Orchids were once only enjoyed by the wealthy. Today's reproduction methods, however, enable growers to provide many hybridized species at reasonable prices. Unfortunately, blue orchids (Vanda coerulea) are difficult to come by because they are an endangered species.
Blue orchids, also referred to as blue vanda, can flower at any time during the year; but, typically the heaviest flowering is between the spring and fall months. These vibrant blue blooms can last for up to three months. If lighting is insufficient, your orchid will be less apt to re-bloom. The foliage color will tell you whether your plant is getting adequate lighting. If the plant leaves are grassy green in color, then your orchid is receiving the light it needs to bloom.
While you can grow your blue vanda in a clay pot with bark-based mix, opt for a teak or slatted wood hanging basket where roots can hang exposed. Their root systems are large and stiff and are likely to break or tear when repotting them into bigger pots every two years. Growing vandas in hanging baskets gives the roots the air they need to properly dry after watering and feedings and minimizes root damage. Root damage prevents orchids from productively growing and flowering anywhere from a few months to several years.
Unlike the many orchids that typically die off from overwatering, blue vandas oftentimes suffer from underwatering because root systems absorb water and fertilizer more slowly. If you are using a teak basket for your growing medium, plan to water your orchid daily; potted blue vandas need watering only two to three times a week. If underwatered, these delicate beauties stop growing and flowering. Therefore, water your plant, let it drain for a few minutes and water again. When the roots are fully saturated they turn solid green.
Orchids require regular feedings. Use a 20-20-20 fertilizer that has all the necessary trace elements. You can use the same fertilizer as you would for other container plants, but little to no urea should be in the formulation. Dilute your fertilizer to one quarter strength and apply it with each watering instead of doing once a month full-dose application. Water your orchids first so it's not completely dry before fertilizing, otherwise you run the risk of burning the roots.
If growing your orchids indoors, use south- or east-facing windows. North-facing windows get too little light and west-facing may get too hot during the afternoon. Reposition your orchids with the changing of the seasons to avoid giving your plant too much direct light or you may sunburn the leaves.
- American Orchid Society: More Questions Answered
- Online Flowers Guide: Blue Orchids: A Guide to Blue Orchids
- Orchid Plant Care Blog: Blooming Vanda Orchids
- American Orchid Society: Why Won't My Orchid Re-Bloom?
- Houston Orchid Society: Vanda Culture
- American Orchid Society: What is The Best Potting Material?
- Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images