Vanda orchids are one of the most commonly cultivated and hybridized genera of plants in the orchid family. Although they can be difficult to spot in their native habitats due to over-collection, they are easy to find in flower shops around the world. Here we’ll take you through 10 of the most popular types of Vanda orchids to grow at home plus learn the basics to grow and care for these beauties. 


About Vanda Plants

About Vanda Plants

Vanda is a genus of about 80 species containing mostly epiphytic orchids, in addition to a few lithophytic and terrestrial species. The Vanda genus belongs to the Aeridinae subtribe of the Vandeae tribe in the subfamily Epidendroideae within the orchid family (Orchidaceae).

Vanda orchids grow natively throughout East Asia, Southeast Asia, India, New Guinea, the Phillippines, Northern Australia, and some Pacific islands.

The botanical characteristics of vanda orchids are quite varied based on how they’ve adapted to their habitats. Some have long, lance-shaped leaves while others are more ovate. Some leaves are flat (strap leaves) and others are more round and fleshy for storing water. Additionally, vanda orchids range in size from miniature to several feet in size.


Uses and Benefits of Vanda Orchids

Uses and Benefits of Vanda Orchids

Vanda orchids are beloved for their beautiful, alluring, and often fragrant blossoms, but they have several other uses and benefits, too.

Cosmetic

Certain vanda orchids contain compounds that have been shown to be beneficial as a moisturizing ingredient in cosmetics. As a result, they have been used to help reduce common signs of aging.

Medicinal

The juice of blue vanda orchids contains compounds that have been used as eye medicine in drops intended to treat conditions such as blindness, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Air Purifying

Orchids can remove the toxin, xylene, from the air. They also release oxygen at night, making them an appropriate choice for the bedroom.

Feng Shui

In feng shui, orchids represent femininity, love, and relationships, making them one of the only plants recommended for the bedroom. They can also be placed in the marriage/relationship corner of your home, office, or desk to draw positive energy into that corner of your life.


Meanings and Symbolism of Vanda Orchids

Meanings and Symbolism of Vanda Orchids

Vanda orchids have a variety of symbolic meanings that include themes of romance, marriage, love, and procreation in addition to friendship, femininity, and motherhood.

The color of your orchid’s flowers also affects its symbolic meaning. For example, purple orchids represent power and royalty, red orchids symbolize passionate romance, and pink orchids are a symbol of love, gentle affection, mothers, grace, and womanhood.


Here we’ll take you through 10 of the most popular types of Vanda orchids to grow at home including their origins, history, and botanical characteristics. 

1. Vanda sanderiana (Waling-Waling or Sander’s Vanda)

Vanda sanderiana (Waling-Waling or Sander's Vanda)

The waling-waling orchid grows natively in specific regions of the Philippines on the sides of dipterocarp trees. They’re most commonly found in a pink variety that features deep, scarlet-colored speckles on the flower petals but they do also grow in a white variety, as well.

Although commonly cultivated in horticulture, the waling-waling orchid is very rarely found in nature because it has been overly collected. In the early 2000s, the Philippine government even attempted to get it listed as a second national flower to raise awareness.


2. Vanda miniata / Ascocentrum miniatum (Miniature Vanda)

Vanda miniata / Ascocentrum miniatum (Miniature Vanda)

Vanda miniata is native to Sumatra, the Phillippines, Java, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Assam.

The plant has two commonly seen scientific names because it was previously classified within the Ascocentrum genus, which has since been merged with the Vanda genus. This lovely orchid is fairly small at maturity. Fully grown plants can fit in the palm of an average-sized hand.

They feature the lush, green foliage that is mostly associated with orchids. Plus, they produce tall, upright racemes of fiery blossoms that range from bright yellow to orange to reddish-orange in color.


3. Vanda bensonii (Benson’s Vanda)

Vanda bensonii (Benson's Vanda)

Benson’s vanda grows natively in Myanmar, Thailand, and Assam, India. It features fragrant five-petaled flowers that are about 2 inches in diameter. Surrounding their white and light-purple centers, they have five yellow-colored petals that are heavily marked with reddish-brown speckles. When in bloom (usually during springtime), each inflorescence carries about 20 sweet-smelling flowers.


4. Vandopsis lissochiloides (Vandopsis)

Vandopsis lissochiloides (Vandopsis)

This orchid is most commonly found growing in the Phillippines, but it also grows natively in Thailand, Laos, and New Guinea. Despite its appearance, which closely resembles certain orchids from the Vanda genus, this orchid actually belongs to the Vandopsis genus and isn’t a true vanda orchid.

