Jewel Orchid (Ludisia Discolor): Care and Growing Guide

The Jewel Orchid (Ludisia discolor) is a unique orchid species with lovely dark, ovate leaves with pink veins that stand out. The whitish flowers on long flower spikes bloom once a year, and jewel orchids are pollinated by flies. Jewel orchids are grown for their dark foliage rather than their exotic flowers, unlike many orchid species, who grow in the soil and preferred the shade.

The jewel orchid’s velvety leaves are a striking characteristic. The veins of the pointed lanceolate leaves run from the base to the tip, giving them a striking appearance. Smooth, broad, dark green leaves with pinkish-orange veins characterize the jewel orchid (Ludisia discolor). The contrasting green leaves with yellowish-white vein-like streaks make the other kind of jewel orchid (Ludisia discolor ‘Alba’) stand out.

Jewel orchids only thrive in USDA zones 10 and 11, despite the fact that they can be grown outdoors. Jewel orchids are popular houseplants that are suitable for indoor shaded settings for most individuals. A jewel orchid will survive indoors for many years if you choose the right growing conditions, with its huge striking leaves providing plenty of visual appeal.

This is a comprehensive guide to growing jewel orchids at home. You’ll also learn how to handle various concerns when caring for a jewel orchid.

How to Care for Jewel Orchid

The orchid should be grown in a location away from direct sunlight to care for it. Orchids grown in porous, well-draining potting soil are known as Ludisia orchids. When the potting mix is partially dry, water is added. With a minimum of 50% humidity, the jewel orchid temperature range is 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 26°C). During the summer, fertilize every two to four weeks.

What is Jewel Orchid?

The jewel orchid, Ludisia discolor, is the sole species in its genus. The orchid family, Orchidaceae, includes this terrestrial orchid. A few jewel orchid cultivars, on the other hand, have their own distinct leaf patterns and colors. India, Southern China, and Southeast Asia are the natural habitats of the jewel orchid. Ludisia discolor grows in damp, tropical woods in its native environment. Jewel orchids thrive in low-light situations while growing on the forest floor.

A terrestrial orchid called the jewel orchid (Ludisia discolor). Jewel orchids grow in the earth rather than an orchid bark potting medium, unlike other orchid species. Since they are epiphytic plants, popular orchids like phalaenopsis orchids have aerial roots.

As a houseplant, jewel orchids reach 6–12 inches (15–30 cm) tall and 12–30 cm (30–90 cm) broad. Other kinds of orchids cultivated for their foliage rather than flowers are sometimes referred to as “jewel orchids.” The showy leaves of the Lighting Bolt jewel orchid (Macodes petola) feature intricate web-like designs, for example.

Types of Jewel Orchid

Jewel orchid (Ludisia discolor)

The Jewel orchid plant, Ludisia discolor ‘Dawsoniana,’ features deep green foliage with pink veins running through it. Ludisia discolor has white or creamy flowers blooming on the end of long upright stalks, as do other jewel orchid cultivars.

Black velvet jewel orchid (Ludisia discolor ‘Nigrescens’)

The black velvet jewel orchid has dark leaves that are virtually black, and it is known as Ludisia discolor ‘Nigrescens.’ From the base to the tip, the smooth leaves have faint lines running.

Albino jewel orchid (Ludisia discolor ‘Alba’)

The ludisia cultivar ‘Alba’ features lustrous green leaves with creamy-white veins.

Jewel Orchid Flowers 

Dainty flowers with tiny white petals and yellowish centers, jewel orchid blooms are a delight to behold. The gorgeous blooms appear on the ends of tall flower spikes and bloom once a year. Orchids aren’t just attractive flowers. In winter, clusters of white flowers will reward you if you care for jewel orchids properly.

As the flower stalks emerge, some plant owners choose to trim them. Snipping off the flowering spike focuses the plant’s energy in the roots and leaves, since jewel orchids produce tiny blooms. The blossoms of jewel orchids, on the other hand, are lovely enough to pique attention.

How to Get Jewel Orchid to Bloom

In the autumn, jewel orchids are encouraged to produce flowering spikes if they are cared for correctly. Jewel orchids need enough light and water throughout the growing seasons to thrive. When nighttime temperatures drop in the autumn, orchids, like other orchids, bloom.

Jewel Orchid (Ludisia discolor) Care for Beginners

If you water it and keep it in warm, humid conditions, the jewel orchid is an easy-to-care-for orchid. You’ll have to guarantee that this orchid variety gets adequate light, but not too much shade. Let’s take a deeper look at the finest care instructions for cultivating a gorgeous houseplant that is a jewel orchid.

Light Requirements for Growing Jewel Orchid Indoors

The optimum environment for a jewel orchid is medium light. The best care tip for a jewel orchid at home is to keep it away from direct sunlight. A jewel orchid thrives in a north-facing room. In rooms that face east, west, or south, it would be best to protect the potted orchid from strong, direct sunlight. In their native habitat, jewel orchids thrive in shaded areas. It’s important to replicate these conditions at home because the plant rarely gets direct sunlight.

Since the leaves of a jewel orchid lose their intensity, you may recognize if it gets too much light. The leaf color fades in direct sunlight. If there is enough light, jewel orchid may grow quickly in the spring and summer. The orchid, on the other hand, is affected by a lack of bright light.

During the growing season, you may notice that the plant doesn’t thrive. If the jewel orchid didn’t get enough light throughout the year, it may fail to bloom in the autumn.

What Kind of Soil Does a Jewel Orchid Need?

The jewel orchid, unlike orchid potting bark, grows in ordinary potting soil. A combination of two parts houseplant soil and one part perlite is the ideal potting mix for Ludisia orchids. A potted jewel orchid in an African violet combination would also work.

When growing jewel orchids in pots, the goal is to create a potting medium that retains some moisture yet drains well.

Houseplant soil, which is typically moist, contains a sufficient amount of organic matter. The potting mix is light and airy when adding perlite, which also aids in drainage.

The jewel orchid’s soil can be supplemented with orchid bark. However, only add enough to allow water to run freely. The soil will not hold enough moisture for proper development if there are too many bark chips.

How to Water a Jewel Orchid 

When the top layer of soil dries out, water a jewel orchid as often as possible. Before soaking the orchid’s potting soil, wait until the top 1″ (2.5 cm) has dried. Make sure the potting soil never gets dry or soggy, and always take care of jewel orchids.

Check the dryness of the soil to determine when to water jewel orchids. You’ll need to water the orchid more frequently in the summer because orchid potting mix dries out faster. You should water less often in the winter, when development slows and temperatures are lower.

Remember, however, that orchids aren’t drought tolerant. It’s useful to keep in mind that the drying out speed of orchid mix is influenced by a variety of things, including temperature, season, potting mix type, and pot type.

Letting a jewel orchid’s roots sit in waterlogged soil is one of the worst things you can do to it. Roots rot quickly when there is too much dampness in the pot. The orchid may not bloom in the autumn if the root damage is minor.

The stems and lovely foliage of the plant will deteriorate if root rot is widespread, becoming discolored, mushy, and dead. Rapid flower drop, withered leaves, and slow development are all indications of under-watering jewel orchids.

Temperature for Growing Ludisia discolor Indoors and Outdoors

At typical room temperatures, jewel orchids flourish indoors. Healthy jewel orchid growth is aided by maintaining your room at an even temperature of 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 26°). Cooler temperatures between 60°F and 70°F (16°C and 21°C) will, however, help blooms bloom in the autumn and winter, according to research.

USDA zones 10 through 12 are home to Ludisia discolor. The heat-loving orchid prefers shady, humid conditions. For jewel orchids, the lowest temperature is 50°F (10°C). Frost isn’t tolerated by jewel orchids.

If you reside in temperate regions, you may cultivate a potted jewel orchid outdoors throughout the summer. Your tropical plant may be damaged if the nighttime temperature falls below 60°F (16°C). Make sure it doesn’t. To protect jewel orchids from sudden temperature fluctuations when growing them indoors, ensure that they are well-protected. Keep orchids away from air conditioning openings, hot air from heating openings, and cold drafts.

Humidity Requirement for Growing a Jewel Orchid

In moderately humid situations, jewel orchids thrive. To promote healthy jewel orchid development, keep air moisture levels between 50 and 60%. You can stand the orchid pot on a half-filled pebble tray or use a room humidifier to help increase humidity for your jewel orchid.

If you water the tropical plants correctly, humidity is seldom an issue indoors for growing jewel orchids. Dry air caused by indoor heating, however, may cause growth problems during the winter months.

To avoid humidity problems when caring for a jewel orchid indoors, follow these four important tips:

  • The potting soil should be hydrated properly.
  • Sunlight is harmful to your health.
  • Keep the temperature above freezing.
  • Make sure there’s enough ventilation.

You can protect yourself from air moisture issues by following these orchid care tips.

How to Fertilize Jewel Orchid

Throughout the spring and summer, a jewel orchid thrives on regular feeding. Fertilize a half-strength orchid feed solution using a balanced houseplant fertilizer. During the winter, when the plant’s development slows down, it would be ideal if you did not fertilize.

Nonetheless, when the flower spikes emerge in the fall, you may fertilize jewel orchids to encourage blooming. If you notice brown tips on leaves, it’s best to reduce your fertilizing frequency. The dark green leaves may occasionally develop brown patches as a result of over-fertilization.

Pruning a Jewel Orchid

The pruning of a jewel orchid is not usually required. If you’re not particular about the orchid’s flowers, you may trim away emerging flower stalks. If the plant becomes too big, all it needs is to cut the stems or roots.

How to Propagate Ludisia discolor?

Cuttings from the stems or roots of jewel orchids can be used to propagate them. Cutting a section of stem with several leaves on it is simplicity itself. When repotting the jewel orchid, you can split the root into two or three pieces instead.

Put the cuttings’ ends in a pot of moist potting soil. To keep in heat and moisture, cover the pot with a plastic bag. To keep the soil moist and boost humidity, mist it every few days. Roots should emerge in about two months.

Repotting a Jewel Orchid

You can refresh the potting soil and give the orchid more space to develop by repotting a jewel orchid every year. If the orchid has been damaged, you should remove it from its pot and check the roots for damage. Repot in a new potting soil container and replant. A jewel orchid’s pot might quickly be filled, resulting in crowding and stress. Leaf drop and roots protruding from the surface of the soil are signs that you should repot a jewel orchid.

Pests Affecting Jewel Orchid Growth

Common houseplant pests that harm jewel orchids include mealybugs and scale insects. By dabbing plant-destroying pests with rubbing alcohol to kill the bugs on contact, you may remove them. Instead, get rid of mealybugs and scale insects from orchids and other houseplants using a natural neem oil pesticide.

On orchid stems and leaves, mealybugs look like little fuzzy white insects. These pests also deposit cotton wool-like material on plant leaves, as well as destroying the foliage. Mealybugs, like scale insects, consume plant sap and ultimately kill orchids.

Diseases Affecting Jewel Orchid Growth

If you take care of your jewel orchids, plant diseases are uncommon. If there is too much moisture in the soil or not enough air circulation, powdery mildew, root rot, and leaf spot can affect jewel orchids. To fix these problems, you may need to trim damaged foliage or change the potting soil.

Is a Jewel Orchid Toxic?

Cats, dogs, and other pets are not poisonous to jewel orchid. Ludisia discolor (previously Haemaria discolor) is a non-toxic orchid, according to the ASPCA.

Jewel Orchid (Ludisia discolor) Care — FAQ

There are a few things that may harm the orchid’s development, despite the fact that jewel orchids are simple houseplants.

How do I get my jewel orchids to bloom more?

You can fertilize a jewel orchid twice a week in the early autumn months to encourage more blooms. More flowers emerge as a result of an increase in nutrients. You should stop feeding throughout late fall and winter once the buds develop.

What does it mean when jewel orchid leaves curl?

Low humidity levels may be indicated by curling leaves on jewel orchids like the Ludisia and Macodes species. Make sure that your orchid’s soil receives adequate hydration to flourish. To raise air humidity levels, place the orchid pot on a pebble tray with water.

Why doesn’t my jewel orchid have any flowers? 

Inadequate light or insufficient water may both be reasons why jewel orchids don’t bloom. Make sure the orchid receives bright to medium light, with no direct sunlight, to encourage healthy blooming. Watering jewel orchids lightly enough to keep the soil moist is also required.

What to do about yellowing Ludisia discolor leaves?

Overwatering is commonly indicated by jewel orchid leaves that turn yellow. Wait until the orchid soil is mostly dry before watering if you notice yellow lower leaves. Finally, keep the orchid’s soil damp enough so that it isn’t dry. Orchid roots get sick and turn yellow leaves when they sit in waterlogged soil.

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