How can I revive my favorite mystery plant?
February 25, 2008 9:30 AM   Subscribe

How can I revive my favorite mystery plant?

So, I'm looking to both identify and revive a plant that was given to me second-hand by my grandmother. (It's been neglected after a move.) Please forgive me because my terminology is absolutely layman.

-It's a vine-type plant but particularly hardy with almost woody stalks.
-It noticeably pursues light making very large movements over the course of a day.
-Its leaves are thick and dense, maybe a couple inches long, and grow in pairs off the vine. Leave sproutings are probably about 4-5 inches apart on average.
-This is the big one. It sprouts little pink flowers that look like candy (about fingernail-size) and are as tough as any other part of the plant. These groups of flowers grow in a semicircle (not a dome, but a wheel) off spoke-like red stalks (half an inch or so). The flowers are in groups of maybe around 8?

It either died or was pretty close to death when I discovered it again. I've taken the most alive section of branch and placed it in a jar of water. It's grown a number of small bumps, but they don't seem to be developing beyond that. In the pot, I still have the rooted plant which I've trimmed down to just a stump other than a separate growth from the old-main one, which has what looks like a fresh sprout coming out of it. This is maybe an eighth of an inch long and very tiny. It also hasn't grown.

The plant was a mystery to my grandmother, so I've never known how to properly care for it but did well for a few years before moving. I felt like I was drastically underwatering it, but it grew incredibly especially considering just how robust it is.

I'd like to either revive or replace it since it's been an entertaining, unusual plant to have among the more common things. So, any help on identifying or caring for would be much appreciated.
posted by pokermonk to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The fact that it follows the light so dramatically makes me think it's come from a rainforest, whatever it is. Plenty of warmth and high humidity would probably help.

To raise the humidity, get a pot that's about 2" wider, put the plants pot inside that, then pack it with peat. Make sure the peat in the outer spot stays moist.

Some photographs would be cool. :)
posted by Solomon at 10:00 AM on February 25, 2008

Response by poster: I'll have to look around to see if I can find pictures of the flowers... I know we took some a while ago but I'm not sure what camera that was with.

I'll take some photos of what's left (it's kinda sad) when I get home and hopefully this won't be too far buried.
posted by pokermonk at 10:43 AM on February 25, 2008

Best answer: It sounds like a hoya. There are dozens of different types. I've rooted them from cuttings in water, so perhaps just wait a bit longer on yours, especially since they are somewhat slow growing.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:11 AM on February 25, 2008

Best answer: Seconding oneirodynia. I thought specifically of a Carnosa, but almost all hoyas have cute little candy-like waxy flowers that look good enough to eat.
posted by iconomy at 11:31 AM on February 25, 2008

I thought hoya as well. I've had one that has been in my family for over 45 years. This plant is very hardy and can withstand serious cutbacks and has survived a little neglect. You'll have to wait a year or so for new growth from the roots, but it will spring right back in the next growing season.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:23 PM on February 25, 2008

Response by poster: Terrific! I'm really excited.

In reading about the hoya, I think I probably freaked out about the neglect and irrationally over-watered the plant. But it seems like it's now just a matter of taking the right kind of care of the pieces that I have properly.
posted by pokermonk at 12:40 PM on February 25, 2008

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