Hoya Sunrise – Comprehensive Care Guide for Hoya Beginners

We’re going to go out on a limb here and guess that you have just come home with a gorgeous Hoya Sunrise to add to your indoor plant collection.

Or maybe the beautiful leaves with shades of purple and crimson red caught your eye at the local nursery, and now you are wondering if this is an easy plant to care for?

Fortunately, you have come to the right place!

Hoya Sunrise

Today at the Garden Bench Top, the plant of the day is the striking Hoya Sunrise.

A fast-growing, easy to care for indoor plant that belongs to the Apocynaceae family. What is particularly magical about the Hoya Sunrise, is the transformation that takes place when the leaves become sun stressed.

Let’s find out more about these fascinating plants.

What is the Hoya Sunrise? Why is it so Popular?

The Hoya Sunrise is a unique member of the Hoya variety, in that it is a hybrid of two of its cousins, the Hoya Lacunosa ssp. Pallidiflora and Hoya Obscura.

In fact, we’re even going to go as far as saying that the Hoya Sunrise could be described as the perfect plant child between the Lacunosa and Obscura. The Sunrise inherits the beautiful teardrop shaped leaves from the Lacunosa, while taking the beautiful transformative colors from the Obscura.

It really is the perfect Hoya plant!

And it is these unique characteristics that make the Hoya Sunrise one of the most popular indoor plants among enthusiasts. The beautiful trailing teardrop leaves can create a waterfall effect from a hanging basket. And when the leaves are exposed to the sun for long enough, they turn into a sea of crimson and purple leaves.

It isn’t hard to see why people want the Hoya Sunrise as part of their indoor plant collection.

Name Guide

If you are familiar with our plant care guides, you will know that at the Garden Bench Top we like to refer to plants by their botanical names. This is to help avoid confusion between different plant variations within the same genus.

So whether you knew it or not, you have already been introduced to the scientific name for this beautiful plant – the Hoya sp. Sunrise (Hoya Sunrise for short).

Like many other plants, there are more common names that this plant is also known. These are:

  • wax plant,
  • wax vine, or
  • wax flower.


Hoya Sunrise Plant
image courtesy: Pinterest

If you were to look at the common names for the Hoya Sunrise, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to learn that the leaves and flowers of the plant have a ‘waxy’, almost succulent appearance.

When small, the Hoya Sunrise looks like a little bush. However, once the plant is established and becomes comfortable in its surroundings, it begins to shoot out long vines with beautiful green teardrop shaped leaves. If you have any trailing structures for the vines to attach itself, you can train the hoya sunrise to climb, creating a unique indoor outdoor look.

Some indoor plant enthusiasts like to grow their Hoya Sunrise Plants from hanging baskets, letting the vines drape downwards. We love this look and find it equally impressive.

They also develop dainty cream and yellow blooms that grow in sporadic bunches around the mature vines. They have a refreshing scent that fills your room as they blossom.

Origin of the Hoya Sunrise

These beautiful plants originate from warm to hot tropical climates that have medium to high humidity. As such, they are native to Southeast Asian countries, and can even be found in northern parts of Australia.

map of Southeast Asia
image courtesy: wikipedia

As you progress through our care guide, you will begin to appreciate a lot of our philosophy for care guide and instructions stems from understanding the plants origins.

Once you have an intimate understanding of where the plant naturally thrives, you will be able to adapt to the conditions you keep your plant appropriately. Such as increasing the humidity in your place or increasing watering frequency for particular plants.

This is a great segue into the next section – how to care for your Hoya Sunrise.

Hoya Sunrise Plant Care Guide

In this section we are going to run through the recommended care instructions for successfully maintaining your Hoya Sunrise.


Coming from hot, humid countries generally located near the equator, it isn’t a surprise that Hoya Sunrise plants love a bit of sun.

However, like most plants that you keep indoors, you do not want to expose them to direct sunlight for long periods. It can lead to other issues, like leaf burn and a lack of moisture and water. So spotted light or in a position that receives bright indirect light would be an ideal place for your Sunrise.

The only exception to this rule is when you are trying to trigger that magical leaf transformation the Hoya Sunrise is so well known for. When the leaves of the Hoya Sunrise receive enough light, they will change color from a deep green, into a gradient of crimson red to purple – all the colors of a sunrise. This process is called sun stressing the plant.

Temperature & Humidity

Image Courtesy: Unsplash

As you may have gathered, the Hoya Sunrise prefers warmer temperatures of 62-77° F (17-25° C). And much like their countries of origin, they like a humid environment between 60-80%.

We think it is worth noting, the conditions mentioned above are the ‘ideal’ temperatures for the plant to thrive. However, as more nurseries and home gardeners propagate the plant to adapt to indoor cultivation, we have seen the plant successfully grow in cooler, less humid conditions.

Is the Hoya Sunrise Difficult to care for?

We are happy to say the Hoya Sunrise is an easy to care for indoor plant that will reward its owners with a beautiful show of foliage and blooms.

the Hoya Sunrise is an easy to care for indoor plant

As long as they have been set up correctly, they are quite hardy and resilient plants. They are also less prone to insects and diseases when compared to other indoor plants like monstera plants and palms.

Water Requirements

A Hoya Sunrise’s watering requirements can depend on many factors.

For instance, in high humidity, your plant won’t need as frequent watering, as it would if it were in an environment with lower humidity. The same goes for a plant that is in a position that receives indirect light, when compared to a plant that is being sun – stressed in direct sunlight.

