If you have chosen to grow vanda orchids, then you know it is not always an easy task. These types of orchids require a little bit more orchid care compared to other species. They love a warm and moist environment and are popular for their long and expansive roots that grow out of their containers.
Knowing what to do will certainly increase your success with these orchids. Here are 5 potting tips that vanda orchids will unquestionably love.
Vanda orchids are mostly epiphytes. This is why the best potting medium for these types of orchids is osmunda. Yes, there may be other types of mediums that experts swear work better. But for beginners, osmunda takes away all the combination of different mediums and simply makes use of itself. It’s the simplest, cleanest and easiest to manage and vandas flourish significantly in this type of medium.
Osmunda is filled with fiber and nutrients compared to other potting mediums. It does not breakdown quite as quickly as others and can last for up to two years without being replaced. Although it is initially expensive, it is rather economical in the long run. Also because of its fibers, it provides good air circulation for the roots. Vandas will love osmunda in practically every way.
Before using osmunda, you have to soak it first overnight in a pail of water. Then the next morning leave it to dry in a cool and shaded place. That night it is ready to be molded and used. The osmunda must be a bit moist but not wet. Then it’s ready to be placed on either a basket or a pot for your vandas. (If you can’t find osmunda, you can use coconut fiber instead.)
Two types of containers that you virtually can’t go wrong with are wooden baskets and clay pots.
Because of extensive roots, they have been popularly grown in baskets. Just be sure to provide proper support for the baskets to prevent them from breaking and falling down. An advantage for baskets is that they make orchids less susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases.
Clay pots provide good protection against the heat and cold and can provide orchids with the adequate ventilation they need. They come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, so there would definitely be a pot that is perfect for you and your orchids.
It is essential that any pot must have proper drainage. Baskets, because of their design, provide all the drainage you need. But when it comes to regular pots, it is essential to have a plan.
After cleaning your pot, fill it with rocks or pebbles, about a third from the bottom will be enough. This will act as the drainage for the pot. This will also provide good air circulation, which allows for the absorption of moisture and nutrients from the air.
Vandas are the type of orchids that grow into large plants. So if you notice that they are no longer comfortable in their current home, repot them. This could happen around every two to three years. Choose a larger basket
or pot to house its extensive roots. Cut off any dead or rotten roots if you notice some. Don’t forget to use a fresh potting medium. The perfect time to repot would be after blooming and when new growth is starting.
In order for your vanda orchids to flourish and become as healthy as possible, one last step is to fertilize them. Three of the most popular kinds for these types of orchids are manure water, commercial concentrates, and nutrient solution.
No matter what you choose, be sure not to overdo it. The general rule is to feed them “weakly, weekly”. And once a month remember to wash out the possible mineral residue that may have built up. Also, make sure not to let the fertilizer touch the new shoots and stems of the orchids because it can burn them.
When you follow these 5 potting tips, your vanda orchids will be happy and healthy.
Mary Ann Berdak is a Garden & Greenhouse contributing editor and the publisher of OrchidCareZone.com an online destination for orchid growing tips and advice. For more information on caring for your newly purchased plants, download her totally free report, “The 5 Biggest Orchid Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them!)”, at OrchidSecretsRevealed.com.