The Vanda orchid is one of the favorites of orchid fans, as its genus includes the most beautiful and most colorful orchids. However, there have just been amazing new developments in this genus, of great interest to all lovers of this orchid. Vanda friends will be updated in the following article on how to care for the beautiful Vanda in the pot and in the jar.

The Vanda Orchids

The orchid is considered the queen of flowers – because it’s so beautiful, of course, but perhaps also because it’s a highly productive plant family. Orchids are distributed around the world in 1,000 genera with 22,500 species. With that, they are about to outstrip the largest family of flowering plants to date, the daisy family (daisy, sunflower, marigold…). The number of species is estimated by botanists between 20,000 and 24,000 species.

The Vanda form a separate genus in the orchid family, so only one in 1,000. However, there are still more than 50 species gathered in it. These species evolved in an area that can be outlined as a triangle with India to the northwest, the Philippines to the northeast, and the northern coastal regions of Australia to the south. Pretty much right in the middle of this triangle is (of course) the greatest biodiversity, in Myanmar and neighboring China’s Yunnan province down to Thailand.

Incidentally, the genus has just grown in the course of the molecular genetic studies possible today. In addition to 30 previous Vandas, 20 other orchids were assigned to the genus.

Vanda or not Vanda

Likewise, however, the latest genetic evidence has revealed that many Vandas are not Vandas at all. This also has some implications for maintenance.

In addition to the Vanda orchids, the closely related genera of the Euanthe orchids and the Papilionanthe orchids have always been included in cultivation as ornamental plants. They were usually also listed as Vanda by the breeders. The molecular genetic studies have now proven that the breeders have shown a good nose. The genus of the Euanthe orchids has been integrated into the genus Vanda because of the new DNA analyses.

But: The Papilionanthe have now finally been confirmed as a separate genus. This genus grows in a natural environment that doesn’t have very much in common with the natural environment of a Vanda orchid. The papilionanthe does not grow in the plains, but in mountainous heights, from about 1,200 to 1,500 meters. And that means that the Papilionanthe orchids also have slightly different needs than the Vanda orchid. For example, in contrast to the Vanda orchid, they like fresh and moving air around them. They can also handle cooler temperatures ranging from 14 to 22 degrees where you would probably need to put a coat on a real Vanda to keep them from freezing to death.

You know e.g. B. today that the parents of probably the most famous Vanda were both Papilionanthe orchids. According to the latest findings, this famous Vanda “Miss Joaquim”, the “National Flower of Singapore”, is not a Vanda orchid, but a natural hybrid of Vanda teres and Vanda hookeriana. Today they are called Papilionathe teres and Papilionathe hookeriana.

All the beautiful Vanda teres, Vanda teres “Gigantea” and Vanda teres “Aurorea”, Vanda hookeriana and Vanda hookeriana “Alba” and the rare Vanda biswasiana are not Vanda orchids at all, but belong to the Papilionanthe genus. A revolutionary discovery for orchid scientists. For “simple lovers” of the beautiful flowering plants, however, it is sometimes just as important, because they finally understand why they have simply had no luck with the care of a certain Vanda orchid according to the instructions.


This leaves not that many Vanda varieties left that you can buy in stores:

  1. Probably the most important Vanda orchid is the Vanda coerulea. This Vanda became so popular that, as a wild plant, it was also wild-collected. This has earned her a permanent place in the protection list of the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. It’s no wonder, her large buds of all sorts of rare shades of blue are irresistible. The Vanda coerulea is now propagated by good specialist nurseries, but is also a popular guarantee for successful hybrid breeding. As a parent, she was allowed to pass on her beautiful blue flower colors to many “classic” hybrids, the famous “Vanda Rothschildiana” is e.g. B. created on their basis.
  2. The Vanda tricolor is colored the same way, namely in three colors. She is also considered the robust among the Vandas. Only at temperatures below 10 degrees does she get cranky very quickly.
  3. The well-known hybrid Vanda Rothschildiana has turned out to be a real Vanda orchid in the course of recent studies. It was created by crossing Vanda coerulea with Euanthe sanderiana. The Euanthe genus has just been added to the Vanda genus.

The keeping of the real Vanda orchid

In their natural environment, Vanda orchids grow in lowland and lower mountainous areas, developing as epiphytic plants in either always wet or seasonally drier forests. These epiphytes or epiphytes are very special plants that grow on trees and form aerial roots with which they go beyond the capabilities of normal roots: the aerial roots can absorb water and nutrients from the (humid) air.

