I thought it would be a great idea to share with you how SRQHoyas came to be, what I hoped it would become and my thoughts on where it will go in the future. So pour yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and I’ll enlighten you…I promise to keep it short as I usually do.
Growing hoyas has been a passion of mine since my early adulthood but became a mission to follow through with by mid 2008. I searched high and low in every garden shop and nursery I could find, hoping to expand my collection. As a rule I came up empty handed or only found just one more variation of Hoya carnosa. Don’t get me wrong, carnosas are beautiful and easy to grow but I wanted some species I had never heard of and that posed a challenge to grow and bloom. My biggest question was and still is today, “Why is it rare to find someone who actually knows what as hoya is?” From my experience which takes me up to present day, about one out of every 20 people has even heard of a Hoya Plant let alone know what they look like or where to purchase one locally. As I made a return trip to Hawaii in June of 2008 I too decided to continue my search in every nursery I could find on Oahu. I was only successful at the second nursery I visited where I found and purchased about 10 species. The plants were not labeled but they were very easily identified. I felt that I had hit the jackpot and I could hardly contain myself. The had to be many more places around the island that too had hoya plants. After two days of visits and many of the same conversations beginning with, “Do you sell hoya plants?” I came up with the same blank look each time.
Since the purpose of my trip was to visit and meet with Carol Noel and Ted Green, I knew hoyas were indeed in my future as far as my trek across the Pacific. The trip was a success since I brought home with me many new species that I purchased or had been generously gifted.
When I returned home to Sarasota, Florida the excitement to grow out these cuttings as well as continue to grow full sized plants purchased prior to my trip was building. These plants had been a passion of mine for many years and now I was determined to turn this into a real business in hopes of at least sustaining, since I doubted then and still do today that anyone gets wealthy selling hoya plants. As soon as the plants were in their growing space and they adapted to what nature had to offer them here on my property I came up with the name, purchased the domain for a website and struggled as I began the daunting task of composing a website that was beautiful, informative and functional.
Many many long hours of photographing the plants, blooms and surroundings filled my days. I propagated what I could from the new growth but did not know how I would ever grow enough plants to fill the requests of my growing customer list. Knowing that I must find many more species of hoya plants online to buy meant I also must obtain import permits to ensure they arrive safely. The orders came in from Australia, Philippines, Thailand and Hawaii as unrooted cuttings. Some traveled well and arrived unscathed but of course the thin leafed species suffered, struggled but some actually survived. I gained confidence and learned the less I did for the struggling cuttings the more successful I was going to be. I still find this attitude to be true, provide humidity, light and warmth and ignore them.
The toughest part of sustaining SRQHoyas was learning how to transition from summer to winter since we rarely have a spring or autumn in this tropical state. After many hours of building, buying, rearranging and stressing, I put the finishing touches on their summer home, which is the lanai and the garage/greenhouse, where the hoya plants reside during the cooler months. Surprisingly enough some of the species prefer to be in under the artifical lighting and conditions and some thrive outside in nature and most enjoy both seasons equally.
The look and feel of SRQHoyas has gone evolved since 2008 but the integrity and goals have remained the same. The number one goal is the raise awareness of this unique and versatile species of plants. Spreading the word of how rewarding these hoya plants are to collect, grow, share and enjoy has always been my priority. Secondly, I would like everyone to realize the role I play in accomplishing this goal. I import cuttings and occasionally purchase plants from around the world. The names and numbers of these hoyas remain constant and they are also given a succession number prefaced by SRQ for my record keeping and yours too. I grow everything I sell so when you notice that inventory has been added it means that the plant has put out new growth and I deem it stable enough to offer it to my customers. The identification guarantee that I offer is, ‘The name it arrived with is the name it departs with’, I mean that with all sincerity. I am not in a place where I have time to be formally trained to identify and verify similarities and differences. I have left that to the experts who have been doing this for many years. Someday I hope to gain the knowledge to distinguish between the many similar species of hoyas but I do not have or pretend to have to know-how required. When I have conducted a co-op or group order, I am simply the machine that takes responsibility for importing and distributing the cuttings to the participants. No more and no less…the labels are that of the grower and I never remove and replace with the SRQHoyas labels since they are not plants grown by SRQHoyas.
The intent of my website and the thousands of photos is to show the collector exactly what the plant looks like. From the mother plant to the leaf close-ups to the reverse of the leaves to the blooms in the entire cluster to the single close up views to even the rear of the blooms. I describe the fragrant which is only my opinion and document the sizes from actual specimens. I try to provide any and all bits of information so the customer has no questions as to what I am offering. If you have any questions please contact me prior to placing your order.
Growing hoyas is a healthy, exciting, fun, gratifying and time consuming addiction for me and many others. Let’s keep it that way!