A cute little terrestrial orchid with succulent leaves.
Common name : Jewel Orchid
Scientific name : Ludisia discolor
Family : Orchidaceae
Category : Indoor
Type of plant : Perennial
The jewel orchid - Ludisia discolor - is a little terrestrial orchid, unlike other orchids which are mostly epiphytes. It is native to Asia, where it grows in warm, humid forests, often at the foot of tall trees.
A short trailing rhizome produces several floral stems, from a rosette of green to purple leaves, ribbed and velvety to the touch. The flower stems measure between 20 and 30 cm, each bearing at least ten small white flowers with a yellow heart. Flowering usually occurs in winter, between December and February and can last several weeks.
In temperate climates, Ludisia is an indoor plant, best grown in a pot or a terrarium.
Ludisia discolor is the only species in the genus, but there are several varieties and cultivars, including 'Red velvet' with a red foliage, 'Green velvet' - with green leaves! - or 'Silver velvet' sporting pretty silver veins, as well as L. discolor 'alba', an albino variety with bright green leaves and silvery white veins, or 'nigrescens', also called 'black velvet' , with a magnificent foliage, almost black with red or silver veins.
15 - 30
6 - 7
Plant my jewel orchid
Grow this plant in a substrate 1/2 light potting soil and 1/2 bark, adding some perlite or gravel for better drainage, in moderate light. Plant in a pot wider than deep, of at least one fifteen centimeters in diameter.
Ideal room temperature is between 18 and 25°C - and never below 16°C.
Water my jewel orchid
As a tropical plant, this one requires moisture and warmth, but can easily withstand the somewhat dry atmosphere of our interiors. It will be even more beautiful if you water or spray regularly, ideally with rainwater. Water if possible from below, filling the pan, to avoid any rotting of the rhizome.
Fertilize my jewel orchid
From March to October, add special liquid orchid fertilizer twice a month.
Repot my jewel orchid
Every two or three years, at the end of flowering, lift your orchid from its pot, trim the damaged roots if any, and repot in a suitable mixture. Water.
Check on my jewel orchid
Watch out for spider mites, aphids and scale insects!
First, those infamous spiders! They're actually not spiders, but a type of mite. They suck the sap, causing the leaves to turn a marbled yellow-white-silver, and the mites sometimes spin tiny webs. These mites mainly attack the back of the leaves : moisten a cotton pad and swab underneath the leaves — if you notice tiny little red marks, someone's home. To get rid of them, here's a simple trick: these spiders hate water! Spray a fine mist of water on your leaves to get rid of them. You can add dish soap, vegetable oil, o rubbing alcohol into the water for extra effect. If you have more than one plants, isolate any web-infested plant, as spider mites breed quickly from pot to pot.
For aphids and scale insects, it's a little easier as those are usually detectable with the naked eye. Should you spot an aphid - recognizable by its pear-shaped body - or scale insects, spraying the soap and water should take care of the problem if the infestation is relatively new. If the insects have established their headquarters on your beloved orchid, the next level of treatment is probably a chemical insecticide.
As a general rule, you should always check your orchid regularly for signs of infestation and remove potential problems as quickly as possible : the sooner the better. Also, most infestations spread from one plant to the other : always give extra attention when introducing a new plant in your collection. And the final word is : don't give up. If you are battling an infestation, repeat treatments every ten days or so : persistance is the key.