Hoya Krimson Queen: Full Care Guide

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A phott showing a beautiful Hoya Krimson Queen plant.

Hoya Krimson Queen truly checks all the boxes: Simple care needs, looks good in a hanging basket or climbing up a trellis, stunning foliage and lovely flowers.

The Hoya Krimson Queen features a mix of completely white leaves and variegated green-and-white ones. The stems have a pink hue, and new leaves emerge with a delicate pink color before they mature to green-and-white or all-white. The Hoya Queen has a trailing growth pattern that can reach up to 6 feet in length, and with the right growing conditions, it will also produce delicate, fragrant flowers.

No doubt about it- Hoya Krimson Queen is a dreamy addition to any plant lover’s collection. Ready to learn more about this horticultural royal?

RELATED: Another beautiful member of the hoya family is Hoya Australis Lisa. This plant has some similarities to the Krimson Queen, but it also boasts its own unique charms!

Plant Type:

Semi-succulent

Native Habitat:

Southeastern Asia

Botanical Name:

Hoya carnosa Krimson Queen

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

Hoya Krimson Queen Background

There are over 200 species in the hoya genus, and the Hoya Krimson Queen is a member of the Hoya carnosa family. Hoya plants also go by these common names: 

  • Wax Plant
  • Honey Plant
  • Porcelainflower (or Porcelain Flower)

Hoya carnosa are epiphytes, or tree-dwelling vining plants whose seeds germinate in tree branches. Epiphytic plants feed themselves using aerial and subterranean roots, and they also use their aerial roots as anchors to trees or other structures.

These lovely plants are native to Southeastern Asia, particularly Malaysia, China, a few Japanese islands, India and Fiji. They have also been found in the wild in Australia, although they were probably introduced there instead of being true natives.

Hoya Krimson Queen Leaves

This plant is also sometimes called the Tricolor Krimson Queen since it features three prominent colors:

  • Green-and-white variegated leaves
  • Solid white leaves
  • Pink new leaves and stems

The gorgeous color variations are my personal favorite aspect of this plant. Take a look at these leaves:

A photo showing all-white leaves on a Hoya Krimson Queen.
Solid white leaves
A solid pink new leaf on a Hoya Krimson Queen.
Pink new growth that will turn all white
A new leaf with pink and green variegation grows in a Hoya Krimson Queen.
New growth that will be green-and-white

As houseplants, hoyas are popular because of their glossy, attractive leaves and long, vigorous vines. The waxy coating on the leaves helps the hoya retain moisture, giving it a semi-succulent quality. As such, hoyas can tolerate limited periods of drought, making them easy to care for as a houseplant.

Hoya Krimson Queen Flowers

If you need another reason to love this plant, there’s this one: They flower!

A flower cluster on a Hoya Krimson Queen.

Happy and healthy hoyas will produce flowers after they are a few years old. Hoyas are actually closely related to milkweed, and their flowers are quite similar: An umbrella-shaped cluster of smaller, star-shaped flowerets that are actually hard-surfaced–hence the common name “porcelain flower”. 

Hoya Krimson Queen flowers are light pink and very fragrant. The scent is similar to honey, hence the plant’s alternative name, the honey plant.

For a hoya to flower, it needs enough light, fertilizer and humidity, which we’ll go over a little later on.

Hoya Krimson Queen Vs Hoya Krimson Princess

These plants both contain the green, white and pink color scheme, but the variegation pattern is flipped:

  • The Krimson Queen has green leaf centers and pink-and-white margins
  • The Krimson Princess has pink-and-white centers surrounded by a broad green margin

You can see the difference in these two photos:

A photo showing the variegation pattern of a Hoya Krimson Queen, with the white variegated portions on the outside of the leaves.
Hoya Krimson Queen
A Hoya Krimson Princess plant from Etsy shop Brumley and Bloom.
Hoya Krimson Princess from Brumley and Bloom via Etsy

Hoya Carnosa Tricolor Krimson Queen Care

It might seem that a plant with such beautiful foliage and flowers would be high-maintenance. Not true! Hoya Krimson Queen will stay lush and gorgeous even without a lot of effort on your part. Here’s what you need to do:

Appropriate Watering

Of all the aspects of taking care of your Hoya Queen, watering properly is probably the most important.

