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What’s Blooming in Paradise: Vanda Orchid grows multiple flowers

By Staff | Apr 20, 2016

Vanda Orchid offers multiple colorations. PHOTO BY ANITA FORCE MARSHAL

Plant Subject: Vanda Orchid

First impression: Striking, exotic, five petals with a sixth smaller iconic orchid-lobed lip in yellows, oranges and violets. Wow, such dramatic fade in and outs of colorations adorn these superstar frilly lipped petals. The linear leaves are dark green and located at its base, which is in the shape of a speared fan. These fans are attached to the trunks of our many large trees by silver spaghetti like roots. I can only marvel at its tenacity to hang on its host tree.

Upon further investigation: Vanda Orchids hail from the areas in the Himalayas to Malaysia and can easily be confused with the more than 775 genera in its family. It is a show stopper, when blooming there is no passing it by without a closer look!

It has top heavy glowing flowers suspended by stiff stalks, which gives them an excuse to dance at any chance they get. The five quinacridone orange, purplish-violet and sunny yellow petals are long, soft, and flared. Of course the sixth petal is the preverbal orchid nectar guide for the pollinators. It reminds me of a landing pad with three lobes that are fused at the base of a short column. It is adorned with magenta calligraphy and varying shades of brilliant orange graduating to sunshine yellow. And yes, it’s cupped and ruffled with orchid drama through and through.

Each flower stalk is laden with two-nine flowers, if you’re lucky, you can smell that faint sweet scent. The dark green leaves are strap shaped and fan patterned, which are not noticeable until the flowers emerge and start to show off. The Vanda grows from the terminal bud and flowers emerge from its nodes. A healthy strong Vanda will have numerous silvery tentacle- like roots encircling and securing to its host plant.

Orchids are epiphytes, which means they sit on top of their selected companion. It obtains moisture and run off nutrients from their host and in no way harms them. Our stars parents were naturally occurring epiphytes in the tropics but non-native to our region. Orchid, just the name and your mind can conjure up a flower picture that’s fanciful and magical.

Add some to your tropical garden oasis, so you can re-discover a hidden treasure just hanging around year after year.

Pros:

Likes filtered sun to shade

Flowers are unique, exotic and fanciful

Is great for oooh’s and ahhs

Takes up no room in the garden

Long lived blooming period

Everyone needs at least one

Non Invasive

Cons:

Trim spent blooms

Not noticeable when non blooming

Non native plant

Need a host plant with lots of canopy

Not cold tolerant

It’s hard to say no to any orchid

Conclusion: Bring out your cameras or your paintbrushes to record the bounty of this beauty. Each blossom is waiting for you to admire. So many memories so little time in your eye catching tropical garden.

Don’t wanna miss this bloomer!