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Hoya Shepherdii: 7 Expert Care Tips for String Bean Hoya

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Hoya shepherdii (String Bean Hoya is the common name), is a delightful and easy to grow Hoya species with small, fragrant flowers. Other common names include string bean plant and green bean hoya, which are very fitting as soon as you take one look at the long, waxy foliage. The thick, narrow leaves on the beautifully pendulous vines are a site to behold!

Let’s get into some detailed care tips so that you can make sure you have a thriving, happy, and blooming Hoya shepherdii.

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HOYA SHEPHERDII CARE

Like any Hoya (or Wax Plant as they are commonly called as a whole), the care is very similar, and Hoyas are among the most forgiving, easy-care indoor plants.

Hoya shepherdii’s natural habitat ranges from Assam to East Himalaya, belongs to the Apocynaceae family of plants (milkweed familiy), and makes for an ideal hanging plant in the home.

Here are 7 tips with detailed information to help you be successful:

1. LIGHT

Give your plant a nice bright window that has plenty of indirect light at a minimum. I’ve found that a handful of hours of direct sunlight is beneficial for any Hoya.

Although they can tolerate lower light conditions, they will do much better in bright light.

An east-facing window, or even a west window, would be an ideal location.

If you’ve had your Hoya shepherdii for a while and it has not bloomed for you, try increasing the light exposure.

This is one of my freest blooming Hoyas, so make sure that you have enough light if you want flowers and a good growth rate.

My own plant blooms several times a year and is hanging in my sunroom right in front of a north window that has supplemental T5 fluorescent grow lights. This comes in handy in the winter time when days are short and dark!

Artificial lighting or grow lights work marvelously for Hoyas if you don’t have enough natural light in your home.

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The long, thick, waxy leaves on my Hoya shepherdii

2. WATERING AND FERTILIZER

Proper watering and fertilizing practices are a central part of the care of any plant. For Hoyas in particular, make sure that you are watering thoroughly, but allow your potting mix to dry out completely, or almost completely.

If the surface of the soil feels moist, don’t even think about watering. I’d recommend allowing at least the top couple inches of the soil to dry out, before watering again.

Keeping your Hoya in waterlogged soil will increase the risk of root rot. I normally allow all of my Hoyas to dry out completely. Don’t wait too long though because even Hoyas with their succulent leaves can eventually suffer if you neglect them for long enough.

When you do water, water thoroughly and allow all excess water to escape the drainage holes.

I like to set my own plant in the sink when I water. I have my plant in a hanging basket, so watering in the sink is efficient and won’t make a mess in my sunroom.

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I fertilize my Hoya shepherdii, and all my Hoyas, with Dyna Gro Grow. It is an absolutely fantastic urea-free fertilizer that contains all of the micro and macro nutrients that are crucial for plant growth!

3. SOIL

Good drainage is a crucial aspect for all hoya plants.

I like to use 2 parts of a good succulent/cactus mix such as Espoma organic cactus mix, to which I add 1 part 1/4″ pumice.

I specifically love the 1/4″ pumice from Bonsai Jack. It’s always uniform in size and helps to provide the superior drainage that Hoyas need in order to thrive.

4. TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY

Average indoor temperatures and humidity will be just fine for your H. shepherdii. If you are comfortable indoors, your plant will be too.

Hoyas are very easy going when it comes to humidity levels so no special attention is absolutely necessary, but they do appreciate high humidity if you can provide it.

I normally run a humidifier during the winter when the air can be painfully dry.

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5. POT SIZE AND TYPE

Like any Hoya, your plant can stay in the same pot for many years. In fact, they like to be root bound and will flower better that way.

As far as the right pot type, you have many options. Terra cotta pots definitely will dry out faster than any other type of pot. If you tend to “overwater,” terra cotta may be a great choice for you, but many pot types can work.

If you’d like details on repotting, check out my guide on how to repot hoyas.

You can repot anytime that you need to, but the ideal time would probably be around early spring when the growing season starts.

6. PESTS

Hoyas aren’t bothered by that many pests, but occasionally mealy bugs, spider mites, and scale can be a problem.

If you have a mealy bug or spider mite problem, a good insecticidal soap (link to Amazon) will take care of your issue.

If you have scale, that can be tricky to deal with. Be sure not to miss my blog post on how to treat scale.

7. PROPAGATION

In order to propagate, simply take a stem cutting. They will root very readily in water, or you can insert directly into a small pot with potting mix.

If you are choosing to water propagate, as a general rule of thumb, I like to wait until the roots are about 1 inch long before transferring to potting mix.

FLOWERING

My Hoya shepherdii flowers profusely and often. The flower clusters are not as large as many other Hoyas, but they are still beautiful and have a sweet scent.

I love the creamy white flowers with pink centers.

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Flower clusters on my Hoya shepherdii which normally summers outdoors.

Sometimes I don’t even know that my plant produced new flowers until I smell them. The fragrance is so strong (especially when it is in full bloom) that it is very apparent even from other rooms!

One thing to remember about flowers on this plant is to never dead head or remove the flowering spur. After the flowers run their course and fall off, a spur will be left.

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You can see the spur in the photo above right in front of my thumb. Your plant will continue to bloom from this spur in the future, so leave it alone and never cut it off.

Not all Hoyas produce these spurs, but most of them do.

HOYA SHEPHERDII VS LONGIFOLIA

Many will say that Hoya shepherdii is a synonym for Hoya longifolia, but the Plants of the World Online database from the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew lists shepherdii and longifolia both as accepted species.

Looking for a Hoya shepherdii? Check out the Hoya shepherdii selection on Etsy (link to Etsy). Etsy is one of my favorite one-stop-shops for plants. You can find practically anything you’re looking for!

OTHER HOYAS TO GROW

Are you obsessed with Hoyas like I am? Be sure not to miss my blog posts on other Hoyas:

Hoya carnosa

Hoya compacta (Hindu Rope Plant)

Hoya curtisii

Hoya kerrii

Hoya linearis

Hoya obovata