Nature has created our planet with abundant beauty in every layer. All forms of life, like plants and animals, have their unique and beautiful appearance. One such beautiful creation of nature is the plant Macodes petola.
John Lindley described it in 1840. This is native to the South Asian region like the countries Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra, and the Philippines. The plant is a mesmerizing beauty with its enchanting leaves. The velvety leaves have a green base with prominent golden veins netting the leaf surface. The lower side of the leaves is purplish.
The golden sparkling veins can reflect the light and look stunning in bright light. Macodes petola are rare and evergreen indoor plants popularly grown for their attractive leaves. They are the largest and most beautiful among all the Jewel Orchids.
In this article, we will discuss important and interesting facts related to the Macodes petola Jewel Orchid along with its care and requirements.
Family of Macodes Petola
The belongs to the family ‘Orchidaceae’ and genus Macodes. Lindley created the genus Macodes in ‘Genera and Specie of Orchidaceous Plants. The word ‘Macode’ is from the Greek language meaning ‘Length’. The long lip of the plant is referred to as this name. The genus has about 10 species. All of the species are cultivated for their beautiful leaves and not the flowers like the other jewel orchids.
It is commonly called as;
- Petiole Macodes.
- Lightning Bolt Jewel Orchid (Due to its shinning golden vein)
Macodes Petola Varieties
The Macodes petola Jewel Orchid has many different varieties. The differentiation is based mainly on the colors and patterns of the veins on the leaf surface. Popular varieties/synonyms are mentioned below:
- Var. robusta (only longitudinal veins)
- Var. javanica (white transverse and longitudinal veins)
- Other synonyms of Macodes petola include Argenteo, Cuprea, Iatifolia, Valutina, Anoectochilus petola, Veitchianuss, Veitchii, and Argyroneura.
Macodes Petola Plant
This is a tropical, evergreen perennial plant. The foliage is herbaceous succulent. Roots are formed from rhizomes. An average mature leaf is around 15 cm long and 7 cm wide. Popularly grown in containers or terrariums, Petolas do equally well in pots as well. Macodes petola are medium growers. These are propagated through the division of rhizomes, tubers, or bulbs.
Macodes Petola Flower
The Petola blooms in the winter and fall seasons. Important features of the flower are mentioned below;
- The inflorescence of this jewel orchid is spiky, erect, terminal, and about 20 cm in length.
- The flower is white, brown, or pale green with a white lip.
- Outer layers are hairy and have a greenish or whitish tip.
- The flowers are about 5 to 6 in quantity.
- The size of Macodes petola flower is pretty small and is about 1cm in diameter.
- Flowers are non-resupinate and insignificant in nature
Macodes Petola Care
It is a sensitive plant. Important points related to the care and requirements of the plant are mentioned below:
As the plants are native to areas of abundant rainfall so one important part of Macodes petola Care is abundant water supply. The soil or substrate should be moist all the time to avoid dryness. Make sure to avoid making the planting mixture/substrate soggy as it leads to different issues of plant-like root rot.
The watering quantity and frequency need to be reduced in the winter season. As the plant is not actively growing on cold days and requirements for water also decrease.
The Macodes prefer humidity, so it is better to mist them at least once a day. But the water should not stand on the leaf base for long as it will attract fungus and other issues. The misting frequency can be increased in dry weather. The plants kept in vivariums or terrariums do not need misting.
An important part of Macodes petola jewel orchid care is the proper sunlight. The plant needs full to partial indirect sun exposure of intensity 10000 to 18000 lux. Long hours of direct sun exposure may burn the sensitive plant.
The jewel orchids do great in artificial light as well.
The Macodes orchid needs a rich and high drainage substrate for its dwelling. The potting soil should be a mixture of leaf soil, chopped tree ferns, sphagnum moss, and porous gravel in the size of pea grains all in equal ratios. Coconut fiber or peat can also be used. They also do pretty well in simple sphagnum.
The roots of the plant need good circulation of air in their substrate or soil. The roots get rotten quickly if the substrate is compact and air cannot pass through.
It is a moisture-loving plant. 85 to 90 % humidity is required by the Macodes while the requirement decreases in the summers to around 50%. If you feel that the atmosphere in your home is dry, you can consider adding a moisture tray or a humidifier in the room.
