Articles About Orchids
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Articles About Orchids
   Winter is finally coming to a close here in the USA, and spring is bringing in lots of sunshine and warmth into the Orchid Garden to grow some of the most beautiful orchids. Just imagine orchids hanging in baskets with long tendrils of roots reaching to the floor and sprays of rainbow colored flowers as large as 10 cm reaching up to the sun. In this article
   I am going to tell you about such plants called Vandaceous orchids. All orchids that have the same characteristics as the Vanda genus is called a vandaceous orchid and they are grouped together to form the Vanda Alliance.
   Included in this group are the Vandas, Aerides,  Ascocentrum,
Vanda X Rotschildiana
Renanthera, Rhynchostylis, Aranda, Mokara, Kegawara all belong to the Vanda relatives and their hybrids. Between these, they form many hybrids like my favorites Ascocenda and Vandaenopsis. Most of these are monopodial in habit, with aerial roots appearing along the stem. Many of the orchids in these groups have nicknames like "Scorpion Orchids" or "Spider Orchids".
   The Vanda Alliance species originated in tropical Asia and in tropical countries are now grown in lath houses. Along with their hybrids, they are producing the most fantastic flowers you can imagine. Vandaceous orchids are divided into three groups and are categorized by the shape of their leaves:
   Strap-leaf - Ascocentrum miniatum is just one example of these types of orchids. They have broad, flat, leathery leaves. This group likes lots of warmth and partial shade around noontime. You will find species such as Vanda sanderiana, merrillii, coerulea and the genus Ascocentrum in this group along with many hybrids.
   Terete - Orchids that have leaves shaped like a thin round pencil. They love full sun and lots of humidity and warmth. V. teres and V. hookeriana are samples of this type of orchid and of course we can not forget the most famous terete Vanda, which is also the National Flower of Singapore, Vanda Miss Joaquim 'Agnes'.
   Semi-terete - such as Ascocenda 'Emma' and other orchid Hybrids between the Strap-leaf and Terete types. Their leaves are thin like the pencils, but are flatter. They like warmth and partial shade like the strap-leaf orchids.
   Vandaceous orchids are very easy to grow if you can provide the critical amount of sunshine and warmth they require.

   If you live in a warm climate such as Florida or Hawaii, you can grow these outside year round. In these areas, they are grown in lath houses, on patios or in trees where they receive some full morning sun and partial shade from the hot afternoon sun.

    In colder climates, try to grow them outdoors until the temperature drops to about 60° F (16° C) at night. Bring them indoors to a bright location where they will receive some sunshine.

   If you are growing them in a greenhouse, provide up to 35% shade in the summer. The leaves should never be dark green. If they are, it is a sign of not enough light.
   Temperature is the next most important factor in producing healthy plants that will grow and flower for you. Winter temperatures should be a minimum of 60 to 55 °F (16-13 °C). Try to keep it on the warmer side. Day temperatures can reach 95 °F (35 °C) with no ill effects. Warmer temperatures will cause your orchids to grow faster. Remember the humidity and air movement requirements need to be adjusted to the temperature.
   When you water, keep in mind your orchids must dry quickly to avoid rot forming on your plants. Misting during the day will give them moisture and if they are in baskets, be sure to mist the roots that will be hanging around. If it is warm and dry you may need to water daily. Water sparingly in the winter or when the weather is cloudy and cold.
   Fertilizer, of course, is needed to help maintain the growth. A well-balanced fertilizer can be used weekly at full strength while they are growing. During cold weather, only fertilize once or twice a month because the growth rate slows down. To help promote blooming, you may try a high-phosphorus fertilizer once a month during active growth.
   When your plants outgrow their containers, try to do your repotting in the spring. Potted plants should use coarse media such as fir bark, charcoal, tree fern fiber, coconut chips or any fast draining material. Orchids growing in baskets will not have to be repotted often.
   When they have outgrown their baskets, place the entire plant and basket into a larger basket without disturbing the plant. After potting, keep your orchid shaded area and adjust the humidity higher then normal until you see active root growth.