Care of vanda orchids

Vanda Orchid Info: How To Grow Vanda Orchids In The Home

Vanda orchids produce some of the more stunning blooms in the genera. This group of orchids is heat-loving and native to tropical Asia. In their native habitat, Vanda orchid plants hang from trees in nearly soilless media. It is important to mimic this condition as much as possible when growing Vanda orchid. Care of Vanda orchids is simple, provided you remember a few key items regarding the orchid’s preferences. Once you have the right growing situation, you can become skilled at how to grow Vanda orchids and enjoy large colorful blooms every few months.

Vanda Orchid Info

Orchids grow terrestrially or epiphytically. The family of Vanda orchids is all epiphytic, which means the plants cling to tree bark or hand from cracks in cliffs and rocky areas. This means their roots are in relatively little soil, just whatever organic matter the crevasse or crack collected over time.

Vanda orchid plants bloom several times a year with 1- to 4-inch blooms in a host of colors. Stems and flowers may be speckled or dappled with white. The foliage is thick and round, with a glossy waxy sheen. Plants range in size from miniatures to huge flora several feet tall.

How to Grow Vanda Orchids

Plants grow from thick fleshy bulbs, which store moisture and energy for the orchid’s growth. They send out aerial roots that help them cling to their chosen perch and gather moisture from the air. The flower’s importance as ornamental blooms and part of leis and other décor is a key bit of Vanda orchid info.

In most climates, the plant is useful only as a houseplant because it has no cold tolerance. Breeders like the Vanda orchid for its ease of propagation and production of hybrids. It is an easy to care for plant with spires of thickly flowered stems that actually thrives on cyclical neglect.

Care of Vanda Orchids

As a warm climate plant, Vanda orchid plants require temperatures no lower than 55 F. (13 C.) and no higher than 95 F. (35 C.).

Lighting is crucial, but first you have to determine what type of Vanda you have. There are strap-leaved, terete and semi-terete. The first variety is self explanatory, but terete has a round pencil-shaped leaf. Semi-terete is somewhere in between. Terete varieties need bright light and high sun. Strap leaves need partial shade and protection from bright midday light.

Water the orchids enough to keep them moist but not soggy. Soggy plants tend to rot. You can prevent this by using a chunky bark medium or other gritty soil that doesn’t hold onto moisture.

Vanda orchid plants need 80 percent humidity, which may have to be provided by a humidifier or spritzing the air.

Repot every three to five years in spring. Fertilize during the growing season. Feed once a week with a one-quarter dilution of balanced fertilizer as part of good care of Vanda orchids.

Vanda Orchid Care

Vanda Orchid Care: The Basics

The Vanda (VAN-dah) orchid’s natural habitat is tropical and for this reason Vanda orchids require a very high level of humidity. Most often Vandas are grown in wooden slat hanging baskets with little to no potting medium.Vanda spikes normally produce 6-8 beautiful flowers that can typically grow to be six inches in diameter. The flowers themselves come in an array of colors. Some are solid in color while others have a beautiful pattern. Vanda orchids most often bloom between spring and fall but can bloom at any time of year.

Water Requirements

A Vanda orchid should be watered in the morning using tepid water. This will give the orchid adequate time to let the roots dry before the next watering. Watering frequency – as covered in this article about watering orchids – can be determined by a few different things. If you are growing a Vanda orchid in a wooden slat basket, you may want to water daily and if your Vanda is in a pot with medium you may want to water less frequently. As a rule of thumb, you will want to water more frequently during the warmer months and less frequently in the cooler months.

Light Requirements

There are 3 types of Vanda orchids, each with a different type of leaf. The first type is the strap-leaf (broad, flat leaves), the second type is terete (round, pencil-like leaves), and the third is semi-terete (hybrid of strap-leaf & terete leaf). In general, all Vanda orchids require bright light intensity and you will want to provide bright light to your Vanda without causing sunburn to the plant as covered in this article about orchids care and light. You will be able to determine how just much light your Vanda orchid requires depending upon the type of leaves your orchid has. Terete leaf Vandas need full sun, semi-terete leaf Vandas need a bit less sun, and strap-leaf Vandas need even a little less light. If you are growing your Vanda indoors, an ideal place would be in a windowsill that is facing south as long as you provide a sheer curtain for protection from the intense midday sun.

