Troubleshooting Guide for Hoya Leaves (And Remedies)

Hoya plants are, generally, a low-maintenance indoor plant. So, when your Hoya leaves are soft and wrinkled, it usually means a change is required, and quickly. Soft leaves could be due to many reasons, like:

  • water – stressed Hoya plants.
  • pests and diseases can cause indoor plants’ leaves to wilt
  • sudden changes in the immediate environment can shock a plant.
Hoya leaves soft

As you can see, there are a number of reasons that could cause your Hoya plant to be unhappy.

That is why we have made it our mission to help you troubleshoot your way back to a vibrant, healthy Hoya plant.

We have put together a comprehensive guide to the possible causes of your soft and wrinkled Hoya leaves. Once we have identified the primary cause of your problem, we then walk you through the steps to remedy the issues.

So, if you are ready grab your detective hat and magnifying glass, and let’s begin our search.

How to Save Your Sick Hoya Plant

Before we begin, we think it is important to set your expectations up correctly to achieve a mindset that will deliver the best chance of success.

The bad news – your Hoya plant is not going to magically look happy and healthy tomorrow.

This process is going to take time and patience – with a big emphasis on the latter of these two factors. As you work through the troubleshooting guide below, you will make a change and wait. And test and wait again. It’s a big waiting game, where you are looking for positive responses to any changes we make to your plant.

It may be as small as the leaves look slightly less limp than the previous day. Or maybe the leaves are looking a bit more plump than a week ago.

As you progress through the process, you will become a more mindful gardener and pick up skills that you can apply to other aspects of your gardening.

becoming a more mindful gardener with skills that can apply to all aspects of gardening

Okay, that’s enough of a motivational pump up – let’s get into the troubleshooting guide.

Why are my Hoya Leaves Soft?

When a plant is struggling, leaves are often one of the first parts of the plant to indicate there is a problem.

It may sound strange when we say, this is a good thing! It means you have caught the problem early. Which means you can jump into action before your Hoya has suffered too much damage and stress.

I'm ready to jump in
credit: giphy

Below is a list of possible causes that will make your Hoya leaves soft and wrinkled.

Water Stress Caused by Overwatering

hoya kerrii soft leaves
credit: house plant journal

Water stress is one of the more common causes of Hoya leaves shrivelling and becoming soft and wrinkled.

Overwatering your plants is definitely a problem – especially for Hoya plants. They require well draining soils, that has good water retention properties. Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? However, these are two very different, but important, components of a good indoor soil.

Essentially, the ideal indoor soil will contain mediums that can absorb and retain water to supply your plants’ roots with the necessary moisture. At the same time, they also need to allow any excess water to completely drain out.

If you suspect overwatering is causing your Hoya leaves to become soft, we recommend learning about the finger moisture test. It is a tried and tested method for guiding you when to water your plants, using your finger and the topsoil as an indicator.

Water Stress Caused by Underwatering

Many people associate soft leaves with over-watering issues. But that is not always the case. A lack of water can be just as detrimental to your Hoya plant and may be the cause of your soft Hoya leaves.

Like succulents, Hoyas use their leaves to store water. So, when deprived of water, they will begin to draw on their reserves in the leaves to survive. As they draw on the water content in the leaves, they appear soft and withered.

If you are finding it hard to maintain a regular watering schedule, we recommend using an automatic watering system. They are cheap and readily available systems that take over the role of watering your Hoya plant.

TOP TIP – automatic watering systems can water several plants at once, leaving you to enjoy your low – maintenance indoor oasis with minimal fuss.

Temperature shock

hoya leaves soft and wrinkled

Have you noticed any sudden changes in temperature in the immediate surroundings of your Hoya plant?

Did you move your plant to a new position that now receives direct air from a heater or air conditioner? Or possibly a draft from a window or door?

It may shock you to learn that plants can be delicate and prefer to be acclimatized to their environment. This includes light, watering schedules, and temperature. So any sudden changes can upset your Hoya plants balance, and result in soft and wrinkled leaves.

If you answered YES to any of the questions above about changes in environment, we’d suggest moving your Hoya plant to a more neutral position where the temperatures are stable.

Pests causing leaf problems

Credit: Unsplash

As easy as Hoyas are to care for, they can also be susceptible to pests like aphids, scales, thrips and spider mites. All of these pests are sap sucking pests that prey on the Hoyas’ succulent leaves.

You won’t notice one or two of these pests on your plant – unless you are bringing your magnifying glass to your weekly plant inspections. You only really notice them once they become a real problem, and your plants’ leaves show signs that they are being attacked.

Unfortunately, once you notice your leaves showing damage, the pest numbers will be quite substantial. Nevertheless, you can still tackle the problem with a healthy dose of insecticide or manual removal.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections can also affect the leaves of your Hoya plant. More specifically, we are talking about fungal leaf spots which are caused by spores that become airborne.

First, this airborne fungus appears as black or brown spots on your Hoya leaves. They are only small, so it may be hard to spot them at first. However, serious fungal infections are quite obvious because they will start to spread all over your plant.

The fungal infection will also cause your Hoya leaves to feel soft and spongy, and in more extreme cases, it can cause the leaves to fall off.

To treat an infected Hoya plant, immediately isolate your plant away from other indoor plants. Since this particular fungus is airborne, there is a strong chance it will spread to other houseplants.

Once isolated, remove any infected leaves and treat your plant with a fungicide to kill off any of the remaining diseases. During the treatment period, ensure your plant is receiving optimal care, such as watering and lighting. You want to give your Hoya the best opportunity to fight this infection and get through the treatment.

Hoya Leaves Soft after Repotting

If your Hoya leaves become soft after you repotted the plant, your plant may be experiencing transplant shock. Typical symptoms of transplant shock are soft leaves, limp and weak looking structure, and general unhappiness.

It is a term used by gardeners when a plant experiences stress shortly after being transplanted or repotted.

Usually, it is a result of your Hoya plant failing to root well, or it may have been inadvertently damaged during the process.

Caring for your shocked plant is paramount if you want it to survive the ordeal. Keep your plant well-watered and ensure any excess water drains out of the pot. Keep the plant out of drafty positions and away from any heating or cooling appliances.

Next Steps: Solutions for Soft Hoya Leaves

repot hoya plant
credit: Ohio Tropics

If you worked your way through the potential causes (and remedies) listed above, and still don’t see any improvement, you may need to grab your garden gloves. Because we’re going into the root structure of your Hoya for a more thorough investigation.

  1. Carefully remove your Hoya from its pot and perform a superficial inspection of the roots’ system. What we are looking for are dead or infected roots. Normal, healthy roots are light in color, like off-white or even light yellow. Whereas, unhealthy roots are dark brown or black. They won’t look healthy, rather withered and straggly.
  2. If you see some compromised roots, it could be an indication of root rot or a fungal infection. The best thing to do is to prune the rotten roots off the main plant, so it doesn’t spread. Be sure to remove any infected substrate or soil (usually around the rotten roots). Be sure to sterilize your tools after you have finished pruning.
  3. Prepare a fresh batch of potting mix (check out our recipe for the best indoor soil mix) and use a new medium-sized pot for your Hoya plant. They need a bit of space, but also don’t mind having a bound root system.
  4. Give your newly potted Hoya a good watering and ensure the water drains freely from the drainage holes. Soggy soil will just promote further root rot and disease, which will ultimately kill your plant.
  5. Ongoing maintenance of your plant patient should be ensuring it is in a position that receives optimal lighting (6 – 8 hours of indirect light or dappled direct sunlight) with medium humidity and temperature range between 60-85° F (or 15-29° C)

What’s Next?

Within a few weeks, your Hoya should be looking back to its old happy self. If you have any success stories, we’d love to hear them and even see a photo of your newly revived Hoyas.

Check out some of our care guides for species specific care instructions to increase your chances of a success revival: