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slightly sickly Hoya bella

I have a Hoya bella which was my late Mum's, and some leaves are turning brown and falling off. This also happened in September last year, and I had a look at the roots, but nothing appeared to be wrong, and it did seem to stop. But it's started again, and I would very much apprefiate some help. Thank you very much.


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,083
    It's a long, long time since I kept one of those which I trained through a wrought iron arch in the lounge as a child.
    It also lost leaves at times, mainly to to the air being warm and dry during the winter months when the heating was on, but it kept going for quite a few years and did flower quite often.
    If it's realistic to give it a spray with a hand-mister once a day will help a bit.
    Other possible causes - compost too wet or too dry - roots sitting in water if the pot is within a pot - fresh compost often works wonders - use rainwater esp. if you're in a hard water area - do you feed it now and then? - I could probably think of more.... :)
    A photo of the patient may help us be more specific, but the above may help I hope.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • We have had a bella for about 30 years now. It was in an area where we grow orchids and did very well. However we had to move it as we needed more space for the orchids.
    It is now in a non heated conservatory and whilst we do have some leaf fall this is very little. It is much happier here and flowers very well each year.
    It is though sprayed at least once a week even thorughout the winter.
    A beautiful plant.
  • Thank you very much Pete.8. Ah, that could very well be it. The radiator's not on that high, but I shall turn it down anyway. And I'll mist it every day too.

    The plant's in a plastic pot, with stones on the top so it doesn't fall over. I was going to transfer it to a terracotta pot, but I was advised that these plants don't like them.

    This is a soft water area (I'm in West Yorkshire), is rainwater still good if not as good?

    It's not too wet, it may be too dry. I've been watering it once a week through the winter, should I be increasing that now do you think?

    I did take some photos this morning, but they're a bit blurry, so I'll take some more tomorrow in the daylight and post them up.
  • thank you very much bertrand-mabel. My bella is in my bedroom, as this is the only room that gets enough light, as it has a velux window. I'm in a valley in the Pennines, so we're not exactly swamped with light! But we've been here for a few years, and she flowered last year, and had quite a bit of new growth, which made me very happy. I really hope this is something simple I can put right. Hopefully keeping the plant more moist than I have been doing will help. Yes, she is very beautiful. :)

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,083
    Sounds like your tap water is good for plants.
    It's a good idea to let the tap water stand for about 24 hours before using it, during this time the chlorine content will evaporate.
    Good Idea to keep it on the dry side this time of year and in the spring re-potting with some fresh compost would give it a new lease of life unless you've done so recently.
    A little feed now and then and hopefully it'll be back on form.
    The perfume is lovely when the flowers appear - lucky you!
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • sorry Pete.8. I've been quite busy for a few days. Thank you for your reply. I do normally leave the water for a day before I use that. I've been misting her a lot more since my post, and the leaf browning and falling seems to have stopped. At first, I noticed that a few healthy looking leaves fell when I tried getting the brown ones that hadn't fallen off. But I think she's going to be okay now. Thank you and bertrand-mabel for your help.

    Here are some pics of when she flowered last year.

    Do you have any thoughts on the pot? As the current pot is plastic, and has no weight, I have some big stones on the top to stop it toppling over. Would this still happen if the pot were terracotta? I would like to avoid the stones, but am not sure how. Many thanks.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,083
    What a lovely looking plant you have.
    Unglazed Terracotta has the benefit of allowing oxygen to get through to the roots which they will appreciate - it whereas plastic does not.
    But, unglazed terracotta will also act as a wick and evaporate the moisture in the compost faster, so you'd need to water more often.
    Alternatively, you could get a glazed terracotta pot which would give extra weight/stability
    I think such a nice looking plant deserves better than a plastic pot :)
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • I have mine growing in a hanging basket in my back porch. It cascades down the back wall and I generally water it when it tells me it needs it - the green of the leaves takes on a greyer tone. It has grown a lot and I intend to swap baskets soon with the chlorophytum next to it, which has a conical basket, in order to give it a greater depth of compost. It doesn't get fed very often, but flowers every year and looks and smells wonderful. You only see the basket if you stand right underneath it, the foliage covers the rest :)
  • thank you Pete, I do love it, and I'm so glad what ailed it was something I could easily fix!

    If I didn't need to keep the stones on top of the pot, that would make a difference to the oxygen getting to the roots as well. If the pot is heavier than the plant and its soil, it will stay upright, and if it isn't, it will topple over. Glazed terracotta would be lovely, and as you say, the plant deserves it. I don't think garden centres are open though, are they? I suppose I could get one online.

    Given that Hoyas like being pot bound, do you think I should go for a pot the same size as the current one, or the next size up, which would also increase the weight of the pot? Also, shouldn't I leave it a couple of months before repotting it?
  • thank you Buttercupdays. I don't really have the option of outside, and in any case it wouldn't have enough light. My windows face northwest and southeast. So the hoya is in my bedroom, which has only a velux window. I'd love to be able to bring it down and show it off (when there are people to show it off to again!), but I don't think it's wise. I could try a hanging basket though, it was in one in my last house, which had a lot more light. I'm glad yours is doing well. :)
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