Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mine's a Boy!

Once upon a time an odd plant hung in Grandma Nelson's front entryway in Driggs. The Wells Nelson kids knew this plant as Grandma Nelson's Hoya. I discovered the real story behind the Hoya at Grandma's house. When Wells and Esther lived in Montana, Esther received the plant from a friend. When they moved back to Driggs, Esther took the Hoya to town and hung it at Grandma's house. There it remained until after Grandma had passed away. Then Esther took the Hoya to Idaho Falls and began making starts from it.

Occasionally, and in some cases rarely, and in my case never, the Hoya will bloom clusters of tiny pink stars that appear plastic and artificial. I have a Hoya that is the grandchild of Esther’s original plant. He’s a boy.

Kaye claims there is no such thing as a boy Hoya. I disagree. Kaye claims my boy Hoya was a girl Hoya until I stole it from her. It bloomed at Kaye’s house. That was ten years ago! It hasn’t bloomed since. Mine’s a boy.

The sad thing is … I made a start from my boy Hoya for my niece. Hers blooms. It’s a girl!

Kaye tired of my complaining and gave me a girl Hoya. I think she can’t tell them apart. No blooms. It’s a boy!

I stole a start from a Hoya hanging in a restaurant. Guess what? It’s a boy! No blooms – not in six years!

Skeptics will argue that my plants aren’t getting the proper light and hydration. Wrong – O! I’ve tried scorching them by the window and hiding them in the dark. I’ve drenched them and dehydrated them – all to no avail. They’re boys and they aren’t going to flower!

My sisters, all successful Hoya bloomers, continue to give me advice.
“Put it in a window.”
“Don’t water it.”
“Water it a lot!”
“Put it in an East window.”
“Fertilize it.”
“Put it in a South window.”
“Let it dry out.”

Yeah, I’ve tried all that. I used to search for blossoms, signs of blossoms, or little nodes where blossoms might appear. Every new leaf bud was scrutinized as I watched with anticipation until it produced exactly what it intended to produce – another leaf. I’ve given the poor thing haircuts, trimming it back to stimulate growth and with luck, flowering.

There are other indications of gender – for instance, my Hoya is happy sitting by the recliner, looking out the window. He isn’t sentimental – after all, he did come from Conrad, the place of my birth. That ought to be motivation enough to produce lovely blossoms. But, alas, he is a boy. He cares not for ornamentation or sappy foolishness. I’ve talked to him. He doesn’t listen!
I’ve given up hope. I’ve simply come to the realization that my Hoya is a boy and I’m not going to change him!


  1. Mine's a girl and she's got buds right now. :)

    I think you're just pampering him too much. Think drought followed by rainy season. Let it go without water until some of the leaves start to get a little shriveled then start giving it water on a regular basis. You might find that you have a girl after all.

  2. I have two that are blooming right now. Mostly, I ignore them. Hmmm...., maybe I should check the other one downstairs. I bet it's been ignored long enough to have blossoms too.