Temperature: 70° – 95° F days, 60° – 70° F nights
Water: Water often but allow to dry out between waterings
Light: 25 – 35% bright filtered light
Humidity: 70 – 90%
Fertilizer: Once a week during growing season, less in winter The name Vanda will be used here to cover all Vandaceous orchids including Vanda, Ascocentum, Aerides, Renanthera, Rhynchostylis, etc. and the hybrids between them. Although there are some Vandaceous orchids that originate in mountainous areas most are low-level plants that love warm temperatures. This group of orchids is found throughout the Eastern Hemisphere with the center of distribution being Southeast Asia. One important species, Vanda (Euanthe) sanderiana, figures prominently in many hybrids and is native to the Philippines. Vandas may be small plants with many small brightly-colored flowers or large plants with large flowers. Many Vandas can have a powerful fragrance. Rhynchostylis and Aerides are noted for their delightful citrus or musky scent. One of the most desirable qualities of Vandas is the wide range of pure, brilliant colors. Yellow, orange, scarlet, deep purple and bright fuschia are all part of the Vandaceous color palette. Some flowers sport exotic markings or can be covered with spots or stripes. Another desirable feature of many Vanda hybrids, such as Ascocenda, is their tendency to bloom several times throughout the year when they are given the proper conditions. Coupled with the long-lasting flowers it can indeed seem as if they are in continuous bloom. It is not unusual for growers in Florida and Hawaii to have Ascocendas bloom five times per year.
These may seem like the ideal orchid but you must meet their requirements to be able to fully appreciate them. Unlike Cattleyas or Dendrobiums, Vandas have no water storage device. Consequently they must be watered more frequently. Growers in warm tropical areas may water their Vandas every day during spring and summer. Vandas have many aerial roots that sprout along the stem making traditional pot culture less appropriate than with other orchids. Usually Vandas are grown in wooden slat baskets so that these roots can ramble freely. To help stabilize orchids in baskets or pots use Better-Gro® Orchid Bark which is specially formulated for Vandaceous orchids. These aerial roots can make displaying Vandas in the home a bit of a challenge, however soaking the roots in a bucket of water usually makes them pliable enough that they can be shaped into a more compact mass. Vandas are also greedy feeders and bloom better if fertilized regularly; weekly during the warm months and every other week in winter. Better-Gro® fertilizers are recommended especially because they contain NO urea nitrogen, allowing this essential element readily available to your orchids. As mentioned, Vandas require constant warm temperatures throughout the year as well as high humidity. The light requirement of Vandas is also more than for other groups of orchids although many growers in northern climates grow and flower them successfully using gro-lights or flourescent tubes. In Southeast Asia Vandas are often grown outdoors in beds of coconut husk under a light layer of shadecloth or even full sun. The Hawaiian lei orchid, Vanda Miss Joaquim, is often grown as an ornamental hedge in South Florida.
Although these are definitely tropical orchids they can be among the most rewarding to grow if you can meet their requirements. The broad range of brilliant colors and their free-blooming habit will provide satisfaction throughout the months when there are scarcely any other orchids in bloom.