However, this ability also makes a Vanda orchid particularly demanding. Its growth behavior is also quite unique: it grows towards the light. That’s why she always develops leaves only at the very top of the plant, all the lower leaves fall off regularly. A Vanda orchid in your home will not give up the idea of ​​filtering water and nutrients from the air. She is used to a humidity of around 90 percent. If you were to implement this in your home, it would probably be eaten up by mold.

You can only create a climate that is halfway agreeable to the Vanda orchid if you spray it with water very regularly. Since this constant spraying always creates a climate that is no longer very conducive to a living space when your Vanda orchids start to feel good, they are actually not very well suited for keeping in apartments. Some orchid friends still get along surprisingly well with them by spraying the roots more often and then primarily.

roots in the air

This means that a real Vanda orchid would also like to “hang” with us. And hanging freely, with the roots in the air. The classic posture of a Vanda is in a basket made of wire mesh or string. This can of course be placed in another vessel.

But please not in just any container. The Vanda orchids are cultivated bare-rooted and are best hung somewhere in such a way that the roots are exposed to air circulation despite the outer pot. The cachepot should also ensure that the roots can dry well between watering units.

The best pot for a Vanda orchid is therefore made of clear glass and has air and drainage holes. Such orchid pots are available for purchase. Of course, you can also use other containers that allow light and air to reach at least part of the orchid’s roots and have well-functioning drains. All possible vessels with light and air holes are possible alternatives (possibly even drilled yourself).

culture in the glass

What the Vanda mostly accept as a substitute for a braid of wire or string is culture in a glass vase , where the roots also get light and air.

However, Vanda orchids will only feel comfortable in this glass if you “trick” them a little. The glass vase must be as voluminous as possible so that enough air can get in, i.e. have a diameter of at least 20 cm, preferably more. If you wish, you can give the Vanda orchid in the jar some lava rock or expanded clay balls to hold it in place. Or you can “pimp” the design with colored or luminous hydrogel beads. All of these substances store water in much the same way as the leathery skin of roots, which absorbs and stores water like a sponge. In this case, however, you must make sure that no water remains that does not evaporate. This should then be poured off, and stones, expanded clay and the like should be cleaned from time to time.

Once your Vanda orchid has strong roots, it can be kept alone in a narrow glass vase. This glass is filled with water about every two weeks to let the Vanda “drink”. You can tell it’s time to drain off the remaining water when there are no more air bubbles coming up from the root area.

Even with this type of culture, the Vanda would like to be sprayed more often in between. Above all, the aerial roots should never dry out completely.

Many Vanda (hybrids) like substrate

As mentioned above, many Vanda orchids are actually Papilionanthe orchids. In their homeland, these grow in a slightly drier area than the Vanda and also like to grow in soil. So if you own a Vanda orchid that has been grown with the inclusion of a papilionanthe, it is not unlikely that these orchids will perform well or even better in substrate.

The most suitable substrate for us is a mixture of the culture substrates offered, such as hydro-culture balls, coconut hum, cork granules, perlite, pine bark, clay granules, polystyrene balls, vermiculite, etc. Watering here needs to be much more careful if you don’t want to drown your orchid.

The other care

When the basic questions – Vanda or Papilionanthe, bare root or substrate – have been decided, you still have a lot to do with a Vanda orchid, because Vandas are really “sensitive”. Here are their needs point by point:

  • Light: Bright location without direct sun, e.g. B. on the east-facing window, on the south-facing window it already needs shading.
  • In winter, a Vanda happily accepts a little exposure to plant light.
  • Don’t forget: The aerial roots also need light.
  • Real Vanda like it warm, around 25 to 30 degrees in summer and between 17 and 23 degrees in winter.
  • Watering is done by submerging the aerial roots, about once a week for around 30 minutes.
  • From 60% humidity, a Vanda needs, either by a location in the bathroom or by constant spraying.
  • Vandas need soft water, which you can produce using a variety of means
  • You can fertilize very sparingly, with organic liquid fertilizer, too much fertilizer is more harmful.
  • In the growth phase from March to September, the orchids get some fertilizer twice a month.
  • In winter, fertilizer once a month is sufficient, always sprayed on the roots.

The Vanda orchid is definitely not a plant for impatient novice gardeners. Once you’ve figured out whether you own a Vanda or a Papilionanthe, caring for the spoiled mimosa doesn’t get much easier. But at least after reading this article you will probably have a new clue as to what could be causing a Vanda orchid to “weak”.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *