Home Plants Macodes Petola (Jewel Orchid) – Everything You Need to Know

Macodes Petola (Jewel Orchid) – Everything You Need to Know

by gardeningit
Macodes Petola (Jewel Orchid)

Macodes petola is unarguably a stunning plant. It is a variety of jewel orchid indigenous to Malaysia, New Guinea, Vanuatu, Sumatra, and the Philippines. Jewel Orchid typically refers to any orchid grown for its beautiful leaves in preference over its flowers. It is considered endangered owing to over-collection by horticultural collectors, and its use as an antidepressant in Borneo traditional phototherapy. Traditionally children in Java, who are just learning to read, eat Macodes petola because the veins on them look like the alphabets of the native language and it is believed to make reading easier for them.

Javanese Legend of Macodes Petola

According to a legend a beautiful goddess came to Earth from the heavens. She wanted to give joy to humans. She was beautiful and wore a silk gown woven with gold thread. But people mocked her, and she ran to the forest for cover. While fleeing her robe was entangled in the branches and was torn. Pieces of this beautiful fabric hung on the branches and fell on the rocks nearby. When the people realized their mistake, they asked for forgiveness, but the goddess was heartbroken and went back to the heavens.

The pieces of her silk gown with the gold thread remained in the forest and as time passed turned into plants with the glow of silk and veins of gold threads. These plants with the unique sparkle on the leaves can still be found in the jungle of Indonesia. They are a gift from heaven. When the sun shines on them, the leaves shimmer.

Classification of Macodes Petola

  • Plantae
  • Tracheophytes
  • Angiosperms
  • Monocots
  • Asparagales
  • Orchidaceae
  • Orchidoideae
  • Cranichideae
  • Macodes
  • M. petola

Features of Macodes Petola

Macodes petola flower appears in winters and are tiny with brownish-red petals, a yellow border, and a white edge. It is found thriving in diverse surroundings in nature. It grows in forests with a high level of humidity, 300-1600 m above sea level. The leaves have glassy and shimmery veins with gold dust sprinkled on them.

Growth Habit of Macodes Petola

The Macodes petola retains its green leaves throughout the year. It is thermophilic ( grows well in high temperatures ). It has a continuously growing underground horizontal stem, known as a rhizome. Macodes Petola puts out lateral shoots and adventitious roots at intervals. It is also known as a rootstock. It coils in a sloppy convolution, elliptical to ovoid, around 12cm in length and 7cm in width. The leaves have a fuzzy feel, are dark green with a network of veins and purplish-green on the underside clasping at the base with a grooved stalk. The Jewel orchid proliferates in good light, and in winters and low light, the growth slows down. The flowering stem is usually double the height of the plant.

General Information of Plant

  • Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Sun Requirements: Partial, Dappled Shade
  • Soil PH Preferences: Neutral (6.6-7.3), Slightly acid (6.1-6.5)
  • Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
  • Minimum cold: Zone 10a-1.1 degrees C
  • Hardiness: 30 degrees F to +1.7 degrees C(35 degrees F)
  • Plant’s Height: 4 inches – 6 inches
  • Plant’s Spread: 6 inches – 12 inches
  • Leaves: Evergreen, unusual foliage color
  • Flowers: Inconspicuous
  • Flower Color: Green, greenish-yellow
  • Bloom size: Under 1″
  • Underground Structure: Rhizome
  • Suitable Locations: Houseplant, Terrariums
  • Propagation: Stolons and runners
  • Resistance: Humidity tolerant
  • Containers: Needs perfect drainage in pots

Macodes Petola Care

Macodes petola Jewel Orchids grow well as indoor plants. They need enough light, mild heat and moisture in their roots. It is essential to keep their roots well-oxygenated and moist at all times.

The wide assortment of species shows that there may be a lot of variation in the care needed for isolated plants based on their source. Macodes petola is found thriving in diverse surroundings in nature. It grows in forests with a high level of humidity, 300- 1600m above sea level.

Macodes Sanderiana

Lightning Bolt Jewel Orchids are awesome little houseplants that thrive in warm and humid surroundings. The unique quality of these plants is the beautiful pattern on its super cute lightning bolt leaves. These plants are popular not because of their flowers but because of their stunning foliage. The colors of the leaves depend on the light level but are mostly dark green with lightning bolt-like veins on them. The veins come from the center of the young leaves and appear to be gold or silver. Jewel Orchids are also called Macodes Sanderiana.

