Nearly all plants flower. Trees, shrubs, vines, and even weeds produce flowers. However, in many cases, it takes many years for a plant to reach a flowering maturity and can be an uncommon sight. The flowers on the portulacaria afra, or “Elephants Food” (because in Addo National Park, South Africa, it is said to form 80% of the elephants diet) are an example of those hidden beauties. The star shaped flowers are said to seldom be seen in the western U.S. and are even more rare in cultivation, but if the plant is old enough, and kept very dry, they may flower after a rain. San Diego is said to see flowers occasionally in the fall months of October and November. In areas of South Africa, with a good flowering season, the landscape is swallowed by a pink haze. With luck, after many years of letting your Elephants Food turn into an old shrub, you may be blessed with these gorgeous pink, rose, lilac flowers. This photo was taken only recently of a very old, very dry, unpruned specimen, in the hills of escondido.
When encouraging a hoya to flower, it’s important to understand the stages of growth and everything your plant needs to produce its signature scented blooms.