We have some delicious Vandas for you over the next two days. The first is Vanda amulacea, a species we know very well from our expeditions to Sikkim.
April is a month that often sees the Orchid Project exploring tropical forests and working with our fantastic project partners and we have spent five Easters in Sikkim.
Vanda ampuilacea grows abundantly as an epiphyte in hot Himalayan valleys from 200-500m altitude where it clings to trunks, branches and twigs of deciduous and semi-evergreen trees . Here thew species has to cope with a dry winter exposed to the sun and it does this by developing a very extensive root system that can store a lot of water. (see plant in situ below)
Note the lack of moss on the tree trunk showing the dry conditions experienced at low altitude in the dry season. We grow this species in a basket in open bark compost and keep it in Warm Asia (min 20C) for most of the year apart from a short completely dry rest in the roof of Cool Asia (minimum 10C) during February. Moving the plant back to warm conditions initiates flowering. I am really pleased to see that our plant has the same dark spotting on the tough leaves as this plant in Sikkim suggesting we have the conditions in Writhlington about perfect.