Common name: King of Hearts
Synonymous: Curmeria Wallisii
Distibution and habitat: Homalomena wallisii is a perennial species of flowering plant in the Araceae family. It is tropical native plant found in humid climes of Columbia and Venezuela. It reaches about 15cm (6 inch) in height but with a much wider spread. Homalomena wallisii is an evergreen plant with simple leaves arranged opposite one to another. They are elliptic with entire margins. Spathes arranged solitary are followed by berries.
Description: Homalomena wallisii is a very compact Aroid with ornamental leathery leaves. The broadly ovate-lanceolate leaves are of a deep velvety green with markings of a marbled yellow. The leaf blades are about 13-20cm (5-8 inch) in length, on rather short stalks, arching or recurving. The spathe is quite inconspicuous, being of a yellowish white color, shorter than the spreading leaves. The plant grows to a height of 20-25cm (8-10 inch), forming a mass of foliage from underground stems.
Houseplant care: Lush, tidy, clumping plant, Homalomena wallisii is a relatively easy indoor plant to grow with lovely, exceptional leaf shapes and colouration.
Homalomena wallisii requires heat and moisture for its development, hence it is best for a terrarium when grown as a house plant.
Light: Homalomena wallisii likes a partially shaded position when grown outdoors. As houseplant it does well in medium to low light exposures but truly thrive in medium light conditions.
Temperature: The warmest place in the house should be reserved for Homalomena wallisii. A suitable bay-window or a terrarium is best for Homalomena wallisii plants.
Homalomena wallisii will require an optimal temperature of between 15- 32ºC (60-90ºF). It can withstand temperatures as low as 4ºC (40ºF) with little to no damage.
Whenever the temperature climb over 18oC (64oF), it is a good idea to increase the level of humidity by standing the plants on trays of moist pebbles and spray them. Use soft rainwater to mist the Homalomena wallisii.
Water: Homalomena wallisii love the moisture. Water plentifully as much as necessary to keep the soil thoroughly moist in active growing period. Empty the plant saucers after watering, as stagnant water could damage the roots.
During the winter rest period water sparingly, allowing the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.
Dry soil will turn the foliage yellow and spartan.
Fertilising: Fertilise regularly with a liquid plant food about every two weeks during the active growth period. Reduce feedings in winter.
Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mix that retains water yet drains well. Move Homalomena wallisii into containers one size larger in spring. Homalomena wallisii do not have a deep root system and grow well in shallow pans or half-pots.
Propagation: Homalomena wallisii can be propagated by division in spring when repot the plants. Carefully detach a section of rhizome bearing two or three leaves from the main rootstock and place it in a 5-8cm (2-3 inch) pot of moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and sand.
Enclose the whole in a plastic bag and keep it warm in medium light until the new roots will develop. Then remove the new plant from the bag and treat it as mature Homalomena wallisii.
Problems: No major insect or disease problems.
Low humidity will cause browning along the leaf edges.
If temperature is dropping below 4ºC (40ºF) the foliage of growing Homalomena wallisii plants may yellow or rot.
An over abundance of sun will scorch the foliage – causing burnt spots on the leaves.
Uses: Homalomena wallisii, although too tender for general use, makes a fine object for table decoration. It is suitable for pots or for group planting. This low-growing plant is also suitable for terrariums.
Homalomena wallisii is proved to reduce ammonia levels as per NASA researches, so it is not only beautiful but also an efficient air-filtering plant for home.
Notes: Homalomena wallisii can be confused with the rather similar Aglaonema.
Foliage – variegated
Shape – bushy
Height: 20-25cm (8-10 inch)
Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 21°C (55-70°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 21°C (64-70°F)
Humidity – high
Hardiness zone: 10-11