According to botanist Pete
Boyce, this species is Homalomena rubra and is endemic to the
island of Java.
The species was published to science In
1842. If you're interested in a plant with a wide
range of opinions about care, Homalomena
(or Emerald Gem') is
your plant! I've found sources that claim Homalomena sp. grow
best under very low room light. Others claim it wants very bright, almost
direct sunlight. Some say to water it only rarely, others say water it
So I elected to turn to some plant scientists in Florida for
reliable information. These folks grow the plant as a tissue culture
(clone) in to make it readily available to the plant enthusiast. Those growers recommend conditions similar to many orchids: bright
filtered light between 75% and 80% along with a normal room temperature.
In zone 10 the plant will survive outdoors in temperatures as low as
55 degrees and high as 95 degrees. An aroid, Homalomena species
found in nature in both South America and Tropical Asia. Unfortunately
this one does not produce a really beautiful inflorescence with a spathe (some
incorrectly call it a flower) like
many of it's relatives. Homalomena
rubra species is grown primarily for it's heart shaped
leaves. The plant does however produce a small unremarkable green
rubra is an aroid
with approximately 4 inch (10cm) leaves when young that can spread 18" to
30" (45cm to 75cm) and will rarely grow as wide as three feet. If you're
growing the plant in your home it makes a beautiful interior plant with
its dark green waxy leaves and compact growing habit. Homalomena
sp. will in fact tolerate low light but don't expect it to flourish.
Humidity is said to not be critical, but being found in nature in humid
tropical conditions it will certainly appreciate high humidity as well.
Homalomena species do not like cold air, and some say it does not even
like cold water. Protect it from drafty conditions. It must have well
drained soil and if its roots are not subjected to excess wetness (wet
feet) the plant is tolerant of root rot and other disease. This
one is not propagated easily but will reproduce itself given good
rubra in a good soil mixture with lots of peat and Perlite
added to hold moisture and make it available to the roots while not
remaining soggy. We prefer to add a healthy helping of peat,
Perlite™, and orchid bark to all our aroids to keep the soil very loose.
Water the plant several times each week, more often during summer if
subjected to heat. For best growth include a very dilute
fertilizer, or as some growers say, fertilize "weakly weekly".