The Homalomena Selby recently became available at big box stores and plant nurseries, catching the attention of houseplant enthusiasts. This plant is hard to pass up with its large, velvety leaves that display light and dark green patterns.
As a cultivar of Homalomena, the Selby is a tropical houseplant that will light up your space. It can develop issues with its leaves, but you can prevent this with proper care. Let’s get familiar with how to care for Homalomena Selby so you can ensure that yours stays healthy.
Light Conditions for the Selby
As a tropical understory plant, this Homalomena prefers medium indirect light. It is very sensitive to direct light, which will cause the leaves to start wilting and crisping.
The Selby tolerates bright indirect light but can dry out rather quickly in high-light situations. Therefore, check the soil often in bright indirect light.
You can also keep your Selby in lower light conditions, but offer more light if you see yellowing leaves when your other care hasn’t changed.
When giving your Selby the preferred medium indirect light, it is optimal to offer top-down light. Due to its compact growth patterns and native habitat, the Selby flattens its leaves to absorb light better from above.
Top-down light is not a requirement, but the Selby can produce slightly larger leaves when receiving light from this direction.
For example, I noticed my Selby was doing great just below a north-facing window, but this spot was no longer optimal when I adopted a cat (toxic to pets). Therefore, I moved my Selby to a shelf 7 feet back from a west window. I’m still seeing excellent growth but slightly smaller leaves.
You can provide indirect top-down light by placing the plant just below a north-facing window (in the Northern Hemisphere). Or you can provide great ambient light by placing it 7 feet back from a brighter window.
The Selby also does very well under a grow light as long as the plant is not too close to the light source.
Watering Your Selby
Check your Homalomena’s soil every other day.
Of all the Homalomenas, the Selby is most sensitive to drying out. It needs consistently moist soil and wilts quickly when it becomes thirsty. I once noticed my Selby slowly droop while I was in a long Zoom meeting. Dramatic!
Like the Homalomena Camouflage (which has similar leaf texture and growth pattern), the Selby will quickly perk up after you water it. However, it is less forgiving than the Camouflage, in my experience.
The Selby’s leaves will easily develop crispy edges and yellowing bottom leaves with drought stress.
Prevent drought stress and leaf damage in your Homalomena Selby by watering it when the soil moisture reads at number 4 on a moisture meter.
The finger test also works well once you’ve become accustomed to what the soil feels like at that moisture level. The top layer of soil will feel slightly dry with hints of moisture still present, and the pot will feel lighter in weight.
While the Selby loves water, you can still overwater this plant by giving it water when the soil is still wet. This can eventually lead to root rot, though this plant is less prone to root rot than other tropical houseplants.
If you think you’ve overwatered, remove yellow leaves and allow the plant to reach the correct moisture level before watering again.
If you have lost some leaves due to struggles with getting the watering right, don’t worry. You’ll get the hang of it, and the Selby grows new leaves at a faster rate than other Homalomenas.
While this plant is picky about being watered on time, it does fine with unfiltered water. Not needing filtered water is always a plus when you have a thirsty plant. Occasional rainwater is terrific if you can give this to your Selby, but it is not required.
Since Homalomenas are native to tropical rainforests, the Selby thrives in warm temperatures. Average household temperatures are optimal, making the Selby a great houseplant.
Keep this Homalomena in a temperature range of 60-90°F (16-32°C).
Fertilizing the Homalomena Selby
In the growing season, feed twice monthly with half-strength liquid organic fertilizer.
In the winter, no additional feeding is needed beyond the slow-release fertilizers in the soil mix (worm castings).
Humidity for Your Selby
As a Homalomena with velvety leaves, the Selby typically needs at least 40% humidity. The velvety varieties, such as Selby and Camouflage, can develop crispy leaf edges in low humidity.
I experimented (accidentally) with my Selby’s humidity needs during the winter when my office humidity reached 35%. Unfortunately, the newest leaves developed crispy edges with this humidity level, with all other care parameters unchanged. After providing supplemental humidity, the problem was resolved.
For accelerated growth, use a humidifier to provide a humidity of 55-65%.
Soil for the Homalomena Selby
You can provide the same soil for your Selby as you do with other Homalomenas. They grow best in light, loamy, well-draining soil with some elements of moisture retention.
Recipe for Homalomena Soil (including Selby):
- 30% Peat
- 30% Coarse Sand or Perlite
- 30% Organic Potting Mix
- 10% Worm Castings
What Pests Do Homalomena Selbys Get?
The Selby can get common houseplant pests if heavily exposed, but it is generally pest resistant. Due to the velvety leaves, watch for spider mites if you learn they are present in your environment. If your Selby gets an infestation, clean it with insecticidal soap and repeat treatments at least twice.
Toxicity Reminder for the Selby
These beautiful plants are, unfortunately, toxic to pets and small children. Keep your Selby in a room away from them or where they cannot reach it.
Stay safe, and happy growing!