The Homalomena Selby plant is an excellent indoor plant for people who prefer the less common and unique houseplant varieties.
Like most other indoor tropical plants, the Homalomena Selby is generally easy to care for and can grow an impressive two to four feet in height when kept in ideal living conditions.
Although Homalomena Selby’s distinctive appearance and undeniable beauty make it every plant enthusiast’s dream, it’s crucial that you know how to handle this very toxic plant.
If small children or house pets take a bite out of the leaves or stems, a severe allergic reaction, skin irritation, or breathing problems can occur.
Continue reading to learn about the appearance, origin, and benefits of Homalomena plants and their basic care routine.
The Homalomena Selby Tropical Plant: Appearance and Benefits
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The Homalomena Selby are generally rare tropical plants native to the rainforests in Southeastern Asia.
Known for its stunning foliage that consists of vibrant lime green leaves with dark green edges, the Selby, Queen of Hearts, or the Shield plant is indeed one of the most beautiful variegated houseplants out there.
Although the tropical Homalomena Selby plants prefer warm temperatures, direct sunlight can cause the emerald gem leaves to lose their variegation.
Eventually, the stripes and spots disappear, and the vibrant green foliage loses its visual appeal.
Apart from being a stunning Southeast Asian hybrid plant, these tropical plants are also desired for their ability to reduce tension and stress and induce calmness and productivity.
Moreover, the Homalomena Selby is an excellent air purifier that can cleanse the air of a majority of airborne toxins in no time.
This quality makes the Shield plant a brilliant home addition for people suffering from asthma, cough, or any other respiratory diseases.
The Homalomena Selby Care Guide
The Homalomena Selby plant’s appearance and health are directly dependent on its watering routine.
Apart from the amount of water, the technique or tool used to add that water will also play a crucial part in the plant’s growth.
In general, the tropical Homalomena Selby plant needs to be watered at least one to two times every week.
Since people are usually inexperienced with Homalomena Selby plants, the chances of over or under-watering the tropical hybrid plant are high.
When the plant is underwatered, its green leaves begin to shrivel up, and the leaf edges turn dry and brown. Eventually, this can result in excessive leaf loss, impacting the plant’s visual appeal and air-purifying ability.
Moreover, apart from insufficient watering, excessive watering can also negatively affect the plant’s health and total lifespan and can lead to root rot.
What is Root Rot?
High atmospheric humidity, excess watering, or lack of sufficient drainage holes can almost immediately affect indoor plants like the Homalomena Selby.
When water accumulates inside the Homalomena Selby plant’s pot, it creates a medium that encourages and harbors fungal growth.
As airborne fungal spores settle on the damp soil, they quickly begin to multiply and feast on the organic matter present in the soil.
It will take only a few days for the fungus to grow and fully engulf the Homalomena Selby plant’s roots, causing root rot.
Eventually, the heavy leaf loss affects the entire plant’s ability to capture light and produce plant food. As a result, growth slows down, and Homalomena Selby dies prematurely.
To avoid over-watering and prevent root rot, it is best to check for moisture in the top inch of the soil.
Besides watering your Homalomena Selby houseplant, providing it with proper light exposure is equally important. Like most other tropical indoor plants, the Homalomena Selby does best under indirect sunlight.
Unfiltered or direct sunlight can burn the thin Homalomena Selby leaves and can cause a rise in the plant’s internal temperature. The increased temperature leads to water loss from the leaves, which causes them to turn brown, curl up, or fall off.
Moreover, prolonged exposure to intense light can fade the Homalomena Selby leaf’s beautiful variegation, affecting the entire plant’s visual appeal.
The best tip is to place the tropical plant under low light conditions, such as in a well-lit corner or a sunny window.
However, during the harsh winter months, refrain from placing the Homalomena Selby plant against cold and drafty windows, especially during its active growth period.
The indirect sunlight protects the Homalomena plant from losing its vibrant pattern and helps facilitate new growth and better resistance.
If sufficient indirect light is rare where you live, invest in a solar lamp to cater to your Homalomena Selby plant’s primary light requirements. However, set the lamp on its low light setting to protect the leaf edges from burning.
