Homalomenas are tropical plants native to regions of Southeast Asia. There are over 100 species of Homalomenas in the Araceae plant family, but most of these species are not available for ornamental and commercial use. However, some species have become popular as indoor plants in more recent years.
One of these is Homalomena Selby. This species is famed for its light to medium green foliage featuring stunning, dark green patterns. Its leathery, oval-shaped leaves grow compactly from the center of the plant, making it appealing as an indoor plant.
Praised for its low to moderate light needs, disease resistance, and relative ease of care, Homalomena Selby makes a welcoming addition to your houseplant collection!
Homalomena Selby: A Comprehensive Care Guide Family: Araceae
Cultivator: Homalomena Selby
Common Names: Queen of Hearts, Shield Plant
Plant Type: Perennial
USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 – 15
Sun Requirement: Partial Sun, Shade
Height: 12″- 16″
Width: 12″- 18″
Homalomenas are accustomed to getting indirect sunlight at the understory of dense rainforests, so you should try to mimic this indoors. Homalomena Selby can tolerate low light conditions indoors, but the plant does even better in medium, indirect light during periods of active growth. Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to become faded or burnt.
As a tropical plant, Selby does not like to dry out, so be sure to maintain a regular watering schedule during active growth periods. When low on water, its leaf tips begin to brown and wither. Too much water, on the other hand, can result in yellowing, dropping leaves, and in extreme cases, root rot.
For best results, allow the soil to dry out on the top inch before watering again. When watering, ensure that the container has adequate draining so that the roots are not sitting in water. Slightly reduce the watering during the inactive winter months.
Homalomena Selby prefers a light, loamy, and well-drained medium with a slightly acidic PH and organic material. A standard houseplant mix will suffice, but you can also mix ordinary potting soil with a generous amount of drainage amendments, such as perlite or sand.
Due to their tropical nature, Homalomenas love the warm temperatures, naturally. The ideal temperature range is between 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit (16-32 Celsius), but the plant can tolerate temperatures as low as 40 degrees. If temperatures drop below 40 degrees, the leaves will yellow or rot, and the plant may eventually die.
As with most tropical indoor plants, Homalomena Selby prefers higher humidity. Low humidity will cause browning on the leaf edges. The plant will do fine in average household air, but if your environment is on the drier side, your plant will appreciate a regular spritzing with water. You can also use a humidifier or place the plant on a tray filled with water and pebbles.
During the active growth periods of spring and summer, fertilize your Homalomena Selby twice a month with a slow-release fertilizer diluted to half of the suggested dose. Reduce fertilizing during inactive, cooler months.
Homalomena plants tend to have deep roots, so avoid planting them in shallow containers. Make sure that the container has good drainage to prevent root rot. Repot the plant once you see that the roots are beginning to block drainage holes. To minimize damage and stunted growth, switch containers during the active growth period of warmer months.
Homalomena Selby has a compact growing habit. You won’t need to prune too often, but you can occasionally groom the plant for a neater appearance.
The roots of Homalomena Selby tend to clump, so it is best to propagate them through root division. In a nutshell, this method involves taking a rooted plant division from the parent plant and then replanting the division into another container. If done correctly, this method helps ensure a more predictable outcome.
The process may seem daunting for beginners, but it is simple:
- First, remove the plant from its container, making sure to remove excess soil from the roots.
- Then, use your hands to divide the root ball into sections.
- Plant the root divisions into a separate, smaller container of the same soil mix as the parent plant.
- Finally, place the container in medium, indirect sunlight. Water the divisions regularly to help them settle.
You can also propagate your Homalomena Selby with stem cuttings. Use a sterile, sharp knife or a pair of scissors to cut a stem piece. Leave a few leaves on the top of the stem and then replant the stem cutting in soil and place the container in the light. Keep the soil moist, and you should see new growth within a week or so.
Homalomena Selby will do well with other tropical plants that require similar care. Philodendrons, for example, are tropical plants belonging to the same Araceae plant family.
Homalomena Selby is highly resistant to most pests and illnesses. It is rare for this plant to become ill, but as with most plants, an inadequate growing environment increases the chance of disease and pests. As a good general practice, keep an eye out for any signs of illness and occasionally shower the leaves with an organic, neem-oil-based plant soap to keep these issues at bay.
While beautiful, Homalomena Selby is a very toxic plant, and ingestion can be fatal! Be mindful of its placement indoors if you have small children and pets.
This particular cultivar may be a little pricey at times, but the stunning patterns, durable leaves, and ease of care make it worth adding to your indoor plant collection!