Sharing a couple images of my latest orchid – a stunning vandaceous hybrid orchid which is in full bloom in my home. I spotted this in the farmer’s market in Union Square and gasped audibly when I saw it hanging from the ceiling of the stall. It was in my arms within seconds and before I knew it, my wonderful husband was handing the grinning orchid seller some cash, insisting that we take it home.
Vandas are my latest orchid obsession. In the wild, they grow in the jungle canopy where they receive lots of light and moisture. Vandas are most commonly known for their striking indigo flowers (here’s a shot of my first vanda, a vanda pachara delight which is a deep indigo blue) but they can come in a variety of sizes and colors. Vandas are notoriously difficult to grow, even for seasoned orchid growers because they need lots of water, nutrients and are most commonly grown bare root, which makes it hard to meet all of those requirements. But if you can manage to keep it alive, they are incredibly rewarding – blooming up to three or four times a year, with the flowers lasting for months.
Check out the mess of roots! They can reach several feet long. This one in particular is a scented hybrid – and produces a delicate, sweet scent. I have so few scented orchids, that it was a pleasant surprise.
- Vandas require lots of light, moisture and nutrients, but they also need a lot of air and circulation to prevent root rot and mold. They are normally grown bare root in hanging baskets, or in a glass vase, which helps retain humidity.
- If grown in a hanging basket, I find the best way to water my vandas is to soak the roots for about 10-15 minutes daily. For vandas grown in glass vases, fill the vase with water so that the roots are submerged, let soak for 10-15 minutes and empty. I water mine 1-2 times a week, when the roots are silvery-white.
- Vandas are monopodial orchids (like the common phalaenoposis/moth orchid) so many of the same principles for care apply (e.g., don’t get water in the crown, watch for signs of leaf burn.) Here’s my tips on caring for a beginner’s guide to orchids.
- Vandaceous orchids are heavy feeders and will need to be fed more often than most orchids. I feed mine every week (occasionally every other week, if I happen to forget.)