Exotic? Check. Beautiful? Check. Low-maintenance? Check. If you’re in the market for a new plant that marks all these boxes, then look no further than the Hindu rope plant (scientific name hoya carnosa ‘compacta ’).
Don’t let its quirky looks intimidate you, this is one of the easiest indoor plants to care for, and I highly recommend it especially if you’re new to houseplants! Check out this ultimate care guide to growing the perfect Hindu rope plant.
I got my Hindu rope plant a couple years ago and have loved watching its long vines slowly grow and trail down. It’s a beautiful plant that’s quite easy to grow!
Hindu Rope Plant Care Background
The Hoya carnosa ‘compacta’ otherwise known as the Hindu rope plant is a variation of the wax plant. Other common names it goes by is krinkle kurl, porcelain flower and hoya rope plant.
This plant, native to east Asia and Australia, is identifiable by its waxy curly leaves. They have globalized and become a beloved houseplant worldwide; they are revered for their unique leaves, beautiful white flowers, and low-maintenance. Pet owners can rejoice over the fact that the Hindu rope plant is non-toxic to cats and dogs.
What separates the compacta variety from your standard hoya plants is that the compacta variety has a pendulous growth pattern. This plant grows a vine of succulent leaves in a spiral formation. This trailing plant can reach a length of 15 inches long, making it perfect for a hanging basket.
During the spring and summer, the Hindu rope plant blooms beautiful clusters of pink flowers. These star-shaped flowers grow in ball-shaped formations and are known for being fragrant and lasting a few weeks.
Sun & Light
The ideal sunlight conditions for a Hindu rope hoya is bright indirect light. Please try to avoid strong, direct sunlight as this could cause severe damage to the foliage.
Hoya plants can survive in low light but without enough light you likely won’t see any new flowers blooming.
The Hindu rope plant have succulent-like leaves, meaning they store water in their fleshy thick leaves. Watering your plant will depend entirely on the season changes. During the active growing season (spring and summer), your plant will need regular watering. However, you should only water your plant once the soil has dried out completely.
Too much water is not good for a hoya carnosa plant. Always use room temperature water when watering your tropical plant.
During the winter months when your plant is in its dormancy period, you should be much more conservative with your watering. Instead, focus more on maintaining a proper humidity level.
The Hindu rope plant is an epiphytic plant (meaning it grows on the branches of other plants like an air plant), the ideal soil for this plant is a light, airy soil. Waterlogged soil will be deadly to your plant, so it is recommended that you include perlite and orchid bark to increase the drainage.
Fertilizer is highly recommended when caring for a Hindu rope plant. It promote vigorous growth in both the foliage and the flowers. Feed your plant with a weak fertilizer solution every couple of months.
Stop fertilizing entirely during the winter; your plant will not need fertilizer in its dormant period. A fertilizer with a high potassium content will help produce the best flowers.
Temperature & Humidity
Hindu rope plants enjoy a warm and humid conditions. The ideal daytime temperatures for your plant should be somewhere between 65 and 80 degrees fahrenheit, which is more than attainable in the average household.
Avoid allowing it to be in cooler temperatures that dip below 55 degrees fahrenheit, making sure not to place your plant near air conditioning vents or drafty windows.
Your Hindu rope plant can lose its waxy appearance if exposed to low humidity. The best way to keep their waxy look is to keep it in a humid area. Humidity levels can be increased by introducing an air humidifier or placing your plant on top of a pebble tray.
Choosing a Container & Repotting
For the convenience of plant owners, the Hindu rope plant are very slow growers and actually prefers to be root bound, therefore you don’t have to frequent repot. It is recommended to grow them in a small pot with good drainage.
No matter what container you choose, please make sure that the pot has drainage holes at the bottom. As we’ve discussed previously, the Hindu rope plant is sensitive to overwatering. Drainage holes at the bottom of your container will help expel excess water from your soil.
