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Got a Vanda as a free gift--can I even grow it in PA?

This is a discussion on Got a Vanda as a free gift--can I even grow it in PA? within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I received an orchid shipment today in the mail, and it included a small bare ...

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  1. #1
    OrchidAddict's Avatar
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    Post Got a Vanda as a free gift--can I even grow it in PA?

    I received an orchid shipment today in the mail, and it included a small bare root Vanda as a free gift. Everything I've researched about these says you need to mount them or hang them, then soak the roots every day. They also need bright light. I live in PA, my orchids are all indoors, and I have no means of mounting this properly without soaking the carpet beneath it when I water it.

    When I was thinking about the conditions this orchid likes, it occurred to me that it might be happy in these "water balls" I purchased. The balls soak up water, then slowly release it as the plant needs it. I'm thinking this might work for the Vanda because the roots could get to the air in between the balls, but the roots would have access to moisture in a continuous high-humidity environment.

    Light is another issue altogether, but I'd just like someone's take on whether you think this "water ball" idea would even work. I don't want to kill the little guy within the first 48 hours! So this is what it looks like right now, on the windowsill where it would be grown, in a vase with water balls. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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  2. #2
    catttan's Avatar
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    I don't see why it shouldn't work, though I've never used the water balls before. But I see that you have a very healthy looking, spiking dendrobium next to it. Where I live, dendrobes and vanda thrive under the same conditions. Vandas are tough and not likely to die in the next 48 hours. Any way that young vanda plant looks extremely healthy to me. Have you considered using bark for the growing medium?

  3. #3
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    Thanks! I was actually under the impression that bark was undesirable for Vandas. Are people successfully growing them in bark? If so, I'll give it a try.

  4. #4
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    nice free gift! did they tell you the hybrid or species name? i live in california where it is very dry, and have kept a vanda relative alive for a long time in large grade orchid bark. i mist the aerial roots regularly as well as a good soaking once to twice a week depending on temperatures. it lives outside in warm months, and comes inside in cool months. i have tried mounting in the past, but everything dessicates eventually. i have never used (or even heard) of these water balls. vanda roots do like to dry out some between waterings, so if those balls are really wet all the time, it might eventually cause a problem with root-rot. if they are just damp, you might be just fine. i have seen a trend in europe with vandas where people grow them in glass vases, with no media at all. you fill the vase with water for 20 minutes or so, then dump it out. but you have to do it every day i think for optimum care. i have recently been buying small vandas and potting them up in different methods to see what does best for my dry weather. keep us posted on how they do, i'd love to see if these water balls do well.

  5. #5
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    Looks good to me too. Happy vanda growing!

    cheers,
    BD

  6. #6
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    Hi Jenn! I must say that considering the circumstances coeruleo grows his Vandaceous orchid under he is giving you some good information and advice. I would only add that you should keep a eye out and see if this plant starts putting out new roots and eventually leaves. Coeruleo's advice about allowing for some drying of the roots is right on, so I would check the roots from time to time to make sure they are not constantly wet. Good luck with these 'balls' and I hope they work out well. Look forward to hearing about your cultural results in the future. AL

  7. #7
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    I use plastic vanda baskets and lava rock and set the baskets on plastic square plates. No mess, the vandas are happy, and I don't need to water daily.
    Posted via Mobile Device

  8. #8
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    That is a strap-leaf Vanda and they will bloom even grown indoors. I keep mine in a south-facing window during winter and put them out for the summer.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by leafmite View Post
    I use plastic vanda baskets and lava rock and set the baskets on plastic square plates. No mess, the vandas are happy, and I don't need to water daily.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Hi LeafMite! Is there any way you could post a picture of what you've got going on with your baskets and plates? I'm having a difficult time picturing it. I'd be curious to know if all the roots are contained within the basket...thus all in the lava rock, or if they're coming through the slats like in most vanda pics I've seen. I recently purchased a synthetic material that's similar to lava rock to use with my bonsai...I'm wondering if it might work with the vanda. But I'd like to see how you've got yours set up before I just take a guess at it. I'm really encouraged by your assertion that this will bloom indoors! I'd be thrilled if I could get this little guy to bloom!

    ---------- Post added at 10:36 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:22 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by coeruleo View Post
    nice free gift! did they tell you the hybrid or species name? i live in california where it is very dry, and have kept a vanda relative alive for a long time in large grade orchid bark. i mist the aerial roots regularly as well as a good soaking once to twice a week depending on temperatures. it lives outside in warm months, and comes inside in cool months. i have tried mounting in the past, but everything dessicates eventually. i have never used (or even heard) of these water balls. vanda roots do like to dry out some between waterings, so if those balls are really wet all the time, it might eventually cause a problem with root-rot. if they are just damp, you might be just fine. i have seen a trend in europe with vandas where people grow them in glass vases, with no media at all. you fill the vase with water for 20 minutes or so, then dump it out. but you have to do it every day i think for optimum care. i have recently been buying small vandas and potting them up in different methods to see what does best for my dry weather. keep us posted on how they do, i'd love to see if these water balls do well.
    Hi Coeruleo!
    I wish they had told me the hybrid or species name, but all it came with was a teensy little tag that has some code number on it. I suppose I could try and contact the company and see if they could tell me what the code means. I'd really love to know what it is! Of course, it would also be fun to just be surprised when it blooms.
    The idea of growing them in the vase without any media had actually occurred to me, but since I've never heard of anyone doing this I didn't want to try some crazy stunt and have an epic fail. I am somewhat concerned about the general wetness of the water balls...they are somewhere between "damp" and "wet"...they're extremely difficult to describe. If you hold one you will feel some moisture on your hand, but it's not like your hand will be dripping. In the warmest part of the day I see a lot of condensation on the inside of the glass, but when it cools off the glass seems clean, so I'm not sure how wet it really is in there. I may just have to keep an eye on it and remove some balls if they moisture level gets too high in the glass.
    I do have some really nice large grade orchid bark that I could use...I'm encouraged to hear that your vandas did well with it. I think I may just have to experiment to see what works. It has been great to hear all these success stories though! I thought the only way to grow vandas was to mount them and hang them, then mist them like crazy! If I could bloom one in my house in a pot or a vase, I would be ecstatic! Thanks so much for your input! I'd love to hear how your small vandas in do in their different habitats! I'll definitely keep you posted on how the water balls work out!

  10. #10
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    Leafmite; Are your plates hanging with the baskets in them and do you use the plates to simply hold the lava rock in the basket? AL

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