Oh Nomena, Homalomena!

Only because it was exotic and cute, I purchased a Homalomena (wallisii, possibly 'Camouflage') from Helm's Deepot. Literature on this houseplant was pretty scant, but I should have known better than to let it dry out, since I had just read exactly that advice via Mr. Subjunctive. But what can I say... when it comes to screwing up plants, I have a very special gift. So, after only a couple days in my house, the poor Homalomena was ready to give up the ghost. 

The first emergency care step was to rehydrate the soil and shower the leaves in the sink.

Then I employed a humidity bag. This is a really useful trick whenever your plants are suffering from dry air, are recovering from spider mites, or recently wilted from underwatering. Any clear, roomy plastic bag will work. Make sure you let your pot drain thoroughly before you bag it, to protect against drowning and rot. For example, I use a rubber band to affix the bag to the sides of the pot, so the drainage holes are still uncovered and breathing free. I also inflate the bag before I seal it up, so that the leaves aren't laying against moist plastic. Who knows... the plants may appreciate the carbon dioxide as well.

And look: by morning light, satisfactory bounce-back! The humidity-bag treatment has a certain window of efficacy; given too much time without water, and there is no possibility of recovery. I have tried to revive many a wilted Abutilon with a humidity bag, without success. And as you can see, a couple of the lower leaves on the homalomena died (they will have to be removed). But all in all, a successful crisis intervention.


  1. I didn't know that they would bounce back that well until long after I'd discarded mine. (The ex-job got one after I left that went through multiple wilt-revive cycles before it disappeared: I don't know whether they sold it or eventually pushed it beyond its ability to revive and then threw it out.) I've done the same thing with a Fittonia before: threw it out and then learned later that it probably would have bounced back if I'd given it the chance.

    Though the Homalomena I posted about could have been wilted for a long time, by the time I noticed it, so I don't feel too bad about that.

  2. I wouldn't feel bad. I'm pleased mine revived, but if it hadn't... let's just say that as far as my hierarchy of treasured plants goes, homalomenas, abutilons, and fittonias are the Star-Trek guys in the red shirts.

  3. I can see Fittonias, and I understand Homalomenas, but I don't understand how anyone could not love Abutilons. . . .