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HOW TO PLANT, GROW, AND CARE FOR Vanda Orchid

Vanda Orchid:

Vanda Orchid gets its name from Sanskrit, Vandaka.  The name was initially given to Vanda roxburghii. A genus in the Orchidaceae family, it shares its space along with other 80 species. Vanda is the most commonly found and is a favorite of gardeners across the world as it is considered to be one of the most adapted orchid species. The flowers are showy, long-lasting and very fragrant. This makes the plant one of the most beautiful, coveted and ornamental flowers.  The plant can be easily seen across New Guinea, Western Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Queensland. Vanda is also abbreviated as V.

Usually the plant is epiphytic but it can be found as terrestrial or lithophytic plant as well. In India’s Himalaya, Indonesia, New Guinea, Southern China, Northern Australia, the Philippines and Southeast Asia, you can see vanda orchid growing as lithophytic or in terrestrial habitat.

According to its growing habitat, the leaves of the plant may vary. While it shows a monopodial growth habit, the leaves and their shape may vary in accordance with the habitat.  Some of the leaves could be strap leaves, broad, cylindrical or simply flat. The leaves are usually fleshy that are well-adapted to drought season. The stems of V. orchid can also vary in size, ranging from a miniature version to expanding to several meters.  The epiphytic species of orchid can be very large and grow aerial root system for better respiration and ventilation of the plant.

Some of the flowers can possess brown marking with petals of yellow brown color. In such species, the flowers show lateral inflorescence.  The flowers can be in white, green, red, burgundy and orange color.  The lips on the flowers have a small spur. The flowers may bloom in the interval of every month lasting for about two to three weeks.  

Some of the vanda species such as V. coerulea are endangered and can only be found in the forest areas with high light levels. Since the forests have now been destructed and threatened, the natural habitat of orchid species isn’t endangered as well. Hence, as a measure to protect the wild species of V. Coerulea, the export and collection is prohibited all over the world. If you want to see the list of the endangered orchid species, visit the Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Cultivation:

One of the most magnificent flowers and one of the most significant orchid genera, the plant doesn’t grow pseudobulbs. The leaves are leathery and drought-resistant. The plant is also a favorite among gardeners as cut flowers, for showy and large blooms. V. coerulea has undergone hybridization heavily and the botanists have produced several intergeneric and interspecific hybrids.  One of the most famous and rarest is Australia’s terrestrial Thelymitra crinita that grows metallic blue flowers. It is also considered a truly blue flower.  Vanda has bluish-purple tint in the flowers that is more prominent towards the inner petals. Aganisia cyanea also has flower of blue colors. The flower is native to Northern South America. This species is difficult to cultivate though and requires much patience and hardwork.

Among the Vanda hybrids, V. dearei is one cultivar that is used to get yellow colors.  Vanda ‘Miss Joaquim’ is a variety that has terete or cylindrical leaves. This terrestrial flower is the national flower of Singapore. The species thrives in high light levels and since it is mainly epiphytes, the root system is usually elaborated. Some of the plants can be monopodial and grow like vine. If you don’t want premature dropping of the leaves in the Vanda orchids, you need to maintain consistent gardening conditions for them.  If you are planning to grow epiphytic species, then you will need large wooden baskets to give their roots the desired space to grow and breathe. If you fail at this basic step, the Aerides and Vanda species won’t be able to survive and even if they do, the plant might skip the flowering phase at all and even if they do, they won’t be able to get past through one season.  The damage or any kind of disturbance to the root system during the cultivation becomes the main cause behind the wilting and death of the plant.

If you aren’t sure about planting the orchid at all, start with species that have cylindrical leaves as they are easy to grow.  Daily watering and weekly feeding plays important role in the nurturing of the plant.

The Basics of Vanda Orchid Care:

Vanda is basically a tropical plant and need high levels of humidity.  A spike of Vanda may produce up to 8 flowers, which may showcase an array of color and pattern.  Vanda flowers can bloom at anytime of the year but the most preferable blooming phase is from spring to fall.

 

Water Requirements

Tepid water should be used to water the plant in the morning.  Watering frequency depends on the climate. You may need to water Vanda orchid more during the warmer climates and lesser during the cooler months. However, you may ensure that you give adequate time to roots to dry between water intervals. Excess watering can lead to rotting of the roots.

Light Requirements:

For every type of Vanda orchids with broader leaves, terete leaves and semi-cylindrical leaves, need bright light however, you need to ensure that the leaves aren’t sun burnt.  Terete leaves need full sun whereas semi-terete bit lesser and broad leaves the least among them all. Indoor vanda gardening should have vandas planted facing south.

Temperature for Vanda Gardening:

Vandas need warmer temperature to thrive. The daytime temperature for the plant should be anywhere between 23.9 degree and 35 degree Celsius whereas night temperature should be ideally 15.6 degree to 21.1 degree Celsius. The drop in night temperature helps the plant to prompt the upward growth of spike however the persistent cooler temperature can stunt the growth of the spike.  If you are planning to plant the Vanda species in warmer climates, you need to water the plant regularly and maintain the desired level of humidity levels.

Fertilizer Requirements for Vanda Gardening:

Vanda requires fertilizers during active growth phase. Make sure to use florist-recommended orchid fertilizer.  Make sure that plant is watered regularly as fertilizing a dry orchid plant can damage the roots permanently. Avoid access use of fertilizers as well.

Vanda Orchid Potting

Spring is the perfect and only time when you should repot the orchids. Ask your florist to provide you with a coarse potting mix.  You need to trim the soggy and damaged roots properly before repotting. Water the plant properly after the repotting is done.  If you are repotting the plant that is growing in a basket, don’t remove the plant directly. Instead, try soaking the roots first with water and then gently remove the roots and replace the pot with a bigger one.