What is the Homalomena House Plant?
Homalomena is a genus of tropical foliage plant. These perennials, which are desirable for their deeply green, glossy foliage, are native to Asia and South America. Most are not cultivated for use in the home garden, but a few of the species, such as H. rubra, are popularly grown as house plants.
Homalomena plants are in the Aracae family, according to the International Aroid Society. They are related to the common philodendron, which is reflected in the plant's appearance and required care. These compact, slow-growing, evergreen plants are ideal for container growing.
Homalomena plants have very glossy, heart-shaped leaves that look somewhat like they've been polished. The color of the leaves can vary depending on the species and cultivar. "Emerald Gem" has very rich, dark green leaves. H. selby has light green, variegated leaves with darker green veins and margins. Like all aroids, the plant produces a long, slender, creamy-white inflorescence that is surrounded by a shorter spathe, or "skirt," of modified leaves. This is the showiest part of the plant. The flowers themselves are tiny and usually remain hidden beneath the spathe.
Water and Soil
Homalomena house plants thrive in rich, loamy soil that drains well. Choose a container with a drainage hole and a water catch tray, and use a commercial potting mix that has peat moss in the ingredients, which will help with drainage. Water when the top inch or so of soil feels dry to the touch, and use lukewarm water, not cold water.
Light, Food and Humidity
Homalomenas are shrubby plants that grow along the forest floor in their native environments, which is usually fairly dim. Replicate that environment in your home by placing the plant where it will receive only filtered sunlight. Direct sunlight will scorch the broad leaves. Provide humidity for your plant by running a humidifier next to it a few times a week, or mist the plant daily with a spray bottle. Feed once every two weeks with a fertilizer formulated for indoor tropical foliage plants according to the instructions on the label.
Do not over-water this plant. Too much water in the soil will lead to root rot, which will destroy the roots of the plant. While homalomenas are very hardy and not subject to serious insect pest or disease problems, they can be plagued by common house plant pests such as spider mites or scale. If you see insects on the plant, give it a good rinsing in a strong stream of water. This will knock off the bugs and get the dust off of the leaves.