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The Vanda orchids
Vanda orchids are among the most cultivated flowers in the world; they originate from Asia and northern Australia, spread in an area ranging from the Himalayas to the Philippines and to the south to the Australian continent; there are a few dozen species of Vanda, and all are at risk of extinction in the wild, so it is forbidden to collect them in the wild. Fortunately it is not difficult to find them in the nursery, especially though they are hybrids, often derived from the species Vanda caerulea, the only blue-colored orchid existing in nature.
The area in which these orchids are widespread, and the diversity of the climate in which they develop, gives us an idea of the variability of the genus; in fact there are different types of Vanda, which can be divided into two macro-groups: the Vanda with ribbon-like leaves and the Vanda with cylindrical leaves.
In reality in the nursery we find almost exclusively botanical species with ribbon-like leaves, or hybrids with ribbon-like leaves, therefore we will describe these species.
The vanda is one of the most fascinating orchids to keep at home: it produces colorful flowers (and sometimes fragrant) of large dimensions and is endowed with extremely ornamental leaves and roots. We can decide to cultivate it in glass jars or wooden baskets or hang it to see it grow free as a decombent (simulating what happens in nature). Its care is not particularly difficult, especially if kept in the apartment at the right temperature and with a very bright exposure
General vanda orchid
The Vanda orchids have epiphytic development, or even lithophytes, so their roots do not sink into the ground; they develop a large root system, with large fleshy roots, which grow well visible on the outside of the substrate; to allow an ideal development of these orchids it is convenient to place them in hanging baskets, leaving most of the root apparatus fall outside the container. They produce pseudobulbs, and have a monopodial development, or from each pseudobulb develops a single stem, on which the leaves grow paired; every single stem can reach several tens of centimeters in length, have dozens of coupled leaves, shaped like long flat ribbons, with clearly visible central veining, on which the leaves tend to bend slightly to V. The foliage is light green or bright green, quite leathery. These orchids are very luxuriant, and tend to develop throughout the year; the flowering does not follow the seasons, and if a plant is well cultivated it happens that several times a year, every 3-4 months. The flowers bloom on fleshy stems, sometimes branched, pendulous. Typically in Europe the species and hybrids derived from Vanda caerulea are cultivated, with very large and fragrant flowers, blue, lilac, purple. There are many other species and hybrids, not always available in Europe, very cultivated in Asia, where Vanda Miss Joaquim is the national flower of Singapore and where there are also widespread species with yellow or brindle yellow flowers.
THE VANDA IN BRIEF
Name, genus, species
Orchidaceae, Vanda, more than 60 species
|Type of plant||Epiphytic flowering plant|
|irrigations||Frequent, demineralized water|
|fertilizing||Every 7 days (15 in winter)|
|Resistance to cold||Not resistant (minimum 10-15 ° C depending on the species)|
|Exposure||Very bright (some species even full sun)|
|Container||To hang free or in wooden baskets|
|Substrate||No substrate or bark, coal, fiber, very aerated|
|Height||From 40 cm to 1 meter|
|Flowers||In spikes: white, yellow, orange, purple, blue, fuchsia|
|Propagation||Picking jets with roots|
How Vanda orchids are grown
These orchids are quite easy to grow in the apartment, especially some hybrids, selected precisely for this purpose; they are kept in a very bright place, not affected by direct sunlight, but filtered. Enthusiasts often cultivate these plants in a temperate greenhouse, with a minimum temperature higher than 12-15 ° C, similar to that found at home.
Surely the crucial point of the cultivation of these orchids is found in the waterings: they need constant high humidity, without stagnations, without soil soaked with water.
Therefore, watering should be very frequent and regular, so as to keep the growing substrate always fresh and moist; throughout the year it is also advisable to provide a specific fertilizer for orchids, every 12-15 days.
The cultivation in hanging baskets, and the large dimensions of some specimens, make it quite complex to satisfy these needs of watering and fertilizing; generally it resolves using a good foliar fertilizer, and also vaporizes the plateau daily; above all with regard to the specimens grown in the apartment the vaporisations must be very frequent.
Often we proceed by adding very small quantities of foliar fertilizer to the water all year round, in order to supply it every time the plant is watered, which in winter, with the heating system switched on, and in summer, can also occur several times a day.
Particular care must be given to the large root system, from which it is good to periodically remove any dark, damaged or broken roots.
We all have in mind what a bulb is, it is an underground organ, usually the stem, which stores nutrients to be used at times of the year when they are not available.
When it comes to orchids, we hardly hear the word bulb, but we turn to their stems, calling them pseudobulbs; this is because the orchid stems behave like bulbs, that is they are swollen and store nutrients and water to use them in the periods of the year when they are not available, but develop above the ground, so they do not have the typical characteristics of bulbs in their physical shape, as they are exposed to sunlight, and therefore are green, to practice photosynthesis.
The pseudobulbs of orchids therefore look like real stems, only slightly enlarged; some produce a single leaf, at the upper extremity, others are covered by coupled leaves, others still develop some leaves scattered over their entire length.
Origins and description
La Vanda is an orchid native to the tropical belt of the Asian continent, a very large area. The various botanical species (more than sixty) grow spontaneously in India, Indochina, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the Philippines and northern Oceania.
They have very variable appearance and dimensions: the smaller ones reach just 20 cm, the largest can even exceed 2 total meters in length. They are all epiphytes or lithophytes, like many other orchids native to the rainforests: they do not sink their roots in the ground, but use them to cling to trees or rocks. They live essentially thanks to the minerals that they find there and rainwater. The leaves are oval and narrow, ribbon-shaped or cylindrical, and grow in symmetrical pairs starting from the central rhizome. In the lower part there are the aerial roots, very fleshy. During the year they can produce up to 3 flower spikes, very long lasting, mostly between the end of winter and the beginning of summer. Each carries from six to eight flowers with equal sepals and petals, but which may differ greatly depending on the species or the hybrid. Usually they are declined in shades of white, purple, blue, fuchsia pink, yellow and orange, often crossed by streaks and spots of different colors.
Due to their cultivation needs, they are usually grown in suspended or hanging wooden baskets, leaving the roots completely free. A very good alternative is also the cultivation on very large raft, that is a piece of wood (cork) specially prepared.
The vandas can be broadly divided into two categories: those with cylindrical leaves (they require more heat and live well even in full sun) and those with flat leaves (more suited to stay constantly in the apartment, in an environment, therefore, less bright ). However, there are many species and hybrids with specific needs, to be explored when we decide to start cultivating them.
The most widespread on the market is undoubtedly the hybrid Vanda Rothschildiana obtained through the crossing of the Vanda Coerulea and the Euanthe sanderana: highly appreciated for its large flowers and the elegance of the leaves, it also has the ease of cultivation and frequent release of new flower stems.
Rather common are also other hybrids which were joined by combining the genetic heritage of vandas with that of other orchids such as the Phalaenopsis, the Arachnis, the Ascocendrum and the Vandopsis. Their name is also the fruit of this union (for example Aranda): they are mostly vegetables suitable for temperate greenhouses and therefore need a specific equipment in order to be grown at their best.
|FIRST NAME||ORIGIN||FLOWERS||SPRING-AUTUMN TEMPERATURES||WINTER TEMPERATURES|
|Vanda Coerulea||India, China, Burma, Thailand||Up to 10 cm in diameter, blue, usually in winter||At night up to 18 ° C, during the day between 20 and 30 ° C||10-14 ° C of notes; up to 18 ° C during the day|
|Vanda cristata||Himalaya, Bangladesh||About 5 cm, fragrant yellow or green, in spring|
From 20 to 30 ° C during the day, between 10 and 18 ° C at night
|Vanda Rothschildiana||hybrid||Blue, purple, fuchsia, white|
From 17 to 28 ° C, very intense light (even direct, except in summer)
Cylindrical leaf vanda
Almost all the most widespread varieties are included, including the Rothschildiana: extremely bright exposure is important for optimal growth and abundant flowering. The ideal is indeed a positioning in full sun, with the exception of the summer period (when excessive heat could cause dehydration). Temperatures must be almost constant throughout the year. During the night they must be around 17 ° C, during the day around 27 °, even if they tolerate well temperatures above 32 ° C (as long as the roots are constantly humidified).
They are ideal plants to cultivate if we have a well exposed garden or a bright warm greenhouse.
THE VANDA CALENDAR
|Flowering||Some from spring to autumn (even more times), others in winter|
|Weekly fertilization||From April to October|
|Fortnightly fertilization||From October to November|
|Watering by immersion||Every 4 days|
|vaporization||Several times a day, especially in summer|