Hoya Australis Lisa: Full Care Guide

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A Hoya Australis Lisa with pink new foliage and green and cream variegated mature leaves.

Captivating multi-colored foliage, low care needs and a fast-growing nature: Hoya Australis Lisa is the distinctively beautiful houseplant you didn’t know you needed. 

Hoya Australis Lisa, also known as wax vine or common waxflower, is a member of the Hoya genus. Hoya Australis Lisa is considered a semi-succulent evergreen, and it has a vining growth pattern that can reach up to 9 feet in length. The Lisa is the Hoya Australis variegate, meaning that the leaves have striking patterns of pink, white, yellow and shades of green. Under the right conditions, the Hoya Lisa will also produce gorgeous flowers in addition to its beautiful foliage.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know to keep your Hoya Australis Lisa healthy and happily growing in your home. You’ll also find tips for troubleshooting problems and where to find one of these delightful houseplants for sale.

Let’s get started!

RELATED: Variegated plants are so unique- each one is different than all the others. To see some other lovely multi-colored plants, see our posts on Variegated Monstera, Pothos N Joy and Philodendron Birkin.

Hoya Australis Lisa Care Summary

Plant Type:

Semi-succulent

Native Habitat:

Australia

Botancial Name:

Hoya Australis Lisa

Growth Pattern:

Vining, epiphytic

Watering:

When soil is moderately dry

Light:

Bright light

Soil:

Well-draining potting soil

Temperature:

65-75 degrees F

Humidity:

Prefers high humidity

Potential Problems:

Overwatering, leaf discoloration, pests

Repotting:

Only when needed, typically every 2 years

What is Hoya Australis Lisa: Plant Background

According to the Australian Native Plants Society, there are about 200 varieties of Hoya that grow in the wild in Southeast Asia and Australia, with Hoya Australis being the most common. 

Hoya Australis Lisa is a cultivar, or a lab-created variety, of the Hoya Australis species Tenuipes. The Lisa has been developed to have rich variegation patterns on its leaves. And they truly are stunning!

New leaves emerge in a lovely pink-red color, then as they mature, the leaves transition into a combination of creamy white, soft yellow and shades of green. You can see the various green hues in these photos:

A small Hoya Australis Lisa plant with green and variegated leaves.
This is my young Hoya Lisa.
Not too much in the way of variegation just yet.
A closeup photo showing cream, light green and dark green leaf variegation on a Hoya Lisa.
This is an older Hoya Lisa that has developed prominent variegation

Hoya Australis plants have a vining growth pattern, and they are epiphytes, meaning that they climb trees or rocky outcroppings in their natural habitat. When they’re growing in the wilds of Australia, you’ll often find Hoya Australis on rocky ledges or on the forest outskirts.

In their natural habitat, Hoya Australis vines can reach up to 14 feet in length. But as a houseplant, the Lisa plant will likely max out at around 9 feet. This plant looks equally lovely trailing from a high shelf or hanging basket as it does attached to a pole or support structure.

Hoya Australis Lisa has slightly thick, waxy leaves with semi-succulent properties, meaning that the plant can store water within itself. As a houseplant, Hoya Lisa has pretty low watering needs, and it won’t mind if you forget to water for a couple of extra days.

Is Hoya Lisa Rare?

The Hoya Australis Lisa is not considered an exclusive or terribly rare plant, but it does tend to be fairly uncommon in most parts of the world.

You may occasionally stumble upon one at your local nursery or garden center, but that will likely be pretty hit-or-miss.

Not to worry! Thanks to the internet, you can find a Hoya Lisa easily and at a fairly reasonable price. That’s how I got my plant, and it arrived in perfect condition.

Does Hoya Australis Lisa Flower?

Even though its foliage alone is more than enough reason to love this plant, Hoya Lisa is also known for its flowers. The plant produces a flower stalk with blooms that can be pink, red or white. The flowers are grouped together in a cluster, similar to hydrangea blossoms.

A closeup photo of Hoya Australis flowers, with white and pink petals.
Hoya Australis flowers

The flowers also have a sweet, honey-like fragrance that gets especially strong later in the day. So be sure to place your Hoya Lisa near where you spend your evening hours to best enjoy its beautiful scent.

If you live in USDA hardiness zones 10-11, you can keep your Hoya Australis Lisa outdoors. The blooms are great for attracting butterflies!

With proper care, your Hoya Lisa may bloom multiple times throughout the year. For the best blossom show, make sure your plant gets at least 5 hours of bright but indirect sunlight every day. Also, your plant will divert more energy to bloom production when root space is constricted, so keep it in a pot that’s no more than 1 to 2 inches larger than the root ball.

Hoya Australis Lisa Care

Despite its high-drama looks, Hoya Lisa is actually an easy-going plant with low care needs. It’s a wonderful choice if you’re new to gardening and plant care, but it’s equally perfect for experienced plant lovers who want a low-maintenance addition to their collection.

Let’s have a look at what the Hoya Australis Lisa needs to succeed.

Appropriate Pot

The Hoya Lisa prefers to keep its roots snug and compact, so pick a pot that’s no more than 1 to 2 inches larger than the root ball. Also, an overly large pot holds more soil than your plant needs, making it all too easy to overwater in a larger pot.

This means that when it’s time to move up in pot sizes, choose a new pot that’s just one size larger than the current one. For instance, when potting up from a 4-inch pot, choose a 5-inch pot for the new home.

Besides sizing, another key aspect of an ideal pot is good drainage. The easiest route is to look for a pot with at least one large pre-made drainage hole.

But if the pot you want to use doesn’t have any drainage holes, you’ve got a couple of options:

  1. Plant your Hoya in a plastic nursery pot that fits inside the decorative pot. Then take the nursery pot out to water, and replace it afterward. Nursery pots are available in any size you need, like these 4-inch ones.
  2. Add drainage holes on your own. My favorite local nursery will drill holes in pots that don’t have any, so it’s worth asking if yours will do the same. You can also make your own holes, using a power drill and bit appropriate for the pot material. This video from Epic Gardening does a great job of demonstrating how to add holes in glazed and unglazed ceramic pots:

As far as pot material goes, terra cotta is most ideal since it allows for natural moisture evaporation and airflow. But plastic, glazed ceramic or any other material will work fine too, as long as it has proper drainage.

Watering Frequency

This plant is very tolerant of drought conditions, and overwatering is one of the primary dangers to the Hoya Lisa. Like all Hoya Australis varieties, the Lisa is vulnerable to root rot, an often-fatal fungal condition that thrives in damp soil.

So one of the best ways to keep your plant healthy is to water sparingly, only giving water when the top 3-4 inches of soil has dried out.

Your home’s temperature, humidity levels and sunlight exposure will all affect how often the soil dries out. Also, your plant requires more water during the active growing season (spring and summer) than it does in the dormant period (late fall and winter).

So make it a habit to check the soil frequently and only give water when needed.

You can test the soil moisture either by feel or with a moisture meter. If going by feel, stick your finger into the soil up to about the second knuckle. If you feel any moisture, don’t give any water yet and check again in a day or two.

A moisture meter is a device that has a long probe with a moisture-sensitive tip and a screen that displays the moisture level on a scale of 1-10 (1 being totally dry). Insert the meter a few inches into the soil, and give water when the reading is about 3.

I have a meter like this one from Gouevn, and I have been happy with it.

Well-Draining Soil

Another way you can avoid giving your Hoya Lisa too much water is to use soil with a loose, fast-draining texture.

A pre-made succulent or cactus soil blend provides the lightness and good drainage your plant needs. I’ve had good results with Espoma Cactus Mix in the past.

If you’d rather, you can also go the DIY soil route. Follow this recipe for an ideal soil blend:

Lighting Needs

Here’s where Hoya Lisa can vary from other varieties within the larger Hoya Australis family. And the reason for that comes down to the variegation patterns on the Lisa.

Most Hoya Australis plants have all-green leaves. They prefer bright, indirect light, and exposure to direct sunlight can scorch their leaves. These Hoya Australis plants don’t need as much sunlight because their non-variegated leaves are rich in chlorophyll, the green pigment that converts sunlight into sugar and gives the leaves their color.

The Hoya Lisa, on the other hand, has extensive patches of white, yellow or light green, all of which have less or next-to-no chlorophyll. Since they have less light-converting power, Lisa plants often need more sun exposure to produce enough food.

You may have to experiment a bit to find the ideal location for your Hoya Lisa. I recommend starting out in an east-facing window if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere or a west-facing one if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Your plant will get plenty of direct early-morning sunlight in these locations.

If you notice that your plant is taking on an overall yellowish color or that it’s not putting out much new growth, try moving it to a window that gets midday direct sunlight. That will be a south-facing window in the Northern Hemisphere and a north-facing one in the Southern Hemisphere.

If you don’t have a natural light source, you can supplement with a grow light for a few hours every day. This one from GHodec has a convenient clip attachment.

A Hoya Australis Lisa plant with cream and green variegated mature leaves and pink new growth.

Room Temperature

Hoya Australis Lisa likes temperatures indoors between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, so average indoor room temperatures are just fine.

But keep in mind that this is a tropical plant that does not tolerate temperatures lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make sure to keep your plant well away from drafty windows in winter. And in the summer, don’t place your plant near strong air-conditioning vents or use an air deflector to direct the cold air away.

Humidity Levels

This plant can tolerate average indoor humidity levels (usually 40% and 60%). But having originated in tropical and subtropical areas, the Hoya Australis Lisa will greatly appreciate some additional air moisture.

If you want to pamper your plant, you’ve got a few options:

  • Mist it every few days with a fine-spray bottle.
  • Fill a tray with pebbles and water and set your plant’s pot on top. As the water evaporates, it adds humidity to the air. Change out the water every few days to keep it fresh.
  • Keep your plant in the bathroom or kitchen if you’ve got good lighting there. These rooms have lots of running water, and they tend to be slightly more humid than the rest of the house.
  • Group your Hoya Lisa near other houseplants. Plants release water through their leaves in a process called transpiration, and they will elevate the humidity around your Hoya.
  • Use a plant humidifier. This is a particularly good option for those of us who live in climates with cold winters and dry indoor heat.

RELATED: Take the guesswork out of shopping for a plant humidifier with our list of 7 favorites!

Fertilizing

Feed your Hoya Australis Lisa with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the active growing season, typically from April to October. The Grow Co. makes a good organic liquid formula.

During the late fall and winter, (about November through March) the plant enters its seasonal dormant phase. During this time, your plant is resting and growth slows significantly. Your plant can’t process fertilizer while it’s dormant, and giving fertilizer can lead to chemical burns and damage.

So hold off on giving any fertilizer until your plant wakes up in the spring.

Routine Pruning

Prune your Lisa plant during the active growing months, removing old, browning leaves near the plant’s base.

Avoid being too aggressive with pruning off fresh foliage, since that can stunt your plant’s growth. But if there are any long, overgrown vines, feel free to trim those off just above a node (where the leaves emerge from the stem). If you do prune off a vigorous stem, don’t throw it out! Instead, use it for propagating a new Lisa plant. We’ll talk about that process in just a bit.

As a fast-growing vine, the Hoya Lisa may develop suckers, which are offshoots that draw resources but don’t produce flowers or desirable foliage. The leaves on suckers will usually be small, and they don’t do much to support the plant. Trim these vines away to help your plant direct its energy to growing fuller at the base and producing more beautiful leaves and flowers.

Also, your Lisa plant may flower multiple times every year. Once the flowers are spent, cut them off to keep your plant looking its best and to direct resources to new growth.

Provide Support or Allow to Trail

Your Hoya Lisa will form beautifully long, trailing vines. You can either train the plant to grow on a support structure or allow it to spill dramatically from a hanging pot or high shelf.

Providing support can help your plant produce denser foliage and have a bushier appearance. A simple round plant form would be a great choice to show off the Lisa’s lovely foliage and flowers, and a moss pole is another option.

If you just love the trailing, vining look, make sure to prune your plant well every spring or summer to avoid a sparse, leggy appearance.

Propagating Hoya Australis Lisa

There are a couple of easy ways to propagate Hoya Australis Lisa:

  1. Stem cuttings
  2. Layering

1. Propagating Hoya Lisa with Stem Cuttings

First of all, you’ll need a good cutting from your plant. Clean a pair of sharp scissors or pruners with alcohol before making any cuts.

Each cutting should be at least 4 inches long and have at least a couple of nodes (where the leaves grow). This is where your cutting will send out new roots. Here’s what the nodes look like, marked by arrows:

A photo showing two nodes on a Hoya Australis Lisa plant.

Cut about 1/2 inch below the bottom node, then carefully cut away all but the top 2-4 leaves. Cut the leaves off as close to the main stem as possible, but be careful not to nick the stem.

Then place your prepared cutting in a glass of clean water. Hoya plants in general typically root pretty easily, but Naomi Robinson of Houseplant Authority shared with me that she likes to add some rooting hormone to the water to help encourage the fastest root development. If you’d like to go that route, you can try this powder formula from Hormex.

Naomi continues, “from there, it was simply a matter of waiting until the roots grew a few inches. I would, however, recommend keeping an eye on the water to make sure the water level doesn’t drop too much. It’s also good to check from time to time in case the water becomes murky, in which case I’d recommend replacing the water.”

You should start to see root development in a week or so. Once the roots are at least 1 inch long, you’re ready to move your cutting into moistened potting soil. Keep the soil moist for the first week after planting to help your new plant transition from the water environment it’s been growing in.

After that, you can treat your rooted cutting like a mature Hoya Lisa plant.

2. Propagating Hoya Lisa with Layering

This method also produces new roots from a node site. But the benefit to layering is that you can confirm new root development before making cuts to your plant.

Fill a pot with moistened potting soil and place it right next to your Hoya Lisa. Then take a stem (still attached to the mother plant) and just barely nestle it into the soil in the new pot. Keep the stem in place with a hairpin that’s bent open or with specialized greening pins.

Place a plastic bag or dome over the stem section to increase the humidity and keep the soil moist. In a few days, the stem will send new roots down into the soil.

Once you see these baby roots, cut the stem from the mother plant and proceed with normal Hoya Australis care.

Nell from JoyUs Garden has a great video that demonstrates these two propagation techniques. She also talks about propagation from a single leaf cutting, but that method tends to have very mixed results at best. Start the video at 4:25 minutes to see propagation from stem cuttings and layering:

Can You Grow Hoya Lisa From Seed?

Even though you may see Hoya Australis seeds for sale, you won’t be able to grow a Lisa plant from seed.

That’s because the Hoya Lisa is a lab-generated cultivar, and these hybrid plants often do not reproduce true to type. This means that even though the plant that produced the seeds has a great deal of variegation, the plants grown from its seeds may not have any at all.

Hoya plants in general tend to have pretty poor germination rates when grown from seed, and they can grow very slowly. If you can manage to get a Hoya Lisa seed to take off, you’ll definitely get a Hoya Australis plant. But there’s a very good chance it will be all-green like its grandparent the Hoya Australis Tenuipes instead of variegated.

The only reliable way to maintain the Lisa’s variegation pattern is through stem cuttings, layering or tissue cultures (which is a lab process that you won’t be doing at home!).

Repotting Hoya Australis Lisa

The Hoya Australis Lisa prefers to grow in tight quarters, and it also doesn’t appreciate having its roots disturbed unnecessarily. So given that, plan to repot your plant only when needed. That will likely be every 2 years or so, and maybe longer.

You’ll know it’s time to repot when you spot these signs:

  • Roots poking out through the pot’s drainage holes or the soil surface
  • Your plant dries much more quickly than it used to
  • New growth has slowed significantly or stopped

It’s best to schedule repotting in the spring since this is when your plant is actively growing and is better able to recover from any transplant shock.

Here’s how to go about repotting your Australis Lisa:

Step 1. Water your plant the day before you plan on repotting. Moistening the soil will help make it easier to remove your plant from its current pot.

Step 2. Lay an old sheet or a large piece of paper on your work surface to keep things clean. I like to rip a brown paper bag down one corner and open the bottom seam to make a good-sized covering.

Step 3. Remove your plant from its pot. If it’s in a plastic nursery pot, squeeze the sides to help loosen the soil, tip the pot upside down and slide the plant out. If your pot is terra cotta, ceramic or another solid material, run a knife along the pot’s inner diameter to loosen the soil. Then tip the pot upside down and gently work your plant free, taking care not to pull on the plant itself.

If you’re having trouble getting your Hoya Lisa out, carefully poke up through the drainage holes with a pencil or skewer. With patience and steady effort, your plant should eventually come out. But if all else fails, you may need to consider breaking your pot.

Step 4. Once your plant is free, examine the roots. They should be white-to-tan in color and feel firm to the touch. Look for any sections of discolored or soft roots, which indicate root rot. If you see any concerning areas, trim them away with sanitized scissors or pruners.

Step 5. Gently work any compacted root sections free, focusing on the root tips. If your plant is just one large ball of roots, use sanitized scissors/pruners to make 3 to 4 vertical cuts along the outer perimeter of the root ball. While this step sounds scary, don’t worry- it will not harm your plant and it will help the roots to spread out in the new pot.

Step 6. Add a couple of inches of soil to the new pot, and settle your plant on top. Fill in around the sides of the root ball with more soil, making sure to look for and fill any gaps or holes in the root ball.

Step 7. Hold off on watering for a few days after repotting. This gives any trimmed root areas a chance to heal before exposure to water. The initial watering will cause the soil to settle, so check the soil level again and add more if needed.

A Hoya Australis Lisa plant with a string of hearts plant in the background.

