Hoya Wrinkled Leaves: 8 Possible Causes & What To Do

If you’re struggling with hoya wrinkled leaves then this is the guide for you.

The most common causes for wrinkled hoya leaves are usually over or underwatering. Other issues include incorrect sunlight levels, pests such as aphids or diseases.

In this guide I’ll take you through the 8 most common reasons for hoya wrinkled leaves, what you can do about it and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Is It Normal For A Hoya To Have Wrinkled Leaves?

I’ve owned hoyas for a few years now, and I can definitely say that wrinkled leaves are not a common occurrence.

The leaves on a hoya will usually turn wrinkled if there is a problem with watering or another care requirement such as low sunlight or humidity. Luckily, whenever I’ve encountered this issue it has always been an easy fix.

8 Most Likely Reasons For Hoya Wrinkled Leaves

Here are the 8 most common reasons for hoya wrinkled leaves based on my experience of several years of hoya ownership.

1. Underwatering

Underwatering is by far the most common cause for the leaves on your hoya to become wrinkled.

I’ve been guilty of this quite a few times, I’ll admit. Watering your houseplants less often is usually a much better choice than too often which can lead to overwatering. The reason for this is simple – overwatering can lead to problems like root rot which are much more difficult to fix than those that underwatering causes.

While this is a good rule of thumb, you should regularly check the soil of your hoya, especially during the summer and water when the first few inches become dry, If you don’t provide enough water the leaves will wrinkle and become dry and crispy to the touch due to a lack of both nutrients and moisture.

2. Overwatering

On the other end of the spectrum is overwatering. Overwatering can saturate the soil and suffocate the roots, as well as cause root rot.

If the roots are unable to transport nutrients to the leaves they will quickly turn yellow and start to die. During this process, they can become wrinkled.

The difference here is that overwatered hoya leaves will be soft to the touch, whereas underwatered hoya leaves become crispy. In both cases, however, the leaves can and will very likely become wrinkled.

3. Lack Of Sunlight

Hoyas require plenty of sunlight; most prefer bright, indirect sunlight while others like some hours of direct sunlight as well.

If you don’t provide enough sunlight the plant will not be able to photosynthesise efficiently, meaning it won’t be able to create the food necessary for growth.

Hoya bella leaves up close
A photo of my holla bella’s leaves up close (What they should look like!)

In the short term your hoya may lose variegation if you have a variegated type such as the Crimson Queen, and over the longer term leaves will start to wrinkle and die as the hoya cannot sustain its growth.

4. Sun Scorch

Hoya leaves can adapt pretty well to sunlight, but you have to do this slowly starting with an hour or two of direct sunlight in the mornings and slowly moving the plant until it has more direct sunlight coverage. There are also certain varieties that are less prone to direct sunlight, particularly those that can be sun-stressed.

But if you suddenly place your hoya in an area with lots of intense direct sunlight it can damage the leaves. This is known as sun scorch, and it causes the leaves to become discolored in blotchy patches that are brown in the centre and yellow around the edge.

Sun-scorched leaves cannot be saved and will become wrinkled and die slowly once they are scorched initially.

5. Pests

Like most other plants, hoyas are susceptible to a range of pests that can attack the leaves and cause them to wrinkle up. The list below names a few of these:

It’s worth mentioning that these are all sap-sucking insects that feed on the sap in the leaves of hoyas. As they feed on the sap the leaves become damaged and slowly die over time, wrinkling up in the process.

6. Other Fungal Infections

Hoya is at risk of other fungal infections as well outside of root rot caused by overwatering.

These include problems such as blight and stem rot. These are generally controlled by ensuring the humidity is not too high (i.e water droplets on the leaves) and by using fungicides.

7. Low Humidity

Low humidity (below 40%) can cause the leaves to wrinkle as they will lose moisture more rapidly to the environment due to the difference in moisture between the leaves and surrounding air (i.e increased transpiration).

8. Temperature Problems

The majority of hoyas prefer temperature between 60-80°F. If the temperature is either above or below this range it can cause problems, not just with the leaves but with the entire plant.

If the temperature drops below this range overall growth will slow down significantly and leaves will start to die as the plant lowers its energy output. During this process, you may see several of your hoya leaves wrinkling.

If the temperature is too high the soil can dry out quickly and transpiration will increase which can dry out the leaves, similarly to underwatering, and cause them to wrinkle up.

My Tips For Preventing Wrinkled Hoya Leaves

Here are my top tips for preventing hoya wrinkled leaves from my experience of keeping several hoyas over the last few years.


Watering correctly is crucial in keeping your hoya and its leaves happy.

As I mentioned earlier, the best way to water a hoya is to check the soil by hand. If the top few inches are moist then you don’t need to water, and if they are dry then you should water – pretty simple right?

You should find that during the winter hoyas need very little water – I water mine about once per month during this time. In the summertime, however, you’ll probably need to water about once every one to two weeks, depending on the climate.

Use The Right Soil Mix + Drainage Holes

Using the right soil mix is crucial to prevent overwatering and provide the right environment for the roots to thrive and transport nutrients up to the leaves. It also helps if the soil is packed full of nutrients as well, which is why I use a compost mix for my hoyas with added perlite/bark and sphagnum moss.

If you want the full breakdown of my hoya soil mix you can find it here.

You should also always make sure your pot has drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain out. If water collects in the bottom it can create the perfect environment for the fungus to grow leading to root rot.

Get Sunlight Right

The easiest way to keep your hoya happy – especially if it is a new addition to your collection – is to place it somewhere with bright indirect light at first.

After a few weeks, you can introduce direct sunlight (a few hours in the morning is best) and see how your hoya responds. If you start with direct sunlight straight away it can cause sun scorch, so you need to give your hoya a chance to adapt.

You should of course take into account the variety of hoya that you have as well – some are much more suited for direct sunlight than others.

Isolate New Additions To The Collection

Pest infestations can quickly damage your hoyas and cause much worse issues than just wrinkled leaves.

If you purchase a new plant be sure to isolate it for a couple of weeks. The last thing you want is to introduce new pests to your other plants and cause them to suffer.

Summing It Up

When it comes to hoya wrinkled leaves it’s all about finding the sweet spot in growing conditions to ensure your plant is happy.

Most of the time your hoya’s leaves will be wrinkled due to an issue with watering, but you can use this guide to quickly determine what is causing the issue and how to resolve it.

Photo of author

About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

2 thoughts on “Hoya Wrinkled Leaves: 8 Possible Causes & What To Do”

  1. I moved and forgot to cover my hoyas they were left in the box truck overnight and we had frezzing temps any chance of saving them

    • Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Your hoyas should be fine if it was only one night – it’s usually only when it lasts for a few days that the roots will be affected. Since they were in the truck, I would assume they would’ve been protected from freezing.

      You might notice some cold shock (drooping leaves & leaf drop) over the next few days, but as they adjust to the new surroundings it should be okay!


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