White leaf hoya varieties, including the Krimson Queen, like to dry out between waterings. The leaves have a protective, waxy coating that gives them the ability to store extra water in their leaf tissues. Also, less water gets lost to evaporation since it can’t transpire as easily through the rigid leaves.

I always water my houseplants sparingly, and my Hoya Queen is no exception. I go several days between waterings, usually 7-10, and I only water when the soil feels completely dry.

Give water until you see it running out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Leave your plant in the standing water for about 10-15 minutes, then drain away the excess. Never leave your plant sitting in a dish of water for longer than this- it just leads to over-saturated soil and potential root rot.

Lighting Needs

It’s important to get the right light dialed in to see a Hoya Krimson Queen flower. In its natural habitat, Hoya carnosa is an understory plant, meaning that it grows beneath the tree canopy in forests. The tree leaves above the Hoya filter the sunlight.

So direct sunlight, midday sunlight is too harsh and can leaf sunburn, which shows up as yellow or slightly brown spots. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, a south window is too harsh, and in the Southern Hemisphere, a north window provides too much light.

Instead, the light needs to be on the brighter side of indirect, such as a few feet away from an east (the best choice) or west-facing (the second-best) window

It’s fine if your plant gets some direct light from these window orientations for an hour or so each day, especially if it’s the early morning rays from an east window. In fact, gentle direct light can help your plant bloom. I have my plant in an east-facing window, and it’s thriving.

If you don’t have natural light for your hoya, consider getting a grow light. This one from Juhefa is nice because it clips right onto a table or shelf.

Appropriate Pot Size and Type

Hoya Tricolor Krimson Queen prefers a snug pot and does best when it is slightly root-bound. Choose a pot that’s 1-2 inches larger in diameter than your plant’s root ball.

Like many other epiphytic plants, your hoya has a fine root system that is susceptible to damage from too much moisture. A pot that’s too large will hold excessive soil, and in turn, excessive moisture. So you’re better off erring on the side of a little too small than too large.

If possible, choose a pot made from porous clay or terra cotta. These materials allow moisture to dissipate through the pot walls instead of staying trapped in the soil. Other pot materials, like plastic, will also be okay, but you’ll have to be more vigilant to prevent moisture accumulation.

No matter the material, make sure that the pot you choose has at least one large drainage hole. If the pot you have your eye on doesn’t have a drainage hole, you could add your own with either a power drill or a hammer and nail (and some patience!).

Or you could always plant your Krimson Queen in an appropriately sized grower’s pot and place that inside your pretty drainage-lacking pot. Amazon has grower’s pots in every size, and they’re usually inexpensive.

RELATED: If you can’t get enough beautiful trailing houseplants in your life, check out one of my personal favorites- the charming Phildendron Micans.

Well-Draining Soil

In the wild, hoya plants grow in loose, well-draining soil with their aerial roots exposed to the air. As a houseplant, your Hoya Krimson Queen needs loose soil with a light, airy texture.

Pre-made cactus or succulent soil blends are ideal. Espoma Organic Cactus Mix is what I personally use. African violet soil is another good option.

If you’d like to make your own potting soil blend, blending 50% potting soil with 50% drainage-enhancing ingredients is about right. You can use any of these materials:

A good example ratio to follow would be 2 parts potting soil, 1 part perlite and 1 part orchid bark.

Ambient Temperature

Hoyas do fine at the average room temperature, from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In hotter months, they may need a bit more water to offset the warm temps, and you can also use room or table fans to circulate air in a room and keep things a bit cooler.

Humidity Levels

Being native to tropical regions, hoya plants prefer humidity between 50% and 60%. Keeping humidity levels around this mark also help encourage blooming.

Here are some ideas to help boost the humidity around your hoya:

  • Fill a small dish with pebbles, and add enough water to just cover the surface. Set your Hoya Queen’s pot on top of the pebbles, and the air will get slightly more humid as the water evaporates. Change the water every week or so to prevent odors and fungus gnats.
  • Lightly mist your hoya with a fine-mist spray bottle. Use a light touch, as too much surface moisture could lead to mildew. And make sure to mist only in the mornings to allow your plant enough time to absorb the moisture before nightfall.
  • Use a plant humidifier.

RELATED: Stop by our post on top plant humidifiers to get some shopping ideas!

However, if lovely foliage is what you’re after, this plant can tolerate normal room temperature. Since they have thick, waxy leaves, Hoya Queen retains water well all on its own, so your plant should still grow well and look pretty even without supplementary humidity.

Dormancy

Hoyas go dormant in fall and winter, meaning that they go into a seasonal resting phase. During this time, your plant will quit pushing out blooms and new leaves.

Be sure to keep a close eye on soil moisture during dormancy. Since the plant slows its growth down, it takes longer for the roots up to 50% longer to absorb moisture. So plan to cut your normal watering routine by about half, and always feel the soil for dryness before giving water.

Fertilizing

Fertilize your Hoya Queen once a month during spring and summer, when your plant is in its active growth phase. Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted in water according to the package instructions. This liquid formula from The Grow Co. is easy to use and organic.

When your Hoya Queen does into its dormant phase in the fall and winter, stop fertilizing and just give plain water. While your plant is resting, it can’t absorb nutrients as efficiently, and the minerals can build up to damaging levels in the soil. So hold off on fertilizing again until spring.

Pruning

One of the most striking features in a Hoya Krimson Queen is the dramatic trailing or climbing stems, so only prune to take cuttings for propagation or to control aggressive growth.

One important note here is you should not deadhead a Hoya Krimson Queen flower after it has bloomed. New flowers bud out of the old flower spur, so if you trim off a seemingly spent flower head, you’ll also be cutting off future flowers.

Support

This is one of those plants that lends itself perfectly to a hanging basket or trailing dramatically along a surface.

But if you’d prefer, the Krimson Queen will also quite happily climb a trellis of almost any shape. I think hoyas look amazing on a circular support. Upright shapes also look great, like these fan-shaped bamboo ones.

Whatever trellis you choose, use a gentle, biodegradable material to attach the vines to support, such as twine, strips of old T-shirt, or this Biostretch Tie.

How to Repot Hoya Krimson Queen

Like all hoyas, the Krimson Queen prefers to be slightly root-bound and does not always appreciate having its roots touched or handled. So this is not a plant that you’ll have to repot every year; some can grow happily in their current pot for 3+ years.

Here’s how you know it’s time to repot your hoya:

  • Very little new growth emerges in spring and summer
  • Roots begin poking out of the drainage holes
  • Plant is always wilting despite regular watering
  • White salt deposits forming on the surface of the soil

Repotting is best done in the spring when your plant is coming out of winter dormancy and can tolerate the stress of moving into a new home. Choose a new pot that’s only one size bigger than your current one to avoid over-potting.

Then follow these steps:

Step 1. Water your plant 1-2 days before you plan to repot.

Step 2. Cover your workspace with an old sheet or a large piece of brown paper.

Step 3. Place your hand at the base of the plant at the soil line, tip your pot downward and gently remove your plant from its current pot. If you’re having trouble getting your plant free, try these:

  • Slide a knife around the inner sides of the pot to loosen the soil around the root ball.
  • For plastic pots, squeeze the sides of the pot to help the soil break free.
  • Use a pencil or a chopstick to gently poke upwards through the lower drainage hole.
  • If all else fails, you may need to break your pot.

Step 4. Inspect the roots. Look for any brownish discoloration, soft spots or bad smells. These are signs of a fungal infection known as root rot, which could kill your Krimson Queen if left untreated. If you spot any concerning root sections, trim them away with sanitized scissors.

NOTE: With many plants, you would massage the root ball open to encourage the root tips to spread out. Hoyas do not like their roots handled any more than necessary, so don’t try to work the roots open unless your plant is extremely root bound.

Step 5. Fill your new pot with enough fresh soil to bring your plant just below the new pot’s lip. Set your Krimson Queen in and fill in the areas around the sides. Use a pencil or a chopstick to gently poke into the soil to dislodge any hidden air pockets.

