It’s hoya time again! Today, you’ll learn all about Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Princess’ care. We touched on the Princess in the Hoya Krimson Queen post, but today we’ll cover allll the deets on how to care for this gorgeous plant.
A cultivar of the classic Hoya carnosa, the Krimson Princess has thick, waxy leaves with fabulous green, yellow, pink, and cream variegation. Often sold in hanging baskets, this low-maintenance hoya would be happy trailing or climbing in your home. Krimson Princess is both beautiful AND non-toxic, so pet owners rejoice!
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Hoya Krimson Princess Care Guide Cheat Sheet
|Common Names||Hoya Krimson Princess, Crimson Princess, Hoya carnosa variegata, wax plant, porcelain flower|
|Scientific Name||Hoya carnosa|
|Size||6-8 feet indoors, up to 20 feet outdoors|
|Light||Bright, indirect light|
|Soil||Chunky, well-draining soil|
|Water||Every 14-ish days, when the top half of the soil is dry|
|Propagation||Stem propagation (with nodes) in water, soil, or moss|
|Toxicity||No, hoyas are non-toxic to both humans and pets (yay!)|
Background and Natural Habitat
Hoyas are part of the Apocynaceae family, which makes them cousins with dogbane and milkweed plants. They’re native to East Asia and Australia, where they thrive in hot, humid environments. The Hoya carnosa species are epiphytes that evolved to grow up trunks and branches of trees. Hoyas are often referred to as “wax plants,” due to their thick, waxy leaves. They’re semi-succulent, which means those thick leaves help the plant store water.
Indoors, there a ton of varieties and cultivars, both rare and common. Hoyas are addictive and some collectors have literally HUNDREDS. Carnosas are some of the OG houseplants — they’ve been in cultivation for over 200 years! Peep my classic green Hoya carnosa below. ⬇⬇
Varieties of Hoya Carnosa
There are lots and lots of different Hoya carnosa cultivars, each with variations in color, size, and flower. You may already be familiar with some of the other varieties of H. carnosa, including: Compacta (rope plant), Krimson Queen or Tricolor, Chelsea, Krinkle-8, and (of course!) the Krimson Princess
Hoya Krimson Princess vs Krimson Queen
The carnosa Krimson Princess is often mistaken for the carnosa Krimson Queen. It’s an easy mix-up, especially considering both plants are carnosa cultivars and the names are almost the same. You’ll also notice similarities in the plant foliage — both the Hoya Princess and Queen have thick, waxy leaves, pink stems, and variegated coloring. Sometimes, Krimson Princess plants are mislabeled as Hoya tricolor, but that’s actually another name for the Krimson Queen.
The biggest difference with the Hoya Krimson Princess vs Queen is the coloring. If you see green around the edges of the leaves, you’re looking at a Krimson Princess. The center of the leaves is different shades of light green, yellow, cream, and even pink (if your plant gets enough light). Krimson Princess stems stay pink forever, unlike the stems of the Krimson Queen. The Hoya Princess is on the right in the photo below.
If you see a lot of creamy white coloring, especially wrapped around the edges of the leaves, you’re looking at a Krimson Queen. The inside of the leaves are dark green, similar to that of the standard green carnosa. Sometimes, you’ll see leaves that are all-white, or close to it. Though new stems are pink, they turn to green as they age. The Hoya Tricolor or Krimson Queen is on the left in the photo below.
I’ve seen a few people post this handy tip for differentiating between the KP and KQ plants: “a queen wears a white crown, a princess wears a white gown.” Essentially, Krimson Queen plants have a white crown around each leaf, and the Princess has white (and yellow) in the center of the leaves.
Hoya Krimson Princess vs Tricolor
‘Tricolor’ is actually another name for the Hoya Krimson Queen, but you’ll sometimes see it used for the Krimson Princess.
How to Care for your Hoya Krimson Princess Plant
Hoya carnosa ‘Krimson Princess’ plant care is straightforward, even for beginners. They grow in a variety of lighting conditions and LOVE heat and humidity. To help your Krimson Princess thrive, you’ll need chunky soil with good drainage, a bright window (or grow lights), and light hand with the watering can.
