Jewel Orchid Happy in No Light?
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  #1  
Old 06-20-2019, 11:58 AM
captainbug captainbug is offline
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Jewel Orchid Happy in No Light? Female
Question Jewel Orchid Happy in No Light?

I was given a jewel orchid by my aunt. Initially I kept it under a grow light with my phals and oncidiums.

When it started going red, I moved it from an exhausted coarse bark+sphag medium into a fine miracle gro orchid mix mixed heavily with peat moss and it sparked back up.

Only to end up going red again soon after it was placed in its new spot about 3ft away from the grow light. So I put it back in the bathroom on the counter.

It's been sitting under NO light for about 3 months now and is absolutely thriving. All it gets is maybe some sparse glow from an led grow light 5 feet away and some dim light through a doorway from the daylight bulb in the connected shower area that's about 10ft away. I keep the media moist but not soaking, and the terracotta pot helps it out.

It's sent up a spike from each arm, flowered in full glory, gently dropped its flowers, and is now sending up 1 new arm from each existing arm- each new growth successfully beginning to unfurl healthy young leaves.

Research has been telling me it needs at least some light, but I was still experiencing reddening from over-lighting when it was 3 ft away from the grow light.

Is I honestly going to continue to thrive in its current spot?
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  #2  
Old 06-20-2019, 12:11 PM
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I'm no jewel orchid expert, but I'm assuming this jewel orchid is Ludisia discolor. The plant has naturally red-colored leaves, with red veins and red underside.

From what I know, it likes to be in full shade. Can you post pics though?
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  #3  
Old 06-20-2019, 12:25 PM
captainbug captainbug is offline
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Yes, it is Ludisia discolor. My bad for forgetting to include that.

It does naturally have red striping and undersides of the leaves. However, when over-exposed to light or in poor conditions the leaves that die back turn completely red, then go limp, then turn crispy. Which is what happened to some of my leaves when it was under the grow light.

Pictures here: Jewel - Album on Imgur

The white on the saucer is just diatomaceous earth from some previous pest control. It's stubborn and doesn't want to wash off of the terracotta.

The top of the media is a thin layer of bark since the peat has washed down some. In the top pic I tried to move a bit away from the middle so you could see the actual consistency of the media below a little better.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:58 PM
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For what it's worth, my jewel orchids (Ludisia discolor, as well as a few others) do seem to want very little light. They were not doing well in my greenhouse (even under the bench where it is pretty dim), and have been doing much better in the house, in an area that gets no direct sunlight. They are happily growing next to a Pothos plant that i have had for many years, also growing with very dim north "houseplant" light far from the window.
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:17 PM
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It's crazy. I guess there's more ambient light reaching the plants than there is generally made out to be.

Everything in regards to grow lights, even the little ones I use, acts like once the plant is more than 18 inches away it's receiving no light or benefits.
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  #6  
Old 06-20-2019, 02:11 PM
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Very low light is not the same as no light. The only orchids that grow without light are the ones that are acholorophyllous (does not have chlorophyll) and are heteromycotrophs (have symbiotic relationship with fungus where the orchid derives their nutrients from the fungus, and the fungus derives their nutrients from the orchid). These orchids are not sold in the hobby because they are impossible to grow.

Ludisia discolor can grow in low light conditions, but I wouldn't go as far as to say no light. It has chlorophyll, I recommend providing some light for it, like placing it near a window even if that window doesn't get a lot of light.

Orchids are slow to decline. 1 - 2 weeks in less than optimum conditions can be tolerated. Beyond that, you will see some sort of problems arise.
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Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 06-20-2019 at 02:13 PM..
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:15 PM
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My jewel orchids (and the Pothos house plant) get enough natural light where I could read a newspaper in that part of the room, though at my age with a bit of eyestrain. It is just normal room daylight (I don't need to turn on the lights to navigate...) So it is certainly not "no light"... (that is what happens at night, when I need to turn on the lights)
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:17 PM
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That wouldn't quite explain its happiness and continued health and new growth over the course of months.

Decline isn't happening here at all.
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  #9  
Old 06-20-2019, 02:18 PM
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Mine have been in that dim area for well over a year. (The Pothos, more like 25 years) Far from decline, thriving and growing. Unlike in the greenhouse, where they almost died.
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:32 PM
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I wanted to make it clear that your plants are receiving diffuse light, not no light. That is just not correct.

No additional supplementary light, fine. I completely disagree with the assertion of no light. Ludisia discolor still has chlorophyll. This species' chlorophyll just happens to carry on photosynthesis at a significantly lower light level. Different species of orchids will have different chlorophyll that require a different range of light levels to trigger photosynthesis.

Diffuse light does not = no light.

If you can read without any additional lighting, that isn't no light. A light meter would probably read anywhere between 100 - 500 lumens right where your orchid is growing.
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Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 06-20-2019 at 03:02 PM..
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