Botanical Name: Homalomena species
Common Name: Selby, Emerald Gem, Queen of Hearts, Shield Plant, Red Stem
Homalomena is not a common household name, but once the news gets out about how easy this species is to care for, that might change! The variety 'Selby' has remarkable mottled foliage that gently displays varying degrees of green verses the subtle deep green foliage of the Emerald Green and the Red Stem Homalomena. The leathery leaves ovate-lanceolate leaves form from the center of the plant and arch outwards, developing into a well-rounded shape. This uncommon houseplant is relatively easy to care for as they are low light tolerant, but give them plenty of warmth and indirect sunlight during the growing season so they can produce new growth. If you see the foliage wilt, it's time to give it water. Overall, homalomena is similar in growth habit to an aglaonema, and they both have similar care requirements (minus the water requirements!).
An actual under-story plant, homalomena can tolerate lower light conditions in your home. Consider placing it where it receives more indirect light during the growing season for optimal growth. The difference between outdoor shade and low interior light is massive so try to give all of your indoor plants as much access to natural light as humanly possible! That said, they should be kept from direct light as the leaves may scorch.
It is important to keep homalomena well watered during its active growing period, but be sure to let the water drain from the pot after watering to prevent root rot. Cut way back on watering during the winter months and allow the soil to dry out partially between watering.
You may need to transplant your homalomena every year or so, depending on how fast it grows. We recommend using a soil mixture that is rich in organic matter, has good drainage, and is light and loose. Most bagged potting soil will be fine, but avoid potting mixes that contain moisture retaining crystals, and they can keep the soil wet for long periods, which can cause root damage. Be adventurous and learn how to create your own universal potting soil mixture!
Temperatures between 60-90℉ are ideal, and they can withstand temps as low as 40℉. However, these tropical houseplants love warmer conditions, so the warmer, the better!
Homalomena prefer high humidity, so place this houseplant in a spot that has a lot of moisture in the air. Keep in mind that in many areas, winter air can be dry, so the plant may need a helpful boost from a humidifier or a pebble tray with water to help increase the dampness and offset a dry environment. Learn how to increase the humidity in the air around your indoor plants!
To encourage leaf and root development, fertilize homalomena twice a month during the growing season with a complete liquid fertilizer at diluted to 1/4 the recommended strength. Do not fertilize during the winter, or when there is no active growth.
Homalomena are slow-medium growers reaching mature heights of 30"+ when properly cared.
Pet Friend or Foe
All species of homalomena are toxic to pets. Foe!
- Homalomena have deep roots so do not transplant into shallow containers.
- If the leaf edges start turning brown, then increase the humidity with a humidifier or place the plant on a tray filled with water and pebbles.
- Homalomenas are notorious for alerting you when they need water! Their leaves will rapidly droop (sinking heart), but after a thorough soaking, their foliage should pop back up; just do not procrastinate as they are begging you for water at this point!