Vanda Orchids grow on a single stout stem with pairs of leaves having a strap-like appearance. The laves can measure up to 8in (20cm) from stem to tip.
The flower stalks radiate from the axils of the leaves with long sometimes arching stems that hold up to 10 flower buds.
The colour range of the hybrids is quite wide - and spectacular!
The Vanda Orchids can be grown in a wide range of composts and containers. In most of Asia, they are simply grown in open baskets with no compost, forming long aerial roots soon form on the lower sections of the main stems, and these can hang for up to 1 metre - or more. If grown in this manner, then they will require spray liquid feed to keep them growing, although of course like other epiphytic orchids, they will get much of their nourishment from the air.
Vanda Orchids can be potted into a good open compost in a slatted pot or basket, and allow the aerial roots to hang down. Do not cut them off. The plants of some hybrids can reach up to about a meter in height, so will need support in that case.
Water them regularly in the summer, with much less watering in the winter months. Feed every week with a weak solution general liquid fertiliser. Alternatively, you can add a few pellets of osmocote general to the compost in early spring. This will normally last for around 3 months - the copious watering will shorten the activity length of the osmocote fertiliser.
Vanda orchids are good flowering plants - often sending a flower spike every couple of months in the summer.
Vanda Orchids tend to send out side shoots at the base, and these can be removed from the parent plant and potted up to give you a few extra plants. Alternatively, you can try stem cuttings in the spring. Place them in pot with a mainly sphagnum moss content, and ensure humidity at all times.
Pests of Vanda Orchids include the invidious red spider mite, aphids and the leaf axils are great hiding places for mealy bugs! There are no real disease problems with Vanda Orchids - providing you care for them well and do not neglect. Any fungal disease is normally a result of a sick or dying plant - NOT the cause!
By David Hughes - firstname.lastname@example.org