How to Grow Jewel Orchids at Home

While most orchids are known for their large, colorful flowers, jewel orchids stand out with their stunning leaves. I love their velvety texture and veins that create stripes and patterns. In this guide, I’ll share my go-to tips for caring for jewel orchids at home to ensure optimal growth and plant health throughout the year.

Jewel Orchid Care_ Your Complete Guide

Jewel Orchid Care – Key Takeaways:

Common Name:Jewel Orchids
Scientific Name:Ludisia discolor (and other related species)
Native Range:Southeast Asia
Soil:African Violet Potting Mix works great, usually composed of sphagnum moss, fine bark, and perlite; good drainage is essential
Light:Low to medium light; prefers diffused or shaded light, avoiding direct sunlight, which can damage the leaves
Watering:Keep the substrate consistently moist but not waterlogged; high humidity is beneficial
Temperature:The ideal range is between 65-80°F (18-27°C) with cooler temperatures at night
Fertilizing:Feed with a balanced orchid fertilizer diluted to half or quarter strength every 2-4 weeks during active growth; reduce fertilizing during dormant periods
Pruning:Prune to remove dead or yellowing leaves and maintain plant shape; use sharp, sanitized shears
Pests:Common pests include aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs; manage with regular cleaning, appropriate watering, and the use of insecticidal soaps or neem oil if needed
Toxicity:Non-toxic to pets and humans; however, it is always best to keep plants out of reach from pets and small children
Symbolism:Often symbolizes rarity and unique beauty due to its distinctive veined leaves rather than its flowers.

Potting Considerations

My Jewel orchids grow best in wide, shallow pots rather than narrow, deep pots. This allows their roots to grow outward rather than straight down.

When you’re searching for a container, make sure you look for drainage holes. These allow excess water to escape, which helps prevent problems with disease.

Soil Preferences

As we briefly mentioned above, jewel orchids are terrestrial plants. That means they grow in soil.

Many other types of orchids are epiphytes, which means they grow on top of other plants.

Since jewel orchids are used to growing in soil, they don’t require a super chunky mix. Instead, they can be planted in soil mixes that are used for other houseplants.

In my experience, Jewel orchids perform best in potting mixes designed for African violets (via Amazon).

I find this mix provides more aeration and drainage than a typical houseplant potting mix.

If you can’t find an African violet potting mix, you can make your own soil mix. I combine one part peat moss, one part perlite, and one part vermiculite.

The Best Light Conditions

A single flowering Jewel Orchid plant

In the wild, jewel orchids live on the forest floor. They’re protected from direct sun rays by the forest canopy.

You want to provide light conditions that mimic their natural environment. This means avoiding bright, direct light. Rather, provide indirect light or shady conditions.

I think one of the best spots for jewel orchids is in the interior of your home, away from any windows. A bathroom with a small window is also a good location.

Temperature and Humidity Preferences

Jewel orchids prefer warm temperatures. For optimum growth, keep the air temperature between 60-75ºF.

You want to keep the temperature consistent over time. Therefore, I avoid placing these orchids near hot or cold drafts.

Jewel orchids require moderate to high humidity. They will suffer in dry environments.

The best way to increase humidity is with a humidifier. However, I also like to increase humidity by regularly spritzing your plant with water from a spray bottle.

High humidity does increase the odds that fungal issues will develop. To keep harmful fungi away, ensure good airflow. A fan is a great way to increase circulation and prevent disease.

When and How to Water

The vibrant green and white striped leaves of the Jewel Orchid plant

Jewel orchids require regular watering to stay happy. In my experience, they don’t require any special water, but you can use rainwater or distilled water if you like.

A good rule of thumb is to water your orchid once every week. If you notice that your soil is still wet when you go to water, wait a few days before watering again.

Fertilizing

I always fertilize jewel orchids regularly to provide them with essential nutrients. Plan to fertilize every two weeks in spring through fall and every month in the winter.

Look for a balanced houseplant fertilizer. This should contain equal amounts of the three macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Mix this fertilizer to half the recommended strength before applying it to your plants.

Pruning and Staking

You won’t need to prune your jewel orchid unless you spot signs of disease. If you spot diseased leaves, removing them using a sharp pair of shears is best.

Common types of orchids, like moth orchids, require staking to support their large flowers. However, in my experience, these orchids don’t require any staking.

Common Problems, Pests & Diseases

A potted Jewel orchid plant with deep green foliage

Jewel orchids are susceptible to common orchid pests and diseases. Watch out for the following, and treat if necessary.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny creatures that are related to ticks and spiders. There are many different types of spider mites, and certain species infect jewel orchids.

Spider mites are super small, so you might see their damage before you see the mites themselves. If you notice a silvery-speckled pattern on your orchid’s leaves, chances are good that spider mites are to blame.

These pests damage jewel orchids by sucking plant sap and spreading disease. Therefore, it’s essential to get rid of them before they severely damage your plant.

The good news is that spider mites are typically easy to control. To get rid of the mites, I like to wipe every leaf with a wet cloth.

 If you have spider mites, you also want to check your humidity levels. Low humidity increases the chances of a spider mite infestation.

Aphids

Aphids

Another pest to watch out for is aphids. These small insects use sucking mouthparts to drink plant sap.

Aphids breed rapidly, so their numbers can quickly get out of control. Therefore, it’s vital to treat aphids as soon as you see them.

If you notice a small number of aphids, you can remove them with a wet paper towel. If you are dealing with a larger infestation, my go-to option is to spray the plant with neem oil or insecticidal soap (via Amazon).

Root Rot

Root rot is a general term for several fungal issues that destroy orchid roots. Without roots, your plant cannot take up water or nutrients.

Some symptoms of root rot include discolored leaves or wilting. If you notice either of these, it’s a good idea to take a look at your plant’s roots. If the roots are soft, they are suffering from root rot.

The damage cannot be reversed once roots are infected with root rot. However, you can prevent future damage and allow your plants to rebound.

Remove your plant from its container and shake off any old soil. Trim off any sections of soft and rotten roots.

Once the rot is gone, you should repot your jewel orchid in fresh potting soil in a suitable orchid plant pot.

To prevent future outbreaks, make sure that the container has proper drainage holes. Also, avoid overwatering.

Wrapping Up

Although jewel orchids aren’t super common, they’re a fabulous orchid to add to your home. They’re easy to care for and add something new thanks to their beautiful leaves.

Contributing Editor | briana@petalrepublic.com | Full Bio

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *