Skip to Content

Hoya Carnosa Compacta – How to Care for the Hindu Rope Plant

hoya-carnosa-compacta

Also known as the Hindu rope plant, the Hoya Carnosa Compacta is a unique hanging houseplant with marked, densely curled leaves ‘krinkle kurl’ that look similar to a rope. With up to 300 species within the Hoya plant family, the Hoya Carnosa Compacta is one of the family’s stars.

Originating from East Asia and Australia, it’s a semi-succulent vine that’s highly versatile and easy to grow – although it’s a slow grower. When grown correctly, these plants will boast long vines of lush, dark green leaves that are perfect for displaying in hanging pots.

If you’re new to houseplants and interested in getting a Hoya Carnosa Compacta, then you’ve come to the right place. This Hoya Carnosa Compacta care guide will inform you of everything you need to know about taking care of this plant.

Hoya Carnosa Compacta Light Requirements

These plants like a lot of indirect sunlight to grow to their full potential. So, you should select an elevated area in your house, like near a window that gets indirect light all day. In the Northern hemisphere, southern-facing windows are best, although eastern or western exposure is also acceptable.

Hindu rope plants don’t like direct sunlight, especially when it’s sweltering. Growing these plants in hot, direct sunlight will burn the leaves and flowers, and cause wilted leaves. It’s recommended that you grow them in an area of your home that receives at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight each day.

An indication of too much direct sunlight is yellowing in the leaves. If you notice this, you should move the plant to a more shaded area immediately.

Growing this plant in a dimly lit area is fine, but the plant will grow slower and may not bloom in season. Lighting plays a vital role in determining whether the plant flowers, so it’s best if you choose a good spot from the beginning.

Hoya Carnosa Compacta Temperature Requirements

Originating in the warm climates of East Asia and Australia, one of the reasons these are such fantastic houseplants is because they like consistently warm indoor temperatures. During the day, the Hindu rope hoya will thrive in temperatures between 16 and 18°C.

Try not to expose them to temperatures below 10°C, as this will stress the plant and result in stunted growth if exposed for extended periods. You should also make sure that the plant is kept away from hot radiators and cold drafts to minimise sudden temperature changes.

Hoya Hindu Rope
The curly leaves of Hindu Rope Plant, also known as Hoya Carnosa

Soil for Hoya Carnosa Compacta

Fast draining, lightweight, and well-aerated soils are best for Hoya Carnosa Compacta plants. It’s advisable to start growing your plant in a small pot with drainage holes in the bottom so that the roots can become tightly packed.

As an epiphytic plant, it requires good airflow to the roots if you want the plant to thrive. A crucial factor determining the plant’s success is using soil/ potting mix that drains quickly and doesn’t remain soggy. Using soil with perlite improves drainage and aeration.

If you want to make your own mixture of soil for this plant, consider adding:

  • 1/3 peat
  • 1/3 perlite
  • 1/3 bark/charcoal

If you live in a humid area, a coarse soil mixture will ensure excellent drainage and drying. For dry areas, a finer potting soil mix that dries slower and retains more moisture is recommended.

You should also replace the soil after about two to three years to encourage healthy plant growth, which can be done when you repot the plant into a larger container.

Hoya Carnosa Compacta Fertilization

The Hoya Compacta requires relatively little fertilization, you won’t need to worry too much about feeding it. However, the best time to add fertilizer is during the growing period from spring to the end of summer. Feed the plant with fertilizer diluted in water once a month.

It’s recommended to use a fertilizer that’s high in potassium to promote the growth of the plant’s beautiful flowers. However, you won’t need to feed when it’s blooming or during its resting period (autumn to winter).

Watch out for small and abnormally dark green leaves because this is an initial indication of overfeeding the plant. If this occurs, you can reduce the dosage of fertilizer to half the strength you were using until the leaves return to their original colour.

