asia. Let’s see how you can take care of it best and what to expect when growing this plant indoors.
Size & Growth
If you’ve purchased a single-leaf Hoya Kerrii, it will take forever for the plant to start growing and producing shoots.
If you’re serious about growing this plant, buy one that’s fairly mature with a couple of leaves already developed.
These will also have a well-established root system that will further help the plant to produce new shoots and vines.
When it reaches maturity, the plant appreciates being kept in a hanging basket with vines running down on the side of the pot. With time and good care, the Valentine Kerrii can reach a length of up to 13 feet.
A mature Hoya Kerrii will also produce clusters of star-shaped flower that will appear in summer.
Besides its otherwise low requirements, another advantage of the Hoya Kerrii is its ability to adapt to various light conditions.
Even though it needs light to grow, it will get by on filtered, indirect light or even low light conditions.
Strong direct light may not be up its alley, nor dark shade. But something in-between will work best for the Sweatheart plant.
With these in mind, you can virtually place this plant anywhere in your home, office or apartment, and it will adapt well to the light conditions available.
Watering the Hoya Kerrii is a balancing act. While its fleshy leaves have adapted to storing water, you should not allow the potting mix to completely dry out between waterings just because the plant gets by anyway.
Although it can survive periods of drought, it’s best to water when the top few inches of soil feel dry. You need to be careful not to be too generous with the watering can either.
If the potting mix becomes too saturated with water, it doesn’t take long for the roots of the plant to start rotting.
Potting mixes that work for cacti and succulents will work for the Hoya Kerrii as well. As long as it’s a substrate that doesn’t become saturated with water, the Hoya Kerrii will find it acceptable.
Bark, peat, perlite, expanded clay balls, charcoal are all substrates that will meet the requirements of this plant.
You don’t have to worry about creating your own mix if you’re not familiar with how different substrates should be combined.
There are plenty of commercially available potting mixes that will be perfect for your Valentine Hoya.
Temperature & Humidity
For sustained growth and optimal development, the Hoya Kerrii plant needs to be kept at a temperature that ranges between 65 to 80 degrees F. This shouldn’t be difficult to achieve indoors.
If you’re growing your Sweetheart plant outdoors in a hanging basket and temperatures in the winter get lower than 60 F, don’t leave the plant outdoors.
Overwintering indoors is needed, except in areas where temperatures during winter stay within the acceptable range for this plant.
Because of its succulent-like nature, more humidity than what’s naturally available indoors is not needed for this plant. If anything, the plant has a bigger problem with excess humidity than a lack of it.
Slow-growing plants like cacti or succulents are fine without fertilizing. But just because they’re fine with it, it doesn’t mean they cannot benefit from a bit of feeding.
You can use either a fertilizer formulated for succulents or cacti or another balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to ¼ or half its strength.
Juvenile Hoya Kerriis should be fertilized twice a year, mature ones or actively growing ones can be fertilized up to four times a year.
Fertilize only during the growing season, and never in fall or winter, when the plant should be in a resting period.
Potting & Repotting
For all types of succulents, I recommend using terracotta pots that are not glazed on the inside. These are heavy but they’re much better at absorbing excess moisture from the potting mix than plastic pots.
Whichever type of pot you decide to use, make sure there are drain holes on the bottom or if not, be prepared to drill some yourself (a bit riskier with terracotta pots that can break easily).
Because of the painstakingly slow growth of the Valentine Hoya, repotting is not needed often. Even so, it can be beneficial for the plant if its potting mix is replaced every 2-3 years or so.
When repotting, move one size up. Don’t oversize the pot, there’s no benefit in doing that, especially not for a small plant.
How to Propagate Hoya Kerrii?
You can propagate the Hoya Kerrii through leaf cuttings. In fact, most Hoya Kerri plants that are sold in small pots may not even have root systems developed, and they’re just leaves placed in a pot that may not even take if you don’t look after them.
You can absolutely propagate this plant through leaf cutting but it can take months before the plant shows any actual growth.
If after 8 weeks, you see no growth, or if the leaf is all puckered and shrivelled up, it means it didn’t develop any roots and it either dried out or you’ve accidentally overwatered it.
An interesting succulent-like plant with a vining growth pattern, the Hoya Kerrii can make an endearing Valentine’s gift or simply a nice plant to have around in your home, especially when in full growth.
If you’ve taken care of succulents before, there are hardly any surprises when it comes to taking care of the Hoya plant.
Much of the plant’s needs in terms of watering, soil and light line up with the needs of succulent plants.