The Homalomena Selby plant experiences optimal growth in the 60 to 90℉ temperature range. Such temperatures help protect the Selby plants and their leaves from burning or curling inwards.
However, refrain from placing your young Homalomena Selby plant in front of a hot air vent or an air conditioner, as either will dry up the air around the plant.
The Homalomena Selby plant enjoys active growth when placed in an environment that mimics humid rainforests. Ideally, the atmospheric humidity levels need to be around 50 to 70%. High humidity keeps the Homalomena Selby plant’s soil evenly moist without triggering root rot.
If the air is dry and lacks humidity, it can cause water to diffuse out of the Selby leaves, down a concentration gradient. As a result, the entire Homalomena Selby plant dehydrates and suffers from slow growth, high leaf loss, and low plant food production.
If you live in a dry region, invest in a high-quality humidifier or place the plant on a pebble tray filled with water.
Moreover, if the atmospheric humidity level is above 80%, it is essential to invest in better indoor ventilation to prevent root rot and maintain the young Shelby plant’s growth habit.
The type of soil you plant your Homalomena Selby in will directly impact the plant’s growth, maximum height, overall appearance, and leaf health.
Well-draining soil that is rich in micronutrients and minerals helps the tropical plant enjoy rapid growth and develop high disease resistance and immunity.
Choose potting soil that is light, well-draining, loamy, and slightly acidic in nature to elongate your Homalomena Selby plant’s lifespan and enhance its appearance.
To make the potting soil acidic, add coffee grounds of an unsaturated coffee solution to the soil at least once every month.
Moreover, allow the soil to dry up fully before adding more water. If signs of root rot or fungal growth become apparent, change the potting soil and replant your Homalomena Selby in a fresh, fungus-free batch.
The Homalomena Selby plant care routine is generally easy for all beginner-level plant caretakers. Since the Homalomena plant is a slow-growing indoor plant, one does not have to worry about repotting it too often.
Unless you witness root tips growing out of the plant’s drainage holes or you can spot cracks on the container’s walls, there is no need to repot the plant.
Usually, repotting needs to be done only once every two to three years. When the need arises, it is best to choose a larger container to allow the enlarged root ball and deep roots enough space to grow.
Moreover, by using shallow containers with abundant drainage holes, you can prevent water accumulation and can help protect the Homalomena hybrid plants from a fungal infection.
Furthermore, by placing a vertical stick in the center of the plant, you will help your growing Homalomena cultivator trail upwards and enjoy better light exposure.
Adding a slow-release fertilizer to a growing Homalomena Selby plant’s soil can facilitate rapid growth and help develop a strong, disease-resistant house plant. A mild liquid fertilizer returns essential micronutrients to the soil without causing a chemical build-up.
If you over-fertilize the Selby plant’s soil, the chemical build-up will limit the water uptake, affecting the plant’s hydration and health.
The best tip is to fertilize your Homalomena Selby plants twice a month during the growing season and be sure to use the correct amount of a well-diluted liquid fertilizer.
Like other indoor plants, your Homalomena Selby plant also needs proper protection against common plant pests.
If you notice spider mites, aphids, mealy bugs, fungal gnats, or any other type of plant pests infesting your Homalomena Selby plant, use a mild soap solution to disinfect your indoor plant.
Finally, the greatest reward of following the Homalomena Selby care guide is the hybrid plant’s ability to propagate into new plants.
All you need is a well-matured and healthy Homalomena Selby parent plant. Use a pair of pruning shears to cut long sections of the stems.
Start filling a tray with high-quality potting soil and plant your stem cuttings. Water the stem cuttings generously and place the tray near a sunny window.
Once you notice new roots growing from under the stem cuttings, remove the stems and plant them into separate containers that offer good drainage.
Provide the new Homalomena Selby plants with proper care, and enjoy watching your house plant collection grow.
Final Thoughts – Caring for Southeast Asian Tropical Plant
The Southeast Asian Homalomena Selby is a stunning house plant that is desired for its easy care routine and vibrant green foliage.
As long as the Homalomena hybrid plant is provided with proper watering, sufficient indirect sunlight, occasional fertilizing, and high humidity levels, the plant will exhibit fast growth and will have no problem maintaining its undeniable visual appeal and freshness.