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Wisconsin's Tropical Gardens


Plant Profile Series

 
 

BLACK JEWEL ORCHID - Ludisia (Haemaria) discolor dawsonia

The Black Jewel Orchid is a terrestrial orchid that is native to Malaya. It is known for its dark, greenish-red, velvety leaves which have copper-red stripes running parallel to the center vein. The non-fragrant flowers usually appear from December through February although some may bloom "off season" as well. The small flowers are born clustered on a spike and can last a month or more. They are about 1/3 inch across and are white with a yellow throat. This plant is listed on the endangered species list and cannot be shipped internationally without a special permit. Interstate shipments do not need a special permit.

LIGHT: This plant thrives in moderately bright light but will also tolerate low light. Place near a bright window but not in direct sun.

TEMPERATURE: Provide average household temperatures between 70° at night to 80° during the day. This plant can tolerate more extreme temperatures but does best in this range. To re-flower your plant, provide two to three weeks of cooler night temperatures from 60° to 64° in August.

WATER: Water when the soil medium is dry. This plant likes to dry out somewhat between waterings. Feed lightly with your regular liquid houseplant fertilizer mixed at 1/4 the recommended rate.

Since this is a terrestrial orchid, it prefers a light, soilless mix such as peat-based potting mix instead of orchid bark potting mix. If a branch or tip breaks off, you may be able to root it by inserting it into this same mix.

This plant is seldom available late winter or early spring in 4" or 6" pots.