The Ludisia discolor is a beautiful terrestrial orchid native to Asia; it has fleshy stems, rhizomatous, prostrate, which root at the nodes and produce dense rosettes consisting of large fleshy leaves, oval, velvety, dark red-brown, with silver veins, copper in the Dawsonian variety. In spring and autumn, it produces upright ears of corn, which carry numerous small flowers, white with yellow spots. The ludisia are mainly grown for their leaves, as the flowers are not very showy.
In the wild, they develop near water courses.
As for the exposure of the Ludisia discolor, we must place the plant in semi-shaded or shaded positions, this particular variety of orchid does not need much light as in nature develops in areas of undergrowth or near water courses, especially in the summer months shelter the ludisias from sunlight as the sun’s rays could spoil them very easily. These orchids are of tropical origin, therefore they cannot stand the cold and should be kept in rooms with minimum temperatures above 10°C.
If grown at home, should be placed in a place not near the radiators, to prevent them from being damaged by excessive heat. The level of ambient humidity is also important and should be kept constant.
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- Generally, when we think of an orchid, our imagination evokes memories of delicate plants, with very particular requirements, often with aerial roots, which should be cultivated only by real aperitifs.
From March to October they need regular and abundant watering, the soil must be kept constantly moist, but taking care to always check that it is not possible to form water stagnations that quickly lead to the development of root rot.
In winter, reduce watering, to ensure the plant a period of vegetative rest. Spray the leaves with demineralized water to increase the ambient humidity, a determining factor for a good growth of the plant. During the vegetative period, provide specific fertilizer for orchids, mixed with the water of the watering, every 15-20 days.
These orchids are a terrestrial variety, i.e. they have roots that develop in the soil, unlike epiphytic species. Use a rich, soft and very well drained soil. Prepare an ideal compound by mixing peat, finely chopped bark and perlite. The plant should be repotted at the beginning of spring, every 2-3 years, to avoid that the roots are too constrained in the container.
To prevent the roots from being damaged during the repotting operation, it is advisable to wet the soil before proceeding with the operation.
The multiplication of the Ludisia happens by seed, or by division of the rhizomes, which are to be cut at the interval between the nodes. Both the gamic and agamic multiplication can take place with some success if you pay attention to the time, the irrigation, the light and all those factors that are fundamental for the growth of the plants.
Ludisia discolor: Pests and diseases
Speaking of parasites, with the Ludisia discolor we should pay particular attention to aphids that can attack the leaves and flowers; it is good to intervene quickly to eliminate the problem, using specific products that should be vaporized with caution. Another rather common problem is that deriving from an excess of water or from a poorly draining soil which quickly leads to the onset of radical rottenness which must be countered in order to avoid the decay and death of the plant.