After noticing that various hoya plants were not doing well although I had not changed anything I realized the issue was in the pot. The very bottom of the six inch clear plastic pot, to be exact.
For many years, when using the large sized pots, I would put a layer of lava rock, Sunleaves, in the bottom for extra drainage in case the pots were ever sitting in puddles of water. This seemed to be the perfect remedy until now. However, I had made a change to what I was using as the supposed drainage layer about a year ago. I decided to try using Growstones in my hydroponics set ups and had a good part of the bag left over so I thought I’d use those before investing in another bag of the the Sunleaves growing media. Come to find out, these two seemingly similar products are very different.
Evidently, the Growstones actually hold excess water for a long period of time without drying out. So long that it is rotting some roots of quite a few of my hoyas. We all know that hoyas need a mix that takes on water but dries out very quickly and this is not a good product for that result. I will now purchase the previous growing media that I have used for years from Sunleaves and methodically tip out the large plants and rid the pots of the dreaded Growstones. I am not happy about this but I am very happy that I now know what has changed and why the plants are not happy when I thought I had not made any changes to my routine. Until I have accomplished ridding the plant sof these thirsty rocks…I will not drench the hoyas but only water the top two-thirds of the mix.
Beware of this product if you are growing hoyas or any other plant that does not like to stay wet for any length of time. I almost feel like I have added those water-holding gel crystals to the mix unknowingly.