Hoya 'String Bean'
- Botanical Name: Hoya shepherdii
Common Name(s): String bean hoya
- Description: The String Bean Hoya produces 2-3" wide clusters composed of sweetly fragrant 1/2" wide white waxy star-shaped flowers with a small maroon eye. The long narrow deep green glossy foliage adorns the long trailing stems and give the plant its common due to their resemblance to string beans.
Growing and Caring for Hoya String Bean Plants
Hoya string bean plants, also known as 'String of Hearts' or 'Ceropegia Woodii', are unique and attractive plants that are native to South Africa and Zimbabwe. With their dainty, heart-shaped foliage and trailing stems, they make interesting houseplants and it can be incredibly rewarding to care for them. Read on for a detailed guide to understanding the needs of Hoya string bean plants and how to successfully care for them.
Understanding Hoya String Bean Plants
Hoya string bean plants are a species of vine, closely related to the Hoya and Ceropegia genera of plants. As they are trailing in habit, they make a great choice for hanging baskets or other containers where their pendulous stems and foliage can hang down. The stems of the plant can reach up to 2 meters and they are very much a 'set it and forget it' type of plant which requires minimal attention to flourish. The leaves themselves are quite distinctive, with the oblong-shaped leaves typically measuring between one and two inches in length.
Planting and Caring for Hoya String Bean Plants
When caring for Hoya string beans, be sure to plant them in a well-draining potting mix that's rich in organic matter such as compost or aged manure. Make sure to provide adequate drainage for your pot so that water is not allowed to stand for too long in the soil. Once planted, it's important to keep the soil slightly moist but never soggy. They won't need a lot of water, but be sure to keep an eye on the soil moisture levels to ensure it stays consistent.
Water Requirements for Hoya String Bean Plants
Hoya string bean plants are considered to be fairly drought tolerant, however they do prefer more frequent watering than most other houseplants. Aim to water your Hoya string bean plant every one to two weeks. When the soil feels dry to the touch, it is time to water again. Be sure not to overwater as too much water can cause root rot.
Lighting Requirements for Hoya String Bean Plants
Hoya string bean plants tend to flourish in average lighting conditions however some direct sunlight is beneficial. If your plant is in direct sunlight, try to make sure it is shaded from mid-morning until mid-afternoon when the sun is at its strongest. Too much direct sunlight can cause the foliage to burn.
Soil Requirements for Hoya String Bean Plants
As mentioned previously, Hoya string beans require a well draining soil that is rich in organic matter such as compost or aged manure. A general purpose potting mix is usually suitable but can benefit from the addition of perlite or other agents that improve drainage.
Fertilizing Requirements for Hoya String Bean Plants
It's best to fertilize a Hoya string bean twice per year with a general-purpose fertilizer. Be sure to dilute the fertilizer by half and always read the instructions on the label carefully. Be sure not to over-fertilize as this can cause poor growth and yellowing of the foliage.
Pruning and Training Hoya String Bean Plants
Hoya string bean plants do not require a lot of pruning or training as they tend to trail naturally. You can remove any old or dead leaves or stems to tidy up your plant or encourage it to branch out more. If you want your Hoya string bean to take on a more compact shape, use fold-over wires or plant ties attached to the stems.
Controlling Pests and Diseases on Hoya String Bean Plants
Hoya string beans rarely suffer from pests however occasionally mealybugs or aphids may cause issues. The best way to control pest infestations is to isolate the affected plant and spray with a pesticide specifically made for controlling pests such as these. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label carefully and always wear gloves when applying pesticides.
Propagating Hoya String Bean Plants
Hoya string beans can be easily propagated by taking stem cuttings during spring or summer time. To do this, gently remove a stem from the parent plant and insert it in a pot filled with potting mix. Water lightly and place the pot in an area with bright, indirect light. The cuttings should root within 3-4 weeks and you can then transplant them into separate pots once established.
Troubleshooting Common Growing Problems with Hoya String Bean Plants
The two most common issues faced when growing Hoya string bean plants are poor drainage and too much light.If your plant starts to show signs of distress such as yellowing foliage, wilting or stunted growth, check the soil moisture levels first. If the soil feels soggy then transplant into a new pot with more drainage and if dry, then increase the frequency of watering. If your plant is in direct sunlight for long periods of time it might struggle, in which case try to move it into a spot with more indirect light.
With a little bit of care and attention, you will soon see your Hoya string bean flourishing - soon enough you'll be rewarded with beautiful trailing stems and foliage, along with small white flowers during parts of the year. This is a great opportunity to get creative - display your plant in a beautiful pot of your choice, add some moss top dressing or use decorative cages or structures to help train your trails as it grows.