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hoya kerrii single leaf

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Hoya leaf cuttings sold as plants.

hoya kerrii single leaf

Gardeners are often the victims of horticultural rip-offs, attempts by greedy suppliers to grab their money in return for dud plants, useless products, or ineffective services. Why wouldn’t they try to make a quick buck from single treffen rheinland pfalz Valentine’s Day too?

The Love Leaf

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Anything to make a sale!

You’ve probably seen one and if not, head straight to your local garden center, as they are probably selling them right now: a thick, leathery, green heart sitting all on its lonesome in a small pot. It’s the leaf of Hoya kerrii, sometimes called wax hearts, sweetheart plant, love leaf, or Valentine hoya, and its unique heart shape is certainly surprising. Sometimes the vendor even pushes the envelope so far as to write “I love you” or something similar on the leaf or paint flowers on it. How cute! It sounds like a nice little gift for Valentine’s Day. What’s the problem?

The problem is that, as a gardener, you expect this rooted leaf to grow into plant, right? That, when you bring it home and lovingly care for it, it will one day grow new stems, more leaves and – who knows? – maybe even flowers.

If so, you’ll be severely disappointed. Because the leaf will probably never produce a new stem or other leaves. In the rare case in which it does, that can take years. It usually can’t, because neither the leaf or its petiole has any dormant bud from which new stems can grow. This is called a blind cutting.

Your blind leaf can live for years without growing and without changing: a sort of horticultural living dead (not much of a Valentine’s Day symbol, is it?). After 4 or 5 years, if you continue to take care of it (and its needs are fairly minimal: a sprinkling of water every now and again will suffice and of course, no fertilizer is ever needed), it will simply die one day, having lived out its leafy life.

Very occasionally, a love leaf will, after some 7 to 10 years, put out a stem. That’s because a tiny bit of stem was torn off with the leaf and that did include a small dormant bud. But most hoya leaf cuttings are simply blind.

What Happened?

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This rubber plant leaf is blind: it has produced numerous roots, but no stem. Photo: gardentia.net

Hoyas aren’t the only plants with with leaves that root and never produce a stem. There is a surprising number of plants whose leaves you can coax into rooting, but that will go no further. Several Ficus species, for example, such as the rubber plant (Ficus elastica) and the fiddle-leaf fig (F. lyrata), produce blind leaves. On Facebook forums, I often see thrilled indoor gardeners marveling over the leaf cuttings they took of a rubber plant: “Look,” they crow, “my leaf has roots!” They all look forward to the huge and beautiful rubber plant it will one day become, but they are going to be bitterly disappointed. No plant will ever grow from a rubber plant leaf cutting. A stem cutting, sure, but not a leaf cutting. It too will live on for years, then die for no apparent reason. Such is the way of blind leaves.

Take Your Own Hoya Cuttings

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Stem cuttings of hoya will produce new stems and leaves. Photo:

If you have a hoya at home or a neighbor or friend willing to share a piece, you can easily take cuttings of it… but they will need to be stem cuttings. Insert the lower end of a section of stem with at least two leaves into moist potting soil and, after a few months (hoyas are often very slow to start), the cutting will begin producing new stems and new leaves from dormant buds located on the buried part of the stem, at the leaf axils. You can even take a leaf cutting, at least sort of, as long as you include, along with the leaf, a section of the stem at its base, as that is where the dormant bud will be found. This is called a leaf-bud cutting and it must include a stem section with an axillary bud. Both the stem and leaf will then take root, but only the stem has the ability to produce a new plant, because only it bears buds.

Of course, there are plants you actually can grow from leaf cuttings or even leaf sections: African violets, crassulas, sansevierias, etc. But they all have the ability to produce adventitious buds, that is, buds that appear outside of the usual places. Hoyas, like most plants, don’t have that capacity: they’ll only sprout from axillary buds, buds found on the stem, at leaf axils, not from the leaf or any part of the leaf.

Buying a Sweetheart Plant

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Hoya kerrii ‘Variegata’

H. kerrii makes an excellent houseplant… as long as you buy a plant, not a leaf. I have had one for years, in fact, a particularly charming form with variegated leaves called H. kerrii ‘Variegata’. Its growth is somewhat uneven (as with many dating für menschen mit behinderung hoyas, it seems sit for months, then suddenly puts on a spurt of growth for no obvious reason) and mine has not yet bloomed… and that’s normal, because it often takes up to 7 years before it starts to flower and my plant is only 4 years old.

Maintenance is a snap because H. kerrii tolerates almost any combination of indoor conditions: sun or shade (although fairly intense lighting is required for bloom), slightly moist to almost dry soil, a humid atmosphere or a dry one, frequent or sporadic fertilizations, etc. What it won’t tolerate is cold: try to keep temperatures above 60˚C (15˚C) at all times. H. kerrii is a climber and can be allowed to work its way up some sort of support, like a trellis. However most people use it in a hanging basket, allowing its stems to extend downwards. Do feel free to shorten the very long stems that occur occasionally.

So, off you go: pick up your own sweetheart plant with its heart-shaped leaves on this day dedicated to romantic love… but do buy a plant, not a leaf!

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It may seem strange to think that a whole plant can grow from a single leaf. This seems the stuff of science fiction, the equivalent of growing an entire human being from a severed pinky finger! Still, it’s possible… at least for a limited number of plants. Some succulents (Echeveria, Crassula, Sedum, etc.) will even produce  a plantlet from a leaf that simply falls on your window ledge! In general, however, the cutting needs to be in contact with some sort of growing medium to sprout successfully.

Let’s use the African violet (Saintpaulia) as an example of how to produce a plant from a leaf cutting:

422_1-2.KTake a healthy leaf and cut the base of the petiole (leaf stem) neatly at about a 45˚ to 90˚ angle. Insert the petiole into a pot of moist substrate (potting mix, perlite, vermiculite, etc.) about 3/4 to 1 inch (2 to 3 cm) deep, setting it at an angle so that the blade of the leaf is directed upwardly where it can better capture the sunlight it needs for growth. No rooting hormone is necessary, but it is helpful to cover the cutting with a “mini-greenhouse” (a clear plastic dome or bag) to maintain high humidity. Place the cutting in a warm spot, over 65˚F/18˚C at night, with good light but out of direct sun. After a few weeks to a few months, small leaves will appear at the base of the original leaf: these are the beginnings of new African violet plants.

422_3-4.KWhen the plantlets are about 1/3 the height of the mother leaf, separate them (there is almost always more than one baby and sometimes up to 5 or 6!), planting each in its own little pot. Afterward, move them into larger pots as they grow. It is quite likely they’ll be in bloom within 6 or 7 months.

The same method will work on gloxinias, butterworts, begonias (especially rhizomatous begonias) and snake plants.

20150226CWith some succulents (Echeveria, Crassula, Sedum, Cotyledon, Kalanchoe, Aeonium, etc.) it’s even easier. Just drop a intact leaf on a pot of barely moist substrate and, without even any further watering, small roots and a baby plant will form at the end. As the baby grows, begin watering and within a few months you’ll have a nice new plant.

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Leaf section cuttings of Begonia rex. Photo: thegardenilivein.wordpress.com

You can even make cuttings of sections of leaves of some plants (African violets, gloxinias, streptocarpus, several begonias and others). Just cut the leaf into wedge-shaped sections, each with a bit of a main leaf vein, and insert the wedges into a growing medium. It’s best to grow them in a mini-greenouse. After a few weeks or a few months, a baby plant will appear at the base of the mother leaf.

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Sansevieria leaf section cuttings. Note that the plant lets produced will be entirely green, not variegated. Photo: forums.gardenweb.com

In the case of the snake plant (Sansevieria), leaf section cuttings are also possible, but the technique is slightly different. Cut the long leaf into sections 2 to 6 inches long (5 to 15 cm) and press the lower part of each section into a slightly moist substrate. (Warning: if you accidentally plant the cuttings upside down, they won’t root!) Over time, a small plant will grow from each cutting. This technique works well for streptocarpus too. A mini-greenhouse is not necessary or even desirable for a sansevieria, but is very helpful for streptocarpus.

Note that, curiously, if you take leaf cuttings from certain variegated plants, such as Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’ (photo above), S. trifasciata ‘Bantel’s Sensation’ or Episcia ‘Cleopatra’, the plants produced will be entirely green, with no variegation. That’s because the mother plants are chimeras, plants that combine two  different kinds of tissues in the same plant, but only the green tissue (the part with chlorophyll) has the ability to produce a plantlet.

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So-called “Valentine Hearts” are rooted leaves of Hoya kerrii. They can live for years, but, unless at least a tiny portion of stem was included with the cutting, it will never produce a plantlet.

One final oddity: there are many plants whose leafs will root and even live for months if not years as independent plants, yet that will never produce any sign of a baby plant, like a stem or new leaves. This is commonly seen in hoyas, begonias, and many other plants.

House Plants to Propagate from Leaf Cuttings

African violet (Saintpaulia spp.)
Begonia (certain species) (Begonia spp.)
Butterwort (Pinguicula spp.)
Cotyledon (Cotyledon spp.)
Echeveria (Echeveria spp.)
Episcia (Episcia spp.)
Gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa)
Jade plant (Crassula spp.)
Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp.)
Mother spleewort (Asplenium bulbiferum)
Peperomia (Peperomia spp.)
Piggyback plant (Tolmiea menziesii)
Rex begonia (Begonia rex)
Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)
Streptocarpus (Streptocarpus spp.)
Umbrella plant (Cyperus alternifolius)
ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

The Sweetheart Valentine Hoya

There are a few Hoya's out there which make ideal houseplants, Hoya kerrii or the Sweetheart Plant is one of them. Hoya kerrii or as it's often called the Sweetheart Plant Its become increasingly popular in recent years but you may still struggle to find information or care tips about it.

We have to be fair here and tell you that this plant is a lot like the because most of its recent popularity is based on er, well a fad. Being quite easy to propagate and therefore making it rather cheap to grow and sell on, along with its unusual and quirky "heart" shape leaves, makes it perfect for the marketers to work their magic. This is because it appeals to anyone looking for something a bit odd or for that special novelty gift to give their plant enthusiast friend or lover a chuckle.

The downside is that the Sweetheart Plant today is usually sold as this single small leaf in a small pot much like the Hoya Kerrii from Ikea in the picture above. The difference between this and the Lucky Bamboo is that the Sweetheart Plant in this form is novel for 5 minutes then it can be rather boring!

All is not lost because it's easy to spin this negativity around; it's ridiculously easy to look after, potentially letting you get away with only minimal care. The variegated version of Hoya kerrii can be hard to find It would probably tolerate only one watering a month it's that hardy. Also if you have that sole leaf long enough and treat it respectfully (or cheat and buy a more mature plant with several leaves already on the go) you will end up with something much more beautiful and striking because the unusual shaped leaves on mass, as you might be able to guess, look like a bush of green hearts! What a great Valentine gift to give someone, and the reason it sometimes goes by the name Valentine Hoya.

The flowers, like most Hoya's, are stunning as the contrast in the flowering parts are really bold (check out the photos to see what we mean). The all green variety tends to grow more quickly (although it's still slow by most houseplant standards) and is arguably more hardy, but it also comes in a pretty variegated variety.


Hoya Kerrii Care Instructions

This plant will need a reasonably light room in order to actually grow, although it will still get by even if you pick a shadier spot, very dark places need to be avoided though. Sunlight is acceptable too, so in reality you could position it almost anywhere in your home or office.

With its succulent qualities it's quite adapt at storing water for longish periods of time between waterings. This makes it a hardy and undemanding plant for the most part, of course, so where possible wait until the soil has dried out a little and then water again. This means don't wait long periods between watering's just because you can. Do be careful not to overdo it though! The soil should never be saturated or boggy as this will lead to rotting. Take special care if the pot it comes in has no drainage holes.

The Sweetheart Plant isn't bothered about humidity levels so you needn't be either.

Only a little feeding is required if the plant is small or exists as a single leaf, twice a year at most. If you have an older plant or that single leaf is throwing out new shoots you can feed a little more. Even then though you don't need to be doing it more than four times a year. The Sweetheart Plant is not a very heavy feeder.

Most temperatures you find indoors are fine. Growth will slow or stop if things get cool so you will need a range of between 18°C - 27°C / 65°F - 80°F for optimal growing temperatures.

This subject triggers debate amongst Hoya owners. There are several general schools of thought which boil down to the following "rules" -

  • The soil mix must be free draining and not have a great deal of rich organic material.
  • Plants in small pots which are root or pot bound are generally more likely to flower (this only applies to mature plants with many leaves).
  • No matter the size or age of the plant, if the pot is too small it won't grow to maturity.
  • A big pot for plants with just one leaf will have a greatly increased possibility of rotting through accidental overwatering.

So breaking all of this down into practical examples:

  • Young plants with only one leaf should start to be repotted when there is new growth.
  • Young plants with only a few leaves should be repotted every couple of years, moving them up into a slightly bigger container each time.
  • Mature plant's with many leaves should be repotted every couple of years at most, moving them up into a slightly bigger container each time.

If you decide to propagate this plant then the good news is that it's very easy.. The bad news is that just like the ZZ Plant it can take several months (or longer) before the new plants show signs of new growth.

If the leaves haven't gone yellow or started to wrinkle and shrivel up after a month or so then the "cutting" has probably "taken". Which means you now have the common form of Hoya kerrii that you can buy from many shops. In the grand scheme of things if you want a mature plant or one capable of flowering quickly, propagation isn't the way to get there. Instead you're going to have to dig deep and go out and buy one.

Growth in the early days of a young plant is often slow to get going and when it does eventually start it's still slow. Once it is established however with a good root system "vines" will shoot out quite quickly on which new leaves are formed.

The most common indoor form these days is a miniature plant but with age and good conditions the plant will clamber over its surroundings and cover quite a large space.

