Hoyas are fantastic houseplants with foliage that comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, and textures – in fact, there is so much variety that it can be hard to know which one to choose!
This guide will take you on a tour of 29 different varieties to choose from.
It will help you in your decision-making process, so you can pick the hoya (or three) that will bring you the most joy – and that will adapt well to your growing conditions.
We’ll have a look at where each of these species comes from, but more importantly, what they look like – including leaf color, texture, and pattern, as well as flower colors.
And since there are some identity crises amongst the hoyas, we’ll try to get to the bottom of a few of those as well, sorting out which varieties may sometimes be confused for each other or referred to by multiple names.
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Whether you’re interested in purchasing just one of these houseplants, thinking of starting a hoya collection, or planning to expand the collection you already have, this guide will help you deepen your understanding, love, and appreciation for these beautiful plants.
Ready to get started on our hoya tour? Here’s a sneak peek at the stops along the way:
29 of the Best Types of Hoya
While this article will provide some care tips for certain species that tend to have slightly different needs than average, you can brush up on your basics by reading our complete guide to growing and caring for hoyas.
H. kerrii var. albomarginata has large, succulent leaves that are shaped like hearts. These are green with creamy yellow margins.
Sometimes labeled H. kerrii ‘Variegata,’ this is a variegated naturally occurring variety of H. kerrii.
Variegated waxhearts plants have white flowers with russet centers, and vines that can eventually reach 13 feet long.
You can learn more about caring for sweetheart plant in our complete growing guide. (coming soon!)
The first thing you need to know is that this slow-growing species and the available varieties are priced based on the number of leaves on the plant – with the most inexpensive specimens being just a single rooted leaf.
However, when choosing a specimen to purchase, while they are cute, be aware that sweetheart hoyas with only one heart-shaped leaf in the pot sometimes fail to ever mature into vining plants.
If you want a specimen that will grow to its full size, make sure to purchase a sweetheart hoya that was rooted with at least one node, or in other words, choose a specimen with at least two leaves.
You’ll find a live variegated waxhearts plant with at least three leaves in a four-inch pot available from California Tropicals via Amazon.
H. australis is a fast-growing, easy-care hoya that makes an excellent choice for beginners.
This top pick is native to Australia, as well as Borneo, Fiji, New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, and the Wallis-Futuna Islands.
Its species name, australis, doesn’t mean “from Australia” as you might have guessed, but is a Latin term meaning “from the south.”
Also called “New South Wales wax flower,” H. australis has light to medium green leaves that are broad and oval-shaped or elliptical. New growth has a lovely reddish hue.
There are many gorgeous subspecies and cultivars of this plant, but the natural species is pretty in its own right.
With vines that can reach eight feet long or more, H. australis has fragrant white bunches of flowers with reddish centers that bloom in fall and winter.
Grown outdoors, this species is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 10a and 11.
Interested in creating space for H. australis? You’ll find one in a four-inch pot from Hirt’s Gardens via Walmart.
I would argue that all hoyas are beautiful, but this pick in our roundup actually has beauty in its name: H. lanceolata ssp. bella, also known as “beautiful hoya.”
Native to Assam, India, and Myanmar, you may sometimes see it labeled as its own species, H. bella. Barring any potential confusion, this is the same plant.
With light green leaves that are shaped like arrowheads, these are on the small side, measuring up to one inch in length.
The flowers are white with pinkish-purple centers, and they hang delicately from short vines. Unlike most hoyas you will encounter as houseplants, this type drops its peduncles after flowering.
Also called “miniature wax plant,” this compact variety grows to just one and a half feet wide and tall, and has a shrubbier growth habit than many other hoyas.
Bella does not like to grow in soil that has been allowed to dry out all the way, and it can tolerate more direct sun than many hoyas.
If you want to bring this beautiful hoya home, you’ll find plants available in four-inch pots from Anh Garden via Amazon.
Native to the Philippines, H. bilobata has small to medium-sized, elliptical, grayish-green leaves. The leaves are smooth and have a matte look, with a noticeable lighter-colored central vein.