One of the important aspects of Macodes petola care is the appropriate temperature. This is a thermophilic plant. The suitable temperature ranges are 20 to 27 degrees Centigrade and for the night it is between 18 to 25 degrees Centigrade.
The Macodes orchid plant should be given the fertilizer once a week on the day of active growth. The quantity should be ¼ or ½ of the dose recommended on the pack. A balanced fertilizer can be used throughout the year.
- A nitrogen-based fertilizer is preferred from March to June.
- A phosphorus-rich fertilizer is better for August to October.
In the winter season, the plant is not much active so the fertilizer should not be given frequently. An extra quantity of fertilizer may cause the burning of the Macodes petola plant.
Macodes Petola Propagation
You can propagate macodes petola through different ways. These methods include propagation from stem cuttings, rhizome divisions, air layering, and offsets. The most popular methods of propagation are discussed below:
It is one of the most effective ways for propagating your plant. In this case, the mother plant has already produced a section of the plant. This section is capable of supporting itself even if removed from the mother plant. The simple step that you should follow is to cut the rhizome carefully and separate an area having roots, leaves, and voila. And then place it within a separate pot with having a suitable potting mixture.
If you are following this process for propagation, then try to choose a section that constitutes at least one root node. This node can be either planted into water or directly within the growth medium (moist sphagnum).
The most common problems with your Macodes Petola are root rot, fungal, and bacterial diseases. Once encountered with any problem, it is difficult for them to recover due to their slow growth rate.
The root rot usually occurs if the soil is not well-drained. This root rot may cause limping in the plant. The problem can be avoided by repotting and washing off the soil from the plant’s root especially if you observe brown spots on the roots. Cutting the infected parts can also avoid this problem.
The bacterial infection may manifest itself in the form of water-soaked blisters. For avoiding this disease, you must isolate the plant and cut the affected part. Moreover, ventilating the place and avoiding excess water can also avoid the onset of bacterial infections. The use of bactericide is also effective to curb bacterial infections.
The crispy leaves are another common problem faced by Petola and it is usually because of underwatering. This problem can be addressed either by repotting or fulfilling the water requirements of the plant. White dusty web-like covering across the leaves is also observed due to a lack of adequate water. The dry conditions make the leaves prone to spider mites.
The use of neem oil and horticulture oil is recommended as a preventive measure to avoid all aforementioned problems.
In the Java Island of Indonesia, there is a mythical story related to the Macodes petola. It is said that the plants were formed from the remains of the dress of a beautiful goddess. She came to earth with a mission to spread happiness. She was mocked by people and was driven to the jungle. This story has nothing to do with reality but it is pretty interesting, isn’t it?
On the same Island, people make juice of the plant and drip it in the eyes. This is a mythical remedy to increase the artistic sense of writers.
Macodes sanderiana is another species of the genus Macodes. This resembles the Petola so closely that Petola can be considered as a silver patterned variety of the Sanderiana. The Sanderianas are easy to grow and low maintenance plants as compared to other Jewel orchids. After the Petola, this is one of the most preferred varieties for the collectors of Jewel orchids.
Sandriana is native to Papua New Guinea.
The growth frequency of Macodes sanderiana is slow.
The leaves are very similar to the Petolas, especially in the beginning. On maturity, they take orange shades that are absent in the Petolas. The leaf vein patterns change different shades like golden, yellow, and orange during their life. On getting old, the leaf surface gets black squares and the netted veins get yellow while the lower side turns purple.
Macode senderiana Flower:
The plant blooms from November to January. The brown flower somewhat looks like a bee’s head and is around 12 inches in length.
Sanderianas are good to be used in terrariums and vivariums. The requirements and care details of Macodes sanderiana are the same as that of Macodes petola explained above.
The Macodes petola is a rare and extremely beautiful indoor plant popularly grown for its leaves. The velvety green leaves have golden patterns of veins which reflect light and look stunning.
These are low maintenance plants that need moisture, aeration, warm temperature, and low indirect light. Macode sanderiana is another popular species of the same nature and requirements. Both of these are among the most beautiful jewel orchid plants.