For most people, the word “orchid” brings to mind exotic flowers with tall stems and sweet fragrances. Therefore, you might be surprised to hear that one of the most popular varietals is grown for its leaves, not its blooms. The Jewels’ leaves boast complex vein patterns, which can appear to glitter in the light. The effect is astonishing, reducing the plant’s spindly flowers to a background feature. They are mostly all about the foliage.
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The Locality of These Sparkling Flowers
They are considered terrestrials, and they’re found the world over. Many of them are sold as inexpensive house plants. In fact, you may have a potted one of these unique plants in your home and not even know it! Often buyers don’t know they’re purchasing an orchid because the plants are inexpensive and usually flowerless. And unlike others, these come potted in thick soil.
The Most Common Type That You Have Probably Seen Before
The most common variety of this orchid, Ludisia discolor, has fleshy leaves with pink or red veins. This species is native to Indonesia, but has become ubiquitous in the west in recent years. In the springtime, almost every garden and home improvement store has trays of Ludisias for sale.
Other varieties are less common; some of these have features like hairy leaves, blood-red flesh or multicolored veins. The term “jewel orchid” actually refers to multiple genera, so there’s huge variety within the group.
Harvesting of Wild Flowers
Although Ludisia plants are rampant, some of them are quite rare. This is due in part to the method of collecting them. Often times, sellers will harvest wild plants; since their life cycle is very long, many rare ones are collected before they can reproduce. Luckily, heightened awareness about the precarious state of the orchid world had led to an increased conservation effort in recent years.
Wild jewels are still not prevalent, but they’re no longer near impossible to find. If you are fortunate enough to find one of these flowers in the wild, it will probably be located in a humid, shady place near a tree or rock. They’re difficult to spot from far away because of their herb-like appearance.
How Easy it is for Anyone to Grow These Flowers?
They are easy to grow; they are an ideal plant for beginning gardeners and for enthusiasts alike. All it takes to care for most varieties is about 75 percent humidity, low light and temperature with about a 10 degree Fahrenheit differential between day and night. Most people can grow these flowers in their kitchens, bathrooms or temperature-controlled laundry rooms without problems. If you’d prefer, using a terrarium is another good method to growing them successfully.
Cultivating a Wild one Using This Method
It’s easy to cultivate a new plant from an existing jewel. Just take a cutting with a part of the rhizome intact and insert it in moss or water. A new root system should develop in a week or two. Use this method if you come across one of these plants in the wild. Taking a cutting instead of the whole plant will help keep these beauties around for generations.
The next time you’re in the market for an attractive house plant, think about these flowers. They may not have show-stopping flowers, but they’re striking just the same. Their sparkling leaves can spruce up any space. Best of all, these little plants are affordable; a small one should retail at less than $10. All around, jewel orchids are good bets.