Hoya Krimson Queen (Hoya Carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’): Caring For The Variegated Hoya

Variegated hoya Krimson Queen care

The Hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ is a variegated cultivar of the wax plant Hoya carnosa. Also named Hoya Tricolor, the Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’ has thick waxy leaves, typically with three colors—pink, creamy-white and green variegation. The colorful leaves on the Hoya carnosa variegated Tricolor grow on long, trailing green or pink vines. Its attractive variegated characteristics make the Hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ a popular houseplant.

The Hoya carnosa Variegata or hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ is a fascinating plant to care for indoors. New leaves emerge from the wax plant (also called porcelain flower plant) that are typically bright pink. As the leaves grow, they develop white or creamy-white patches. Some of the Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’ leaves can turn completely white. Most leaves on the variegated hoya are green with white or pink edges.

Despite its exotic look and variegated leaves, the hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ is relatively easy to care for indoors. As long as it gets enough filtered light, occasional watering, and grows in a warm place, the Hoya Tricolor will thrive.

This article is a complete guide to growing the Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’ as a tropical houseplant. At the end of the article, you’ll learn how to resolve common issues with growing this variegated tricolor hoya plant.

About Hoya Krimson Queen (Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’)

Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’ is a perennial evergreen with waxy, succulent leaves. Variegated Hoya carnosa plants belong to the genus Hoya and the family Apocynaceae. Like all Hoya carnosa cultivars, the ‘Krimson Queen’ is an epiphytic plant with long trailing vines.

Varieties of Hoya carnosa are native to humid, subtropical climates in Asia and Australia. Growing outdoors, hoyas are suitable for USDA zones 9 – 12. Indoors, the Hoya Tricolor performs well if there are relatively high humidity and average room temperatures. The ropy vines make the hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ ideal for growing up a moss pole or in a hanging basket.

In ideal growing condition indoors, Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’ can grow between 5 and 6.5 ft. (1.5 – 2 m) long. The smooth, waxy ovate leaves typically measure 2” to 3” (5 – 7.5 cm) long and 2” (5 cm) wide.

How to Care for Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’

To care for a hoya ‘Krimson Queen,’ grow the hoya ‘Variegata’ in bright, indirect sunlight. Plant in light, fertile potting soil that has excellent drainage and water when the soil partially dries. Grow the variegated hoya in temperatures between 61°F and 85°F (16°C – 29°C) and relative humidity around 60 percent for best growth.

Hoya Krimson Queen Vs. Hoya Krimson Princess

hoya krimson queen vs krimson princess

Leaves of hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ (left) and hoya ‘Krimson Princess’ (right)

There is confusion between two types of variegated Hoya carnosa (wax plant) cultivars—the ‘Krimson Queen’ and the ‘Krimson Princess.’ The difference between the two Krimson hoyas is the leaf variegation. The Hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ has creamy-white and pink variegation on the waxy leaf margin. However, the Hoya ‘Krimson Princess’ has pink or white variegation on the leaf’s center.

Both the Hoya ‘Krimson Princess’ and the Hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ are ideal choices for vining hanging basket plants or climbing houseplants.

Hoya Krimson Queen Flower

Hoya Krimson Queen Flower

Hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ flower

Wax plants (Hoya carnosa) are known for their porcelain-like flowers. The Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’ flowers are unusual star-shaped waxy clusters that form a rounded flower head. The small individual flowers are light pink with dark crimson centers. Another feature of ‘Krimson Queen’ flowers is their beautiful scent.

Hoya Krimson Queen Care

The Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’ is a relatively easy-to-care-for hoya at home. Being a variegated hoya variety, the Hoya Tricolor typically requires more sunlight to keep the green, white, and pink leaf coloration. As long as the roots never become too soggy, the pink trailing vines will produce colorful waxy leaves for many years.

Let’s look in more detail at the best way to care for the Hoya ‘Krimson Queen.’

Light Requirements for Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’

The ‘Krimson Queen’ thrives in bright filtered sunlight. Getting enough natural light is crucial to maintain the hoya’s variegated pink and creamy-white leaves. An ideal location to grow the hoya Tricolor is on an east-facing window. On the south or west side of a home, make sure the hoya is protected from direct sunlight behind a sheer curtain.

The variegated Hoya carnosa needs extra light to stay healthy. The pink and white variegation doesn’t allow the plant to photosynthesize. Therefore, more light is needed for the green sections of the leaves to grow healthy. Although hoyas are generally plants that grow in low light, variegated hoyas are an exception.

Ideally, keep the Hoya Tricolor in the brightest room of your house but keep it away from direct sunlight. Otherwise, the wax plant may lose its leaf variegation.