Despite its outlying taxonomy, Vandopsis lissochiloides is a beautiful specimen. Its blossoms feature thick, banana-peel-like, yellow petals with deep-red speckles and backsides that blush in a warm pink. The flowers are fragrant, long-lasting, and just wider than 2 inches in diameter.


5. Vanda coerulea (Blue Orchid, Blue Vanda, or Autumn Lady’s Tresses)

Vanda coerulea (Blue Orchid, Blue Vanda, or Autumn Lady's Tresses)

The blue vanda is the only orchid with natural, truly blue flowers which can range from a ghostly whitish blue or lavender to dusty violet to a deep, midnight shade of indigo.

Blue vanda orchids are were first discovered in Northeastern India, but they are also native to China, Thailand, and Myanmar. Like other species in the Vanda genus, blue orchids are rarely found in nature and the collecting of them from nature is prohibited.

These orchids also have a history of medical and cosmetic use. The juice of the flower has been used as eyedrops intended to treat a variety of ocular ailments including blindness, glaucoma, and cataracts. The essential oils of the blue vanda are also widely used in cosmetics, as they are believed to help diminish common signs of aging such as wrinkles, visible sun damage, and an uneven complexion.


6. Vanda tricolor (Tricolor Vanda)

Vanda tricolor (Tricolor Vanda)

Vanda tricolor is a strikingly attractive variety of vanda orchids. They produce lush, thick, cascading foliage that looks almost like a sturdy, upright palm frond. The plant eventually grows stick-like racemes from which beautiful flowers with 2 to 3-inch diameters sprout. The flowers are white in color with rust-red spots and a hot pink center.

Vanda tricolor is much more slow-growing compared to other orchids. Grown from seed, they can take years to produce their first blossoms. Vanda tricolor blossoms, however, are worth the long wait thanks to their beauty and unusually alluring fragrance that smells similar to grape-flavored candy.


7. Vanda Denisoniana (Denisoniana)

Vanda Denisoniana (Denisoniana)

The Vanda Denisoniana is a species of vanda orchid that grows natively in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and China. It features bright, cheerful blossoms in sherbet shades that vary from buttery yellow to tangerine orange. Some varieties have speckles in similar hues and bright-white centers.

If the Vanda Denisoniana‘s orangesicle color palette isn’t enough to whet your appetite, the strong vanilla-like fragrance that the blossoms emit in the evenings will surely wake up your sweet tooth.


8. Vanda coerulescens (Coeurulescens Vanda)

Vanda coerulescens (Coeurulescens Vanda)

Native to India, the Vanda coerulescens in a naturally pink-colored orchid. Thanks to a recessive gene, however, they also blossom in shades of purple and blue!

This orchid features branching racemes of blue, pink, red, or purplish flowers that stretch out to be about 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Lilac-colored flowers feature a deeper, indigo-colored lip, and rosy pink flowers feature bright-red lips.

Blossoms that develop in late winter emit a strong, yet pleasing grape-like fragrance.


9. Vanda curvifolia / Ascocentrum curvifolium (Curvifolia Vanda)

Vanda curvifolia / Ascocentrum curvifolium (Curvifolia Vanda)

Vanda curvifolia has striking lance-shaped foliage from which heavy racemes of fiery flowers bloom. The blossoms are reddish-orange in color and accented by two bright-yellow lobes.

Like the Vanda miniata, the Vanda curvifolia was previously classified into the now-defunct genus of orchids, Ascocentrum. These orchids are native to various regions across Southeast Asia including the Eastern Himalayas, Nepal, Assam in India, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Southern China.


10. Vanda flabellata (Fan-Shaped Vanda)

Vanda flabellata (Fan-Shaped Vanda)

Native to Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and Yunnan in China, the Vanda flabellata is a compact species of orchid that’s perfect for growing in containers indoors. It comes in several varieties that feature different colors of flowers, speckles, and lips that blossom in shades of yellow, pink, and white.

The flowers of most Vanda flabellata varieties have fan-shaped ruffled lips, which is where the flower gets its designated species name “flabellata” which means fan-like.


How to Grow Vanda Orchids at Home

How to Grow Vanda Orchids at Home

Suitable Containers

Vanda orchids are mostly epiphytic and they’ll do best in small, well-draining containers and baskets that can either be hung or placed on a table. In the right environment (high humidity and warm weather), vanda orchids can be grown outside of a container, mounted to a rock or tree bark.

The Best Soil Mix for Vanda Orchids

Vanda orchids prefer a soilless, well-draining potting mix composed primarily of peat or bark. The mix should be slightly acidic with a pH ranging from 6.4 to 6.8.

For more, see our essential guide to the best soil mix for Orchid plants.