Hoya Krimson Princess Light Requirements
Krimson Princess loves bright indirect light. Make sure the light is bright enough! Though your Krimson Princess will grow in low light, it needs bright light to maintain its variegated coloring. In lower light conditions, new leaves will look more green (like a standard carnosa). Brighter light can also bring out more of that lovely pink variegation in your Krimson Princess.
In the natural environment, they’re used to dappled light that filters through the rainforest canopy. Be careful with direct sunlight. If you gradually expose your plant to direct light then it can tolerate some, but too much too soon can burn it. If you see brownish spots that look like burns, your Hoya Krimson Princess is getting too much direct light. Move it back from the window to prevent further scorching.
My Hoya Krimson Princess is right next to a north-facing window. and its been there for about a year. I have other happy hoyas next to east- and west-facing windows. If you’re lucky enough to have a sunny south-facing window, place your Hoya Princess 3-5 feet back. This will give your plant lots of bright, indirect light, but keep it safe from direct sunlight that can burn the leaves.
For those of you with shady windows, small windows, or a lack of plant space, grow lights are a (plant) life saver! You can also swap out standard bulbs for full spectrum lightbulbs, which can help your plant set-up blend in with your home decor.
How often should I water my Hoya Krimson Princess?
Your Krimson Princess will prefer dry soil conditions. Using your finger or a moisture meter, check to see if the top half of the soil is dry. If you’re not sure if it’s time to water, wait a day or two. Hoyas are drought-tolerant plants (thanks to their semi-succulent leaves), so you have a bit of wiggle room if you underwater. Too much water can cause root rot or yellowing Krimson Princess leaves.
For me, watering usually happens once every 14-ish days during the summer months. If your plant is outdoors in the heat, you may need to water more frequently. On the flipside, you’ll be watering less often in the winter since your hoya plant won’t grow as much.
Pots with drainage holes (like a nursery pot) can be a HUGE help, especially if you’re an eager beaver who tends to overwater. Drainage holes will allow extra water to flow out of the pot, away from the roots.
Perfect Temperature and Humidity for Hoya Tricolor Care
Hoyas like it hot and humid, and the Krimson Princess is no different. If you have balmy summers or live somewhere tropical, feel free to move your Princess to a covered porch or patio when the temperature lows are consistently above 55 degrees.
Summers are hot and humid AF down here in NC, so people pull out their hoyas in late April and don’t bring them in until fall. Unfortunately, my covered porch gets direct afternoon sunlight so my hoyas live indoors year round. If you’re wondering if that totally defeats the purpose of a covered porch… yes, yes it does.
Circling back to the Krimson Princess… your hoya will be happy with room temperatures between 65 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They’ll do fine in normal household humidity levels, but you may want to add a humidifier to your Hoya plant care routine if your AC is running non-stop in the summers. I don’t use one, but I do make an effort to keep my KP away from HVAC vents and drafts. Hoyas don’t appreciate sudden blasts of super hot or super cold air.
Best Soil for the Hoya Carnosa ‘Krimson Princess’
Plant Hoya Krimson Princess in a well-draining, chunky soil mix that’s rich in organic matter. Like really CHUNKY. Do you see all the perlite and bark in the soil in the photo above? Hoyas don’t like wet feet (roots), and a chunky mix will help extra water drain away from the roots. Those waxy, semi-succulent leaves hold extra water, so the plant has some reserves to pull from while you figure out the right water-to-soil mix.
If you prefer to use a commercially available potting soil, add extra drainage with a scoop or two of extra perlite. I like to use a potting mix of standard houseplant soil with extra perlite, sphagnum moss, vermiculite, and either orchid bark or coco chips. My soil ingredients are purchased from my local hardware store (Lowes or Home Depot) and online at Amazon.
Do you need to fertilize the Krimson Princess?
You don’t have to fertilize your Krimson Princess, but feeding it once a month-ish during the growing season can help with growth and rejuvenate old, sad soil. Avoid fertilizing during the off-season (fall/winter).
If you have fresh soil that’s rich in organic material (like compost or worm castings), feel free to skip the fertilizer altogether. If your plant has been potted up for over six months or you want to accelerate growth, top dress with worm castings, add a few drops of SUPERthrive, or try a liquid houseplant fertilizer. I’m horrible about remembering to fertilize my plants, but when I remember (like twice a year😅), I use a water soluble fertilizer so I can water them at the same time.
NOTE: read the label on your potting soil before you fertilize. Some potting soil mixes (like Miracle-Gro) contain a built-in slow-release fertilizer already. Adding too much fertilizer can burn the roots of your Hoya Krimson Princess. If you used a potting mix with built-in fertilizer, wait at least six months before you start to fertilize.
Growing the Hoya Krimson Princess Plant
So you’ve got all the care basics figured out, but what should you expect from your Hoya Krimson Princess?
Regular Hoya carnosas are vining plants that grow up trees. Your carnosa ‘Krimson Princess’ will be happy either trailing/vining, or set up on a trellis. Like the Tricolor or Krimson Queen, Krimson Princess plants are often sold as hanging baskets.
Does the Hoya Krimson Princess grow fast?
Hoyas don’t grow as fast as pothos or neon heartleaf philodendrons, but they’ll still grow a lot under the right conditions. However, growth will be slower in the wintertime, or if your plant doesn’t have access to bright light. In lower light conditions, your KP might start to get long, leggy vines with very few leaves.
How big does the Hoya carnosa Krimson Princess get?
In the natural environment, hoya carnosa vines can grow to 20 feet long. Indoors, established hoya carnosa variegata ‘Krimson Princess’ vines can be 6-8 feet long.
Pruning hoya Krimson Princess
Give your hoya a trim with pruning shears when the vines get long, leggy, or unruly. It’s best to prune during the growing season. In addition to helping clean up your Krimson Princess’ look, pruning is an essential part of plant care that can stimulate growth and help fill out leggy plants.
Hoya Krimson Princess Propagation
You can propagate Krimson Princess by cutting stems into 3-4 inch pieces with at least one node and one leaf each. Place your stem cuttings in water, soil, or moss until they grow roots that are either more than two inches long, or sprouting secondary roots. You’re already set if your plant was propagated in soil, but if you were propagating in a different medium then you can safely transfer your Krimson Princess to soil or whatever medium you choose.
It’s technically possible for a leafless vine (with a node) to propagate and root, but it takes longer. I did it once with my Hoya pubicalyx, but three of four leafless vines died. 25% isn’t nothing, but it’s not a high enough success rate for me to recommend it.
How often should I to repot my Hoya Krimson Princess?
Repotting is an important part of Hoya Krimson Princess care. Hoyas like to be almost root-bound, so you’ll only need to repot once every one to three years. Spring or summer is typically the best time for repotting, since the plant is growing. If you notice your Hoya Krimson Princess is struggling despite having everything it needs, check to see if it needs an early repot or at least some fresh soil.
Check the plant’s roots before repotting. Krimson Princesses that are ready to be repotted will have roots that are starting to grow out of the drainage holes or possibly breaking out of the pot. If there’s still some room for the roots, you can hold off on repotting and add some fresh soil instead.
How do you repot a hoya carnosa Krimson Princess?
Once you’ve checked the roots and determined that your hoya needs to be repotted, grab a new pot that’s 1-2 inches larger than the current pot. I love to use nursery pots and a decorative outer pot (aka “cache pot”). Nursery pots are lightweight and make it super easy to check on roots, pour out extra water, or swap out planters when you find one you can’t resist at HomeGoods. If you’re potting straight into the planter, be sure to choose one with drainage holes.
Next, remove the plant and carefully knock off some of the old soil. You don’t need to shake your Krimson Princess or unwind the roots — transplanting is stressful enough! The roots will find their way around the larger pot all on their own.
Prepare your new pot by filling the bottom half-ish with fresh, chunky potting soil. Place your Krimson Princess in the pot and fill the top and sides with more soil. Gently stabilize the plant by pressing the soil down around the stems. Once you’ve watered your hoya and set it back on the shelf, don’t touch it for about two weeks. This will give your Crimson Princess plant time to adjust to its new environment.
Is the hoya Krimson Princess toxic?
Nope! Unlike aroids (like philodendrons or pothos), Hoya Krimson Princess plants are non-toxic. They don’t have calcium oxalate crystals, so breathe easy if you’ve been searching for a pet friendly indoor plant.
Is the Hoya Carnosa Krimson Princess safe for cats and dogs?
Yep – hoyas are pet-safe and non-toxic to both humans and pets. It’s still best practice to keep your indoor plants out of reach of cats, dogs, and small children, just in case. If you have a nibbly kitty, maybe try a cat grass planter to distract them.
Common Problems with Hoya Carnosa Krimson Princess
Hoyas are pretty easy going, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never experience any issues. Check out my sad little rehab guy (photo below) if you need convincing. The most common problems with Hoya Krimson Princess care are:
- slow, leggy growth
- a lack of variegation
- brown or yellow leaves
- root rot
- houseplant pests
Why is my Krimson Princess so leggy?
When hoyas put out long, leggy vines with very few leaves, it’s usually due to a lack of light. You may also try fertilizing your plant, as this can accelerate growth.
Why does my Krimson Princess have green leaves?
Your carnosa Krimson Princess needs bright light to maintain its colorful variegation. If your KP’s leaves are starting to look like those of a regular green carnosa, move it closer to the window or supplement with a grow light.
Why does my Hoya Krimson Princess have yellow leaves?
If the leaves are slowly turning a dull yellow, your wax plant is probably underwatered. It’s also possible that they’re fading from being too close to a grow light or direct sunlight.
Why are my Hoya Krimson Princess leaf stems turning brown?
When the petioles and base of the leaves on your carnosa Krimson Princess turn brown and the leaves fall off, you’ve probably been overwatering your plant.
How do you get your Hoya Krimson Princess pink leaves?
Bright light! The brighter the light, the more pretty pink you’ll see on your leaves.
Why isn’t my Hoya carnosa Krimson Princess flowering?
Hoyas typically flower between spring and early fall. If it’s the growing season and your Hoya Krimson Princess is happy and healthy, you might be wondering why its not flowering. There are a couple of possible reasons why you haven’t seen flowers yet.
(A) Maybe it’s not ready. Unfortunately, Hoya plants need to be several years old before they’ll flower. If your Krimson Princess isn’t established yet, then you just need to try to be patient.
(B) The pot is too big. If your pot is way bigger than the rootball, your Krimson Princess will focus most of its energy on growing roots.
Basically, just wait. It’s worth it!
Unfortunately, mealies love those thick, juicy hoya leaves. I just had to quarantine my Hoya australis and OG carnosa due to a minor mealy bug infestation. My intervention plan seems to be working (diluted isopropyl alcohol combined with removing white fuzzies), so hopefully I’m in the clear. 🤞
In addition to mealies, conduct regular pest inspections and search for signs of the usual suspects: scale, spider mites, and thrips. If your plants have a history of pests you may want to take preventative action by releasing predatory mites or wiping plants down with neem oil every so often.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where do you buy a Hoya Krimson Princess online?
Etsy is my favorite place to shop for indoor plants online. Buyers share reviews, pictures of packaging, and plant condition, so you can feel better about your delivery. Plus, there are lots of options from individuals and small businesses.
Some growers also list their plants on Amazon. I saw a couple krimson princesses and hoya bundles when I researched for this post, but there weren’t nearly as many options as on Etsy.
Is the Hoya Krimson Princess rare?
The Hoya carnosa Krimson Princess is one of the more common hoya plants, but you won’t see it everyday. If you’re lucky, you can pick one up at your local garden center or hardware store.
Are Hoya Tricolor Krimson Princess plants expensive?
Hoya Krimson Princess prices are very reasonable. If you’re shopping locally, you can expect to pay $10-15 for smaller pots (3-4 inches) and $20-$40 for larger hanging baskets of the Hoya Krimson Princess.
What’s the best pot for Hoya Krimson Princess?
When do Hoya Krimson Princess plants flower?
Hoyas typically flower during the growing season, between spring and early fall.