Continually over-fertilizing will badly damage the plant, causing small leaves that are dry and wrinkled. Another sign of overfertilization is a white layer of crusty residue on the topsoil. Should this occur, flush the plant with water to rid the soil of excessive fertilizer.

Hindu-Rope-Plant-Hoya-Carnosa-Compacta
The Hindu Rope Plant, also known as Hoya Carnosa

Hoya Carnosa Compacta Humidity

This plant loves lots of humidity, higher than your average houseplant. When grown in the correct humidity levels (40 to 60%), you’ll notice that the waxy leaves look glossy and healthy, which is no coincidence. If the leaves look dry and shrivelled, take the hint, and increase the humidity.

Purchasing a portable humidifier is an excellent investment if you have (or plan on having) many houseplants. Humidifiers keep the air around the plant at a constant humidity level, which means that the plant can show off its lush leaves and extraordinary flowers.

A cheap alternative to a humidifier that can also increase humidity is placing the plant’s pot on a tray filled with clay pebbles and water. If you live in a dry region, you can mist the plant or consider grouping your houseplants and let them collectively raise the humidity.

Hoya Carnosa Compactas grow really well in bathrooms or kitchens where the humidity levels are often higher than in other rooms. This is a great place to grow them in the winter months, as central household heating will decrease humidity.

Watering Hoya Carnosa Compacta

As a semi-succulent plant, it can survive with relatively little watering, but you should try to maintain slight moisture in the soil. The right time is largely dependent on its growing environment. You should water it when the first two to three centimetres of the topsoil is dry.

It will need more water during its growing period from spring to summer, so it’s best to soak the soil every time – but only when the soil is dry to the touch. From autumn to winter, the plant will require less water due to a reduction in its growth rate.

Your Hindu rope plant will respond well to soaking the soil with water and then letting the excess water drain out the pot.

Good drainage is essential when growing Hoya Compacta plants, as they will start dropping their flowers in soggy soil. On the flip side, exceedingly dry soil will also cause the plant to drop flowers.

However, because it’s a semi-succulent plant, it stores moisture and will handle dry periods well if you forget to water it once or twice. Overwatering is worse than underwatering because it can acquire moisture from the air in humid conditions due to its epiphytic nature.

Repotting Hoya Carnosa Compacta

You’ll rarely need to repot this plant due to its slow-growing nature. Starting with a small pot is a wise choice. Using a small container with drainage holes will minimise the risk of root rot because the soil can quickly dry before each water.

Eventually, you’ll need to give your Hoya Compacta a new home. The plant is ready for a transplant if you notice any of the following:

  • The soil is drying out very quickly, and you’re watering the plant more frequently than before
  • The soil has become compacted, resulting in the roots suffering from a lack of oxygen
  • The roots have started growing out of the drainage holes in search of more space
  • The plant’s health deteriorates suddenly and starts looking sad

The best time to repot is between spring and summer. However, don’t transplant if the plant is blooming because you’ll risk damaging its delicate flowers, so rather wait.

To transplant, use one hand to securely hold the base of the plant where it meets the soil, and with the other hand, flip the pot so you’re holding it upside down. This will make it easier to take the plant out of the pot and minimise damaging the rootball.

If you notice dead or damaged roots, carefully snip them off with a sterilized pair of scissors. Transfer the plant into a pot that is one size up from its current container. You must try not to disturb any healthy roots during this process to minimise transplant shock. 

Using the same type of soil in the new pot will also decrease the chances of transplant shock. Start by filling the bottom third of the pot with soil and then place the rootball in the pot. Next, add soil to the remaining two-thirds until the rootball is covered and the plant is sitting comfortably near the top of the pot. 

Pro-tip: Add clay pebbles to the bottom of the new pot before you add soil to improve drainage. You should also ensure that the topsoil is about two centimetres from the pot’s rim, so water doesn’t overflow when you water the plant.

Pruning Hoya Carnosa Compacta

Not only does pruning your plant make it look better, but it also helps manage its size. When pruning, make sure you don’t remove any stems with spurs, as this will reduce flowering sites. A spur is the tip of the peduncle where the flowers grow.