This plant variety is a popular home decor plant. In the hot season, water it once or twice a day and place it in indirect sunlight. It is an excellent option for beginners and people who are just starting to keep indoor plants as it is effortless to care for. It is best grown in terrarium or pot. In nature, they are found growing at the foot of tall trees. There are several varieties available like the ‘Red Velvet’ with red leaves, ‘Green Velvet’ with green leaves or ‘Silver Velvet’ with leaves having silver veins and also an L. Discolor ‘Alba’, an albino variety with silvery-white veins on green leaves. There is another variety called ‘Black Velvet’ with silver veins on black foliage.

Growth Tips for Macodes Petola

Macodes Petola Soil Requirements

Macodes petola soil requires a surface that drains water completely. It should be substantial and penetrable. It flourishes in high temperatures and high humidity. The substrate should consist of equal parts of sphagnum moss, penetrable pebbles, leaf soil, and chopped tree ferns.

These plants spread out in width more than they grow in height, so they need a shallow wide pot to grow nicely. Using normal potting compost is not recommended as it is designed to hold on to water which will make your Jewel Orchid rot.

Humidity Requirements

Humidity is not extremely necessary for indoor Macodes petola. They grow and perform well in a dry climate with humidity around 18%. When humidity is high, it slows down the process of transpiration. It is a process through which a plant loses water/moisture through its leaves. As long as the plant is continuously hydrated, it will not be affected by low humidity. Your plant will grow well, nonetheless.

Water Requirements

It is essential to keep the roots of your Macodes moist. They should never be allowed to dry out; as it will make your plant look sullen, droop and in due course perish. Whereas excessively wet roots will lead to rotten roots. You must find a sweet spot between the two extremes. Water just enough so the roots don’t dry out. Potting media should be airy, well-oxygenated, open, airy and moisture retentive.

Fertilizer Requirements

The Macodes plants should be fertilized with half or one-quarter of the suggested quantity of fertilizer for orchids. A fertilizer with increased nitrogen content can be used from spring to mid-summer. In late summer and autumn, a phosphorus-rich fertilizer is suitable. Since Macodes petola are found in limestone-affluent areas, it is a good idea to increase Calcium by adding eggshells or polyester shells to the potting mix, so the plant gets its supply of Calcium regularly.

Light Requirements

A light level of 10,000-18,000 lux is ideal for Macodes petola. The light should be of low strength, refined and scattered. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight. Make sure the plant is kept in a well-ventilated place.

Temperature Requirements

The Macodes petola is a thermophilic plant which means it thrives at high temperatures. The average day temperature for optimal growth is between 27-29 degrees Celsius and night temperature is between 18-19 degrees Celsius.

Potting Media for Macodes


The following two mixes work well for Macodes petola:

  1. Orchid Mud Mix: It consists of Perlite 50% and Peat moss 50%. The added Perlite increases oxygen in the potting soil. Be careful while watering your plant in the winters; if the roots are wet and cold for too long, it can cause the roots to rot. When you see the media becoming dry, water sparingly and add more mud mix if needed.
  2. Classic Orchid Mix: This consists of 20% Bark, 50% Sphagnum Moss and 30% Perlite. This mixture is lumpy, but if it dries quickly, let the container sit in ¼” tray of water. When doing so, bear in mind that this doesn’t take the place of regularly watering your plant. To keep the roots thriving and oxygenated, flush the potting mix with clean tap water every 6-7 days. In a couple of months, the bark and sphagnum will become loose and hold water longer.
  3. No matter which kind of potting mix you use just make sure the roots don’t get too dry but avoid wetness for days on end.

Propagation of Macodes Petola

This plant can be propagated by asexual division, which means that you need only one parent plant for reproduction, and the offspring will be genetically identical to the parent. The sterilization of tools and media is essential to protect the plant from infections.

Jewel Orchid Flowers

Typical to this species, these plants flower regularly. The flowers spurt in bunches along the stems, shooting out beyond the leafage. The flowers are white with yellow centers and pink stems. Flowering spikes are visible in fall and winter. The flowers are pretty and small. In mild temperatures, they will last for a few weeks.

Are They Poisonous?

The Jewel orchid is neither toxic to pets or humans. It is entirely safe to keep it in your home or office.

Other Tips

If you are a fan of the foliage of the Macodes petola and don’t care to keep the flowers, you can trim out the flowering spikes. This allows us to keep the plant compact, with more greenery. If the flowers are allowed to bloom, the plant becomes leggy.

The Takeaway

The Macodes Petola is admired for its dazzling foliage. It is low- maintenance and easy to grow, which makes it a popular choice as a houseplant. It is evergreen and compact and makes a beautiful addition to any indoor space. An adult Jewel orchard will give multiple growths annually with clusters of dainty flowers. Due to their easy-going nature and contemporary charm, it is an excellent indoor plant to consider growing in your home.

You may also like