Vanda Orchids – 5 Potting Tips Your Vandas Will Love

Vanda Orchid CareIf you decided to grow vanda orchids, then you know it is not an easy task. These types of orchids require a little bit more orchid care compared to other species. They are considered among the larger types of orchids. They love a warm and moist environment. They are popular for their long and expansive roots that grow out of their containers.

Knowing what to do and how do go about it will certainly increase your success in growing these types of orchids. So to further help you with this, here are 5 potting tips that vanda orchids will unquestionably love.

1. Choose The Best Potting Medium

The species of vanda orchids are mostly epiphytes. This is why the best potting medium for these types of orchids is osmunda. Yes, there may be other types of mediums that experts swear work better. But for beginners, osmunda takes away all the combination of different mediums and simply makes use of itself. It’s the simplest, cleanest and easiest to manage, and vandas flourish significantly in this type of medium.

Osmunda is filled with fiber and nutrients compared to other potting mediums. It does not breakdown quite as quickly as others and can last for up to two years without being replaced. Although it is initially expensive, it is rather economical in the long run. Also because of its fibers it provides good air circulation for the roots that all epiphytes love. Vandas will just love osmunda in every way.

Before using osmunda, you have to soak it first overnight in a pail of water. Then the next morning leave it to dry in a cool and shaded place. That night it is ready to be molded and used. The osmunda must be a bit moist but not wet. Then it’s ready to be placed on either a basket or a pot for your vandas.

2. Decide The Perfect Home

Another sure way to make vanda orchids happy is by choosing the correct kind of container for it. These types of orchids are best grown in containers that provide lot of air circulation drainage.
Two types of containers that you virtually can’t go wrong with are wooden baskets and clay pots.

Wooden baskets are usually hung, and vandas are popular for this. Because of extensive roots, they have been popularly grown this way for years, which is commonly known as basket culture. Just be sure to provide proper support for the baskets to avoid them breaking and falling down. An advantage for baskets is that they make orchids less susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases.

Clay pots provide good protection against the heat and cold and can provide orchids with the adequate ventilation they need. They come in all sorts of sizes and shapes, so there would definitely be a pot that is perfect for you and your orchids.

Before potting it is important to clean the pot. Bacteria and insects might lurk inside causing damage to the plant. Soak it in water for a few minutes or so and you are good to go. The size of the pot may vary depending on the size of your plant. Remember though that vandas have extensive roots just like any epiphytes so it’s best not to suffocate them in small confined containers.

3. Provide Adequate Drainage and Air Ventilation

Although vanda orchids love moisture and humidity, one sure way to kill them is to over water them. So it is essential that any pot must have proper drainage. Baskets, because of their design, provide all the drainage you need. But when it comes to regular pots, it is essential to have a plan.

After cleaning your pot, fill it with rocks or pebbles, about a third from the bottom will be enough. This will act as the drainage for the pot. This will also provide good air circulation to these types of orchids, which is another requirement for keeping vanda orchids happy.

Naturally, the roots of the vanda orchids absorb moisture and nutrients from the air. This is why it is essential to provide adequate air circulation to their root systems.

4. Repot Them Only When Necessary

Of course after a few years with these amazing orchids, they may need to be replanted. Vandas are the type of orchids that grow into large plants. So if you notice that they are no longer comfortable in their current home, repot them. This could happen between every two to three years. Choose a larger basket or pot to house its extensive roots. Cut off any dead or rotten roots if you notice some. Don’t forget to use a fresh potting medium.

Repotting them untimely can have severe consequences to these types of orchids. For example, the blooming cycle may be delayed or even stop permanently. Be cautious and attentive. It is always better to be patient and wait for the right time. The perfect time would be after blooming and when new growth is starting.

5. Feed Them

In order for your vanda orchids to flourish and become as healthy as possible, one last step is to fertilize them. There are lots of types or plant food out there. Three of the most popular kinds for these types of orchids are manure water, commercial concentrates, and nutrient solution.

No matter what you choose, be sure not to overdo it. The general rule is to feed them not more than once a month. And before each application the following month, remember to wash out the possible mineral residue that may have built up. Also, make sure not to let the fertilizer touch the new shoots and stems of the orchids because it can burn them.

When you follow these 5 potting tips, your vanda orchids will be healthy and happy. Happy growing!

And now, for even more proven orchid growing tips, download my totally FREE 5-Day Orchid Insider training course by going here: Orchid Care Training Course

Your Comments

44 Comments so far

  1. Grace Pearson says:

    Great article.

  2. jb says:


  3. Samuel Metz says:

    I have two Vandas, I think. One has a flower shoot. I am so excited to see it’s flower. I am a beginner. My wife had a collection of flowers. Now I am trying to give them a little TLC.
    Growing orchids is a good life.

  4. sue says:

    I have a vanda that my son took with him on moving to orlando. It still has its blooms,but he says it now has white spots on it,he has it hanging on his screened in patio. He mists it once a week, before he left we fertilized last month. What can cause this?

    • Mary Ann says:

      Hi Sue,

      Thanks for your question. It could be mineral deposits. If you don’t have a lot of minerals in your water, they may be mealy bugs. Put some rubbing alcohol on a q-tip and see if they come off. They’ll turn brown because of the alcohol. But normally mealy bugs look kind of cottony and and are very different from mineral stains.

      – Mary Ann

  5. stacey says:

    This information was very helpful, I have picked up some good tips. I have 2 vandas, one is doing great and the other not so great. They are both in the same place (hanging from my patio roof) and I water them approx 1-2times a week. The leaves are turning yellow and starting to dye off on one, do you know what could be causing this? Thank you

    • Mary Ann says:

      I’m glad to hear you’ve gotten some good information. I hate to say this, but it sounds like your one vanda may have Fusarium Wilt. There are some pictures here and treatment information. I would encourage you to look at these diseases and see if they sound like they could fit with what’s happening with your vanda. I hope I’m wrong. Thanks! – Mary Ann

    • rick says:

      I think your watering scheduled needs to be dramatically increased. If my leaves are shriveling, yellowing and falling off, I have found that insufficient water is a common problem. For the plants growing well, I mist ROOTS ONLY 3X for 4 min each day even winter. Fans blow over plants continually so they feel dry to touch soon after watering. My last water is at 1:00 PM. Huge plants and blooming 2-3 times/year. Grown in Oregon in small tropical house. Go light on N as it inhibits blooms at expense of more leaves.

  6. Dan says:

    Hi, We have a vanda orchid that needs help. I dont know what to do with it. It’s old and the roots all seem to be dying. I have a grow light on it in the bathroom and water it once a day. I was wondering how to start another one from this if possible. It is in a basket and is hanging in the tub with the grow light on it for 12 hours. Can you help us

    Thanks Dan

  7. Brigitte says:

    My vanda orchid was hangin under/in a oak tree through the summer. We live in florida and my vanda nursery suggested the tree menthod rather than in the lenai within the cage. However, we traveled to Calfornia, for only 7 days….living in northern Florida (crystal river region) we had a cold/frost snap. The orchid leaves turned yellow(ish)…normally green.

    Should I consider it on the road to dead or give it a chance to live? I have watered it , soaked it in a bucket and some of the roots are still greenish….however the ends of the new roots are not lucious green anymore.



    • Mary Ann says:

      It sounds like you should keep trying at least for a little while longer. Just do your best with them and see if you can turn it around. And here’s another post that may help you out:

  8. susan says:

    I just bought my first Vanda at an orchid show 2 weeks ago and the blooms are already dying. I watered it everyday like the sales person told me to. I know don’t know much about this type of orchid and it’s blooming season. You you please help me out.

    • Mary Ann says:

      Here are some tips from the America Orchid Society about Vanda Orchids. Hopefully you can look at this list and get an idea for what you might need to do differently. There is also a possibility that the blooming season is now over for that particular orchid and absolutely nothing is wrong. 🙂


      – Mary Ann

  9. Josef says:

    Reading the article about osmunda (fern tree) to be use as potting media I cut down dead fern tree for my neighbour and like to use it for my venda orchids. Please would you be able to hep and answer couple questions.
    1 – after cutting the osmunda which is about eight inches in diameter the inside is yellowish colour, very vet
    and sap coming out. Due this centre has to change to brown colour and be completely dry before I use it ?
    2 – can osmunda be use as potting mixture for other orchids ?

  10. camille says:

    Thank you for your information and tips. I have quite a few orchids I’m currently struggling with. Wonderful resource.

  11. rick says:

    For a sick orchid plant (any) mix 1-2 tsp black powdered seaweed in 2 gal warm water and spritz roots and lower portion of stem one or two times, and then again about two weeks later. Live roots will usually send out new roots from the old and new roots will also come from mature plant stem. My roots are white, plump and long (up to 3-4 feet) with large green tips. This past very cold winter killed all root tips (all black) from temps in 40s. I also fertilize weekly weakly with a good marijuana fertilizer from Fox Farms (Tiger Bloom). I have 40% shade cloth on greenhouse during summer.

  12. Virginia says:

    My vanda is hanging from a tree but the roots are nearly touching the ground. Can you cut the roots or is that a no no.

    • Mary Ann says:

      My philosophy is if the roots are healthy, you should leave them alone. 🙂 You could put moss around the roots to help hold in moisture. If there are unhealthy ones, then yes go ahead and trim those properly with a clean tool. Good luck! – Mary Ann

  13. Winton Sagun says:

    I have several vandas at home around 300 I fertilize it every week and the plants are doing well. Is it advisable to have them fertilize every week?

  14. kim says:

    I lost my brother on April 25th, I bought a Vanda Orchid, it came in this plastic long container, no moss, soil and anything. Just roots, I’ve been watering it 3 times a week, but I’ve read I need a basket to put it n but what else. This is my first one and I’m clueless. Thank you. I’ve fed it a water soluble food for orchids. I need help. thank you. Kimberlie

    • Mary Ann says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. Follow the tips in the article that you commented on. Also here’s a vanda care sheet from the AOS. I hope this helps you! – Mary Ann

  15. Ventura says:

    Thank you so Mich for this article. I actually spent just a few minutes and read your article and realized I was doing harm to my orchids. No wonder they weren’t thriving!
    I have so much to learn and can’t always find the time to go to classes offered in the Fort Lauderdale area.
    Thank you for this wealth of information

  16. Fay says:

    Thank you so much for wonderful article,I’ll be glad to heve more information about all plants that you have experience how to grow.My question is if I can hangon the vanda pot to the tree in my backyard?

  17. Fay says:

    Thank you so much for a wonderful and use full information.

  18. midhu says:

    Thank u ann

  19. deb says:

    My vanda buds are turning brown and dying before they bloom .My catayla buds look like something is eating from inside before they even open.

    • Mary Ann says:

      Have you looked into possible diseases? Look at this pdf and see if any of these pictures match what you’re seeing. There are treatments listed as well. – MAB

  20. Birdie says:

    How do you “wash” out the mineral residue in the pots before feeding the second time. I do grow orchids, but this is my first “Vanda” . I have had good luck with the others.
    TX. B

    • Mary Ann says:

      Hi Birdie – You want to flush out the pot with running water for at least a few minutes to wash out the residue. 🙂 Thanks! – Mary Ann

  21. bonaventura says:

    i like your article thank you

  22. Julie says:

    I have a 2 vandas the other one is good but the other has no roots at all.i placed it in a jar of water for almost 3mos but no roots came.what shall i do?can we juzt hang a vanda without any potting mixture koz they say vanda needs only air?

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