What is an epiphyte?

". . . a plant that grows upon another plant (such as a tree) non-parasitically or sometimes upon some other object (such as a building or a telegraph wire), derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and sometimes from debris accumulating around it, and is found in the temperate zone (as many mosses, liverworts, lichens and algae) and in the tropics (as many ferns, cacti, orchids, and bromeliads) — called also air plants."[1]

From wiki

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Hoyas are evergreen vines that grow as epiphytes in trees in the tropics from India to

Thailand,across Indonesia and into Australia, named for botanist Thomas Hoy.
They are members of the dogbane family and cousin to our common milkweeds here
in the temperate regions,as well as the stapelias ,hoodias,and other starfish cacti succulents
of Africa, Flowers are born in umbels on peduncles, tiny stems that hang from the main stem
and re bloom periodically.

Characterized by their bright color schemes and geometric
pentagonal designs , the most special thing about hoyas in their scents, which range from root beer to cinnamon , from camphor to grape juice to milk and honey,or rotten chicken!! Many of their scents are hard to describe.
Truly the scent mimics of the plant world, their scent has developed according to which pollinators they wish to attract.
Hoyas are easily grown in a hanging basket or along a trellis or hoop, and many are very rewarding generous bloomers once they are established, you can usually find at least one variety in any nursery or nursery dept you visit.

Here is my hoya lacunosa in full bloom, these monarchs were so in love with
the thing that they decided to stay and lay eggs on it, I found a few cocoons
when I went to bring it inside for the winter season,and I had to carefully trim them out
and attach them in the nearby shrubs.
The flowers of hoya lacunosa drip with sweet nectar that smells heavily of
milk and honey, imagine the taste of milk and honey,and that's the smell,that is.

This is hoya ds-70, what an attractive name, I know right.
There are many many hoya species and lots of them got the short end
of the stick where names are concerned, a beautiful deep red orb
with a yellow and red waxy star in the center,this one reeks of gamy
raw chicken,or like boiling old chicken bones for soup.

Hoya carnosa is one of the more common varieties,
and often has a strong chocolate smell

Here is hoya Mindorensis, photo by Phillip Tan

And this is Hoya Bella, with a sweet perfume fragrance

and here is hoya cinnamomifolia, so named because of its leaves
resemblance to those of the cinnamon tree, and I assume the smell is sweet.

And a personal favorite of mine, the lilliputian Hoya serpens,
with a sweet milkweed scent.

Here is a link to a site with further names and details and droolin
pictures of hoyas
, look to the left for the galleries
most of these guys are so easy to keep although
there are a tricky few, and all of them set pods full
of milkweed fluffed seeds that blow away in the breeze.
A good hoya can live 100 years and get huge on a loop or trellis.


  1. Oh my gosh. I could see the start of a new addiction, but not right now. I love your collection of hoyas. Just beautiful! I have one given to me many years ago by a lady when we stopped at a yard sale she was having. I went to that web addy you posted and saw where she rooted her hoya in water, so I plan to give that a try. Mine is in a pot that has grown into the ground, and is climbing up and over lattice, been there years now. How do you care for yours?

    Your pictures had me oohing and aahing that's for sure.

    I have quite a few other epiphs too.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I will be back to see what other beauties you are posting about.


  2. I have to bring all my epiphytes
    indoors through the winter,they are camping
    at the southern windows(yes,all of them,i dont even need curtains) for the season now,due to the sharp temp drops we have been seeing early this year, being in the dirty south(Nashville, Tn.)zone 6b/7a marginal,100 miles south of the freeze line, I can usually leave them out until thanksgiving,bring them in,and take them back out in early march but this year winter seems early, my Schlumbergera are already coming along.
    My dream is to one day move to the deep south
    and have a big ol live oak covered in spanish moss and resurrection ferns so i could plant all of my epiphytes in the branches and let them go wild droooooooooolllll. You are so lucky to be able to have hoya outdoors!

  3. How delightful! Gorgeous photos too. I was proud when I saw hoya thinking "I know that plant (could be hoya Mindorensis), it is growing in my hedge doing fine". then I saw all the pretty ones I have never seen live... sigh....

    Well maybe you can drool over my aloes. aha

  4. sua coleção também é muito linda, j.j.!!!
    obrigada pela visita ao meu blog!
    você tem fotos lindas aqui...
    um abraço, katia