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vanda orchids Photo Credit: www.OrchidPlants.info

Vanda Orchids

Got lots of room? Be prepared, a standard vanda plant can get quite large. Six to eight feet tall is not uncommon.

It is almost a necessity to grow them in hanging baskets because of their long trailing roots. We keep less than a dozen because of this trait and put them out on the screened porch or hang them on oak tree branches in the summertime.

Vandas are very thirsty and since most of their root system is exposed, it does not hurt to water them every day during the summer. They are also heavy feeders and require lots of light. So, in short - vandas are not for everyone and certainly not suitable to growing in an apartment.

There are essentially two types of vandas. Flat leafed and cylindrical leafed. We have both varieties and treat them about the same here in Mid-Florida. Watering is cut back just a little during the cooler months - but we keep them growing practically year round. As a result, they are almost always in bloom.

We also have some hybrid ascocenda crosses which are much smaller and more manageable. These are kept in the greenhouse all year in high light conditions where they bloom nearly continuously.

Vandas do not like their roots cut or disturbed. Ideally, repotting is done by either putting the whole plant, basket and all, into a larger basket or by cutting off the topmost portion of the plant with several roots remaining. Put the cut-off portion a bucket of water for a couple of hours and the roots will become pliable so you can stuff or wind them into their new container. Use large fir or redwood chips or chunks of bark as a potting medium.

If you have room, keep the old portion of the plant because sometimes vandas will propagate themselves by producing small plantlets at the base or along the stem. These can be cut off in time when they have developed several of their own roots and planted into their own basket.

Keep this in mind: Vandas are slow growers but can attain extreme heights under ideal conditions. They need abundant water during their growing season and are heavy feeders. You can not contain them to a pot except as a seedling or small offset.
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