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Unlike other orchid species, the Ludisia orchid is one spectacular orchid to grow. The houseplant is the Jewel Orchid prized for more foliage than the flower. Today, we will share a secret about where you can find this unique plant and how to care for it.
Where is the Natural Habitat of the Jewel Orchid
The Jewel Orchid comes from the forest floors of Southeast Asia. It is an adorable yet no-fuss indoor plant with gorgeous dark green leaves with pinstripe patterns. When the white flower spikes form in fall, winter, to early spring, it displays pretty button-like blooms.
The plant grows up to 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Unlike other orchid species growing in trees, this one grows in soil.
Jewel Orchid Care
There are loads to love about these tropical plants, with their velvet foliage ranging from black to bronze. It has contrasting veins highlighted with a white-maroon tint giving it a unique appearance.
The leaves feel like suede when touched, and in Ludisia, there are only one species with other hybrids. Some botanists refer to it as the golden lace orchid or tiger orchid. So, to keep this plant happy, it needs a lot of TLC.
The Right Orchid Potting Mix
Unlike your epiphytic orchid species growing on trees, these are terrestrial orchids. Hence, you do not grow them in orchid bark or a loose substrate. Instead, we recommend a potting medium of perlite and peat moss to provide aeration. A ready-made orchid potting mix is also ideal.
You can add some sphagnum moss or leaf compost to mimic decomposing leaf litter to your potting mix to retain moisture as found in the natural habitat. Still, do not add too much, or it can lead to root rot.
No Direct Sunlight for Jewel Orchid
Jewel orchid doesn’t need full sun or plenty of light to thrive. These terrestrial orchids grow well in shaded spots, and it helps to replicate them at home.
So, avoid placing this baby in direct sunlight. Any place is fine, provided you can shield the delicate leaves while growing Jewel Orchids.
Still, it does not enjoy complete darkness as it will not grow. Hence, provide your tropical plant with a few hours of indirect light. If this jewel is treated as an outdoor plant, make sure that it doesn’t get direct sunlight. Allow bigger plants or nearby trees to provide them shade.
In Southeast Asia, you find the Jewel orchid growing in damp leaf litter without direct sunlight. It does not enjoy dry soil and does not like having wet feet. Hence, you need to maintain proper soil moisture for your plant.
We recommend waiting until you feel the top inch of the soil dry before watering. If you have a porous potting mix, it dries out faster and needs more water often. Also, leave your tropical plants to drain and remove excess moisture in the cachepot entirely.
Ideal Temperature and Humidity
The lowest temperature your jewel orchid can tolerate is 50°F(10°C). Another big no-no, your houseplant does not enjoy heaters and radiators, and best to avoid placing them too close.
It is of minor importance for humidity if you have your watering requirements in place. But if you know you are bad at watering, your tropical plants need a bit of help. Increasing the humid growing environment helps.
We recommend providing it with a plate of water set close by, allowing the moisture to surround your plant. You can grow your plant in a bottle garden if you only want the spectacular foliage but not the flower spikes.
The flowers spoil fast in a moist environment. Or, you can group your Jewel Orchid with other tropical plants to create a natural habitat.
Feeding Jewel Orchids
For happy and healthy house plants to produce flowers at the right time, it is vital to feed your Jewel Orchid. Still, it is not as critical compared to other Orchids. Yet, whether your houseplants have black or green leaves giving them the proper nutrients helps.
We recommend a specific orchid-diluted fertilizer every four weeks from spring to fall. If you cannot find specifically made orchid feeds, you can use one formulated for your house plants.
Another important note is to stop feeding in the winter months, whether your plant blooms or not. The reason is your plant is not actively growing and needs no added nutrition.
Propagating Jewel Orchids
A necessary part of growing Jewel Orchids and care is propagation, and yes, it is fun to make new plants you can share with family and friends. The good news is your Ludisia orchids are easy to reproduce.
A standard procedure uses stem cuttings instead of repotting the Orchids’ central cluster. You can prepare a jar of water or fill a pot with Orchid potting mix or sphagnum moss. Next, take a stem cutting from the stem and stick it into the potting medium you chose.
Place your cutting in a north-facing window and leave it for a few weeks to root.
Jewel Orchid Varieties
There are different Orchid varieties, and as discussed, the Ludisia genus only has one species of Orchid, the Ludisia discolor. Other variations are the following:
Ludisia discolor ‘Alba’
The plant is an albino yet paler than the other Orchid species.
Ludisia discolor ‘Nigrescens’
The Black Jewel Orchid has maroon-black leaves compared to the green leaves of the other Jewel Orchids.
This is the only species in the genus and is a rare plant native to Borneo growing in soil amount rocks and moss leaf litter.
The genus of Orchids has dark leaves and is known as the Marbled Jewel Orchid, with more than 50 species found. The features of the plants are the huge velvet dark green yet brownish purple leaves.
Jewel Orchid Plants Diseases
As with other houseplants, your Jewel Orchid can become the abode disease.
Basal Stem Rot
Too much water for too long leads to the destruction of stems and root rot. Sometimes it can also be caused when the temperatures are too cold. Once rot sets in, it is a severe problem and reversing it is difficult. You can remove the rotten parts if minor to salvage your plant through propagation.
If your Jewel Orchid plants are growing in low light levels, they will have flowering issues. Your young plants need to mature and grow in the right lighting conditions to bloom.
Shriveled Leaves and Stems
It is a sign of under-watering, and it helps to provide your plant with enough water to reverse the effects.
Crispy Leaf Tips
Not being in humid conditions and direct sunlight causes the leaf tips to become crispy. Hence, too many light levels force your Jewel Orchid to adapt to the light, reducing the amount of chlorophyll needed for its gorgeous leaf patterns.
Mold buildup can happen to most houseplants as it does not have enough indoor ventilation. For clustering plants, it is terrible as they shield the soil naturally with their leaves. In most cases, it happens with overwatering.
You can solve the problem by raking away the affected soil as it frees up the fungal spores making them airborne. Also, make sure to provide your plant with enough air circulation and water when you feel the top few inches of the soil dry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ludisia discolor can bloom for up to two weeks compared to other plants in the species and is pretty impressive. The orchid blooms from winter to early spring once a year.
Yes, you can through stem cuttings and place them in a jar of water. You can leave it standing in a north-facing window and refresh the water every second day until it roots.
When growing Jewel Orchids, forget about other Orchid care. The Jewel Orchids are terrestrial and enjoy having their roots in some soil. Hence, you only repot your plant when you notice the roots growing through the drainage holes.
You can find the Jewel Orchid at your local garden center. Or you can buy it online right here at Plantly to have it delivered to your home.
Whether you want to buy, sell, or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!