Someone posted a photo (Pam Adrian) on Facebook last week of her mother's blooming Hoya. It had more than 50 blooms. What? I'm envious. I have had a Hoya for years and years, and it has not once bloomed.
My plant came from a cutting of my grandma’s original in her mud porch. Being young and dumb, I never gave it much thought, but I remember it crawled across the window on the west side of the house.
One year, my Aunt Alice gave everyone a rooted cutting at one of her famous gatherings. She and Uncle Ed took care of my grandparents towards the end of their lives, and she inherited the original Hoya. That plant loved my Aunt Alice so much that it grew across their sun porch and hung down from the ceiling with its green waxy leaves.
When they moved to a smaller house, I inherited that original plant and promptly killed it off. My bad. I rue that day for sure. However, there's only so much space in my house for more plants. You see, quite by accident, I discovered if you lay a succulent leaf on the soil in the same pot, it will root. I was delighted to discover this, and not being the kind of person who throws anything green in the garbage, well, use your imagination.
I share cuttings of this and other plants I care for with anyone who asks. Somehow their Hoyas always bloom but my "Grandma Plant" doesn't. I'm trying to justify in my mind why this is so. Here is one theory. Perhaps the grandmother of these cuttings doesn't bloom because she sends her love with the cuttings.
Maybe someday I will be rewarded with 50 blooms, but I doubt it.
I'm also not sure when houseplants went out of vogue. I think people do not like "dirt" in their new houses. I'm not too fond of plastic plants. In recent days, I have seen an interest in indoor gardening bloom. Personally, my house has never been without a jungle of green. I rescue plants from the store that appear dead only to have them pop into life and respond to a bit of love and water. Our house has a porch on the east side of the house. One year we added a roof and windows, and it has become my favorite place to write, and my plants love it.
Hoyas thrive on neglect. One year we had to move out of our home for 95 days because of the 2011 flood. The only thing I took to my temporary home was my spinning wheel. When we moved back into our house in August, I discovered part of my Hoya was caught in that wheel and survived for that time. I planted it to reward that plant's will to live without water, soil or sunlight. It survives today. But it has not bloomed.
Why do I want it to bloom? The blooms of a Hoya are waxy squares that open into beautiful five-point stars. They also smell great and weep a little. They are said to bring wealth and protection to the owners. That plant also carries a bit of my grandmother to everyone who has a cutting. It's just a small way to bring a tradition to my children and grandchildren in the form of a pink blessing. I guess I will keep sharing my grandmother, and maybe someday, she will reward my diligence with some blooms.
Sue B. Balcom
Writing, or maybe talking, comes naturally to me and under the guidance of a great newspaper editor I have acquired skills that led me to author four books.