Homalomena

Homalomena

Homalomena is a genus from the Araceae family, numbering about 150 species, which are naturally distributed in tropical regions of Asia and America.

Like other members of the family, Homalomena is characterized by the formation of large basal rosettes of long-petiolized leaves. At the same time, due to the powerful branched rhizome, the plant is characterized by strong growth.

The leaf plate is leathery, whole-edged, often with pronounced venation. Its shape is usually heart-shaped, but it can vary somewhat from species to species. The flowers are greenish-white, tiny, without a perianth, collected in a dense cob-shaped inflorescence, surrounded by a green veil.

Homalomena
Homalomena

Since the original species plants are not very decorative and rather capricious, various hybrids and varieties are widespread in the culture. And the most popular of them – “Harlequin» (Harlequin) – one of the varieties Homalomeny Wallis (Homalomena wallisii). It is a slow-growing ornamental deciduous plant. Petioles are reddish, short and curved. The leaf plate is dense, oval, 15 – 20 cm long. Its surface is matte velvety and beautifully patterned: a variety of light green spots, dots and strokes are scattered over a dark olive-green background. Older leaves have a more intense color and pronounced velvety.

Growing conditions for Homalomena

This plant often does not like it even where its relatives grow well. The degree of capriciousness is almost unpredictable, sometimes the Homalomena likes an inappropriate place, but more often she suffers even in ideal conditions.

Lighting and placement

Homalomena is a lover of intermediate, diffused, but still bright lighting. On the southern, western and even eastern window sills, it should be shaded from the direct midday sun or placed in soft partial shade near the window. If the plant is “accustomed” to a more modest level of illumination, it is better to transfer it to bright light gradually, adapting. The plant signals the need for more light by dropping the lower, old leaves and shrinking new ones.

Homalomenu can be grouped with other plants, it never gets lost against the background of its neighbors and always emphasizes their dignity.

homalomena
homalomena

Temperature control and ventilation

This is a thermophilic plant that does not tolerate temperatures below 15 degrees. The optimal growing range for Homalomena is 16 to 20 degrees in winter and 23 to 25 degrees in summer. It is not afraid of heat, it grows quite well at temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius, subject to ideal care.

Extremely sensitive to drafts, homalomena requires very gentle but regular ventilation. They cannot take it out into the fresh air even in the middle of summer.

Home care for Homalomena

Extreme sensitivity to even a slight drying out of the soil, low humidity, the habit of withering and twisting leaves for any oversight – Homalomena rarely copes with care mistakes.

Watering and air humidity

The decorativeness of homalogena directly depends on the stable moisture content of the substrate. Between waterings, more than 4-5 cm of soil can be allowed to dry out at the top of the earthen coma. It is convenient to focus on wilting of leaves, but it is dangerous, constant stress is not good for the plant. Waterlogging is undesirable to the same extent as for other plants.

In winter, watering is reduced only at temperatures below 20 degrees, focusing on the usual humidity.

The water should be soft and several degrees warmer than the air in the room. Homalomena is great for growing with self-irrigation systems and in hydroponics.

It is extremely important for Homalomena to maintain high levels of air humidity. At temperatures above 18 degrees Celsius, the indicators should not fall below 70%. Spraying is welcome, but rather an additional measure, because a truly comfortable environment for Homalomena can only be created by installing a humidifier (for example, a tray with wet pebbles).

The leaves must be kept clean at all times and not tossed out on a regular warm shower, creating the most “tropical” conditions possible. Of course, ideally, a Homalomena should generally be displayed in a showcase, greenhouse or under a hood.

Topdressing and composition of fertilizers

Fertilizing for Homalomena is only in liquid form, along with water for irrigation. And only during the active growing season. The optimal frequency of feeding is every 2 weeks.

Fertilizers are ideal for this plant for decorative deciduous plants with an organic-mineral composition. You can just alternate mineral and organic fertilizers.

Pruning and shaping homalogena

Only damaged leaves that have lost their decorative effect are removed from the plant. They are cut whole with a handle. If the peduncles are not removed before blooming, it is better not to tighten them with pruning after wilting.

Once it becomes apparent that the side shoots are shadowing each other, the Homalomena needs to be rejuvenated by seating and splitting.

Transplant, containers and substrate

It is not worth replanting a large plant in the autumn-winter period, and even when transplanting from May to the end of summer, Homalomena often “freezes” in growth, loses more leaves than with a conventional transplant in early spring. Roots develop faster than the aerial part; transplantation is needed annually with rare exceptions.

For Homalomena, you should carefully select the size of the pots. The plant loves tightness more, the volume of the container should correspond to the size of the root ball, with an increase of 1-2 cm.

Any soil mixture with a sufficiently loose, resistant to compaction texture, acidity within the framework of neutral and slightly acidic indicators (pH from 6.0 to 8.0) is suitable for Homalomena. Complex nutrient soils with peat and soddy soil are preferred. Of the ready-made substrates, soils are best suited for ornamental deciduous plants. It is desirable to additionally add a portion of crushed sphagnum to the substrate, if possible – coconut fiber.

This is a rare plant in which you can bare the roots (if there is no need, it is still better not to do this). When transplanting, you should try to straighten the roots, direct them evenly and downward, making sure that there are no bends. Roots that are too long can be shortened by cutting with charcoal. The drainage at the bottom of the pots should be high and coarsely fragmented.

Reproduction of homalogena

This plant is propagated at home in only one way – it is shared by adult, lush bushes. You can simply divide the bush into 2-3 large parts, or you can cut off rather small lateral, daughter processes with at least 2 to 3 leaves. The main thing is that the outlets have their own roots, and the sections are carefully processed.

Diseases, pests and growing problems

Sensitively reacting with burns to direct sunlight and quickly “decorating” with dry edges of leaves at the slightest decrease in air humidity, homalomena does not like any extremes.

Of the pests on the Homalomena, spider mites, mealybugs, whiteflies, scale insects and false scale insects are found. Bioinsecticides, infusion of garlic, yarrow will help in the early stages, but if the insects have spread strongly, it is better to choose stronger insecticides (Aktellik, Aktara).

Types of indoor Homalomena

In fact, there is only one species on sale today that is less demanding on extremely high air humidity.

Homalomena Wallis ( Homalomena wallisii ) is the most common species with leaves up to 20 cm and numerous variegated varieties. The most common cultivars – “Camouflage» (of Camouflage) , the coloring of the spots which are compared with military uniforms, and “Emerald Green» ( Emerald Green ) with a rich emerald hue.

Much less common is the “greenhouse”, more capricious reddish Homalomena (Homalomena rubescens) – the species valued primarily for its bright crimson petioles with leathery, very bright leaves.

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