One of the common myths about hoyas is that they absolutely hate repotting. But I believe this is not true at all, as long as you follow a few basic guidelines.
Repotting to change the substrate
I always repot every new hoya I get, because I find it easier to take care of them when they are placed in a substrate that I am familiar with. Here’s what potting mix I use >>>
When repotting to change the substrate, I remove as much of the old substrate as I can without damaging the roots. While doing this I also inspect the root system closely to see if any roots are rotting and need to be removed. When hoyas arrive in the mail, there’s a good chance that some of the roots didn’t make it. Learn more about hoya root rot >>>
If you had to remove some roots or part of the stem, wait a bit for the cuts to dry and heal before potting up the plant.
Another important thing is to pick the most suitable pot. Many times hoyas are overpotted when I receive them and I will not simply change the substrate and put them back in the same pot but rather downsize. You always want to pick the smallest pot possible. The roots should basically slightly touch the walls of the pot. This is the best way to avoid root rot in the future. Hoyas don’t like to stay wet for too long. Providing them with a correct ratio between the size of their root system and the amount of substrate in the pot is crucial.
Do not water the hoya on the same day when it was repotted. This is a preventive measure in case any of the roots get damaged when repotting. They always need to heal well before coming in contact with moisture, otherwise, they will start to rot. I find this is a very common mistake.
Repotting to a bigger pot
How do you know that your hoya needs a bigger pot? I usually repot when the substrate dries out entirely in 2 – 3 days after watering. This method seems to work great. When hoya dries out this quickly, it is in fact very root-bound already. At this stage, the root system will basically have the same shape as your pot. Here’s what I mean:
I repot the plants when the substrate is almost dry, not when it is moist. This way, if you damage any roots, they will not start rotting. I squeeze the pot a bit and very gently pull the plant out.
While repotting, you can again inspect the root system and remove the rotten roots if you see any. If the roots look fine, do not remove the old substrate and disturb the roots.
You should always repot to one size (!) bigger pot, never larger. Just add a bit of the substrate at the bottom, put the plant in, and add some more substrate at the sides and on top.
This way your plant will continue to thrive and grow without any interruptions. If you give it a pot that is too big, your hoya will be working on the roots only and will not put out any new leaves (that is if it doesn’t rot along the way).
And again, the most important thing – do not water right after repotting but wait for one day. This way you will make sure for the broken roots to heal before coming in contact with water.