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How To Care For A Jewel Orchid {Explained!}

The Jewel Orchid, unusually among the Orchid family, is generally grown for its foliage rather than its flowers – but both are beautiful! If you have recently bought or been gifted one of these lovely plants, here is our “how to care for jewel orchid” list, so you can enjoy this lovely orchid for as long as possible.

How To Care For A Jewel Orchid?

How To Care For A Jewel Orchid

These orchids are more forgiving than some other types of orchid, but they still – like most plants – have specific wants and needs to keep them healthy.

Plant it in the right potting mix

These plants grow in soil, unusually for orchids, but you will still need to find the right mix for them.

Place it in indirect light

Jewel orchids are best suited to low, diffused light situations, and direct sunlight can scorch them.

Allow the top third of the soil to dry out between waterings

Allow the top third of the soil to dry out between waterings, but remember that this orchid likes to drink more than many of its relatives.

Maintain a steady temperature

These plants like to be kept at between 70 and 80 degrees F, and they won’t appreciate drafts or sudden changes of temperature.

Keep it humid

Because of their tropical habitat, jewel orchids will appreciate humidity – consider using a pebble tray or installing a humidifier.

Watch out for insects

Mealybugs are a particular problem for jewel orchids, so make sure you have some natural insecticide handy.

Repot when necessary

This should only need to be done every couple of years, but signs like roots poking through the soil are an indication that more space is needed.

Give it a feed once in a while

These plants are not the hungriest, but they will appreciate a feed with some good quality multipurpose fertilizer once in a while.

Here is a long and comprehensive video showing you all the ins and outs of how to care for a jewel orchid:

Are Jewel Orchids Rare?

There was a time when jewel orchids were very rare, being that they were only found in tropical areas, and people had little access to such places.

Nowadays, with air travel and many new techniques for breeding, growing and propagating plants, the rarity value is down somewhat.

However, these pretty plants are still considered rather exotic, and they have a reputation for being very difficult to grow.

Most jewel orchids are rather more forgiving than many of their cousins, but they still need a little care and attention to help them to thrive.

Jewel orchids are faster growing and easier to care for than many other species of orchid, so they are often more widely available.

However, many growers still like to exaggerate the exoticism and delicateness of these plants, so that they can increase the price tag!

You can bypass these hefty price tags by growing your own jewel orchids – and instantly become the envy of all your gardener friends.

How Much Sunlight Does A Jewel Orchid Need?

  • Because their natural habitat is growing in the shade of large tropical trees in a rainforest, jewel orchids need very little direct sunlight.
  • Direct light can actually burn the leaves of your jewel orchid, and because it is the leaves that we love most, you’ll want to keep these as healthy as possible.
  • Although it is relatively unfussy about its lighting conditions, low lighting is definitely preferable to this unusual orchid.
  • It will thrive placed on a north facing window ledge, where it can still receive light, but not too much.
  • East facing spaces are also fine for this plant, and it will enjoy a little indirect, diffused light that mimics its forest floor conditions.
  • Although it doesn’t like direct sunlight, your jewel orchid will still need some natural light – you can’t keep it in a darkened room and expect it to thrive!
  • Jewel orchids can live outdoors, provided you live in a warm, tropical climate – but remember its lighting requirements, and place it beneath taller plants which will shade it.
  • Even though this plant likes lower light than many others, it really does still need sunlight. Bear this in mind when finding it its permanent home.

Why Is My Jewel Orchid Dying?

Why Is My Jewel Orchid Dying

Although this type of orchid is easier to care for than some others, they can still get problems that can cause them to wilt, discolor or even die. Let’s have a look at some of these problems and see what you can do to fix them!

  • Overwatering. This orchid, like all orchids, is sensitive to too much water – in fact the roots can rot very quickly if it is kept too soggy.
  • Underwatering. Conversely, too little water will cause your jewel orchid’s leaves to wilt and wither.
  • Too much humidity. Although these plants like humidity, too much – especially caused by misting – can lead to powdery mildew and rot.
  • Excessive sunlight. Jewel orchids like low, diffused light, so keeping it in a room that is too bright will cause it problems.
  • The wrong temperature. Tropical plants like to be kept at a warm, steady temperature – between 70-80F for your jewel orchid.
  • Pests. Tiny little insects can cause havoc for your little plant – check it regularly for infestations of bugs.
  • Not enough nutrients. If you have never fed your jewel orchid, you may wish to consider starting to do so if it is looking sick and sorry.

It can be very worrying if you spot signs that your jewel orchid is sick – but there are many things you can do to sort out the problem, as you can see!

Orchid Jewel Key Facts

NameJewel Orchid
Scientific NameLudisia
FamilyOrchid
Light RequirementsMedium to low light, diffused. No direct sunlight
Soil RequirementsWell draining potting mix, including Orchid potting mix, peat moss and Perlite
Temperature Requirements70 – 80 degrees F
Water RequirementsWater only when top inch of soil is dry. 7 – 10 days is plenty
Fertilizer RequirementsUse a regular houseplant fertiliser, around once a month
Bloom TimeAutumn, Winter and early Spring – check also here
PestsMealy bugs, thrips, spider mites
SizeUp to 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Final Words

Orchids are wonderful plants, and one that has a reputation for being a really difficult plant to grow and maintain.

However, with our handy guide on how to care for a jewel orchid, you can enjoy this plant as easy as pie, for as long as possible!

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