Hoya kerrii is a vining species of the Hoya genus of tropical plants originating in Southeast Asia. (Photo courtesy Tangopaso/WIkipedia)

With its signature heart-shaped leaves, it’s pretty obvious why the Hoya kerrii plant has become so popular around Valentine’s Day.
But how it compares and contrasts to a real loving relationship, metaphorically speaking of course, may not be as crystal clear.
“These are great plants for any day, not just one that celebrates all things heart,” said the houseplant experts at ourhouseplants.com.
Hoya kerrii is a vining species of the Hoya genus of tropical plants originating in Southeast Asia.
Commonly and especially this time of year, you’ll see lots of the plants as a single leaf rooted in potted soil.
But, just like so may relationships that start, not all of these one-leaf wonders are destined to grow.
If rooted, the leaf can survive but unless it has some of the stem it was cut from, it won’t grow beyond the single leaf.
And even if it does have a piece of the stem or node, it will likely take more than a year to put out the kind of growth that will lead to beautiful vining several feet and flowering in clusters of up to 25 flowers.
Like a new couple, it’s tough to say how long it will take before something small and fun turns into something exponentially better.
But while relationships need constant care to thrive, these plants can get by with modest attention.
It will need plenty of good light.
A southern-facing window is fine, but supplemental light is better, especially if you are trying to get the plant to vine and flower.
Temperature range is 65-80 degrees F, making it a perfect plant mate for most homes.
Hopefully your Hoya plant is planted in a well-drained medium as it doesn’t like to have its roots sit in water.
That should be tough to do anyway since it can survive on watering only once or twice a month.
Of course, only providing basic care will result in a surviving rather than thriving plant, so experts advise waiting until the soil dries out a little and then water again.
Fertilizer needs are minimal, too.
Small plants and single leaves can take a feeding twice a year.
Adult plants can handle a feeding more often, but only about four times a year.
Repotting is an option for nudging the plant along growth-wise, but, like proposing on the first date, moving to fast can be a killer.
Moving to too big a pot is a good way to cause plant rot through accidental overwatering.
First, wait for new growth before repotting.
Second, move up in stages, repotting every couple of years into slightly bigger containers.
Of course, you can buy a mature Hoya kerrii plant with abundant vines and colorful fragrant flowers already adorning the plant, but you then you won’t have had the fun in trying yourself.