On older plants you can expect a wonderful annual display. Blooms often appear in Summer, with numerous small flowers, they contrast in colours so really stand out. A mature Sweetheart Plant showing its contrasting <u>grey marl single button boyfriend jacket</u> red and white flowersDisplayed in a format of a star and it's very usual for a delicate but at the same time powerful perfume to waft from the flowers.

Hoya leaves don't taste at all nice, but they aren't toxic to people, or cats and dogs.

Assuming you've either a young plant with several leaves or a mature one (anyone with just a one leaf plant should bookmark this page and return in a year or two!) chances are you will have noticed the vines that come from deep within the plant. These thicken and stiffen up very quickly eventually making training and bending of these vines almost impossible. The obvious solution is to get the vines trained and into position, perhaps over a small pot trellis, when they are still soft and growing so you have the exact framework you want from the get go.

The mature vines are grey and tend to feel and look woody. Although most of this stiffness is a result of lignin designed to support a heavy climbing plant (out in their natural habitat they tend to grow up and up), you do still have a limited amount of control in regards to training. If the plant becomes very dehydrated, i.e. it hasn't been watered for some time the vines will lose a small amount of stiffness and will have a degree of flex. It's not much though and careless bending will cause damage, but you can attempt to shape the plant.


Help! My Sweetheart Plant is Dying

Over watering or exposure to very humid conditions for a prolonged period. Exposure to frost or very cold temperatures can also cause rotting of your Hoya.

This is often a sign you have been underwatering. If you are sure you've been watering correctly have a look at the roots, it's possible you've over done it in the past and they will all have rotten away, i.e. root rot.

Make sure you have a mature plant which is at least a couple of years old, as you won't get flowers on a young one. Don't expect flowers on single leaf plants or plant's which have been given poor conditions to cope with (its energy is instead being spent surviving).

The Sweetheart Plant often grows slowly. We discuss this above, but basically the only remedy here is patience.

Have a read of our "" section which discusses training.

The variegated variety will often produce new vines which have completely green leaves. This is usual in the world of plants, it's generally thought that an all green leaf is more efficient for a plant than one with variegated leaves.

The variegated leaf parts don't contain much, if any, chlorophyll, so can't take place. It might look nice to the human eye, but from the plant's perspective those sections of the leaf are a waste for the plant to maintain, so reverting back to all green leaves is normal. You can either accept the mishmash of colour, or cut off any new growth which has reverted.


Also on OurHousePlants.com

Credit for the variegated H. kerrii photo - Article / Gallery -
Credit for flowering H. kerrii photo - Article / Gallery - Hobbykafe
Credit for older H. kerrii with stems photo - Article / Gallery -


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Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image   Hoya kerrii
Family: Apocynaceae   (Formerly:Asclepiadaceae)
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf
Origin: Thailand, Malaya and Sumatra
Groundcover and low-growing 2ftFull sunShadeSemi-shadeModerate waterWhite/off-white flowersOrnamental foliageFragrantAttracts butterflies, hummingbirds

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  Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image

Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image
Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image
Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image
Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image
Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image
Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image
Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image
Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image
Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image
Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image
Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image
Hoya kerrii, Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf Click to see full-size image


Hoya kerrii - Sweetheart, Valentine Hoya, green leaves Click to see full-size image
Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf. Hoya kerrii - Sweetheart Plant - makes an ideal houseplant. It has become increasingly popular in recent years. Unusual and quirky "heart" shape leaves appeal to anyone looking for that special novelty gift for their plant enthusiast friend.
This item is certified for
Grown in 4-6" pot

In stock

$19.95


Hoya kerrii - Sweetheart, Valentine Hoya, variegated Click to see full-size image
Variegated Wax Hearts, Sweetheart Hoya, Valentine Hoya, Heart leaf.
Hoya kerrii - Sweetheart Plant - makes an ideal houseplant. It has become increasingly popular in recent years. Unusual and quirky "heart" shape leaves appeal to anyone looking for that special novelty gift for their plant enthusiast friend.
This item is certified for

Grown in 4-6" pot, small plant

In stock

$19.95



Zahra Doe Morbi gravida, sem non egestas ullamcorper, tellus ante laoreet nisl, id iaculis urna eros vel turpis curabitur.

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Zahra Doejune 2, 2017
Morbi gravida, sem non egestas ullamcorper, tellus ante laoreet nisl, id iaculis urna eros vel turpis curabitur.
Zahra Doejune 2, 2017
Morbi gravida, sem non egestas ullamcorper, tellus ante laoreet nisl, id iaculis urna eros vel turpis curabitur.
Zahra Doejune 2, 2017
Morbi gravida, sem non egestas ullamcorper, tellus ante laoreet nisl, id iaculis urna eros vel turpis curabitur.

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