Temperature Requirements

As discussed in this orchid plant care article on temperature, Vandas thrive in warm temperatures. The temperature requirements for Vandas are daytime temperatures somewhere between 75°F to 95°F (23.9°C to 35°C) and night temperatures between 60°F to 70°F (15.6°C to 21.1°C). In the fall, lower nighttime temperatures help encourage the growth of spikes, although you don’t want to prolong this temperature drop for too long because you may stunt the growth and buds may fall off. Higher temperatures encourage faster growth in Vandas, although if you plan to keep your orchid in higher temperatures you will have to remember to maintain higher humidity conditions, more air movement, as well as more frequent waterings.

Humidity Requirements

As covered in this “humidity” article on how to care for orchids, Vandas thrive in very humid conditions. A relative humidity level that is ideal for Vandas is somewhere in the 75-85% range, however, if a Vanda orchid is kept in excess moist conditions then disease and rot can set in which will cause damage to the plant. Because the humidity level requirement is so high for Vanda’s it can sometimes be hard to keep that amount of humidity while growing the orchid in your home. If you need to increase the humidity for your orchid, you can add a humidity tray or humidifier and also misting your orchid a few times a day will also increase the humidity. It is also important to remember that the more humid you keep the orchids environment, the more air movement your orchid will need to help prevent any disease.

Fertilizer Requirements

When Vanda orchids are in active growth they should be fertilized regularly. An orchid fertilizer mix of (20-20-20) is recommended. During the winter months, Vandas should only be fertilized every other month. Remember, never fertilize an orchid that is completely dry, because this can cause major damage to the roots. You should always water your orchid very thoroughly once a month so that the excess fertilizer build-up can be removed.

Potting Requirements

Vandas should be repotted (only in the spring) in a course medium-grade potting mix every two to three years or once the potting medium remains soggy and no longer drains properly. Before repotting, you should always trim away the damaged roots with a sterile cutting tool. Vandas can also grow well in wooden slat baskets without any potting medium. If you need to repot a Vanda that is growing in a wooden slat basket, you should never remove the plant from the basket it’s currently growing in. You should instead soak the roots and gently pull them away from the smaller basket and then place the entire thing (smaller basket) into the new larger basket. This will allow you to increase the area for the roots to grow without disturbing the plant itself.

And that just about covers the basics! 🙂

Next Steps: Where do you go from here?

A couple options:

#1 – More Free Vanda Tips!
At a minimum, I strongly recommending signing up for our orchid tips newsletter (it’s free!). That’ll give you some additional (more detailed) step-by-step tips you can start using with your Vandas right away…

#2 – Get Access to ALL My Articles on Vandas…
If you’d like to learn everything you need to know about Vanda orchid care (and caring for ALL types of orchids) we also have something called the Orchids Made Easy Green Thumb Club.

The Green Thumb Club includes a number of different benefits – including weekly lessons on all different orchid care topics delivered to you in a special, password-protected members area. You also get the opportunity to get YOUR actual questions answered in my weekly “Ask The Orchid Guy” column, which you can check out here.

The Green Thumb Club costs less than a meal at McDonald’s – and ALSO includes all sorts of ADDITIONAL benefits, including exclusive discounts at orchid suppliers from 20-40% off as well access to our “orchid diagnosis tool” which helps you identify what problem might be plaguing your plant.

Because the club is backed by a full 100% money-back guarantee for a full 30 days, if after checking it out you decide that it’s not for you or that you didn’t get value you out of what you learned – no problem! Simply send us an email to let me know, and you’ll receive a fast and courteous refund. Put it this way: If you’re not happy, I’m not happy!