Inflorescences are small, about the size of a quarter, and the flowers are dusty pink with yellow centers.
One of the smaller species of trailing and climbing hoyas, the vines of this type tend to reach only about two feet long.
H. bilobata prefers bright, indirect light and temperatures between 60 and 95°F.
This species bears a very strong resemblance to, and is also often confused for, an unnamed species known currently as H. sp. aff. burtoniae, based on its affinity to the named species. As such, H. burtoniae also looks very similar.
When comparing the two, H. bilobata has rounder, smoother leaves, while H. sp. aff. burtoniae has fuzzier and more elongated leaves.
If you’re not confused enough yet, H. sp. aff. burtoniae, a species with more widespread commercial availability, is often erroneously identified as H. bilobata.
Long story short – feel the foliage. If it’s fuzzy, the specimen is not H. bilobata.
Let’s leave behind those confusing lookalikes for now and move on to a seriously striking hoya – this next selection is quite a knockout.
H. callistophylla has large, leathery leaves that are light green, patterned with contrasting darker green veins. These leaves can reach over nine inches long and three and a half inches wide.
The species name callistophylla comes from the Greek words kallisto and phylum, which mean “most beautiful leaf” in combination. (Watch out H. bella, H. callistophylla is giving you a run for your money!)
A tropical species native to Borneo, this hoya likes slightly cooler, humid conditions, and its vines can reach six to 12 feet long – or more.
The flowers have white star-shaped coronas with red and yellow corollas in the background. These are mildly fragrant, with each one lasting just a day.
Keep this species away from curious kids and pets – it may be toxic if ingested.
‘Chelsea’ is one of many enticing cultivars of H. carnosa, a species that’s native to eastern Asia.
This cultivar has thick, medium-green leaves that are slightly cupped and rounded with pointed tips, making them almost heart-shaped.
The inflorescences of ‘Chelsea’ bloom from late spring to summer and are large and rounded, bearing pale pink flowers with red centers. Its vines can grow to be six feet long, or sometimes more.
The thick foliage of this hoya indicates increased drought tolerance, and it prefers to dry out fairly thoroughly between waterings.
Outdoors, this cultivar is cold hardy in Zones 9b to 11, but in colder zones, it should be brought indoors in the fall.
Like the species plant and its other cultivars, ‘Chelsea’ is considered nontoxic to dogs and cats.
Does the succulent, heart-shaped foliage of ‘Chelsea’ make your own heart leap? You’ll find this houseplant available for purchase in a six-inch pot via Amazon.
Our next selection has mottled foliage, but I don’t think this species will garner divided opinions like ‘Sumatra,’ which we’ll get to later in the roundup.
H. curtisii has leaves that are light to olive green with silver mottling, and they have a somewhat rough texture, like reptile skin.
The leaves are small, just half an inch across, and they have a unique shape – round with pointed ends that remind me of Christmas tree baubles.
The green colors in this species’ foliage will turn to red or maroon when exposed to brighter light.
Native to Borneo, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, this species has a creeping growth habit, creating a dense mat of vines that will grow to be one and a half to three feet long.
Also called “Aloha wax plant,” the flowers of H. curtisii are reflexed at maturity, cream colored with red to orange centers and a velvety texture.
H. curtisii prefers slightly cooler conditions than some other hoyas, so you will probably not want to let this one spend its summers outdoors in hotter climates.
Want to welcome this wax plant with a hearty “aloha”? You’ll find live H. curtisii specimens in six-inch pots from California Tropicals via Amazon.
H. diversifolia is a tropical species native to the coastal forests of Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Sumatra, Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo, Java, and the Philippines.
Its leaves are thick and oval-shaped or elliptical, and they can grow to be five inches long by two and a half inches wide.
The vines can reach eight feet long or more, and these plants produce flowers that are creamy pale pink with darker pink centers, lasting for several days.
This species is quite adaptable to different growing conditions, and it is used ethnobotanically in Malaysia.
In some of its native habitat it is critically endangered, so purchase this one only from responsible vendors.
This next species is native to Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines, and with its prominent leaf veins, it bears a resemblance to the aforementioned H. callistophylla.
