The fashionable species Vanda coerulea is from Nepal and northern Thailand despite its impressive tropical appearance can tolerate cool growing conditions. The chief attraction of Vandas is that they are one of the few orchids with blue flowers.
Vandas are large plants and their fan-like growth habit is monopodial which simply means that they grow vertically upwards on the crown of the previous year’s growths. Most tropical orchids grow sympodially which means new growth spreads laterally outwards where the new shoots gradually replaces the old ones which will die off eventually.
There has been an explosion in the popularity of Vandas in recent years with them being frequently seen for sale in the high street often presented in glass vases. This amazes veteran orchid growers because they had once been regarded as challenging greenhouse exotics and certainly not house plants. However these regal plants chiefly from the steamy jungles of the Philippines and northern India have proved to be relatively easy to grow.
If Vandas are too big for you then you could try Neofinetias, a diminutive cool growing Vandaceous genus from Japan with highly scented flowers.
Did you know…
Vandas are one of the few orchids with blue flowers!
Mostly Warm to Intermediate. Vanda coerulea is cool.
Warm: Night temperatures between 14° and 16°C with a daytime temperature rise of about 10°C.
Intermediate: Night temperatures approximately 12° to 14° C with a daytime rise of about 10° C.
Cool: Night temperatures of between 10° and 12°C with a daytime rise of about 10°C.
Very high. They will not re-flower if they get insufficient light.
Plentiful during the summer. They can be immersed in water for a few hours to let their large spongy roots absorb water but they must not be kept like that for long periods as for example in the glass vases they are frequently sold in otherwise their roots will rot. Some people grow them successfully in this manner without any growing media.
Moderate. Use a standard strength high nitrogen fertiliser to boost their substantial vegetative growth in the summer and one with high potassium in the autumn to encourage flowering.