(By the way, this here will give you access to 50% off the cost of membership. A little “gift” for reading this article all the way to the end :-))

All my best,

Ryan “The Orchid Guy” 🙂

IMPORTANT: To learn everything you need to know about caring for your orchids, if you haven’t already I strongly recommend signing up for the “Orchid Care Tips & Secrets Newsletter” my wife and I publish by clicking here.

It’s completely free – and the best part? You can even choose the type of information you’d like to receive (reblooming tips, basics of orchid care, etc.) Join over 20,000 fellow orchid enthusiasts young and old and sign up for our free orchid care newsletter today! 🙂

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Vanda Orchid

The Vanda orchids are known for their large, showy flowers. Like the distantly-related Phalaenopsis, they are monopodial orchids, but typically have many more leaves on the stem. They also like rather different growing conditions: in particular, Vanda light is guaranteed to cause sunburn in Phalaenopsis. These plants have very large, beautiful flowers in a wide range of colors; they have been widely hybridized to produce some very spectacular plants, and there are also many intergeneric hybrids with related orchid types.

Vanda coerulea supra (‘Superior Blue’ × ‘Blue Monday’)
(About orchid names)
Vanda coerulea supra, also known as Lord Rothschild’s Variety, is the closest you’ll find to a blue orchid. (There’s no such thing as a truly blue orchid.) The plants originate in parts of Asia, particularly Southeast Asia. Vandas generally like warm daytime temperatures between 70°F (21C) and 95°F (35C), with a 10-15°F drop at night (6-8C). They also like high lighting, such as 3,000-5,000 footcandles, even more than Cattleyas. They can be gradually adapted to even higher lighting in many cases. Try to provide humidity of about 70%. 50% is probably the least you can get away with. They like a lot of air to the roots, so if you have enough humidity and can water at least daily, growing them barerooted in teak baskets works well. Otherwise, I suggest coarse orchid bark, charcoal, wine corks, or some other coarse potting mix, in a clay pot. Water as they approach dryness, as they don’t have a way to store water. Many Vandas can bloom 2-3 times a year. Return from Vanda Orchid to Types of Orchids Return from Vanda Orchid to Orchid Care Tips Home

Vanda orchids are a popular choice for gardeners because of their brilliant, large, and often-times fragrant blossoms. These orchids have unique growing requirements, but caring for a Vanda is, once understood, quite straightforward.

History and Cultivation

Vanda orchids occur naturally in New Guinea, some islands in the western Pacific, and in east and southeast Asia.

Wild vanda coerulea

Aside from how attractive they are, they are prized by gardeners interested in creating hybrids. This is because they’re some of the only orchid species that produce truly blue flowers.

Vandas are also interesting because, in the wild, they tend to grow in gaps or crevasses in tree bark, or in the joints of tree limbs. This type of growing environment can be mimicked in cultivation to keep the plants happy and healthy.

Appearance

Vanda orchids grow from a single large stem and generally have a substantial aerial root structure. They also feature large, brightly colored blooms with rounded petals. Vandas grow to a variety of sizes, depending on the specific species, with some plants considered miniatures while others can grow to three or more feet tall.

The shape of the leaves of this plant depends on the particular variety. Some Vanda orchid varieties have so-called strap leaves, which are long and broad. Others have rounded leaves, which retain water, and are nearly tubular in shape. These are known as terete. Semi-terete varieties have leaves that fall somewhere between terete and strap in shape.

Vandas are best known for their vibrant purple and blue flowers

These orchids come in a variety of colors, including white, orange, pink, and red, and any mixes of these colors. However, the most popular and often the most visually appealing colors are purple and blue. These can range from lighter shades to dark, vibrant ones, and they are prized by orchid enthusiasts.