But while that species has light green leaves with dark veins, H. elliptica has white veins on its elliptical green leaves, which create a prominent tortoiseshell pattern.
The flowers are white with a pink tinge, and they have reddish centers.
This species is a bit fussy, so hoya newbies, beware! It likes high humidity and medium, indirect light. It will grow best in a greenhouse or a similar high-humidity situation.
Do these tortoiseshell-patterned leaves strike your fancy? You’ll find H. elliptica available in a six-inch pot from California Tropicals via Amazon.
‘Eskimo’ is an H. krohniana cultivar that brings together visual interest and compelling textures.
The foliage of the species plant is green with delicate silvery gray splashes on heart-shaped, oval, or elliptical leaves that are pointed at the tips.
Native to the Philippines, it has leaves that are leathery with raised veins. These grow up to one and a half inches long by three-quarters of an inch wide.
The vines can reach eight feet long or more, and bear fragrant flowers that look like white puffballs with creamy yellow centers.
‘Eskimo’ has foliage that is even more heavily flecked with green, cream, and silvery gray splashes.
If the fuzzy flowers and splashy foliage of ‘Eskimo’ have caught your eye, you can find this rare cultivar in a six-inch pot from the Plant Farm Store via Amazon.
Also called “narrowleaf hoya,” H. kentiana is native to the Philippines and has long, narrow green leaves with dark green edges, growing on vines that can reach eight feet long or more.
With bright light or some direct sun, the edges of the leaves will develop a reddish color.
The maroon flowers with yellow centers bloom between late spring and early fall. They last for a week, and are said to smell like butterscotch.
If this species sounds like it will make an exciting addition to your hoya collection, you’ll find a live specimen in a four-inch pot available from California Tropicals via Amazon.
12. Krinkle 8
This cultivar of H. carnosa looks similar to ‘Chelsea’ but its leaves are longer, and oval-shaped rather than round.
The leaf tips are rounded or very slightly pointed, and the leaves are indented, reminding me of the inside of a pea pod.
The flowers of this variety are pale pink with red centers, on vines that reach six feet long or more.
If you like a plant with a lot of texture, you might just love ‘Krinkle 8.’ You can purchase it in a six-inch pot from California Tropicals via Amazon.
If you thought hoyas were all about big, thick, wide leaves, H. linearis will change your preconceived notions. This selection has quite narrow leaves that are long, thin, and slightly fuzzy, with pointed ends.
H. linearis grows wild in tropical and subtropical, high-elevation regions of China, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Nepal, and India, including the Himalayas.
Mature plants in hanging baskets make quite the impact as the foliage takes on a delicate, wispy appearance.
The vines can grow to be six feet long or more, producing pendant clusters of white flowers with yellow and red centers that have a citrusy fragrance.
This hoya likes slightly cooler growing conditions, so don’t let it spend time outdoors when the weather is hot.
‘Lisa’ is a cultivar of H. australis. While this variety shares many of the characteristics of the species, such as care requirements, bloom type, and vine length, this beauty has variegated foliage.
The leaves of ‘Lisa’ are oval or elliptical, and delicately variegated with various shades of green along the edges, transitioning to creamy tones at the center.
Each leaf is different, and looks as if it’s been painted with watercolors. New foliage emerges in pinkish tones.
Is ‘Lisa’ calling your name? You can purchase a live starter plant in a two-inch pot from Hirt’s Gardens via Walmart.
How about an extra dose of texture in your hoya? ‘Mathilde’ has thick, succulent foliage covered with small hairs that give it a velvety texture. The flowers and stems of this variety are also slightly fuzzy.
This cultivar is an interspecies hybrid created by crossing H. carnosa and H. serpens. Its foliage is dark green with silver flecks and its thick, succulent leaves are oval shaped, and very slightly pointed.
The flowers of ‘Mathilde’ are white with reddish centers, and the vines grow to six feet long or more.
The sight of ‘Mathilde’ just might put you in the mood for a waltz – or at least a happy dance! If so, you can purchase a live plant in a two-inch pot from the Plant Farm Store via Amazon.
H. mindorensis has elliptical leaves that are glossy, with a medium green hue – but this is a hoya you’ll want to grow for its fantastic flowers.
This tropical species is native to Borneo and the Philippines, and its species name, mindorensis, means “from Mindoro Island.”
The fragrant flowers grow in dense umbels and these can be dark red, reddish pink, or yellow, edged in frilly white hairs. The vines grow to be four to six feet long, or sometimes more.
Want to add this beauty from Mindoro to your collection? You’ll find a live specimen with pink flowers in a four-inch pot from the Plant Farm Store via Amazon.
Our next selection has a different growth habit than most of the other hoyas we’ve met so far. H. multiflora is a trailing shrub with a bushy growth habit whose species name means “many flowered.”
This species has elliptical, medium to dark green leaves that can grow up to eight inches long and two and a half inches wide.
H. multiflora is a tropical, terrestrial species that is native to Bangladesh, Borneo, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
One of this hoya’s common names, “shooting stars,” comes from the shape of its flowers, which have reflexed corollas. The blooms are cream and gold with a sweet fragrance.
Though it will rarely grow so large indoors, the stems of H. multiflora can reach up to eight feet long. This hoya needs indirect medium or bright light.
This species doesn’t like to dry out quite as much as some of the others, so don’t let its soil become bone dry between waterings.
You might also consider providing it with a more water-retentive potting medium than what you use for your other hoyas – as long as the drainage is still excellent.
If you’d like to invite the shrubby H. multiflora into your home, you can purchase one in a four-inch pot from California Tropicals via Amazon.
Growing hoyas for their flowers is certainly a noble pursuit, but let’s face it – most of us are entranced by their foliage and this next selection has such loveable leaves!
H. obovata is native to Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, and has large, glossy, oval-shaped dark green foliage that often has a light “splash” pattern of silver and pink flecks.
The leaves are approximately three inches long by nearly three inches wide, and their shape inspired this plant’s species name, obovata.
The vines can grow to eight feet long or more, and plants produce long-lived flowers that are pale pink with magenta centers.
This epiphytic species is hardy in Zones 9b to 12. Indoors, it should be placed in bright, indirect light to encourage its “splash” pattern.
If H. obovata seems like the obvious choice, you can find live plants available for purchase in six-inch pots from California Tropicals via Amazon.
H. pachyclada is native to tropical and subtropical habitats in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Thick, oval-shaped leaves are grayish-green with contrasting lighter-colored veins, and these can grow up to four inches long by two inches wide.
This slow-growing species has fragrant flowers that are creamy yellow and white, with a strong fragrance.
With quite succulent foliage, this hoya does well drying out between waterings.
If you find this thick-leaved hoya with yellow flowers appealing, you can purchase a live plant in a two-inch pot from Hirt’s Gardens via Walmart.
‘Rebecca’ is a hoya that’s particularly easy to love. It has colorful foliage, adorable flowers, and a fascinating origin story.
An interspecies cross, ‘Rebecca’ is a natural hybrid that occurred in 2007 or 2008 in the now defunct nursery of plant breeder and nurseryman Antone Jones between specimens of H. sp. aff. lacunosa from Langkawi Island and H. obscura. This cross was selected by Mr. Jones, but initiated by a pollinator.
‘Rebecca’ has elliptical leaves with prominent veining, and will take on a reddish hue in bright light.
Fragrant inflorescences are small, with fuzzy pink flowers that have yellow coronas – and to me, these look like beautifully decorated little cupcakes.
The vines of this hybrid can reach six to eight feet long, or more.
If you find ‘Rebecca’ irresistible, you can purchase this interspecies cross in a four-inch pot from the Plant Farm Store via Amazon.
You might want to classify our next selection, H. retusa, under the header “weird and wonderful flora.”
Native to India and the eastern Himalayas, this unusual species is also called “grass-leaved hoya.” It has long, thin, green leaves with blunt ends, giving the species a wispy appearance. Its foliage grows in clusters.
Differing from the wispy foliage of H. linearis mentioned above, the tips of the leaves widen at the ends and they are slightly indented.
