Ludisia discolor, the Jewel Orchid, is an orchid native to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Burma. They are often cultivated for the beautiful, velvety-looking foliage (which doesn’t actually feel velvety at all). Ludisia discolor is a terrestrial orchid, which roots in soil. In it’s native habitat, it is found on the floor of the forest. They prefer high humidity and temperatures above 60F, but tolerate very low light. This makes them relatively easy to grow at home, or in a shady spot in the greenhouse. In addition to the deep maroon-green (is that a word?) leaves with pinkish veins, they have beautiful, delicate white flowers, and I was pleasantly surprised to see last week that they were beginning to flower.
To propagate Jewel Orchids, the fleshy stems can be nestled horizontally into the potting mix (well drained, please). They will also root in a glass of water. These little plants were repotted by Rachel back in June of 2012. They had been sulking for quite a while — I think the potting soil was not to their liking — and finally began to grow nicely after that.