Vanda orchids are widely cultivated worldwide for their attractive flowers that come in various colors, including yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue and white. These plants belong to a genus of the orchid family Orchidaceae, and have glossy, waxy foliage. They grow epiphytically, clinging to tree bark, and have sturdy stems and strap-like leaves. Like most plants, they are also prone to problems and diseases, and may die If not treated in time.
How to save a dying vanda orchid
Check whether there are still signs of life.
Some vanda orchids may cease flowering or shed their leaves after blooming, but this is not necessarily an indication that they are dying or dead. Check the plant’s color: if the stem is still green, it can still be saved. Also inspect the roots, and if they are firm and pale, they are still healthy. However, if the roots are brown and mushy they are dead and should be disposed of.
Diagnose the problem to identify the right solution.
To save your dying vanda orchid, you need to determine the cause of the problem. If it is not blooming, it may need repotting in a fresh potting mix. The orchid may also need more or less sunlight or water. If the buds drop before they bloom, the plant’s environment may not be suitable or it may be suffering from gas poisoning or other pollutants.
The presence of spots and leaf discoloration could be due to diseases or pests. If so, apply a fungicide or pesticide and prune the affected plant parts.
Provide a healthy environment.
Set up the ideal environment for your orchid to help restore its good health. Vanda orchids are tropical plants and prefer warmer climate zones. They like bright, indirect sunlight with at least 40 to 60 percent humidity. These plants need weekly watering, and fertilizing at least once a month.
Vanda orchids undergo natural dormancy when they might shed leaves. However, this does not mean they are dying or even sick. As long as the orchids retain their green stems and healthy roots, they will bounce back from dormancy, develop green leaves and produce new flowers.
Common problems with vanda orchids
Leaves turning yellow
Yellowing leaves in vanda orchids could be due to various reasons. It could be water-related, or from too much or too little sunlight. It may also be due to incorrect fertilization.
Root rot could develop either due to overwatering or from being in a too-dark location. The leaves will also turn yellow, the roots will turn brown and rot, and the plant’s growth will be stunted. Brown and mushy roots should be treated at once by pruning off the affected roots while taking care not to harm the healthy ones. Check your watering habits and change the plant’s location, because those that are in darker areas tend to rot more easily when overwatered.
Purple or reddened foliage
Vanda orchids with reddening or purple foliage are often located in areas with too much sunlight. To correct this, reduce the amount of light that your orchid gets by placing it in a spot that only gets indirect light. This will prevent sunburn.
Lack of flowers
Vanda orchids that fail to bloom could have undergone an insufficient dormancy period. This can happen when the temperature is the same for the whole year. Provide less water and reduce the temperature by a couple of degrees to encourage proper dormancy.
Sudden loss of older flowers, with yellowed stalks
This condition can come about due to prolonged droughts. For these plants to bloom, they need near-continuous moist conditions. To correct this, submerge the roots in lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes, every day for a few days, as well as continuing with the mandatory misting method.
If your vanda orchid’s blooms do not seem to last as long as they should, the humidity could be too low. Place the plant in a humidity tray and keep the reservoir topped up with water. Do not mist the flowers, as this increases the risk of a fungal disease called botrytis.
Total flower loss
Vanda orchids may experience total flower loss due to changes in location or dehydration. It could also happen if the temperature is too hot or too cold, or due to pest infestations.
To correct this, keep the roots moist while the plant is producing flowers, and choose a location where the temperature and humidity will be appropriate and constant. Inspect for pests like mealybugs and treat them as soon as possible with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Botrytis petal blight
This is a fungal disease that is usually characterized by spots or patches on the flowers’ bodies. It is often caused by misting, or an over-humid location with poor air circulation. Cut off the infected flowers or complete stalks to stop the spread of the disease. Place the plants in a brighter location, but ensure there is no direct sunlight.
Vanda orchids are sought-after for their lovely flowers that come in many colors. These beauties can be prone to problems and diseases, and may die if you do not remedy the problem in time. Save your dying vanda orchid by correctly diagnosing and addressing the cause of the problem, and providing an environment conducive to their overall health. Make sure you grow these plants in tropical areas with bright, indirect light, and humidity of at least 40 to 60 percent.
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