Types of Vanda

Common Vanda orchid species include:

Vanda ampullacea

  • Bright pink in color
  • A smaller plant, with blooms only one to two inches across
  • Blooms in spring and summer

Vanda coerulea

  • Commonly known as the blue orchid
  • Produce large purple-blue flowers
  • Blooms in the autumn months
  • Juice from the flowers can be used in eye drops to fight glaucoma, and may also fight aging

Vanda cristata

  • Produces pale green flowers with a red and white center
  • Also known as the comb Vanda
  • Blooms during the spring and summer months

Vanda sanderiana

  • Commonly known as waling-waling
  • Produces pink and white blooms, four to six inches across
  • Blooms in the spring and summer months

Vanda ustii

  • Found only in the Philippines
  • Produces yellow flowers with a pink center
  • Flowers have a distinct rounded petal, nearly tubular in shape

Vanda hindsii

  • Known as the Cape York Vanda or native strap orchid
  • Flowers are brownish red with green, yellow and white markings
  • Flowers from late autumn until early spring

Vanda tricolor

  • Also known as the soft Vanda
  • Produces white flowers with red and pink markings
  • Blooms in autumn and winter

Vanda Care

How much light a Vanda orchid requires depends mostly on the species and the type of leaves the plant has.

Vandas with strap leaves need partial shade and protection from the sun during the warmest parts of the day. Orchids with terete leaves prefer full sun. Semi-terete leaved plants prefer partial shade.

If a Vanda orchid is kept indoors, it should be placed in a south-facing window.

Vanda orchids prefer warm temperatures. Temperatures should be between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night, with daytime temperatures reaching no more than 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Although Vanda orchids can tolerate slightly colder temperatures, it is not optimal, and temperatures should not drop to below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

These orchid varieties thrive in a high humidity environment. Humidity levels of 50 percent and greater are best, with a humidity level of 80 percent considered ideal. You can raise humidity levels using a humidifier or grouping plants together. Be careful – it’s also essential to maintain free air flow around the plants to prevent rot and bacteria.

Potting

Because Vanda orchids naturally cling to cliff walls or spaces in tree bark, they require minimal potting medium. In high humidity environments, they require almost no potting medium at all.

Vanda roots sprawling outside of a hanging basket

Vandas thrive in plant baskets. In pots, they need a coarse bark or charcoal medium or a gritty soil that retains little water.

When placed in a basket, Vanda plants can be left alone for years at a time without repotting. They only need repotting about once every two years, although some sources suggest every year as a better timescale.

Before repotting, soak the Vanda orchid’s roots in water to make them more pliable. Trim away any dead or rotting roots, place the plant in a larger basket or clay pot with new potting medium, and allow it to remain dry for several days before watering again.

Watering

Vanda orchids should be watered frequently, especially during the spring and summer months, which is the growing season. In autumn and winter, watering can be reduced. These orchids should remain moist but should never be soggy. A well-draining, loose potting medium can aid in keeping the roots dry.

Flowers

These orchids bloom frequently and, depending on the species, can bloom at all times of the year. Generally, Vanda orchids bloom every few months. The blooms themselves can last anywhere from a few weeks to a month or two.

Once a stalk has bloomed, cut it back as far as possible. When trimming the plant’s stems or roots, always be sure to use a sharp, sterilized knife or pair of scissors to minimize damage to the plant and reduce the risk of transmitting diseases. Trimming back the old stems will encourage the plant to bloom again during the next flowering cycle.

Hanging Vanda Orchids

Hanging Vanda orchids is popular not only because it makes for an attractive display, but also because it is a more natural environment for the plant.

A basket with slats can simply be hung from a beam or ceiling, and the plant can be placed inside. Exposing the roots to the air actually benefits the plant’s growth.

Another option for hanging Vanda orchids is mounting them to driftwood. Plants can simply be tied gently to driftwood, and the wood can then be hung using eyehooks. To water, the entire piece of driftwood, including the plant’s roots, can be dipped in a bowl.

Growing Vanda Orchid

Botanical Name: Vanda spp.

Let’s face it, unless you live in the tropics, Vanda orchid is a challenge to grow.

Why? It needs ample light year-round to make it grow and bloom. And that’s not all. High humidity and good air circulation are essential.

Vandas are BIG plants with fanned-out foliage and long, draping roots…not your typical windowsill dwellers. Smaller hybrids, such as Vanda tricolor and compact Vanda coerulea are better suited for indoor growing.

