I received a Hoya multiflora as a gift after attending National Parks Board’s (NParks) Streetscape Strategic Planning Exercise that was conducted at Botany Center yesterday. The plant was grown inside a large snail shell that was attached at the end of a metal hanger and this makes it a nifty plant gift that will delight anyone who receives it. It can potentially push one to find out more about its growing needs, get one to love plants and make them fall for the gardening hobby!
Native to this part of the world, Hoya multiflora is commonly called “Shooting Stars” due to the unique appearance of the flowers. Similar to the flowers of other Hoya species, the flowers of this particular species have five petals and hence look like a star. But the ones produced by Hoya multiflora are different from the rest as they are reflexed backwards and this feature makes its flower look like shooting stars when viewed sideways.
The plant I got was grown using a minimal amount of substrate. But resist the temptation to repot the plant as hoyas are best grown potbound and as overpotting poses a chance that the plant’s roots are constantly kept wet. Overwatering or prolonged wet feet can cause the plant\’s roots and stems to rot away! Hoyas, like most other epiphytic plants, need to be watered regularly but the roots must be allowed to dry out a little before the next round of watering. Grow this plant in an area where it can get filtered sunshine for at least 4 to 6 hours daily.
This Hoya species adopts a shrub-like growth habit and does not really climb up supports. Leaves are large and dark green in colour. Its flowers are borne on an umbel and emit a strong fragrance. From the second picture shown above, the flowers can be seen to be producing generous amounts of clear nectar that appear as large droplets hanging from each flower. These sweet droplets are meant to attract pollinators to the flowers.
As stated in the new Hoya book entitled “The Genus Hoya“, written by Anders Wennstrom and Katarina Stenman, Hoya multiflora may be reclassified into a different but related genus called Centrostemma, due to the presence of features that make it differ from other Hoya species.