Potential Problems with Hoya Australis Lisa

Hoya Australis Lisa is pretty resistant to issues, but sometimes problems can arise:

  1. Yellowing leaves
  2. Drooping leaves
  3. Pests

1. Yellowing Leaves

If the leaves on your Hoya Australis Lisa are turning yellow at the base of the plant, overwatering is the most common culprit.

Hold off on giving any more water until the top 3-4 inches of soil has dried out. Going forward, water less often. Always check the soil moisture levels first and only give water when needed. Also, if the plant is sitting in a drainage saucer, don’t let water sit in the saucer as this will keep the soil moist for too long.

Incorrect lighting could also be the cause of sickly, yellow-looking leaves, especially if you’ve been watering appropriately.

Address this problem by looking at how much light your plant is getting right now. If it’s in indirect light or partial shade, try moving your Hoya Lisa into brighter light. If your plant is in full sun, reposition the plant to a spot away from a sunny window to where it will still get indirect light.

2. Drooping Leaves

If the leaves are wilting and starting to shrivel, your plant is likely not getting enough water. 

Give your plant a drink right away, giving water until it flows freely out through the pot’s drainage holes. The leaves should perk up and take on their firm appearance in an hour or less.

In the future, make sure to check the soil moisture more frequently to avoid under-watering problems. Try setting a reminder on your phone to check your plant every few days, or keep track of when you watered last on a piece of paper.

3. Pests

Pests don’t often attack Hoya Lisa plants. But if they do, it’ll likely be one of these:

  • Mealybugs
  • Aphids
  • Scale insects
A mealybug on a houseplant leaf.
Mealybug
Aphids on a plant leaf.
Aphids
Scale insects attached to a tree trunk
Scale Insects

If you see any of these pests, isolate your Hoya Lisa away from any other houseplants right away.

Remove the bugs with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol or neem oil. You can also spray your plant down with insecticidal soap, then wipe the leaves with a clean cloth.

These little pests love to hide, so you’ll probably find more lurking on your plant even after the initial treatment. Check your plant every day, and remove the bugs whenever you see them.

After your plant has been pest-free for a few days, it can safely rejoin your other houseplants.

Where to Buy Hoya Australis Lisa

Although you probably won’t see it at your local greenhouse, you should have no trouble at all finding a healthy, beautiful Hoya Australis Lisa online.

Etsy is my favorite source for buying live plants on the internet. These are often small-business plant producers that are incredibly knowledgeable and eager to see their plants thrive.

Native West California is one particularly great source for a Hoya Lisa. They have gorgeous plants and are quick to respond to questions. Definitely check them out!

Here are a few other reputable sellers that had Hoya Lisa in stock at the time of publishing:

Frequently Asked Questions about Hoya Australis Lisa

Hoya Australis is considered non-toxic to cats, dogs, and humans. Because of the waxy nature of the leaves and sap that contains latex, it’s best to keep this plant away from pets and children to prevent any stomach upset or skin irritation.

Out of the 200 varieties of Hoya, the most unique and rare are Hoya Carnosa, Hoya Retusa, and Hoya Caudata. There is record of a Hoya Carnosa Compacta being sold for $6,500!  Thankfully the Hoya Australis Lisa is much more reasonably priced!

You can root a stem cutting in water, but you can’t grow a Hoya Lisa plant in water long-term.

An infographic that shows care for a Hoya Australis Lisa.

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Key Takeaways

  • Hoya Australis plants grow in forests and rocky ledges in Australia. The Lisa subspecies is a lab-created cultivar developed to have striking variegation in cream, yellow and shades of green.
  • Overwatering is a danger since this plant has succulent qualities and is prone to root rot. Check the soil moisture before watering, and don’t give water until the top 3-4 inches of soil have dried out.
  • The Hoya Lisa often prefers brighter light than other Hoya Australis varieties. Start your plant in a window that gets direct morning sun, and move to a sunnier location if the leaves start to turn yellow or growth slows down.
  • Prune your Lisa plant every spring or early summer to stimulate bushier, fuller growth. Remove spent blossom promptly.
  • Only repot the Hoya Lisa every couple of years, when the plant has become very root-bound. This plant prefers to have its roots constricted somewhat, and it does not like having its roots disturbed.

Final Thoughts

Hoya Australis Lisa is a unique beauty with gorgeous foliage and clusters of fragrant flowers.   Thankfully it’s so easy to care for, and even as an uncommon plant it’s a cinch to find online. Really, what’s not to love?

We want to hear from you! Do you have any other care questions about the lovely Hoya Lisa? Do you own this plant and have any tips to share? We learn best as a community, so please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!

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