Vanda orchids are monopodials (they grow from a single, upright stem) with long, strappy leaves fanning outward.

You can expect flower spikes along the top part of the stem on mature plants. Vanda orchids can bloom any time of year, with the heaviest flowering in spring and summer. They may bloom 2 or 3 times a year, as long as their needs are met. Bright light and cool nights will spark blooming.

Flower spikes grow from the stem, appearing from between every third leaf or so.

Both the petals and sepals are rounded and sport lines, splotches and dots in a contrasting color. The lip of many Vanda species are small and a solid color.

Most Vandas are epiphytes in their native habitats (they grow on tree branches). To immitate their native aerial lifestyle, Vandas are often grown in a wood slat vanda orchid basket, suspended so that the roots hang through the slats below.

Fill the basket with big chunks of fir bark, coconut husks or even wine corks to anchor a new plant. If you prefer, you can skip the medium entirely by holding the plant in place with wire, just until its roots take hold of the basket.

Of course, this type of planting is only practical if you’re growing them in a warm, humid greenhouse, where you can water or mist frequently and allow the excess water to drain freely.

For growing in the home, clay orchid pots work best. Vandas prefer clay pots to plastic because clay breathes, allowing air to get to the orchid’s roots.

Use coarse fir bark as the medium to hold moisture around the roots while allowing air circulation.

Green Thumb Tip

Vanda orchid likes free-flowing air as in its native tree-dwelling habitat. Put it where it’ll get plenty of air circulation. Fans are fine, but keep it away from heat/AC vents.

Vandas love humidity. Oh, boy…do they love humidity! Check the relative humidity with an indoor humidity gauge. If it drops below 50%, use a humidity tray or a cool room humidifier. Grouping plants also helps to maintain the moisture in the air around them.

Wondering whether to repot? Repot your orchid every couple years because the medium will become compact. The best time to repot is when new growth begins, probably late winter or early spring.

Problems with Vanda orchid are usually related to insufficient light and humidity or improper watering.

Limp or yellow leaves are often a symptom of overwatering. Remember Vanda’s epiphytic nature: its roots are bathed in humidity and washed with rainwater, hanging in the open air. Aim to keep roots moist at all times, but not soggy which leads to root rot.

Brown spots on foliage can be scorch marks from direct sunlight or, more likely, leaf spot disease.

Buying Tips

The Vanda Alliance includes more than 40 species and countless hybrids.

If you don’t have a greenhouse, you’ll find the miniature and compact hybrids easier to accommodate. Vanda cristata, Vanda coerulea and Vanda denisoniana are ideal for growing indoors.

Vanda Orchid Care Tips

Origin: Tropical Asia, India and Australia

Height: Up to 3 ft (90 cm)

Light: Bright light year-round. Put your Vanda orchid where it’ll get plenty of bright light, but out of direct sun. If you don’t have a spot near a window, indoor plant lights will keep them from sulking, even through the winter months. Place orchids about 8 inches (20 cm) beneath the light for 14-16 hours a day. That allows several hours of darkness at night. Orchids need a rest, too.

Water: Vanda orchids need lots of moisture. How to water depends on how you’re growing them. Large plants suspended from baskets have roots exposed to the air and will need watered daily. Mist or soak the roots in room-temperature water for about 20 minutes. Orchids grown in bark medium will stay moist longer. Water the medium thoroughly, then allow it to dry out a bit before watering again. Never allow the roots to dry out completely. Use rainwater or distilled water because tap water may contain fluoride and chlorine.

Humidity: Moderate to high, preferably 50-80% relative humidity. It’s a good idea to use a humidity tray or room humidifier. Get tips for raising indoor humidity.

Temperature: 70-85°F/21-29°C during the day, with a 15° drop in temperature at night to trigger flower buds.

Soil: Use coarse fir bark to hold moisture, while allowing air around the roots.

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks with an orchid fertilizer all year round.

Propagation: Division

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