The Best Soil for Growing Hoya ‘Krimson Queen’

The Hoya Variegata grows best in an aerated houseplant mix that has excellent drainage. The perfect potting mix for hoyas is one part peat moss, one part orchid mix, and one part perlite. The combination of these ingredients ensures the roots get enough moisture without becoming too soggy.

Alternatively, you can buy a commercial African violet mix to grow your potted hoya ‘Krimson Queen.’ To ensure that water drains well, add gravel or perlite for extra drainage. The easy-care hoya Tricolor will thrive in most houseplant mixes if they drain well.

Plants in the genus Hoya carnosa are epiphytic plants, meaning they have aerial roots which absorb moisture from the air. This means that to grow a Hoya Tricolor at home, you can use a soilless, light mixture. For example, a ‘Krimson Queen’ plant will also grow well in a mix of coconut coir, orchid bark, and pumice.

Top tip for growing Hoya ‘Krimson Queen’: Always grow the variegated hoya in a light, airy soil mix and never let it become waterlogged.

How to Water the Variegated Hoya

Water a hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ as often as the top layer of potting mix dries. If you have a light potting medium, you might have to water the plant once or twice a week. However, always allow the soil to partially dry before watering it.

To water the ‘Krimson Queen’ hoya plant, saturate the potting mix until water pours from the pot’s drainage holes. Allow all excess water to drip out, and then place the plant back in a bright location. The next time you water the vining hoya is when the top 1” to 2” (2.5 – 5 cm) of soil has dried.

How can you tell it’s time to water a hoya ‘Krimson Queen’? Poke your finger into the soil. If the top layer of soil is dry, it’s time to water the plant. If there is any moisture in the soil, wait for a few days until the soil dries.

How often you need to water Hoya carnosa ‘Variegata’ depends on factors such as:

  • Climate—Water more frequently in hot weather than in cold weather.
  • Season—In winter, hoyas and other houseplants need less water.
  • Type of pot—Water evaporates faster from terracotta pots than plastic ones.
  • Growth—If the hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ is rootbound, water won’t flow well, and soil will stay saturated.

Hoya Krimson Queen Temperature Range

Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’ thrives in average room temperatures. The ideal temperature range for variegated hoya cultivars is 61°F to 85°F (16°C – 29°C). Native to subtropical climates, hoyas have poor tolerance for the cold. Most hoya cultivars will suffer damage if growing below 50°F (10°C).

Although hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ performs well indoors, it’s essential to avoid sudden temperature changes. Make sure that the colorful heat-loving vining hoya plant is away from cold or hot drafts. In winter, ensure that the Tricolor hoya isn’t near a radiator. In summer, keep it out of air-conditioning airflow or drafts from open windows.

You can grow ‘Krimson Queen’ hoyas outdoors in hanging baskets or to trail over walls or arbors. But the tropical plants will only grow well in USDA zones 10 – 12 and in warmer areas of zone 9.

Hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ grows outdoors in temperate regions during summer. When the nighttime temperature drops below 50°F (10°C), you should take the potted hoya back inside.

Humidity Needs for Hoya Tricolor

Hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ thrives in humid conditions. Indoors, it’s best to keep relative humidity around 50 to 60 percent. Although the versatile plants adapt well to average room conditions, they benefit if humidity is above room average.

Here are some ways to boost air moisture levels when growing variegated hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ plants indoors:

  • Pebble tray—Place the pot on a pebble tray that is half-filled with water. The moisture from evaporation helps to increase humidity and ensure lush, healthy growth.
  • Grow with other plants—Grow tropical plants together to create a more humid atmosphere.
  • Room humidifier—A room humidifier can help tropical plants such as hoyas to thrive indoors.

It’s not necessary to mist the leaves of hoya ‘Krimson Queen.’ Misting leaves doesn’t increase humidity for hoya plants. And it can lead to fungal problems on the plant’s variegated foliage.

Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’ Growth Rate

The hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ has a relatively fast growth rate compared to some other hoyas. For rapid growth, it’s vital to have growing conditions ideal. This means warm, relative humid temperatures and plenty of indirect bright light. Hoya carnosa cultivars, including the ‘Krimson Queen,’ can grow up to 6.5 ft. (2 m) long under ideal conditions.

How to Fertilize Hoya Krimson Queen

‘Krimson Queen’ hoya growth can benefit from light fertilizing once a month. Apply a diluted fertilizer for succulents and only apply during spring and summer. In the fall and winter hold off fertilizing the pink and white-leafed houseplant.

If you want to encourage your variegated hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ to bloom, then you can use a high-phosphorus fertilizer. However, it’s vital never to over-fertilize a variegated hoya as you can easily burn the roots.

Pruning the Variegated Hoya

Hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ is a low-maintenance houseplant that grows well without pruning. You may want to prune the hoya’s stems to control its growth. Or you might want to take cuttings to propagate the variegated waxy plant. Pruning in spring also encourages bushy plant growth and a fuller plant that produces more flowers.

To prune a variegated wax plant, cut the vine just below a node at the desired length. Never trim off more than one-third of the plant’s foliage.

Snipping off old growth also encourages blooming as new flower spurs develop on new growth.

How to Propagate Hoya Tricolor

Variegated Hoya carnosa plants are easy to propagate. Non-woody stems cut from ‘Krimson Queen’ hoyas root easily in water or potting soil. And the beautiful trailing plants with white and pink leaves make excellent gifts.

To propagate the ‘Krimson Queen,’ take 6-inch (15-cm) cutting from a stem just below a node. Ensure that the cutting has two or three nodes. Remove the lower leaves. Place the cut end of the hoya’s stem in water or a suitable potting mix. After about four weeks, the stem should be rooted, and you can transfer it to a larger pot.

Repotting Hoya carnosa Krimson Queen 

Hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ plants prefer being rootbound, so it’s unnecessary to repot them often. Generally, you should repot your queen of hoyas only when roots are poking out the bottom of the pot. Also, transfer the hoya to a larger pot if water starts to drain slowly, growth slows down, or you notice yellowing leaves.

When repotting a ‘Krimson Queen,’ always choose a size of pot one size larger than its current one. You should also check the roots for signs of decay and trim them if necessary. Additionally, always use fresh potting soil that is suitable for hoyas.

Pests Affecting Hoya Krimson Queen Growth

Sap-sucking houseplant pests can affect your variegated wax plant. Common bugs that attack the ‘Krimson Queen’ hoya include mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites. If you notice signs of plant pests, then treat the hoya stems and foliage with a neem oil solution to quickly get rid of the pests.

This is how to make a neem oil solution to rid a ‘Krimson Queen’ wax plant of bugs. Fill a spray bottle with 1 quart (1 l) of lukewarm water. Add 2 tsp. neem oil and 1 tsp. dish soap and mix thoroughly. Apply the natural, non-toxic pesticide to all parts of the plant’s foliage weekly to get rid of pests.

Diseases Affecting Hoya Krimson Queen Growth

Root rot caused by overwatering is a common disease that can kill ‘Krimson Queen’ plants. The signs of decaying roots are wilting growth or mushy, black stems, especially at the soil line. If you notice signs that your pink and white-leaved hoya is dying, it’s vital to repot the plant to try and save it.

When you remove the Hoya carnosa ‘Variegata’ from the pot, wash the soil from the roots and check for signs of rot. If there are a few mushy brown roots, cut them off. Then repot the ‘Krimson Queen’ in fresh, moist potting soil. To prevent hoya plant disease, only water the succulent-like plant when the top layer of soil is dry.

Unfortunately, if root decay is extensive, it may be better to cut your losses and look for a new, healthy plant.

Is the Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’ Toxic?

The hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ isn’t poisonous to cats or dogs. The ASPCA lists plants in the Hoya carnosa genus on their list of non-toxic plants.

Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’ Care — FAQs

The variegated hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ with its white and pink leaves is an easy-to-care-for houseplant. However, there are a few reasons why the tricolor hoya leaves could look stressed or sick.

Let’s look at why your hoya looks like it could be dying.

Why are hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ leaves turning brown?

Hoya carnosa ‘Variegata’ leaves can turn brown due to water stress, particularly too much water. However, too much exposure to sunlight could also be why the variegated part of the waxy leaf starts turning brown. It’s crucial to check your watering technique and the plant’s light exposure to prevent more leaves from turning brown.

Why are Hoya Tricolor leaves turning yellow?

Too much water or too much sunlight are the most common reasons why ‘Krimson Queen’ leaves turn yellow. Make sure that you’re only watering the plant when the top layer of soil is dry. Additionally, check that the hoya Tricolor plant isn’t rootbound as the soil may be holding too much moisture.

If you think that over-exposure to sunshine is causing white and pink hoya foliages to fade, move the plant out of direct sunlight.

Why is my hoya ‘Krimson Queen’ losing green, white, and pink variegation?

There are several reasons why Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Queen’ leaves could start turning completely green. The white and pink leaf margins could begin to fade due to growing in shaded locations. A lack of light can cause the succulent leaves to turn back to green.

In some cases, heat, cold, or even genetic mutation could be to blame for the white and pink leaves becoming all green.

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