How to Prune Hindu Rope Plant
Pruning your Hindu rope plant is only required once a year. Perform a yearly maintenance on your plant by cutting back any dead or damaged foliage. In addition, you may also want to cut down any healthy, but leggy growth.
Doing this will encourage fuller growth in your plant. As always, you should make sure to sterilize your pruning shears before cutting into your plant; this will help prevent the spread on unwanted bacteria.
How to Propagate a Hindu Rope Plant
You can make one Hindu rope plant turn into multiple plants via propagation. Hindu rope plants can easily be propagated by stem cuttings. Follow these steps to make it happen.
- Take a healthy piece of your plant. This piece of stem should be at least 4 inches in length and contain 2 to 3 nodes.
- Remove the lower leaves from the stem, exposing the nodes. Leave your stem to dry out for the next 24 hours.
- You can either opt to root your stem directly in potting soil or water. Keep in mind, with both methods, the Hindu rope plant is incredibly slow-growing and it will take a long time for your cutting to become an established plant.
- You may opt to dip your cut-end in rooting hormone powder, which will increase the likelihood that your cutting will form roots.
*Head here for my favorite propagation stations!
When your plant is healthy and well taken care of, the Hindu rope plant is resistant to most household plants. However, a stressed plant is more vulnerable to post infestations. Examples of pests that tend to prey on stressed hoyas include mealy bugs, spider mites scale, and aphids.
While these are very annoying pests to deal with, they are fully treatable. I would recommend pruning any foliage that has been damaged by pests. Treating your plants with a horticultural oil or an insecticidal soap is also effective in controlling your pest problem.
Botrytis is a type of fungus that is a common occurrence in household plants. These fungal infections appears on your plants as a grayish mold that riddles your hoya’s leaves.
Unfortunately, there are not many prevention methods other than regularly inspecting your plant for any signs of mold. If your plant is ever affected by botrytis, simply prune any affected foliage and dispose of it completely.
Root rot is the combination of improperly overwatering your plant combined with a lack of drainage. Signs of root rot include yellowing, dying foliage. If you suspect this is happening to your plant, take the root ball out from the container and inspect the roots.
Rotted roots are black and mushy to the touch. Take a sterile pair of scissors and cut away all signs of rot and repot your plant in a cleaned planter with fresh soil.
Root rot is only treatable when it is caught early, so it is best to prevent root rot from ever happening by providing the right conditions for your plant. Remember that your Hindu rope plant does not enjoy overly wet conditions.
When you water your plant, you should wait until the soil has completely dried before watering again. In addition, make sure you have a well-draining potting mix for your plant, as well as a plant pot with ample drainage holes.
“My plant’s leaves have water spots all over them!”
You might notice water spots on the leaves of your Hindu rope plant. Over time, natural water buildup from humid air conditions and water backsplash can cause water spots on your plant.
While these are not dangerous at all, it can dull the shiny, waxy leaves hoyas are renowned for. Mix equal parts lemon juice and water, and gently rub off the water spot using a microfiber cloth. Your plant should be back to its original, glossy self!
“My plant is wilting!”
This is often a sign that your plant has become too big for its container. While it is true that the Hindu rope plant enjoys being root bound, there will come a time in its lifecycle that it will outgrow its pot. When it is time to repot your plant, size up very gradually; select a planter that is no more than a few inches larger than the previous pot.
“My plant’s leaves are turning yellow!”
It is natural for your plant’s leaves to turn yellow and die off every year. As long as it is only happening to a few leaves here and there.
However, a totally yellow plant is a sign of fungal disease, including root rot. I would check your plant’s roots for any signs of corrosion. In addition, treating your plant with a fungicide is also an optional treatment.
The Hindu rope plant is probably one of my favorite variations of the hoya carnosa. And who can blame me?
Not only is a hoya compacta easy to care for, but just look at how beautiful it is! With their succulent leaves and delicate flowers, it’s no secret the compacta variety is a must-have in every home garden.