Step 6. Set your newly repotted hoya in indirect sunlight, and wait a few days before giving any water. Also, hold off on fertilizing for at least 2 weeks to avoid stressing your plant any further.

RELATED: If you’re looking to add another gorgeous variegated plant to your collection, don’t miss the lovely Philodendron Birkin!

Propagating Hoya Krimson Queen

Krimson Queen is easy to propagate from a stem cutting using any of three methods:

  1. In water
  2. In soil
  3. In a plastic bag

First, let’s look at how to take a good cutting for propagation.

How to Take a Cutting from Hoya Krimson Queen

Choose a stem section with healthy new growth and at least 3-4 sets of leaves. Your cutting should be at least 6 inches long.

Using a pair of sanitized shears, cut the stem just below where a leaf joins the stem or where you see a bump. This is a node- a point on the stem where the plant can grow new roots. Here’s what hoya nodes look like:

A photo showing two nodes on a Hoya plant.

Remove the bottom two or three leaves, leaving the ones at the top end of the stem connected. This exposes the node tissue, making it easier for your cutting to sprout new roots at these points.

Now you have a healthy cutting to move forward with. But don’t worry about leaving a bare section on your mother plant. New leaves will emerge from the nodes, and taking cuttings will actually help your mother plant to produce a fuller appearance.

You can get a look at this on my Krimson Queen. The person I bought it from took cuttings, and you can see the new growth emerging from the nodes:

New growth emerging from nodes on a Hoya Krimson Queen.

Method 1: How to Propagate Stem Cuttings in Water

Step 1. Place the cut stem into a jar or glass of clean water and put it somewhere warm and bright, but not hot and sunny. 

Step 2. Replace the water every week or so to keep it clean.

Step 3. In a week or two, the cutting will have a few rootlets. Once those roots are about 2 inches long, pot the cutting up using fresh soil and a clean pot.

Step 4. After a few days, begin watering normally and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer.

Method 2: How to Propagate Stem Cuttings in Soil

Step 1. Prepare a small pot with a seed starting mix, and poke a hole in the center. 

Step 2. Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone powder, then place it gently into the hole in the middle of the pot. Pinch the soil lightly around the stem to secure it.

Step 3. In drier climates, a humidity dome will aid root development. You can improvise one out of a plastic bag draped over the bag, held up by chopsticks placed in the soil; or a liter bottle with the bottom cut off and the cap removed.

Step 4. Using a spray bottle, mist the surface of the soil daily. Aim to keep the soil moist but not wet. Keep an eye out for any mold forming on the soil or on the stem; if it does, remove the humidity dome and scrape off any mold that you can.

Step 5. After three weeks, take off the humidity dome. If you are rooting more than one cutting, remove any that are dead or dying. Apply a little liquid fertilizer.

Step 6. In week four, pull the stem very gently to test for new root growth. If it moves easily, it has not rooted and needs more time. If it has resistance to your pull, then it has roots. Pot it up and begin watering regularly instead of misting.

Method 3: How to Propagate Hoya Krimson Queen in a Bag

Step 1. Fill a quart-size zip-top plastic bag with about 1 1/2 cups of perlite, and moisten the perlite with water. Drain away any standing water.

Step 2. Place your cutting in the bag. Seal it most of the way, leaving just a small opening.

Step 3. Blow into the bag through the opening you left, enough to inflate the bag fully. Seal the top shut.

Step 4. Place your bag in an area that gets indirect light. Keep it out of direct sunlight.

Step 5. Monitor your bag every few days, adding a bit more water if the perlite appears to dry out. New roots should sprout from the cutting within 2-3 weeks.

Step 6. Once you see new roots at least 1/2 inch long, your cutting is ready to get planted in a pot.

This is a lesser-known method than the two listed above, but it’s simple and offers some unique benefits. Botanical Woman has an excellent video that shows how to do this step by step:

Potential Problems with Hoya Krimson Queen

Although the Krimson Queen is a hardy plant that’s pretty resistant to problems, it’s not totally immune to developing issues. Here are the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.

Stem and Root Rot

This is by far the biggest threat to your Krimson Queen’s health. Emily Barbosa Fernandes, small space gardener and consultant at HouseGrail, says, “The most common problem for these plants is root and stem rot. If you’re not careful, you can overwater these plants very easily.”

