Macodes petola Jewel Orchid Care & Culture

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Orchid Species Name: Macodes petola

Care Group: Jewel Orchids

More About Macodes petola

Macodes petola, to me, is the most coveted jewel orchid of all. Its leaves are crystalline and sparkle like gold flecks have been woven into the veins. It’s a stunning plant year-round…and for that reason, I had to have one. It took me over 5 years to find one available; so when I finally found a supplier (thanks J&L Orchids), I jumped at the opportunity and got two plants (just in case I killed one). The following care recommendations are according to my experience. If you know me, you know that I like bending the rules of orchid care – my care for Macodes petola is no different.

So here’s the deal…EVERYTHING I read online harps incessantly on the need for Macodes petola and other jewel orchids (such as Ludisia discolor) to have HIGH HUMIDITY to do well. I have killed many orchid trying to stuff them into terrariums and that includes a few jewel orchids, so this time I tried something different. I started by watching the forums like a hawk and when I saw growers who had specimen-sized plants, I begged them for their secrets. Funnily enough, some of the best grown plants I found were grown by indoor growers…IN CANADA!

When it comes to growing these plants, THIS IS MY GOAL:

Macodes petola Care

  1. Humidity isn’t a big deal – it’s not. If you disagree, I don’t care; show me your Macodes petola and then show me the study where you compared growth in high and low humidity. You will see, while humidity helps slow transpiration (the rate at which water is lost through the plant’s leaves), it doesn’t affect the plant’s ability to live (provided you keep it hydrated).
  2. Hydration IS a big deal – DO NOT LET THE ROOTS DRY OUT! I tested two types of media for my Macodes petola (based on recommendations from fellow Canadian growers).
  3. Macodes petola potting media – I tested both of these and found them to be equally valuable; I like the first option more because it took longer to dry out and bought me time if it was an exceptionally hot or dry week:
    1. Peatmoss (50%) + Perlite (50%) – It’s basically tropical plant potting soil…and it worked really well for my plant.
    2. Bark (20%) + Sphagnum Moss (50%) + Perlite (30%) – you want this to sit in a tray of water pretty much all the time. If it evaporates and the tray is empty, that’s okay, add more water…but really do your best to avoid letting the moss go bone dry. If the roots get too dry, the plant sulks and you set it back.
  4. Fertilize – weakly, weekly…and use a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer in the media (about 1/8th of a tsp); I like bloodmeal or a balanced organic fert called Gia Green – all-purpose fertilizer (4-4-4).

 

Video of my newly acquired Macodes petola Jewel Orchids

 

Macodes Petola Photos

4 months later – see the offshoots?

Macodes petola – freshly repotted
The day I got my Macodes petola – May 28, 2018