Basic Care for Vanda: How to Grow Exotic Flowers and Tropical Plants
Living in a tropical country, I am blessed to have orchids all around. In fact, I grew up in a family who loves taking care of plants. My dad in particular taught me how to care for plants especially orchids. There were no guidebooks or manuals, just hand-me-down information from experience and observations.
When I took on the same passion for rearing orchids, I had the benefit of books, and of course the Internet. One particular orchid that I enjoy taking care of is the Vanda.
Types of Vanda
There are 3 basic varieties of Vandas. First is the strap-leaved, there is the teretes and there’s a cross between the two. The main difference is in the shape of the leaves so pay attention to the plant’s leaves. The strap-leaved variant has flat, broad leaves. On the other hand, teretes type has round leaves. They can be described as pencil-like. The semi-teretes or the cross between the first two varieties obviously has leaves that are in between the two.
Apart from the leaf shape, it is important to note that different varieties have different levels of tolerance for sun and shade. Strap-leave as well as the semi-teretes varieties needs some shade. On the other hand, teretes can thrive without the shade. This is why some breeders use nets to provide shade and cover to some species of Vandas.
Being a tropical plant, this orchid need warm temperatures. It is essential to keep them in areas not lower than 55F. Of course they can survive at lower temperature for short periods, it is still recommended to keep the temperature constant to avoid stressing the plant. Yes, they do get stressed and can make them weak.
The optimum temperature for these plants is between 60-70F. At night, measures must be done to keep it as close to the optimum level. During the day, the warm climate makes them grow faster and stronger.
Water and humidity requirements
Although Vanda thrives in warm climates, it is by no means a reason not to give them water. In fact, they require watering. But keep in mind that they grow best when their roots are kept relatively dry. Soaking them in water can result to rotting and eventually diseases and you may even kill the plant. For warmer climates, daily watering is done.
As for humidity, try to provide a humidity of 80% to keep your plants healthy. In some cases, you might want to use a humidity tray. I usually use a shallow pan and put water in it. Another way to achieve the desired humidity is to put the plant pot on top of a container with pebbles and put some water. Just make sure the roots don’t get drenched. The evaporation of the water will help keep the humidity in check.
Every plant has its nutritional requirement. For this orchid, it is quite easy. It needs a balanced NPK formulation. In layman’s terms, they need equal amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. The ideal formulation is 20:20:20. So check your fertilizer for these marking before you give it to this orchid. When the orchid is in bloom (or when there are buds present); you can use fertilizers with higher phosphorus content. This can help promote better blooms.
There are times when I mix the fertilizer in water and use it to spray the plant every now and then. But make sure you flush fertilizer deposit build ups at least every month. Buildup of fertilizers on leaves, roots, stems and even on the flower can damage your plant.
The Vanda orchids offer a spectacular show of flowers when in bloom. They are low maintenance and can be raised indoors or outdoors. Just remember their basic temperature, sunlight and humidity needs and you’re all set. Of course feeding them with the right nutrients will also help. When you give them ample attention, they will reward you in return.