If you’re into foliage, then you need to meet the Homalomena. Sure, plenty of plants have spectacular greenery (ahem, Monstera and Prayer Plant), but the Homalomena has stunning foliage. The simple green leaves of the Emerald Gem Homalomena are not fancy, but their simplicity makes them beautiful. Another member of the Araceae family, Homalomena, is a tropical plant found in nature throughout southern Asia and the southwestern Pacific with some calling South America home. These plants are not demanding, making Homalomena care easy.
Types of Homalomena
Homalomena is known for large, glossy, often heart-shaped foliage. Like many other plants, the leaf shape inspires the common names queen of hearts or the shield plant. Leaves typically have a pronounced midrib and veining. The foliage is often green, although some cultivars have variegation. The leaves grow on upright stems that emerge from a central point. Some plants have red accents on the underside of the foliage or along the stem.
Mature, healthy plants are full, and lush, and reach 12 to 30 inches tall. Some Homalomena plants have a slight fragrance of anise, which gives black licorice its distinctive flavor. The more common Homalomena varieties include:
- Homalomena Camouflage (Homalomena wallisii)
- Homalomena Emerald Gem (Homalomena rubescens)
- Homalomena Lemon Lime (Homalomena rubescens)
- Homalomena Red Stem (Homalomena rubescens)
- Homalomena Selby (Adelomena wallisii)
Formerly Known As
The Homalomena Purple Sword has sword-shaped green and silver variegated foliage. The underside of the leaves is a rich purple. This plant has officially been reclassified as an Apoballis Purple Sword, but it’s often labeled as a Homalomena. It takes time for changes to catch on, but the care requirements are similar.
Homalomena Light Needs
Place Homalomena plants in medium light. These leafy plants thrive in an east- or west-facing window. Some Homalomena plants can handle bright sunlight but never direct, which can burn the leaves.
Part of what makes these leafy beauties such great houseplants is their adaptability. Homalomena can grow in low light, making it possible to add greenery to areas not typically hospitable to plants. Note that Homalomenas are not fast-growing plants, and plants in low light will grow even slower. Variegated varieties may revert to green in low light, too. Homalomena plants create more plant styling opportunities, but there are trade-offs to placing the plant in low light.
How Often to Water Homalomena
Watering is the hardest part of Homalomena care. These plants don’t like to be wet but they don’t like to be dry. Water when the top one inch of the soil is dry. Saturate the soil until water drains through the container. Plants in low light will not need water as often, and Homalomena plants need less water during the fall and winter when they’re dormant.
Overwatering is a big problem for Homalomena. Most plants do not like overly damp conditions, but root rot is a common problem for Homalomena. Yellowing on the tips of the foliage indicates the plant has been overwatered. While drooping stems and curling leaves are signs the plant is too dry.
Best Soil for Homalomena
Use rich, well-drained soil with an acidic pH for proper Homalomena care. Potting mixes with peat provide good support. Drainage is essential because these plants do not like wet feet, and while you’re at it, make sure the pot has drainage, too.
Temperature for Homalomena
Homalomena like warm conditions, but normal room temperature is fine for them. If you are comfortable, then the plant will be fine. Although they like warm weather, especially when the temperature gets above 70° F. Treat your Homalomena to a summer spent on a porch or outdoor area but get the plant back inside before the temperature drops.
These plants can live in average humidity, but increased humidity is best for Homalomena care. Consider placing this leafy plant in an area of your home with increased dampness, like a kitchen or bathroom. Brown, dried-out edges are a sign that the plant needs more humidity. Take steps to increase the dampness to support the Homalomena.
Rich soil is vital to Homalomena care, but routine fertilizer applications also support growth. Feed the plant every two weeks using a balanced, slow-release fertilizer during the growing season. Homalomena may go dormant when the days get shorter during the fall and winter, so pause the fertilizing routine and let the plant rest.
Do Homalomena Bloom?
Yes, Homalomena set flowers, but they are not significant or showy. This plant is all about foliage, and many plant owners remove the flowers to direct energy into more greenery.
Pruning is not common for Homalomena care, but it’s sometimes necessary. Remove dead or damaged growth by removing the entire leaf and stem when pruning. Use clean, sharp shears to make the cut and clean them after use. Take care when handling Homalomena because skin irritation is possible for some people.
When to Repot Homalomena
Homalomena plants are content being slightly rootbound, but its time to repot when the roots appear above the soil or poke through the drainage holes. This is a slow-growing plant, especially in low light, so it may take time before this beauty is ready for a new home. When you do repot, choose a pot that is 1-2 inches larger and use rich soil. Spring is a good time to repot plants as they emerge from dormancy and start to grow again.
There are two ways to propagate Homalomena — division or stem cuttings. Division is easiest and best done when repotting. Simply split or divide the plant into multiple smaller plants. Each new plant can be repotted in a container that is 1-2 inches larger than the root ball.
Stem cuttings can be taken when repotting. You want to cut a section of the lower stem that has a few roots. Plant the cutting in well-draining soil and tent with plastic wrap or any type of clear plastic to create a greenhouse effect. Place the mini greenhouse in bright, indirect sunlight. Heat and humidity are necessary to encourage the cutting to grow, but release moisture daily to prevent mold from forming. It can take up to two months for new growth to appear.
Is Homalomena Pet Friendly?
Homalomena plants are not safe to have around pets and young children. The plant is toxic and can cause swelling of the mouth and throat and difficulty breathing if ingested. Even handling the plant can cause skin irritation.
Homalomena Styling Tips
The key to styling Homalomena plants is to let them do what they do. This is a lush and leafy plant, so find a neutral or subdued planter or cover pot, so the foliage stands out. Homalomena plants are a natural fit in a plant stand which will elevate the greenery, placing it closer to a comfortable line of sight. Since Homalomena can live in low light, consider placing this plant near a north-facing window or an area that doesn’t have enough natural light to support most plants.
Homalomena Care Tips
The easy, laid-back attitude of Homalomena make this a wonderful option for plant owners not looking for a serious commitment. This lovely plant still requires some attention, and it’s important to keep up with its water needs, but Homalomena care is relatively simply. Introducing this plant to your space adds a vibrant energy and effortless style.