Skip to Content

How Do You Sun Stress Your Hoya?

The transformation of a glossy hoya’s leaves from glossy green to enchanting blushes of pink or burgundy is a magical experience.

Make sure your plant gets plenty of sunlight in order to achieve this stunning transformation. Your hoya’s hidden hues can be revealed with care, despite what it may sound like.

Sun stressing a hoya requires caution to avoid sunburn. Harden off your hoya to acclimate it to the new light level, and keep a close eye on it for signs of dehydration or burning. With patience, the leaves should develop a red blush in their natural coloration.

What Does Sun Stress Do to Hoya?

Sun Stressed Hoya changing Leaf Color
Sun Stressed Hoya changing Leaf Color

Though your hoya requires the sun’s rays to survive, the sun is a harsh mistress. Ultraviolet radiation from too much sunlight damages chlorophyll, a key pigment in your plant’s metabolism. The structure of the leaf begins to break down as a result.

To combat this, your hoya produces anthocyanin, a brightly colored compound. This is usually visible as a pink or red blush on the leaf.

Anthocyanin absorbs the harmful UV portion of the light spectrum before it can harm chlorophyll. It’s almost as good as sunscreen!

The way this sun stress manifests itself on your hoya is highly dependent on the variety. After all, the family contains nearly 300 different varieties!

Variegated hoyas show gold, orange, or pink changes to the paler areas of their leaves, while plain leafed hoyas gradually darken their leaves into a rich reddish-purple.

How Do You Sun Stress Your Hoya?

The key to avoiding sun stress is determining what light level your hoya prefers and gradually increasing it. The color change is caused by the increase in light.

It’s a large family, and everyone has different needs. A shade-loving hoya may only require a gentle prod into bright indirect light to begin producing anthocyanin.

A tougher sun lover may require full sun, while others may require a few hours of bright filtered direct sunlight to achieve that bronze glow.

Begin by locating a safe, well-lit area for your hoya. Even for hoyas who thrive in the spotlight, direct sunlight is never ideal. Select the brightest indirect light that your plant can tolerate.

The direct sun filtered through a light shade cloth may be required for more succulent varieties. (Check out the latest price on Amazon here)

Move your plant every other day for a week or two to gradually move it from its original position into the brighter light. This is known as “hardening off,” and it will assist your hoya in adjusting.

To avoid sunburn and heat exhaustion, take your time hardening off.

Your prized possession will adapt to the new environment and be ready for a new move in no time. Before your hoya is ready for direct sunlight, it may go through two or three stages of development. Don’t rush it.

Just sit back and wait for it to harden up. During this time, keep a close eye on your plant. To avoid dehydration and sunburn, keep it well hydrated and maintain a high humidity level.

How Long Does It Take to Sun Stress A Hoya?

 Sun Stressed Hoya Turning Purple
Sun Stressed Hoya Turning Purple

Your leaves will change over time depending on a variety of factors. First and foremost, consider the hoya’s variety, as well as your growing region and the time of year.

A week or so after placing a delicate hoya in a sunny southern window, the plant’s color will begin to change. If you’re growing a particularly hardy variety, the process can take up to three weeks.

Is Sun Stress Bad for Hoya?

Whether or not sun stressing is harmful to your hoya is a subject of much debate. However, there are those who extol the virtues of sunning hoya in order to encourage blossoms as well as darker leaves, while others say it’s life-threatening.

If you’re not careful and slow, you run the risk of damaging your plant. After all, the leaf’s changing color is a reaction to light stress.

A delicate flush of burgundy is generally harmless, but trying to turn your entire plant burgundy will cause problems in the long run, I’ve found.

Overexposure to direct sunlight weakens and kills leaves, which fall off at the end of the growing season in the case of smaller specimens.

Always remember the variety of plants you have and what light they prefer. In the same way as humans, an overdone tan can be damaging.

Start small and gradually increase the light levels until your plant blushes, which should be safe.

Signs of Hoya Sunburn

Watch for sunburn when stressing your hoya. Signs include:

  • bleached, pale or colorless leaves
  • leaves falling off
  • dehydrated, crisp leaves
  • leaves turning brown rather than red
  • wrinkled leaves that pucker and curl

Whenever your hoya begins to show signs of sunburn, you should move it to an area that has more shade and check the moisture content of your soil. To help them recover, give them something to drink and put them somewhere humid.

How Much Sun Does Hoya Plant Need?

Each type of hoya is a one-of-a-kind gift. They each have their own unique traits and charms.

It’s best to have a lot of indirect light, but some direct sunlight in the morning or at night is fine for hardier varieties.

Hoyas love a little direct sunlight, but a bright, indirect light source near a window will do the trick to make it bloom!

To avoid any issues, clean and humidify your hoya regularly and use a brighter light source.

This, of course, depends on the variety you choose. So now you have even more reason to explore the wide variety of hoya species represented by this enchanted genus.

Sharing is caring!