This species is also sometimes called “frog toe wax plant.”
Vines grow to two feet long or more, and in the summer, the plants produce flowers that appear individually rather than in clusters. These are white with purple centers.
Showcasing the amount of genetic diversity that is contained in a single species, ‘Rubra’ is another cultivar of H. carnosa, one that looks nothing at all like ‘Chelsea’ or ‘Krinkle 8.’
This variety has variegated, lance-shaped leaves with creamy white leaf centers and green margins. Vines and new foliage are often bright pink, giving it one of its other names, ‘Krimson Princess,’ sometimes incorrectly spelled ‘Crimson Princess.’
‘Rubra’ produces six-foot vines and bears large, dome-like inflorescences of fragrant, pale pink flowers with red centers.
These houseplants will revert to green without sufficient light. Make sure to provide this and other variegated cultivars with bright light, or they may lose their variegation.
Call it what you want – ‘Rubra’ or ‘Krimson Princess.’ Either way, this hoya will provide mounds of lovely, variegated foliage. You’ll find this cultivar available in a four-inch pot from California Tropicals via Amazon.
Also known as “string bean hoya,” H. shepherdii has long and narrow dark green leaves that look very much like green beans, and are three and a half inches long. Mature plants with long vines have particularly stunning foliage.
This species has a somewhat smaller native range compared to some of the others on this list, native only to Assam, India, and the East Himalayas.
The flowers are white with red centers, forming in small clusters. I think they look like they are sculpted out of icing and belong on top of a cake – but note that these are not edible!
You can find a string bean hoya with three to five leaves available for purchase from Amazon.
‘Splash’ is a cultivated variety of H. pubicalyx, a tropical species native to the Philippines.
The natural species has medium to dark green foliage adorned with flecks of silvery gray, while this cultivar has more dense splashes of silvery gray.
The leaves are long, pointed ovals, three inches long by one and a third inches wide.
The vines of this hoya can grow to be 10 feet long or more.
H. pubicalyx ‘Splash’ has flowers that are a dusty rose hue with lighter pink or cream coronas and darker reddish pink centers. They are covered in fine, dense hairs that give the flowers the appearance of having white edges.
If you’re wondering if this hoya will work in a home where pets reside, the ASPCA lists H. pubicalyx as nontoxic to cats.
All varieties of this species prefer bright indirect light and higher humidity – at least 60 percent. This type is easy to grow, making it a good starter hoya.
Do splashy foliage, fuzzy blooms, and easy care sound fantastic to you? You’ll find H. pubicalyx ‘Splash’ in a four-inch pot from California Tropicals via Amazon.
‘Sumatra’ is a cultivar of H. caudata, a native of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, where it grows on trees or rocks.
This is a hoya that proves that old saying, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
The leaves of H. caudata are elliptical, have a dull sheen, and are olive green and brownish, mottled with grey.
They can be quite large, up to six inches long by nearly three inches wide, and have slightly wavy margins, which make them look like they’ve been roughed up a bit.
Some may find this species to be gorgeous, while others may not! Perhaps this is one of those species that will appeal most to collectors looking for the thrill of owning a new type of hoya.
The foliage of ‘Sumatra’ is redder than that of the natural species, and with brighter light, the foliage turns a darker, purplish hue.
The flowers are delicately hairy, and white to pale pink with purple centers. With a vanilla fragrance, they last for a few days. The vines can grow to 10 feet or longer.
H. caudata ‘Sumatra’ requires more moist conditions than many other hoyas and it shouldn’t be allowed to dry out between waterings. Keep its soil moist but well-draining. Smaller specimens can be kept in terrariums.
If you are in the camp that finds the strange foliage of ‘Sumatra’ beguiling, you’ll find one of these houseplants available for purchase in a four-inch pot from the Plant Farm Store via Amazon.
Known and loved for its beautifully colored foliage when exposed to bright light, ‘Sunrise’ is an interspecies cross between H. lacunosa var. pallidiflora and H. obscura.
It has medium-sized, elliptical leaves that take on a reddish hue when provided with some direct sunlight – a technique called “sun stressing.” When the foliage is red, this hybrid cultivar’s contrasting light green veins become very apparent.
‘Sunrise’ produces vines that grow to be six to eight feet long or more, bearing creamy white to pink flowers with yellow centers that are intensely fragrant.
This hoya can be a bit tricky to get settled in, but once it acclimates, it will take off.
If you want ‘Sunrise’ to give you a cheery greeting first thing every morning, you’ll find a live plant in a six-inch pot from the Plant Farm Store via Amazon.
Another variety of H. carnosa, ‘Tricolor’ is very similar to ‘Rubra’ but with reversed variegation.
This cultivar’s elliptical leaves have creamy margins with green centers, and new foliage and vines that are bright pink. It’s also known as ‘Krimson Queen.’
The vines grow six feet long or more and produce large, showy umbels with red-centered pink flowers.
Do you love the subtle variegation and bright pinks of ‘Tricolor’? You’ll find a live specimen in a four-inch pot available from Hirt’s Garden Store via Amazon.
Here’s another hoya that has both fabulous texture and attractive coloring.
‘Variegata’ is often referred to on plant labels as a cultivated variety of H. latifolia, a species native to Borneo, Java, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sumatra, and Thailand.
Also known as H. latifolia var. albomarginata, indicating that it was in fact found in the wild, and formerly classified as H. macrophylla, the foliage of this hoya is medium green with prominent raised veins, and variegated margins in yellow or cream. The edges of the thick leaves often show purplish-red coloration.
This hoya produces vines that reach six feet long or more, and fragrant flowers that are creamy white tinged with pink. These bloom in late summer to early fall, and last for several days.
Be careful if you decide to bring ‘Variegata’ into your home – you might find yourself utterly distracted, popping out of your chair to go and gaze at this lovely hoya.
You’ll find a live specimen in a two-inch pot from the Plant Farm Store via Amazon.
We’ve arrived at the last hoya destination on our tour today, a hoya that has all the best qualities of these houseplants – mounds of thick foliage, fragrant flowers, and a little touch of the unusual.
H. wayetii is a native of the Philippines. Its thick, medium-green leaves are canoe-shaped, measuring three and a half inches long and three-quarters of an inch wide. They have dark green edges.
When exposed to bright light, these dark green edges can turn maroon. Some specimens produce young leaves that have a reddish-orange tint.
The flowers of H. wayetii are mauve with purple centers, fragrant, and velvety. Sometimes the coronas have yellow tips.
Though it is easily confused with H. kentiana, there are two easy ways to differentiate these species: the flowers of H. wayetii are held in a tighter bunch, and its leaves are shorter.
This species is fairly compact, with vines reaching just two and a half to three feet long.
You may not have room for a canoe in your living room, but perhaps you can make space for some canoe-shaped leaves – and rest assured, they will take you places!
You can purchase H. wayetii in a six-inch pot from Hirt’s Gardens via Walmart.
Up to the Eaves in Leaves
With all these gorgeous vines, it’s hard not to want to fill up your entire home with one of each of these incredible varieties.
Do you have any favorites that weren’t mentioned here? And what do you think about the weird and wonderful H. caudata ‘Sumatra’?
Be sure to let us know! And if you’re trying to identify a species or cultivar and can’t quite figure it out, feel free to share your photos in the comments section below and we’ll try to give you a hand.
If you’re interested in choosing some buddies for your hoyas, why not keep digging into your houseplant reading right here, starting with these articles?
About Kristina Hicks-Hamblin
Kristina Hicks-Hamblin lives on a dryland permaculture homestead in the high desert of Utah. Originally from the temperate suburbs of North Carolina, she enjoys discovering ways to meet a climate challenge. She is a Certified Permaculture Designer and a Building Biology Environmental Consultant, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Kristina loves the challenges of dryland gardening and teaching others to use climate compatible gardening techniques, and she strives towards creating gardens where there are as many birds and bees as there are edibles. Kristina considers it a point of pride that she spends more money on seeds each year than she does on clothes.