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How to Care for Emerald Plants

By Mason Howard

It is essential that houseplants are able to thrive in indoor environments where the air is warm and the natural light is somewhat limited. Thus, many houseplants sold in nurseries today are rain forest varieties. Rain forest plants are naturally adapted to environments that are similar to a home's interior, as the rain forest floor is dimly lit with humid air. One type of rain forest plant sold as a houseplant is the Homalomena rubra, which is more affectionately referred to as the "emerald gem."

Plant emerald gems in fresh potting soil. For each pot, sift into the soil a healthy handful each of perlite, peat and bonsai or orchid bark. The added ingredients will ensure that the soil is fertile and can retain enough moisture to feed the plant's roots while still being able to drain excess water.

Place emerald gems in a location with filtered light. Warmer temperatures and the moisture of a bathroom or kitchen are also beneficial.

Water emerald gems just enough to keep the soil continually moist. Do not let the soil dry out, as leaves will turn yellow, but do not oversaturate the soil, as the plant may become infested with insects or fungal growth. Use only tepid water -- not cold -- when watering tropical houseplants.

Spray the foliage routinely with tepid water.

Wipe the leaves down occasionally with a cloth to clean them. Emerald gem leaves are waxy and lustrous, and dust buildup combined with spraying will leave them looking spotty and dull.

Trim yellowed leaves, if they occur, cutting them off at the stem's base with scissors.

Fertilize emerald gems with organic houseplant fertilizer once each spring and once each summer. For vigorous foliage, use nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

Transplant emerald gems only if they outgrow their pots.


Things You Will Need

  • Potting soil
  • Perlite
  • Peat
  • Bonsai or orchid bark
  • Spray bottle
  • Scissors
  • Organic houseplant fertilizer

About the Author


Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.