How to Plant 

To grow a vanda plant in a basket, gently weave the vanda’s roots around the basket’s wires and secure them into place by gently tying them with plant wire. Cover the roots with a soilless potting medium like bark or peat.

Vanda Orchid Light Preferences

Vanda Orchid Light Preferences

Vanda orchids prefer partial shade to bright filtered sunlight.

For more, see our essential guide to Orchid plant light preferences.

Temperature and Humidity Preferences

Vandas thrive in average temperatures of around 65°F. They can tolerate cooler temperatures, but exposure to cold or temperatures below 50°F, can stunt their growth and delay blossoming.

Additionally, they prefer high humidity no lower than 60% with an average of around 80%. Vanda orchids can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11.


How to Care for Vanda Orchids

How to Care for Vanda Orchids

When and How to Water Vanda Orchids

Vandas need lots of water and moisture to keep their potting medium consistently moist but never soggy – don’t let a vanda orchid sit in standing water!

On average, vanda orchids need to be watered once every 2 days during the growing season. In high temperatures and an arid climate, they might need to be watered twice a day. Reduce watering frequency to once per week during their winter dormancy.

To increase the humidity around your plant, add a humidifier to the room or place your plant on a tray of gravel filled with water. Just be careful to make sure its roots aren’t sitting in the water, too.

For more, see our essential guide to watering Orchid plants.

Feeding and Fertilizing Vanda Orchids

Vanda orchids are heavy feeders. Give yours a serving of well-balanced (20-20-20) liquid fertilizer every week during the growing season. To promote better blooms, you can use a fertilizer with a slightly higher phosphorous content once a month.

During the plant’s winter dormancy, only fertilize every two to four weeks.

Pruning and Maintaining Vanda Orchids

Pruning and Maintaining Vanda Orchids

Vanda orchids don’t actually need to be pruned. Simply remove your plant’s withered racemes once its blossoms are spent.

Vanda orchids have roots that can grow quickly and get out of control fast. Most plants stay healthier if you leave their roots alone and simply re-basket your plant to contain the root growth. If you do prune an orchid’s roots, be sure to always use sharp, sterile pruning shears.

When and How to Repot Vanda Orchids

Vandas don’t need to be repotted all that often because their roots will escape their well-draining basket and do fine out in the air.

If you prefer to keep your plant contained, however, simply place the whole plant and its roots into a new, larger basket. Then gently secure the roots as before and fill the second basket with a soilless potting medium.


Common Vanda Orchid Problems, Pests, and Diseases

Common Vanda Orchid Problems, Pests, and Diseases

Care Problems

The most common problems orchids encounter are all related to moisture.

Orchids are susceptible to root rot, and allowing yours to sit in a soggy potting medium or standing water could lead to root rot. You’ll notice an unpleasant odor coming from your plant and wilting yellow foliage.

If your vanda has too little water, its flowers will bloom wrinkly with much more prominent veins than normal.

Pests and Diseases

Vanda orchids are susceptible to a long list of pests and diseases, but they most commonly fall prey to fungi like black rot, petal blight, southern blight, and botrytis.

Fungi commonly develop as a result of the plant holding too much moisture or not receiving adequate air circulation.


Enjoy Your Beautiful Vanda Orchids!

Whether you’re growing orchids indoors or live in a climate that’s warm and humid enough to support growing orchids outdoors, you can never go wrong when you decide to add a vanda orchid to your collection of plants.


Vanda Orchid FAQs: 

Vanda orchids do need access to the sun and prefer partial shade to bright filtered sunlight throughout the day.

Vanda orchids thrive best in warm, humid environments with access to bright filtered light throughout the majority of the day. Fertilize monthly during spring and summer and enjoy regular watering (though don’t oversaturate the soil).

Vandas need lots of water and moisture to keep their potting medium consistently moist but never soggy – don’t let a vanda orchid sit in standing water!

On average, vanda orchids need to be watered once every 2 days during the growing season. In high temperatures and an arid climate, they might need to be watered twice a day. Reduce watering frequency to once per week during their winter dormancy.

Vanda orchids need lots of bright indirect light to truly thrive and plenty of moisture and regular feed during the spring and summer months to bloom.

Vanda Orchids typically bloom 2 or 3 times each year when grown in optimal environments.


Author

I’ve long been fascinated with the world of flowers, plants, and floral design. I come from a family of horticulturists and growers and spent much of my childhood in amongst the fields of flowering blooms and greenhouses filled with tropical plants, cacti, and succulents from all over the world. Today, my passion has led me to further explore the world of horticulture, botany, and floristry and I'm always excited to meet and collaborate with fellow enthusiasts and professionals from across the globe. I hold a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and have trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris.

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