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Vanda Care Basics: Food + Light

By :Serena Roman 1 comments
Vanda Care Basics: Food + Light

Shade vs. Sunlight

            Perhaps the second most important topic is ‘How much Sun or shade does my Vanda need?’ This is dependent on which type of Vanda you are asking about. If you purchased a Vanda from us it was more than likely a strap leaf Vanda as these are what we specialize in. Strap leaf Vanda’s can be grown in full sun but need to be acclimated slowly. While we do have some plants from our personal collection in full sun, our sale collection is grown in a shade house with ~60% shade screen. We recommend that when you receive your Vanda you try to maintain this shade level, but Vanda’s can also be hung under a roof cover or from large trees. As long as the Vanda does not get full sun from at the hottest part of the day, and ideally gets full sun in the early morning (7am-12pm) it should thrive. Sunlight provides a means of ‘eating food’ for the Vanda and if you fertilize (feed) the plant but cannot provide a way to absorb that energy, i.e. sunlight and chlorophyll production, your plant will not grow optimally and may actually suffer in the long term. We keep most of our personal collection under a covered deck and have 50% shade screen on the northwestern facing side to provide some light filtering from the mid-afternoon sun. This method has worked well for all of our orchids, from Vanda’s to Phalaenopsis, Cattleya and Oncidium. It should be noted that as the seasons change so do the patterns of the sun in reference to your property. A position that may work in the winter season may not work for summer. I have seen people cook their Orchids because they have not noticed the change in exposure to sunlight.



            Google ‘Orchid Fertilizer’, How many options come up in the shopping tab? Are you overwhelmed? Confused? Do you want to use liquid or powder fertilizers? Tie a little a bag of osmocote pellets to the basket? Fertilizing orchids is just as personal a topic as asking someone what their favorite orchid is. Once a person finds something that works for them, they do not want to deviate from the proven method. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but do not be afraid to experiment with different brands and N-P-K (nitrogen- phosphorous- potassium) values.  Most fertilizer labels call to use once per month at a specific rate. However in almost all cases it is better to fertilize at lower doses more frequently so that your orchid is getting consistent ‘meals’ at all stages of its growth cycle. Unlike some orchids, Vandas are usually in consistent growth cycle and will show blooms, root growth and leaf growth simultaneously. All of this takes enormous energy from the plant to maintain, so consistent feeding improves the process. Our fertilizer of choice is Dynagro 'Grow' (7-9-5). We feed Grow weekly at a rate of 1 teaspoons per gallon. We use RO water in our irrigation system however, collected rainwater and even tap water with a TDS lower than 250 can be used as well. We fill our sprayers with RO water add our fertilizer and then balance the pH to ~6.0 before applying to the plants. Most people can get away with using tap water and a generic orchid fertilizer and their plants do just fine. But why accept just fine when you can achieve “Oh wow!”
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categories : Orchid Care

comments ( 1 )

Apr 04, 2023

Can Vanda be placed under a grow light?

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