Stem or root rot occurs when a fungal or bacterial infection sets into the stem or root tissue, and you’ll find mushy, discolored stems and soft, yellow leaves when they should be firm and green. Overwatering is almost always the cause of rotting issues, especially with plants that have fine root systems, like hoya.

To address rotting issues, take your plant out of the pot and inspect the roots and stems. Use sanitized shears to cut away the damaged sections, all the way back to where you see healthy stems or roots.

Rot is a serious problem, and you may not be able to save your plant if the damage is severe. In this case, take whatever healthy cuttings you can and use them for propagation.

RELATED: We’ve covered the root decay issue in much greater detail in our post about dealing with money tree root rot. Stop by to see some photos and learn more.

In the future, make sure to allow the soil to dry out at least 3-4 inches deep between waterings.

Also, Emily recommends you keep your Krimson Queen’s pot meticulously clean. “If you notice any dead leaves or anything in the pot, you need to remove them immediately to avoid fungal buildup.”

Pest Attacks

Hoyas in general are not susceptible to insect infestations, but two insects that sometimes make an appearance are the mealybug and the aphid. 

A mealybug on a houseplant leaf.
Mealybug
Aphids congregating on a plant
Aphids

Mealybugs form white, cottony nests on the undersides of the leaves, using their mouthparts to suck juice from your plant’s leaves. Aphids do the same thing, but they are very small, mobile green insects that tend to cluster on leaf undersides and at the plant’s center growing node.

Remove mealybugs by wiping them away with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol. Once is usually enough, but check back once a week for the next few weeks to ensure that you got them all.

For aphids, cut off any badly affected stems. Then, take the hoya into the shower (or out on the patio if it is warm), lay it on its side, and carefully spray off the leaves. Do this a few days in a row to make sure you’ve blasted off all the aphids.

Incorrect Lighting

When the light is too bright for a Hoya tricolor krimson queen, its leaves will get sunburned. This shows up as yellow or brown discoloration, especially on the more tender variegated leaf margins. 

To remedy this, move the plant to an area with less intense light.

When the light is not bright enough for a hoya, its leaves will be sparser and smaller than normal and have very faint or nonexistent variegation. It will also have fewer or no flowers (though it is important to remember that only mature hoyas that are a few years old flower regularly).

Move the plant closer to the window or to another room where the light is brighter. If that’s not an option for you, consider a grow light on a timer to supplement the natural light through the window.

Where to Buy Hoya Carnosa Krimson Queen

Hoya tricolor krimson queen is fairly easy to find. You probably won’t find one in a grocery store or a home-improvement store, but many garden centers should have them.

However, stock at garden centers changes all the time, so ordering online is typically your best bet for getting a Krimson Queen exactly when you want one. Etsy has been my favorite source for healthy plants, and it’s great that you can communicate directly with the grower if you need to.

Here are some reputable Etsy shops that have had Hoya Krimson Queen in their stock:

An infographic outlining the care needs of a Hoya Krimson Queen plant.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hoya Krimson Queen

According to the University of Connecticut, hoyas are non-toxic to humans, and the ASPCA lists hoyas as pet-safe.

Still, it’s always a good idea to keep your children or pets from munching on any houseplants!

While Hoya Krimson Queen isn’t as fast-growing as some other vining plants, it grows at a fairly quick pace. You should expect to see baby leaves sprouting every few weeks, particularly when the lighting, watering and fertilizing are in balance.

  • Make sure it gets enough light
  • Keep humidity levels 50% or higher
  • Fertilize regularly during spring and summer
  • Don’t overwater
  • Don’t deadhead old flowers because new ones grow from the spur

And remember, Krimson Queen hoyas typically need a few years to reach maturity and flowering age.

Final Thoughts

We love hoyas because they are a combination of so many things we love about houseplants: Easy care, gorgeous variegated leaves, long vines with tropical vibes, and such unique and fragrant flowers.

Do you have a Krimson Queen or other type of hoya? What tricks do you use to keep it happy and flowering? Let us know in the comments below!

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