I was recently given a Macodes petola and I do not know how to care for it. Can you please tell me this plant's proper light, fertilizer, and water requirements?
Macodes petola, or jewel orchid, is a very unique member of the orchid family. I first saw one of these when I was a student at the NYBG and I could not believe my eyes. This orchid has dark green leaves with yellow venation that is truly a sight to behold. The yellow venation is so sparkly and bright you might think the plant looks like it is made of gold or is somehow illuminated! This is one such orchid that I would love to have in my collection not so much for the flower as much as the foliage.
As far as caring for your Macodes petola, they are particular but not impossible to keep alive. The first particular is that this orchid requires very high humidity. A bathroom with good airflow and indirect sun would be an appropriate setting. If that is not an option, place it near an open window where it can get some of the natural humidity from outside. If you are not doing so already, place some stones in your saucer to create a buffer so that excess water that collects in the saucer can evaporate and provide humidity without running the risk of rotting the roots. Do not allow the sphagnum moss that the orchid is planted in to dry out completely; it needs to be kept moist at all times. Regarding light requirements, be sure that your Macodes is never kept in a spot where it will get direct sunlight. Indirect sunlight is fine, but direct sun will burn the foliage in no time. The leaves look delicate and in fact they are much more sensitive than other more sturdy orchids (phalaenopsis, oncidiums, cattleyas,etc.) we typically see for sale. If you wish you can fertilize "weakly weekly" as you would your other orchids this time of year.