It’s best to prune during spring so that the plant can recover from any pruning stress. You should cut any dead or dying stems and pinch off yellowing or dead leaves to keep the plant looking attractive.

Be sure to sanitise your pruning scissors to prevent the plant from contracting infections when you cut the plant. Soak the scissors in disinfectant for 5 minutes, followed by a rinse under hot water. After you’re done pruning, you can use the cuttings for propagation purposes.

Propagating Your Hoya Carnosa Compacta

When pruning, cut some stems about 3 to 4 inches from the tip and just below a node at a 45º angle. The stem you choose to cut should have leaves growing on it. Remove any leaves on the lower part of the cutting and keep the newer leaves near the top.

If you want to ensure the cuttings grow roots, dip the cutting in rooting hormone before you place it in water, but make sure the leaves aren’t immersed in water. A more effective method is using propagation plugs. After you’ve dipped the cutting in rooting hormones, insert it into the plug.

Once it’s in water or a plug, cover the cutting with a plastic bag or a propagation box if you want to propagate multiple cuttings. This will help retain moisture and promote root development. Place the cutting in a warm shaded area until you notice roots have started growing from the cutting or the propagation plug, which can take a few weeks.

If you use plugs, you must ensure that they remain damp. Filling the bottom of the propagation box with water will keep the bases of the plugs wet for prolonged periods. It would help if you also dipped each plug in water to get them nicely soaked.

Typical Problems Associated With Hoya Carnosa Compacta

This plant is susceptible to a few pests and diseases that are described below. It’s essential to know about these common problems so you can quickly identify the issue and get your plant back to health.

Hoya Carnosa Compacta Root Rot

Root rot is caused by overwatering, which makes the soil waterlogged. In soggy soil, the roots die due to a lack of oxygen and start rotting. The rot spreads to healthy roots and kills them too. If left unchecked, the plant will eventually die.

When suffering from root rot, the plant’s leaves will turn yellow and start drooping. If you inspect the roots, you’ll notice the rotting roots are brownish-black and mushy. Healthy roots, on the other hand, are white, firm and pliable.

To treat this issue:

  1. Remove the plant from the pot as if you’re repotting it and rinse the roots under running water
  2. Use a sanitised pair of scissors to cut off the rotting roots
  3. Dispose of the soil you were using and clean the pot with 1 part bleach and 9 parts water for 30 minutes

You can then dip the roots in a fungicide to kill off any remaining root rot fungus. Then repot the plant in new soil that drains well. Make sure to water the plant thoroughly after transplanting.

Note: It’s best to refrain from using fertilizer for the next few weeks while the plant’s roots are regrowing because this will stress the plant.

Common Pests of Hoya Carnosa Compacta

Hindu rope plants are known to suffer from mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. Mealybugs look like fluffy white clumps and feed on the sap in the stems and leaves. If left unchecked, they will decay the plant matter and can stunt plant growth. You’ll find mealybugs on the underside of the vines, so it’s essential to check the plant’s vines regularly to spot an infestation.

Aphids are usually found near the plant’s flowers and damage new growth. These pests are small, soft-bodied, and shaped like a pear. Like mealybugs, they suck the sap from the plant and can stunt the plant’s growth.

Spider mites are sneaky. The curled leaves of Hoya Compacta plants are the perfect hiding place for these pests. The first sign of a spider mite infestation is speckled dots on the leaves. They’re tiny and can go undetected due to their size. They live on the underside of leaves and feed on the plant’s sap.

Once the spider mites multiply in numbers, you’ll notice spider-like webs on the plant, and the affected leaves will eventually start dying.

Treating these types of pests is quite simple but requires consistency. All you have to do is spray the plant with a soap solution—Mix 2 to 5 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid with about 3 to four litres of water. Spray the whole plant (including the underside of the leaves) with the solution using a spray bottle every week until the infestation is gone.

