There are those who think that the pit is a difficult plant to grow and does not dare to buy it, there are those who have it, but they are not good at it. The reality is that with some basic knowledge of their care, the pits are not too demanding houseplants, which grow vigorously and bloom nonstop year after year. If you want to know these interesting plants better, read on and learn to take care of them.
Hoya is a genus of plants that groups more than 200 different natural species and numerous cultivars obtained by human hands. They are tropical climbing plants that, due to their resistance and perfumed flowering during the warm months, conquer many gardeners and plant enthusiasts. Among the most popular are Hoya carnosa, also known as waxflower, and Hoya australis.
Where to grow a pit?
The pits come from northern Australia, America, the Pacific Islands and some parts of Asia, so they grow well in tropical and subtropical areas. They can be grown without problems in regions with mild winters, or even in cold places if they can be protected from heavy frost and exposed to the sun during the warm season. There are many different varieties of pits and some are more suitable for some regions than others. They are also perfect for growing indoors if they receive sufficient light and moisture.
As they are epiphytic, the pits have small roots, since in nature they live high in the trees and feed on the broken matter they find in the glasses. By having little root, they are ideal for growing in pots and do not resent being long in a small container. But it is vitally important that the substrate drains very well because standing water in the roots can cause them to rot and the plant dies.
The holes grow by emitting long and vigorous stems that, over time, will thank a trellis or guardian for getting tangled up. Some have adventitious roots in the stalks and are more easily grasped, but most have long tendrils, with few leaves, which also serve to cling to any support that is nearby.
To stimulate flowering it is convenient to fertilize in early spring with an organic fertilizer that, in addition to providing nutrients, helps improve soil structure.
Care and needs of the holes
The holes require some sunlight to bloom, but they must be protected from the strong summer sunstroke. The morning sun or the rays filtered by the trees are ideal locations, although they can also give flowers in a very bright shade, such as that of a very bright patio, where it will be more protected if the weather is very warm.
If grown indoors, it is best to place it near a window facing south or east. The direct sun in the morning will do very well, but it is not convenient for you to receive the one at noon or afternoon because it can be excessive.
Due to their origin, the pits require wet summers and drier winters. Water abundantly in the warmer months and decrease as temperatures drop. During the winter months they will need little water, even nothing if they are on the ground and it rains enough.
They are somewhat fleshy leafy plants that can store water in their leaves. It is not necessary to go over with the irrigation, it is better to fall short than to drown them. During spring and summer, they are watered regularly to keep the substrate slightly moist. In autumn and winter, we will waterless, letting the substrate dry completely before watering again.
The holes are plants of tropical or subtropical origin and do not tolerate cold. Species that come from higher altitude habitats can withstand a few degrees less, but it is best to grow them above 10ºC.
La Hoya carnosa is one of the most commercial species and that is due to their increased strength. This species can survive with colder temperatures, its limit is around 3ºC. On the other hand, it is also one that best endures the lack of water.
The holes are accustomed to living in places with moderate or high humidity since in their home habitat they withstand heavy rains during much of the year. If you grow it indoors, be careful with heating because it dries the environment a lot.
In order for the holes to flourish well, they must be supplied with nutrients. It should be paid before the flowering season with organic fertilizer and repeat while they are blooming with a liquid fertilizer with the high potassium content. Look at the post we wrote about fertilizers to find out how nutrient values are indicated.
The flowering of the pits
The flower clusters of the pits are the great attraction of the plant, for its interesting waxy appearance and sweet fragrance. The color range is very wide and covers different shades of white, pink and yellow.
Flowering appears during the warmest months of the year: from spring to summer. The flowers are formed at the end of peduncles that leave the stem and should not be cut when they wilt because a new inflorescence will emerge from them year after year.
This plant does not require pruning but emits long and vigorous stems that you can cut to keep it with a manageable size. You can also cut the ones that you consider that affect the plant and you must eliminate the dead branches. What never gets cut are the peduncles of the withered flowers, since they are the ones that will produce new flowers next season.
The pits can be multiplied by seeds and cuttings. The first option is complicated for an amateur, so it is more advisable to cut.
To obtain a new plant, a piece of branch is cut with one or two knots that are submerged in water or buried in a clean substrate. For a rooting cut, it is important to maintain a high degree of humidity. For this, it may help to cover the cutting with a plastic bottle to which the base is cut or a plastic bag attached with sticks as a greenhouse.
Holes do not usually have problems with pests but can suffer the attack of mealybugs or aphids. These insects can be easily removed with ecological techniques, either by hand or using a spray with soapy water. To prevent them, neem oil works quite well.