Tips on Vanda Orchids

Vanda orchids produce dozens of 4-inch flowers, ranging in color from white to green, blue and purple. They are one of the most widely grown orchid species among homeowners due to their hardiness and low-maintenance nature, according to the University of Florida. Provide the Vanda orchid with the right growing environment and you can enjoy it for years to come.

Growing Medium

The Vanda orchid thrives in chunky, coarse growing media. Chopped-up fir bark is best, according to the Canadian Orchid Congress, and can be bought at most garden stores. Use bark chunks that measure 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches across.

Sunlight Needs

All orchid species do best in partial shade, but the Vanda orchid likes a little more sun than most. Whereas orchids, such as Phalaenopsis spp., only like a sunlight intensity of 10 percent, Vandas thrive best when kept in light that's at 30 percent of its normal intensity, according to the University of Georgia. Shade cloth rated at 30 percent can be obtained at many nurseries.

Temperatures

Orchids are tropical plants and should be kept free of frost at all times. They can tolerate temperatures as high as 98 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as 45 degrees Fahrenheit, but any lower and the Vanda plant will enter dormancy or die. Vandas grow best when the temperature is between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the University of Georgia.

Watering

The Vanda orchid needs to be watered a minimum of once per day, or two or three times in hot weather, according to the Canadian Orchid Congress. Enough water should be added to thoroughly soak all of the Vanda orchid's roots and growing medium, then repeated once the roots have dried out. The Canadian Orchid Congress warns against using softened water and suggests using rain water or naturally soft water.

Height

Mature Vandas grow tall and should be given lots of space to expand. At their tallest, the orchids can reach up to 12 feet high, according to the University of Georgia, but this growth takes a long time to achieve. A 7-year-old Vanda is usually only 2 feet tall.

Fertilizer

Vandas need weekly fertilizing during the spring and summer growing seasons for optimal growth and flower production. The Canadian Orchid Congress recommends using any standard houseplant fertilizer, applied at 50 percent the strength recommended on the product's label. Reduce fertilizing to once every two weeks in the fall and winter.

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About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.