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How To Grow & Care For Jewel Orchid?

jewel orchid

Jewel orchids (Ludisia discolor and Ludisia ravanii) are a unique and beautiful type of orchid that are prized for their intricate patterns and rich colors. They are a favorite among collectors and orchid enthusiasts alike, but many people are unsure of how to properly care for them. 

If you’re new to growing jewel orchids, you may be wondering what kind of soil they need, how much light they require, or how often they should be watered.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about growing and caring for jewel orchids.  We’ll discuss the right potting mix, ideal light conditions, temperature and humidity requirements, watering needs, common diseases and pests to watch out for, and how to propagate your plants

By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to successfully grow and care for your own jewel orchids. Whether you’re a seasoned orchid grower or just starting out, these tips and tricks will help you keep your plants healthy and thriving. So let’s dive in and learn how to care for these stunning plants!

Use the Right Potting Mix

Jewel orchids prefer a well-draining potting mix that is rich in organic matter. You can create your own mix by combining equal parts sphagnum moss, bark, and perlite. Alternatively, you can purchase a commercial orchid mix from your local nursery or online. Avoid using regular potting soil, which tends to retain too much moisture and can lead to root rot.

When repotting your jewel orchid, be sure to use a pot that is only slightly larger than the current one. These plants prefer to be slightly root-bound, so a pot that is too large can cause the soil to stay wet for too long, leading to root rot.

jewel orchid blooms
Jewel Orchid blooms Source: Delventhal

Light

Jewel orchids prefer bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, especially if they are exposed to it for extended periods. If you’re growing your jewel orchid indoors, place it near a window that receives bright, filtered light, such as a north-facing window. If you’re growing your plant under artificial light, use a full-spectrum bulb and keep it on for 12-14 hours per day.

Temperature

Jewel orchids prefer a warm, stable environment with temperatures between 70-80°F (18-27°C). Avoid placing your plant in drafty areas, such as near doors or windows that are frequently opened. Sudden changes in temperature can stress your plant and make it more susceptible to diseases and pests.

Humidity

Jewel orchids thrive in moderate to high humidity environments. Ideally, you should aim to keep the humidity level between 50-60%. If your home is particularly dry, you can use a humidifier to increase the humidity around your plant.

Alternatively, you can place a tray of water near your plant, or group it with other plants to create a microclimate with higher humidity.

jewel orchid foliage
Foliage of Jewel orchid Source: Megan

Watering 

Jewel orchids prefer to be kept consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Water your plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely, as this can stress your plant and cause the leaves to wilt. 

On the other hand, overwatering can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases. To prevent overwatering, make sure the pot has drainage holes and avoid letting the plant sit in standing water.

Fertilization

When it comes to fertilizer, it is best to use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with an equal ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (such as a 20-20-20 fertilizer). Dilute the fertilizer to half strength and apply it to your plant once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). Avoid fertilizing your plant during the winter months when it is in a dormant phase.

Diseases

Jewel orchids are generally hardy plants, but they can still fall prey to diseases if their growing conditions are not optimal. One of the most common diseases that affect jewel orchids is root rot. This condition is caused by overwatering or poorly-draining soil and can be identified by brown, mushy roots and wilting leaves. 

To prevent root rot, make sure your plant is potted in well-draining soil and only water it when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch. If you suspect your plant has root rot, you may need to repot it into fresh soil and trim away any infected roots.

Another disease that can affect jewel orchids is leaf spot. This fungal disease can cause yellow or brown spots on the leaves and can be identified by its circular shape. To prevent leaf spot, avoid getting water on the leaves when watering your plant and make sure there is adequate air circulation around your plant. If your plant does get leaf spot, you may need to treat it with a fungicide.

jewel orchid alba
Jewel orchid ‘Alba’ variegation Source: Alvin

Pests

Jewel orchids are also susceptible to pests such as spider mites and mealybugs. These pests can be identified by their webbing or cotton-like appearance on the leaves. To prevent infestations, inspect your plant regularly and isolate it from other plants if you notice any pests. You can treat your plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil to get rid of pests.

Other Common Problems

In addition to diseases and pests, jewel orchids can also experience other common problems such as yellowing leaves or stunted growth. Yellowing leaves can be caused by overwatering, underwatering, or inadequate light. 

Stunted growth can be caused by a lack of nutrients or rootbound conditions. To address these issues, adjust your plant’s growing conditions as needed and make sure it is getting the right amount of light, water, and nutrients.

Repot When Necessary

Jewel orchids should be repotted every 1-2 years, or when the potting mix has become too compacted or waterlogged. Repotting can also help to prevent rootbound conditions and promote healthy growth.

When repotting, gently loosen the roots and trim away any dead or damaged roots. Use fresh potting mix and a pot that is only slightly larger than the current one.

Propagation

Jewel orchids can be propagated by stem cuttings or dividing the root system. Both methods are relatively easy and can yield new plants that are identical to the parent plant.

Stem Cutting

To propagate your jewel orchid by stem cutting, select a healthy stem with several leaves and use a clean, sharp pair of scissors to make a 3-4 inch cut just below a node. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder. 

Plant the cutting in a pot filled with fresh potting mix and cover it with a plastic bag to create a humid environment. Place the pot in bright, indirect light and keep the soil moist. After a few weeks, the cutting should start to produce new growth.

Dividing Root System

To propagate your jewel orchid by dividing the root system, gently remove the plant from its pot and carefully separate the roots into smaller sections. Make sure each section has at least one healthy stem and several roots.

Repot each section into its own pot filled with fresh potting mix and water it well. Keep the plants in bright, indirect light and maintain high humidity until new growth appears.

Conclusion

Growing and caring for jewel orchids is a rewarding experience that can bring a touch of exotic beauty to your home or office. By using the right potting mix, placing your plant in indirect light, maintaining a steady room temperature and humidity level, watering your plant regularly, and addressing any common problems such as diseases or pests, you can keep your jewel orchids healthy and thriving. 

With a little patience and attention, you can enjoy these stunning plants for years to come.

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