We found the best way to tell if your plant requires water is by visual inspection of the leaves. If the leaves are beginning to yellow and droop, these are symptoms of a lack of water. You can confirm this is the case by using the soil finger test.

As a general rule of thumb, you should check the soil in your Hoya Sunrise planter every week.

Growing Medium & Supplements

Hoya plants love light, aerated soil that has good water retention properties.

A good potting soil mix of coco coir or peat moss, perlite and vermiculite is ideal for growing Hoya Sunrise plants. You can use our recipe for indoor plant potting mix to create your very own Hoya soil.

Like most other indoor plants, we do recommend mixing through slow release fertilizer for your Hoya Sunrise to help provide the necessary nutrients and minerals for your plant.

General Maintenance

Since the Hoya Sunrise is an easy-going plant, there isn’t many ongoing husbandry responsibilities other than watering and feeding your plant.

Hoya plants generally don’t mind a crowded pot, so pot bound root problems aren’t too much of an issue. However, you may want to consider repotting your plants every couple of years to rejuvenate the growing medium in your plants containers.

Hoya Sunrise Propagation Techniques

Okay, let’s get into the fun part of owning your own plants – propagating!

Propagating Hoya Sunrise

We are going to run you through the steps of propagating your Hoya Sunrise using a healthy cutting.

Required Materials Checklist

  • Healthy Hoya Sunrise Cutting
  • Sterilized Knife/Blade
  • Rooting Hormone (or agent)
  • Glass Jar
  • Water
  • Loamy Soil (refer to growing medium section above)

How to Propagate your Hoya Sunrise

  1. Locate a healthy vine from the mother plant. The first step to propagation is to find a healthy cutting from your main plant with 3-4 leaves (or nodes). What you should be looking for is a stem that appears vibrant, healthy and has no signs of diseases or stress.
    Take your sterilized knife, and cut the healthy leaf as close to the main plant as possible. You need a sterilized knife to avoid transferring any diseases or bacteria to the cutting AND your main plant. Leave your cutting out on a bench to dry and seal the wound for 24-48 hours.
  2. Fill the glass jar with water. While your cutting is drying, fill the jar with distilled water and leave out on the bench near the cutting. This way, the water acclimates to room temperature, and there is less of a chance of shocking the cutting.
  3. Rooting maintenance. Dip the stem into the rooting hormone and put the stem into the jar of distilled water. Place it in a position that receives plenty of indirect sunlight, and monitor the quality of the water. You do not want the water to become stale, so it is recommended to change the water every 2-3 days.
  4. Root Maturing. This is the exciting part. You should see tiny roots beginning to form where you made the cutting. Leave them in the water to grow into stronger roots, while continuing to refresh the water every few days.
  5. Transplanting Your Cutting. After about a week from when you first observe the roots developing, it should be time to transfer your cutting to a more soil based growing medium. Fill a small container with a mixture of damp peat or sphagnum moss with a loam based soil. Make sure the roots are covered entirely to give them the best opportunity to catch and grow in the new medium.
  6. Continued Maintenance. From this point on, just take care of your cuttings as you do your Hoya Sunrise mother plant.

Check out this video by Marjan Rae who successfully propagated three cuttings of her Hoya Sunrise using three different techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section we attempt to answer all your ‘other’ questions that may not be addressed in the care guide.

Keep in mind, if you don’t find an answer to your question, please send us a message via our CONTACT page. We will endeavor to respond with a timely answer, and include it in our growing FAQ section below.

Why is my Hoya Sunrise not Red?

If you are not seeing the spectacular sunrise colors on your Hoya Sunrise, it is because your plant has not been exposed to enough light. Hoya Sunrise plants require sunlight to trigger the transformation of color in their leaves. To achieve this you will need to sun stress your plant. We hear you asking…’How do I sun stress a plant‘? Well, continue reading the next question.

How to Sun Stress the Hoya Sunrise Plants?

Sun stressing your Hoya Sunrise involves placing them in a position where they receive at least 6 hours of light. This may be in a position where there is a lot of indirect light, or even under a grolight.

We do not recommend placing your Sunrise in direct sunlight for long periods of time. Some morning or evening light can be tolerated, however extended periods of direct sunlight will most likely dry your soil and cause other issues.

Is the Hoya Sunrise a climbing plant?

If placed near a structure like a trellis or hanging ropes, the vines of a Hoya Sunrise can be trained to climb and wrap around the structure. However, if there is no available structure, the vines will overflow their containers and trail down.

My Hoya Sunrise leaves are turning yellow – what should I do?

Normally, when we receive a question like this, we immediately default to our troubleshooting guide for yellow leaves on plants.

However, in the case of a Hoya Sunrise, we are going to take our troubleshooting hat off for a moment, and take a closer inspection of the leaves and their condition.

The reason being, many people intentionally sun stress their plants to promote the discoloration of the normally green leaves. The goal is to promote their plants’ leaves to turn a beautiful crimson purple color that transforms into a beautiful cascading waterfall of color.

If your plants leaves still look healthy, vibrant, with no evidence of brown spots, dryness or crispy edges, it is likely that your plant is beginning its transformation.

If you do sight a degree of the above symptoms, then we suggest referring to our helpful brown spots and yellowing leaves guides for remedies.

Are Hoya Sunrise fast growing plants?

Hoya Sunrise plants are not exceptional growers, however they will thrive when given the optimal conditions. They will bloom year round and their growing seasons are Spring and Summer. Be sure to give them plenty of water during their growing months to see faster growth.