365 days of orchids – day 202 – Vanda coerulea
This wonderful species from North East India through to Thailand is one of the ones that stops visitors in their tracks with its large blue/purple flowers and intricate patterning. Unfortunately the attractiveness of the species has caused it to become very rare in the wild and it is designated as CITES appendix 1 to help protect surviving populations. It is widely grown from seed although nurseries tend to focus on large round flowered clones (like ours) for propagation rather than embracing the natural diversity within the species.
The plant is native to deciduous monsoon forest from 800 to 1700m which means it prefers cooler temperatures than most large growing lowland Vandas although selective breeding has tended to focus on plants that tolerate warmer conditions to suit commercial orchid production. We grow our plants in Warm Asia where they do very well and this plant that has been with us for about ten years is now two meters tall.
This summer it has four spikes, three from the main stem and one from a side shoot. The plant enjoys dry roots between watering and our plant is ‘in’ a 4 inch basket! Actyually its roots just hand down (about 1m) and watering is by daily spraying of the roots.