Krinkle Kurl, wax plant, and porcelain flower are some alternative names for the Hindu rope plant. Each of these names references a particular trait of the plants. It features unique curling leaves, which may be solid green or variegated green with white. Either way, the leaves are fleshy and have a glossy appearance.
The plant is slow-growing and often takes years to flower. Still, when they bloom, the cluster of star-shaped flowers produced by the drooping, semi-succulent vines share the leaves’ waxy appearance.
The Hoya carnosa compacta is of the Apocynaceae family and is native to Australia and East Asia. They thrive in warm and humid conditions of their native tropical rainforest environment but will also do well as indoor plants in moderate room temperature and humidity.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to grow Hindu rope plants if you intend to add these remarkable plants to your home garden.
Caring for Hindu Rope Plants
Hindu rope plants are relatively easy to manage. Particular areas to note are the soil, water, and light.
Like many other Hoyas (e.g., Hoya kerrii), the Hindu rope plant is an epiphyte, meaning it’s an air plant and derives nutrients from the air, water, or dust around it. The ideal soil for growing Hoyas is one that’s well-drained and has excellent aeration.
Too much moisture will cause the roots to rot, but with too little moisture, the roots will dry out. Thus, moderation is important.
Most people recommend sand for growing Hindu rope plants, as it is well-drained, but the shortcoming of sand is that it gets easily compacted, which will impair the free passage of air.
A suitable soil would be a mixture of perlite, orchid mix, and regular mix, in the ratio 1:1:1. You may wish to consider other acceptable potting mediums, like clay pellets, sphagnum moss, or loam-based compost.
Another point to consider is humidity. If you reside in a humid climate, ensure that the potting mixture is coarse, so it dries out quickly. On the other hand, if in a dry environment, ensure that the potting mix is fine-grained to enable moisture retainment and slow-drying.
The drooping vines of this plant make them great for hanging outdoor or in a home garden. Ensure that the pot has holes at the bottom and that it’s not oversized, as this plant prefers to have its roots packed together.
Take note that terracotta pots tend to be porous and will dry out the soil quickly compared to plastic containers. If you use a terracotta pot, keep a keen eye on the moisture levels to ensure that your plant gets adequate water.
The Hindu rope plant can grow in dim lighting, especially if the leaves are solid green and not variegated. Still, subdued lighting conditions will impair the plant’s already slow growth rate and cause it not to bear flowers.
Too much direct sunlight will burn the flowers and leaves, so position the plant such that it receives about six hours of indirect sunshine daily. The ideal room for the Hindu rope plant to grow is one with south-facing windows. East and west windows may also suffice if they permit ample sunlight.
Even in indirect sunlight, you should check how well the plant is faring. Yellowing of leaves is an indication of too much sunlight. Also, rotate the plant from time to time so that no part of it gets little sunlight.
Another option you might explore is bright fluorescent lighting, which provides 12 to 14 hours daily of full-spectrum fluorescent light. If you wish to induce bloom, then increase the time to 16 hours. You can grow the Hindu rope plant outside in the summer months, under partial shade, and in temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
When the plant is experiencing active growth in the spring and summer, allow the soil to become nearly dry before watering. In the colder months, when the plant undergoes little to no growth, reduce the water even more. Water the plant sparingly.
To water, flood the soil with water, then allow the excess to drain off. If using a sink or water tray, ensure that the plant stands in water for not more than 15 minutes.
With the Hoya, it’s better to water less than more. The plant does not ask for much in terms of water. Hoya vines are excellent at retaining water, and their ability to tolerate dry conditions is why the Hoya is considered a low maintenance house plant.
The vast majority of common house plants, the Hindu rope plant included, originated from tropical environments. Thus, they make excellent house plants, as their anatomies are suited to the warm indoor temperatures.
Generally, if the temperature does not discomfort humans, then it will not affect the plant.
Still, the ideal temperature range for growing Hoya carnosa compacta is 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 27 degrees Celsius). If you raise the plant outdoors in the summer months, bring it indoors when night temperature falls below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. For the Hindu rope plant and other indoor plants, the allowable minimum temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
Despite its succulent leaves, the Hindu rope plant still requires elevated levels of humidity. Other tropical and subtropical plants share this trait.
Household humidity generally falls within the range of 10-30 percent, but 40-60 percent humidity is the ideal range for Krinkle Kurl.
To determine whether or not your plant needs more humidity, check the leaves. Ideally, the foliage should be glossy and healthy-looking. If this is not the case and the leaves appear dried and withered, the plant needs moisture.
A humidifier can help to achieve higher levels of humidity. Alternatively, set the plant pot on a water-filled pebble tray. In the winter, cut back on watering, but increase humidity. There are two reasons for doing this. The first is that central heating on cold days will dry out the air quicker. Secondly, in the winter, all types of Hoyas grow slowly and hence will need less energy and care.
The Hindu rope plant does not require much fertilizer. Apply a natural fertilizer at intervals of 21 days. You should not fertilize a Hindu rope plant during winter (the resting period of the plant) or while the plant is flowering.
As with watering, it is better to under-fertilize than to over-fertilize. Signs of over-fertilization include:
- White residue forming on the surface of the soil
- Withered leaves
- Stunted new leaves
If any of the above signs occur, discontinue further fertilizer application and run plenty of water through the soil to rid it of the fertilizer. If doing this does not help, then consider repotting the plant.
Stem cuttings are the most reliable ways to propagate the Hindu rope plant. The steps for propagation are as follows:
- Ensure that there is at least a pair of leaves on the stem, and then cut at an angle, using pruning shears.
- Place the cutting in a small container that has water in it.
- Transfer the cutting to a small pot when roots start to show.
- Water the cutting adequately
A second option is to dip the cutting in a rooting hormone, and then plant it in a fresh potting mix.
Hoyas hardly need repotting, as they are easy to manage. At most, you will need to repot the Hindu rope plant every three years. The new pot should be larger than the current one by about two inches or five centimeters.
The following are signs that your plant needs repotting:
- Weak growth, even during spring
- The pot gets waterlogged, as plant roots block draining holes
- The potting mixture dries out quickly after watering
- Overfertilization signs
Spring and summer are the best times to change pots, as the plant is thriving. Thus, repotting will cause less strain to the plant. Still, avoid repotting if the plant is in bloom, as it may cause the flowers to fall off.
Follow these steps to repot a Hindu rope plant:
- Painstakingly, take out the plant from the pot
- Remove any excess soil from the roots
- With sterilized shares, prune off any dead or damaged roots
Transfer the plants to the new pot, making sure the potting mix is fresh and aerated.
The umbel comprises twenty or so small flowers that extend from the peduncles or spurs, which are short stalks, themselves extending from the end of a primary flower stalk.
Peduncles are perennial, meaning they will remain after the blossoms are gone and produce new flowers each season. If the peduncles get cut, the plant will need to develop new ones if it is ever to bear flowers. In the absence of bright indirect sunlight, the chances of the plant blooming are low, although continued growth may occur.
Hoyas are non-poisonous to humans; these plants are safe for pets. The Hoya carnosa compacta is a sturdy plant. Notwithstanding, keep pets away from the Hindu rope plant, for the safety of the plant.