Another straightforward treatment is neem oil, which is an organic insecticide. Spray the plant the same way you would with the soap solution until the infestation is no more.

Hoya Carnosa Compacta Botrytis

Botrytis is another fungus that affects a broad spectrum of plants. Gray, mouldy spots will start appearing on the centre leaves where the moisture levels are too high. If this occurs, remove the plant from its growing area and cut off the damaged leaves.

Once you’ve removed the mouldy leaves, spray the whole with a fungicide. If the botrytis infestation is severe, you may have to repot the plant with fresh soil, although this should only be done as a last resort response.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hoya Carnosa Compacta Plants

You’ve made it this far, why not address some commonly asked questions? Below you’ll find questions that’ll inform you on whether this plant is poisonous, how fast the plant grows, and if it’s resistant to droughts.

Are Hoya Carnosa Compacta Plants Toxic to People and Animals?

Hindu rope plants aren’t poisonous. You don’t have to worry about getting this as your next houseplant, as it doesn’t pose a threat for people, children, or pets.

This goes for cats as well. Don’t worry if your curious feline starts nibbling on these leaves as they’re non-toxic. However, if your cat eats a lot of the hoya plant’s leaves, they may vomit or get diarrhea because they are unable to digest so much plant matter.

If this happens, you don’t have to worry, your kitty is not in danger. Eating excessive amounts of plants is a sign of boredom in cats, so should this arise you can buy your cat an interactive toy to keep them occupied and away from your plants.

How Fast and How Big Do Hoya Carnosa Compacta Plants Grow?

This plant grows at a moderately slow rate and will grow even slower during the winter months when there is less light. The rate of growth is strongly linked to its growing environment.

You can expect your Hoya Compacta to start flowing after 1 to 3 years, depending on the plant’s nutrition and watering routine. When cared for, this plant can live upwards of 7 years and reach a length of 6 metres.

Are Hoya Compacta Plants Drought Tolerant?

These plants often experience periods of no water in their native environments, so they can handle little to no water for 4 to 5 weeks over spring. This question is probably more relevant for those who want to know what will happen if they go on holiday or forget to water the plant.

Well, due to the plant’s drought-resistant nature, you can probably get away with not watering it for a few weeks. However, this depends on how dry your region is, the plant’s growing environment in your home, and whether it’s healthy or not. 

If you’re worried about forgetting to water your Hindu rope plant (or any other houseplant for the matter), then consider purchasing a self-watering device that will do the job for you. It’s also an ideal gadget to own when you’re away from the house for extended periods.

Is Hoya Compacta a Succulent?

Hoya carnosa ‘Compacta‘ or the Hindu rope plant as they are sometimes called is a curly leaf version of the “Hoya carnosa” and is a draping semi-succulent. Which means the plant hold a lot of water in its leaves but are not as drought tolerant as full succulents.

Where Can I Buy Hoya Carnosa Compacta?

If you are wondering where you can buy Hoya carnosa compacta you can try your local plant nursery or visit Esty and search for Hoya Carnosa or Hindu rope plant.

Final Thoughts on Caring For Your Hindu Rope Plant

Unique and easy to care for, this plant will add a lovely touch to any household. As an epiphytic plant, you’ll be able to train the vines to crawl walls, or let them grow downwards from the pot – get creative!

If you take care of the plant by following this care guide, you should have minimal issues, allowing your plant to live up to 7 years and reach a length of 6 metres. The most critical factors are giving it an excellent growing area with good light and establishing a watering schedule.

If you’re wondering ‘where can I get a Hoya Carnosa Compacta?’, there are many hoya plants for sale online and at plant nurseries. The bottom line is consistency. If you can give this plant a superb care routine, it will be thriving in your home for many years to come.


Some of the links on this post are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase using these links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. By using these affiliate links, you’re helping to support At Home With Hues produce helpful content and with the running costs of this site. My cat and I really appreciate your support.