Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nice and Easy

Even though I am an inveterate plant collector by temperament, there was one particular collecting bandwagon that I resisted jumping on: Hoyas.

I remember when Garden Web first created a Hoya Forum. It was immediately extremely popular, and remains so, unlike a lot of their forums dedicated to a single genus or family. The people who posted were enthusiastic, no, passionate about these plants. More than one person described waiting impatiently for new plant shipments to their local big box stores, and expressing huge disappointment if there were no Hoyas. New mail-order sources were shared, and as I understand it, they sold out of plants quickly. On the House Plant forum, when anyone would ask for suggestions about what sort of new plant they should buy, Hoyas were always suggested, usually by multiple posters. Hoya, Hoya, Hoya, it was all about the Hoyas.

My six Hoyas. This a rare thing for me--a completed collection. I like the plants I have, but I'm not looking to add any more. Click this, and all other photos, for larger versions. This shot in particular is much clearer when seen full sized.

Okay, I thought, they are nice enough plants, but why is everyone so excited? One thing that was mentioned frequently was the scent of the flowers. So the next time I was at a nursery and came upon a plant in bloom, I sniffed it. Well, the fragrance was nice, but not all that noteworthy, at least not to me. The leaves, again, are nice, but with the exception of Hoya carnosa compacta, (also known as Hindu Rope or Krinkle Kurl, among other variety names) not at all unusual or eye-catching.

I just didn't get it. But having had an inexplicable plant passion or two of my own, I stopped wondering about it. Just like other things in life, certain plants just move certain people, and Hoyas didn't do it for me.

But just as I couldn't work up a passion for Hoyas, I didn't have anything against them, either. I've used the word "nice" a lot in this post, and I like nice plants. So one day, four years ago, when I shopping at one of my favorite nurseries, I picked one up. It was a variegated H. carnosa variety in a two-inch pot. Here it is today in a 10-inch pot:

Hoya carnosa 'Krimson Queen'

It's been nice. I have found it attractive and easy to grow. It loves my east window and does well going almost dry between waterings. Now that it is large, it does bloom, and the flowers are interesting, and they have a nice, subtle fragrance.

So, over the course of the four years, six Hoya plants came into my life. (There was a seventh plant, a small H. multiflora, which died. The leaves were less succulent than those of my other Hoyas, and apparently, it needed more water than it was getting.)

Hoya carnosa 'Rubra'

Hoya curtisii leaves. The full plant is shown directly in front of the 'Krimson Queen' in the group photo.

Hoya kerrii has nice, heart-shaped leaves.

Another variegated Hoya carnosa.

So there you have it. I never sought them out, I was never excited about them. But if I saw a plant I liked, I bought it. What can I say: they're nice.

No comments: