Distinctive characteristics, recommendations for the maintenance of ludisia, tips for orchid propagation, possible difficulties in leaving, facts, types. Ludisia, or as it is also called Ludisia, is attributed by botanists to the genus of terrestrial plants with a herbaceous form of growth. They belong to the Orchidaceae family. Their native habitat falls on lands located in the southeast of Asia and in Indonesia (Sumatra), preferably in humid forests with a tropical climate, or plants like to settle on the walls of caves covered with moss.
The genus includes one single polymorphic species (taking multiple forms) Ludisia discolor, discovered and described in 1825. The plant differs in a variety of forms, which differ from each other mainly in the color of the leaf plates. The flower is often referred to as a “precious orchid”.
The size of the ludisia reaches 15 cm in height, but it grows strongly in breadth, through the lateral processes. Her type of growth is sympodial, that is, there is a large number of horizontally growing shoots, called pseudobulbs, which are interconnected by a rhizome. The thick rhizome is colored red and has a branching that helps the flower to attach to horizontal and vertical surfaces.
The orchid has thick and creeping stems that bear leaf plates, both single and collected in rosettes. Sometimes they can be located on the stem in a regular order. The leaf plate has a sheath at the base, its shape is oval or ovoid, and there is a sharpening at the top.
The surface of the leaves from above is velvety to the touch, and from the back they are smooth and painted in dark tones. It is the color of the leaves that is of greatest value in this orchid, it ranges from purple to burgundy to emerald green to black. Often on the surface there is a pattern of iridescent patterns of silver stripes and strokes. The average size of the leaves is 7 cm in length and about 3-4 cm in width. Each leaf has a seven-year lifespan and then, when it withers, a ring-shaped trace remains on the stem.
The flowering of Ludisia is not of particular decorative value. The size of the buds is small, usually the petals are whitish, yellowish-white. Flowers are located on a flowering stem in the next order. Straight peduncles are high enough, reaching a height of 30 cm, originate from the top of the sprout. On one such peduncle, 20-30 buds can form, which, opening up, reach a diameter of 2 cm. Inside the corolla, several stamens, painted in a bright yellow color, can be seen. With their outlines, such flowers resemble pearls from a distance, which cover the stems, standing higher above the foliage. The flowering process occurs in November-January and can be admired for up to five weeks.
Agrotechnics for growing ludisia, home care
- Lighting. For this orchid, bright but diffused light is necessary. You can place the pot on the sills of the east or west windows. And also use artificial lighting - 12-14 hours. If direct sunlight falls on the leaves, they will go down, with a lack of light, the orchid will stretch out strongly.
- Temperature when growing ludisia. This "precious orchid" prefers moderate heat levels. It is necessary that the column of the thermometer fluctuates between 20-23 degrees, but there is a need to create cooler conditions at night - 17-19 degrees.Such drops are the key to the abundant flowering of the orchid. From May to September, a pot of ludisia is placed on a balcony or terrace. The plant is afraid of the draft. If the variety has velvety leaves, then it is not worth spraying such a plant, since then it will be impossible to remove water stains. If the heat indicators are close to 35 degrees, then it is recommended to carry out "shower procedures" for ludisia under warm streams of water - this will replace the plant with a tropical downpour. After that, the leaves must be blotted with napkins.
- Watering. Soil moisture directly depends on the temperature when growing ludisia. The higher these parameters are, the more often and more abundantly it is required to water the plant. It is important not to allow water to stagnate in the pot itself or in the pan under the pot, as this can lead to the rapid development of putrefactive processes in the root system. Between waterings, the substrate in the container should dry out, but it should not be allowed to completely dry out. That is, it should always be always in a slightly moist state. You can water ludisia, like other members of the orchid family, by immersing the pot in a bowl of water for 15–20 minutes. For irrigation, only warm and soft water, free of lime impurities, is used.
- Fertilizers for ludisia are introduced infrequently in the event that the plant is regularly transplanted - all the necessary nutrients "precious orchid" are obtained from the new substrate and environment. Otherwise, during the period of activation of the growing season and flowering, it is recommended to apply top dressing with every third watering (approximately twice a month). It is necessary to use mineral complexes intended for orchids in half the dose or even reducing the dosage recommended on the package by 3 times.
- Transplantation and selection of substrate for the "precious orchid". Often it is not necessary to transplant ludisia, this operation is performed if the plant has grown strongly, and the pot has become cramped for the root system (about once every 3-4 years). Transplantation is carried out mainly in the spring. The new container is selected low and wide, made of transparent plastic with large drainage holes. It is recommended to place the roots of ludisia in the upper layers of the soil, so that the growth points are not buried. When transplanting, the plant is removed from the pot, the roots are freed from the old substrate and soaked in warm water for several hours. You can take any substrate for ludisia: ordinary soil with a high content of peat and humus, or just clean chopped sphagnum moss. They also use ready-made compositions for orchids, or prepare a similar soil mixture on their own. For her, chopped fern roots, peat, leafy soil, crushed birch charcoal and small pieces of pine bark (their length should not exceed 1 cm) are mixed in a ratio of 4: 1: 1: 1: 4. First, the largest pieces are placed on the bottom of the pot, and the finest fragments are poured to the very top. Also vermiculite or small brick chips can be used as drainage. The surface of the substrate at the top is covered with fresh sphagnum moss - this will reduce the evaporation of moisture.
When caring for and breeding such "precious orchids", it is recommended to maintain high humidity:
- spray the leaf plates of the plant with warm and soft water;
- put humidifiers next to ludisia;
- install a pot with a plant next to fountains and aquariums;
- you can put a pot with an orchid in a deep tray, at the bottom of which a layer of pebbles (expanded clay, vermiculite or chopped sphagnum moss) is poured and a little water is poured.
How to propagate ludisia on your own?
To get a new plant of the "precious orchid", it is recommended to propagate it by dividing the overgrown bush, by rooting the apical cuttings or stem segments.
Since Lydisia does not have a pronounced rest period, it is possible to reproduce at any time of the year, but it is preferable to do this in the spring.
The process of dividing an adult ludisia bush should be combined with the next orchid transplant. Then the plant is removed from the pot and with the help of a sharpened knife it is divided into parts so that 2-3 processes remain on each of the divisions. Then it is recommended to powder the slices with activated charcoal or charcoal powder and plant the parts in prepared pots with a suitable substrate.
If the plant propagates by apical cuttings, then the workpiece is cut from the shoot, so that it has 2-3 nodes and air roots and dormant buds in the leaf sinuses are present. The cut is sprinkled with a powder of crushed charcoal or activated carbon and dried for some time. Then the cutting is planted in a pot filled with moist sphagnum moss, and the deepening goes to the level of the base of the leaf plate. You can wait for the formation of root shoots by placing the cutting in a container with water, dissolving activated carbon in it. The cuttings are wrapped in a plastic bag or placed under a glass vessel, you can take a plastic bottle and cut off the bottom in it, leaving the neck with a lid (for ventilation).
A leafless stem segment can also serve as a blank for reproduction. In this case, it is recommended to cut the stem in such a way that each of the segments has several internodes. Then the cutting should be laid horizontally in a bowl filled with damp chopped sphagnum moss and crushed pine bark. It is not necessary to deepen such a cutting, but only slightly press it into the substrate, without sprinkling it. The container is wrapped in plastic wrap or placed under glass. There is no need to heat the soil for rooting. Cuttings take root within 2-4 weeks. If you look closely, you can see young roots along the edges of the cutting.
In any case, it will be necessary to carry out regular ventilation and moistening of the soil when it dries up with a fine spray gun. When the first leaf blades are formed on the cutting, the shelter is gradually removed (starting to increase the amount of time for airing), accustoming ludisia to its absence, but at the same time, the humidity indicators in the room where the plant is kept should be increased. If flower-bearing stems are formed on a young "precious orchid", then it is recommended to remove them so that they do not weaken the still stronger plant.
Pests and diseases in the care of ludisia and methods of dealing with them
If the growing conditions are violated (increased dryness or humidity in the room), the plant can be affected by harmful insects, among which are:
- Mealybug. On the leaves on the reverse side, in internodes and stems, a whitish shade of formations can be seen, similar to pieces of cotton wool. If measures are not taken, then soon the orchid will be covered with a sticky sugary bloom (paddy - waste products of the pest). You can use a toothpick to remove pests from the plant, rinse the leaves under streams of warm shower, and then treat with soap, oil or alcohol solutions.
- Spider mite. This pest manifests itself in the formation of a thin cobweb that covers foliage and stems, often new leaves are formed deformed, and old ones acquire a yellow color and fly around. You can also wipe the sheet plates after showering with the aforementioned preparations.
- Shield. The pest forms brownish-brown plaques with a shiny surface on the back of the leaves. Also, if you do not take measures to destroy insects, a pad will soon appear on the plant, which will become an impetus for the development of a sooty fungus. Then the whole ludisia will be covered with a bloom of black.The shield can also be removed with a toothpick, and then treated with folk remedies (tinctures from onion husks or garlic gruel).
- Whitefly. The pest is immediately visible by specks of whitish color on the back of the leaves and small white flies. You can wipe the sheet plates with both soap and onion solutions.
If folk remedies do not give the desired result, then it is recommended to process the ludisia leaf plates with insecticidal preparations of a wide spectrum of action. If necessary, spraying is repeated after 7-10 days. There are no problems with diseases in this orchid.
Interesting facts about the ludisia orchid
In floriculture, varieties of this genus are usually referred to as the so-called "Jewel orchids", since the value of these plants is not in flowers, but the coloring of the leaf plates attracts the eye. In addition to the genus Ludisia, the following subtribes Goodyerinae are also listed there: Anoectochilus, Macodes, Dossinia, Goodyera, Zeuxcine.
Types of ludisia
Ludisia discolor can be found under the name Ludisia bicolor or Haemaria discolor. A short leafy area is placed on a creeping fleshy shoot. Such a leaf rosette is assembled from three to six leaves of a dark color. Their surface is decorated with a pattern of fine colored veins. The inflorescence is decorated with a flowering stem, it reaches 10–20 cm in length, there are also 3–4 sterile, colorless scales. The inflorescence contains 10–20 whitish flowers. With the help of the lower petals, a slightly beveled lip is formed; long anthers of yellow color are decoratively visible above it.
In culture, this variety is represented by a wide variety of forms and varieties:
- Ludisia multicolored var. alba (syn.ordiana) also called Ludisia Alba is distinguished by leafy plates of green color, without the usual red-burgundy tint, with a pattern of gold or silver veins;
- Ludisia multicolored var. condorensis takes on large sizes, but its flower-bearing stems are of sufficient length;
- Ludisia multicolored var. dawsoniana found under the name of Ludisia Dawson and is distinguished by large leaf plates, the color is black-green with reddish or pink streaks-stripes, as a rule, their number is greater than that of other varieties, the height of the plant itself is 30 cm;
- Ludisia multicolored var. grandis the size of the leaf plates is slightly larger than that of other varieties;
- Ludisia multicolored var. otletae has leaves of a narrow lanceolate shape, the color of their surface is black-green, where there is a pattern of red veins, which are located only along the lobar vein;
- Ludisia multicolored var. rubrovenia has elliptical sheet plates, the surface of which is painted in bronze color with a pattern of copper veins;
- Ludisia multicolored var. triniliata very much like Ludisia var. rubrovenia, however, its size is large, the thickness of the veins is larger and on one leaf there are up to 3-5 units;
- Ludisia multicolored var. ordiana also called Ludisia Odina, the foliage is dominated by a pattern of stripes located longitudinally and painted in a silvery color, and transverse paired strokes are also missing along the entire length of the central strip;
- Ludisia Tanlaniana has leaves wider than other varieties and a pattern of light mesh in the central part;
- Ludisia Velvet, mainly the leaf plates are painted in a rich green color and velvety pubescence. Longitudinal stripes of a reddish hue appear on the upper side of the sheet.
You will learn more about the ludisia orchid from the following video: