Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vanda roots - 'Going commando'

5-foot vanda rootsAs the roots absorb water they begin to turn greenThe genus Vanda (V) contains 70 species from all over Asia and Southeast Asia. Vandas prefer bright light and even watering and fertilizer year round. They do best in wooden slat baskets with little or no medium around the roots.

There are people who report that they grow vandaceous orchids successfully in pots. I can't, and I have never un-potted one that had good roots in a pot.

Orchid roots have a thin hair in the center that is the actual root covered by velamen, a thick sponge-like coating that collects and holds water. As they absorb water, live roots will turn green.

Some people feed plants by adding fertilizer to the water. I prefer to do it as a separate step. There are two reasons; first, the roots don't absorb any fertilizer until they get wet, and second, lots of fertilizer gets wasted. Using a pump sprayer directs the fert where it is needed.

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