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ascocenda1.jpg - 4Kb Vibrant, Voluptuous Vandas - va va voom.......and what's more, they come in blue, too

Some thoughts on growing Vandas and their close relatives: Vandas are voracious, greedy plants - they demand lots of everything.

Lots of heat

I grow at a minimum of 60F throughout the night but I am sure that another 5 degrees, and preferably 10 would be greatly appreciated by them. But who can afford this luxury throughout the winter months? However, much below this level and there is a noticeable shortening of their root tips and formation of less smooth roots. (N.B. close V. coerulea derivatives prefer it a little cooler.)

Lots of light

Hang them up as close to the roof as possible (it's warmer there too) but make sure you have some degree of shading from the early summer sun . During winter months I boost the late afternoon light and early evening by a 300 watt floodlight.

Lots of humidity

They seem to love regular automatic spraying at ground level. Normal tap water is sufficient for this but higher up I also lightly mist the atmosphere generally once a day or whenever I enter the glasshouse, preferably using rainwater.

Lots of water

Again preferably rainwater but it is difficult to achieve enough pressure to reach the roof space, so again, I use a tap water hose but it is essential that they receive sufficient watering until their roots pass the mottled wet appearance and turn a dark green in colour showing that they are thoroughly saturated.

Lots of fertiliser

At least half strength once a week all over them after receiving the drenching above when the vellum is able to hold the moisture (not a bad time for a weekly addition of a little 'Superthrive' although not too much or abnormal thickness of roots seems to occur).

Lots of air movement

I have two 12 inch house fans, one at either end, one high, one low, going 24 hours per day to stir up the atmosphere and to dry out the leaf axles.

Lots of height

Grown well, it doesn't take many years for some vandas to exceed eight foot or so from leaf axle to root tip so you really need to think about this when deciding the positioning and height of the greenhouse.

And finally, Lots of love

How could you fail to have this when you see the results of the above treatment? And what's more, this part costs nothing.

Stephen J. Taylor

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