The prized jewel of the plant collection

This week’s plant is the Jewel Orchid; not the traditional orchid, grows on forest floor and prefers filtered light



Purple Jewel Orchid has dark leaves with striking white stripes going through them.

SANDI KOBIESA, Multimedia editor

Plant friends, I wanted to share with you the jewel of my collection, my purple Jewel Orchid (see what I did there).

Now, the name of this plant is a little deceiving, as it isn’t your traditional orchid. The jewel orchid is actually a Ludisia and is a genus of the orchids.

They grow naturally in southern China, north India, Malaysia and surrounding countries. So basically, they love a ton of humidity.

They are terrestrial orchids, meaning they grow on the forest floor underneath the main trees. Because they grow on the forest floor, they do not require a lot of light.

My setup for Jewel is underneath one of my larger plants, so she gets filtered light. I made the mistake of keeping her directly in a windowsill, and I burnt two of her leaves and didn’t see any new growth.

I did more research on this plant, as I did buy it on a whim in one of my local plant shops. Oooh, boy, was I so wrong about her care.

I moved her to her current spot, and within three weeks, she started to sprout two new leaves. I also thought that she liked to dry out between waterings. Ding ding ding, you guessed it, I was wrong. So I upped her watering to twice a week and she’s been doing so much better.

These plants got popular in 2020, and it took quite a while to find them locally. My plant shop’s owner grew a huge one, trimmed it up and propagated the cuttings.

After they rooted, she sold them. Within a day, all of them were gone. Lucky me, I was able to score one of the firsts.

She’s pretty tiny, but I’m hoping she grows big and strong like her plant siblings. I’m on the hunt to find the Macodes Petola Jewel Orchid, which is basically her brother. When I look at the Petola, it just reminds me of turtles, which is a good hint at what we’ll be discussing next week.