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Hoya kerrii


Hoya kerrii Craib

Family Name: Apocynaceae
Synonyms: Acokanthera obovata var. kerrii
Common Name: Sweetheart Hoya, Heart-shaped Hoya, Heart Leaf, Valentine Hoya, Valentine Wax Plant, Wax Hearts, 凹叶球兰

Sweetheart Hoya (Hoya kerrii) earned its name from its characteristic heart-shaped leaves. This evergreen climber is commonly sold commercially as a single leaf. However, if grown with its stem intact, this slow-growing Hoya can trail and climb across trellises displaying heavy long vines and thick leaves. Generally easy to care for, bunches of star-shaped flowers readily bloom when it receives several hours of bright indirect sunlight daily and it only requires minimal watering.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana, Epiphyte
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 2.4 m to 3 m


Native Distribution Cambodia, Java, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaya
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Tropical epiphyte with succulent leaves and woody stem. It attaches itself to the host tree with aerial roots and a twining growth habit.
Roots Roots will form from the stem nodes.
Foliage Leaves are thick and heart-shaped with opposite leaf arrangement (5 - 15 cm long). The petiole (1 - 2.5 cm long, 0.3 cm wide) is connected to the pointed part of the heart shape.
Flowers Flowers are small, waxy and arranged in inflorescences classifed as umbels (4 - 5 cm wide). An umbel consists of several flowers with floral stalks (called pedicels) that are united at the base to a single stem known as the peduncle. They consist of 2 stacked, star-shaped structures known as the corona and corolla. The corona is on top, smaller than the corolla and is pinkish-brown to purplish-brown. The corolla is mostly white. Flowers are long-lasting and release their fragrance at night.
Habitat Occurs in tropical forests.
Cultivation This species grows slowly. Plant in well-drained, slightly acidic to neutral soil of 1/3 orchid soil mix and 2/3 potting mix (pH 6 - 7.5). Space individuals 7 - 15 cm apart. This species is intolerant of waterlogging, so allow the soil to stay slightly dry. For potted plants, water when the top 3 cm of soil becomes dry. Lightly feed plants every month with a half-diluted general fertilizer. This species will grow and flower best if kept rootbound. Avoid moving the plant when flower buds have formed. Do not remove old floral stalks, as new buds will form from it. They are usually resistant to pests, but monitor them for scale insects and mealy bugs.
Etymology The genus epithet "Hoya" was named after Thomas Hoy, an English gardener of the early 1800s. The specific epithet "kerrii" was named for Arthur Francis George Kerr, a collector in Siam.
Ethnobotanical Uses [Others]: It is used to treat pus-producing skin ulcers and reduce swelling.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping This slow-growing species is a popular indoor plant. It is placed on window sills, in hanging baskets or trained against small trellises. Children may enjoy growing this species, because it has heart-shaped leaves and is easy to grow. In addition, the green leaves may be decorated by painting designs on the leaf surface.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers, Fragrant (Flowers) (Day), Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Easy to Grow, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Hanging Basket, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion, Irritant - Sap

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, [Remarks] (Plant in bright but indirect sunlight. )
Water Preference Little Water
Plant Growth Rate Slow
Pest(s) Sucking Insects
Propagation Method Stem Cutting
Propagation Ease Easy
Propagation Method Remarks Propagate by seed, leaf cuttings or herbaceous / woody stem cuttings. Seeds do not store well, so sow them soon after harvesting.


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Thick
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Young Flush Texture(s) Thick
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Cordate)
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Emarginate
Foliar Base Acute

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Brown, White
Flower Texture(s) Velvety / Furry / Tomentose
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence

Image Repository



Master ID 118
Species ID 1414
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 01 February 2023.