How to Plant, Grow and Care For Vanda Orchids

Thinking of growing vanda orchids but aren't quite sure where to start? These popular flowers can be a bit picky about their growing environment. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss walks through all you need to know about growing vanda orchids, including their maintenance and care.

Purple vanda orchid blooming indoors after watering

Vanda orchids are one of the more challenging genera of orchids to maintain. They have very specific needs that are difficult to replicate in the home, so they do not make very good houseplants. They are, however, some of the most breathtaking flowering plants I can think of.

For an experienced orchid grower, the Vanda orchid can be a welcome challenge. With its long, trailing, white root system, and large, colorful blooms, Vanda orchids are capable of doing more blooming than most types of orchids, so a happy Vanda generally means a flowering Vanda.

Vanda orchids are the national flower of Singapore. They are native to India, Sri Lanka, and Australia. They are quite commonly used to make flower leis on the Hawaiian Islands. Vandas also have the claim to fame of having the only true-blue flowers among epiphytic orchids.

If you’ve decided to add one of these beautiful orchid species to your garden, it’s important to understand their care needs. Let’s dig in a little deeper and look at everything you’ll need to maintain a thriving vanda orchid plant!

Vanda Orchid Overview

Purple flowering plant blooming indoors with violet colored blooms that has white spots.
Plant Type Perennial Epiphytes
Season Varies; Year-round
Pests Mealybugs, Aphids, Thrips, Scales
Family Orchidaceae
Exposure Bright Indirect Light
Diseases Root Rot, Petal Blight, Black Rot
Genus Vanda
Plant Spacing Individual Containers
Maintenance Moderate
Species about 87
Planting Depth Shallow
Soil Type Bark Mix
Native Area India, Sri Lanka and Australia
Height 20”-31” tall
Plant with Palms and Succulents
Hardiness Zone 10-11
Watering Needs Once Per Week
Attracts Pollinating Insects


Vanda orchids have a long and illustrious reputation for being not only stunningly beautiful plants, they have also long been used in traditional medicine in their native countries. Vandas are classified as monopodial, perennial epiphytes.


Close-up of a blooming flower in a sunny garden, surrounded by bright green, long, glossy leaves with slightly pointed tips. The flowers are large, rounded, has rounded petals and sepals, orange in color with abundant bright red freckles over the entire surface.
This plant can live 20 years or more with proper watering, light, and humidity.

As perennial plants, Vanda orchids can live for 20 years or longer. They are capable of blooming multiple times during the year if they are receiving the right amount of water, light, and humidity. The lifespan of most types of orchids is indefinite, with some outliving the gardener that planted them.


Close-up of a blooming purple flower in a sunny garden, on a tree, with bare aerial roots. The plant has long, narrow leaves, with slightly pointed tips, of pale green and yellowish colors. The flowers are large, flat, with rounded petals and sepals. Violet flower with many dark purple freckles.
Vanda orchids are epiphytic plants that grow on trees using their aerial root system.

Vanda orchids are in the class of orchids considered to be epiphytic, although some of them are lithophytes. Epiphytic plants are plants that grow in trees, using their root systems to cling to branches, trunks, and junctions.

Lithophytes are plants that grow primarily from rocks, nestling into cracks and crevices with their roots trailing along the exposed surfaces.

Epiphytic plants have exposed roots in nature, and as a result, they require a lot of air circulation to maintain optimal health. Vanda orchids in particular, need a lot of air circulation.

They have extensive root systems, sometimes 5’-6’ long, which hang from the bottom of the plant’s central rhizome. They use these roots to absorb water and nutrients from the air and rain that they come in contact with.


Close-up of many Vanda orchids hanging in a greenhouse with dangling aerial roots. The plant has an upright growth of leaves, dark green in color, long, narrow, with slightly pointed tips. Some leaves have dark brown spots and light damage.
Vanda orchids are Monopodial, growing vertically along a central rhizome.

There are two growth habits of orchids, sympodial and monopodial. Vanda orchids are monopodial. Monopodial orchids grow vertically along a central rhizome or main root/stem structure. Their leaves grow to either side of the rhizome in a ladder-like fashion.

Monopodial orchids grow continuously upward, unlike their sympodial cousins which grow horizontally, sending up pseudobulbs from their horizontal rhizome.

Monopodial orchids also tend to produce a lot of aerial roots, which help support the plant by attaching to a supporting structure, like a branch, as the orchid grows taller.

Flower Formations

Close-up of pink and purple flowers on a blurred background. The flowers are large, with large rounded petals and sepals, soft pink in color with rich pink veins. The labellums are small and bright pink.
Vanda orchids produce large, fragrant, and very colorful flowers with five sepals and petals, almost uniform in size, shape, and color.

It is because of their flowers that Vanda orchids are among the most commonly grown and desirable orchids in the horticulture trade. Their blooms are large, colorful, and tend to be quite fragrant as well.

All orchid petals are bilaterally symmetrical, meaning that they can be divided in half, into two equal parts. Most Vanda orchids have large, flat rounded petals and sepals, some with darker or lighter veining and occasionally freckling.

The Vanda has a large dorsal sepal at the top of the bloom and two lateral sepals toward the bottom. Two rounded petals open to the inside on either side of the dorsal sepal.

These five sepals and petals are usually close to being uniform in size, shape, and coloration. The two lower sepals of a Vanda bloom meet in the center, which is not typical of orchids.

Most orchids have a labellum, or lip, which protrudes between the lower sepals. The labellum of the Vanda orchid is typically small, however, and stands out slightly in the center of the flower, framing the column and pollinia.

Vanda orchids also have the distinction of producing the only true-blue flowers in the orchid family. They also bloom in several other colors, including purple, pink, red, orange, and yellow,


There are three basic methods for propagating orchids, and they range in difficulty from virtually no effort at all to quite a lot of effort and several years of waiting for the orchid to mature.


Orchid Keiki close-up, on a blurred white background. The long stem of an orchid bearing new growth (Keiki) to propagate the plant. Keiki has three glossy, dark green, oval leaves and one aerial root.
Keikis are identical to their parent orchid plants.

By far the easiest method of propagation is the one that orchids perform on their own. Most orchids, and in particular monopodial orchids, produce offsets which are referred to as keikis.

The word is the Hawaiian term for “baby,” which makes perfect sense because these offsets are baby clones of the parent plant.

Keikis are identical to their parent plants. This is a reliable way to acquire an orchid that is exactly alike to the one that you desire or have.

These baby plants grow on the side of a plant and if left attached, will draw nutrients from the parent plant, which can cause the parent plant to suffer. It is best to remove them and plant them on their own.


Close-up of female hands propagating an plant using the division method. Women's hands in light gray gloves hold an orchid plant with bare roots over a flower pot filled with bark soil mix. Slightly scattered soil on a white wooden table.
Propagation by division is the most popular way to create an exact copy of a plant.

Propagation by division is the most popular method of propagation, as you don’t have to wait for the plant to produce offsets.

This type of propagation will also create an exact replica of the original plant, as you are taking a portion of the plant and removing it to its own container, where it will produce roots and blooms, but it is still technically part of the original plant.

Division of monopodial orchids is, in my opinion, a bit trickier than with sympodial orchids, but it is not difficult. You simply slice through the rhizome with a clean, sharp tool in between two sets of leaves.

A bit of rooting hormone can be applied to the cuts, and then the new plant can be potted on its own, and the original plant will continue to produce new growth from the top.

From Seed

Seedlings in a plant nursery at an orchid farm. Seedlings are small plants with slightly elongated, narrow leaves, pale green in color. The seedlings grow in a soil mixture of bark.
Orchid seeds are incredibly tiny and vulnerable to fungi and bacteria.

Propagation from seed is the only way in which you will encounter orchids that do not breed true. In particular, if you are planting a hybrid from seed, there is really no telling whether the new plants will look the same as the parent plant.

Propagating orchids from seeds is the most tedious and difficult manner, and so it is rarely done by home gardeners. Orchid seeds are incredibly tiny. If you’ve ever sliced open a vanilla bean and scraped out the gritty substance inside, you have seen firsthand how tiny orchid seeds are. The vanilla bean is the seed pod of the vanilla orchid, and all of those itty bitty granules are seeds!

Because of their small size, orchid seeds are very vulnerable to fungus and bacteria, and they need a very particular environment and set of circumstances under which to germinate and grow.

In nature, they attach themselves to mycorrhizal fungi, which break down the nutrients they need to germinate because they have no endosperm to act in this fashion. There are two methods of propagating orchids from seeds in captivity.

Symbiotic Germination

A plant scientist uses tools to separate spores from orchid pods. For propagation using seeds, in a sterile laboratory. In one hand he has a long tweezers with an orchid pod, and in the other hand a long, thin, sharp scalpel. There are also several jars of water and laboratory instruments on the table.
This process is quite long, complicated, and impossible without a sterile laboratory environment.

Symbiotic germination replicates the process by which orchid seeds germinate in nature. The process requires a sterile laboratory environment, which is not something most home gardeners have access to.

This process is long and complicated, but there is an alternative for home gardeners who wish to grow orchids from seed.

Asymbiotic Germination

Close-up of a lot of glass bottles with orchid sprouts on the shelves. Small germinated sprouts mature inside nutrient-rich bottles. The sproutlings have thin leaves of bright green color.
The flask method is placing the seeds in a glass flask along with rich nutrients.

Asymbiotic germination is a method of cultivating orchids from seed that is more or less the In-vitro fertilization of orchids. The most commonly used method is called flasking as it involves placing the seeds in a glass flask along with a nutrient-rich substance that they can use to germinate.

This method can be carried out easily and results in a larger number of plants than either of the other methods. The only downfall is that it takes a very long time. The seeds will need to remain in the flask for up to 2 years, and most orchids take 5-7 years to mature and produce flowers.

Growing Vanda Orchids

Vanda orchids are known for being a bit more difficult to maintain than other types of orchids. They are heat and humidity lovers, and the climate they grow best in is difficult to replicate inside of a home. For this reason, most vanda enthusiasts grow their orchids in greenhouses.


Top view, close-up of female hands in bright yellow gloves, planting a small orchid sprout in a small plastic pot. In one hand she holds a potted plant, and in the other hand she holds a handful of pine bark to cover the roots. There is a bowl full of pine bark on the back blurred background.
Vanda orchids can be grown in the orchid bark mix or even without potting medium at all.

Vanda orchids can be grown without potting medium at all. They are commonly found in nurseries, hanging from a wire hook, with fully exposed roots. I love the way this looks because it’s possible to fully observe the growth of the orchid.

Vandas are also easy to attach to a piece of wood, and they do well in open weave baskets without any potting medium.

If you prefer your orchids to live in a container, vandas can do that as well, as long as they have openings to drain well and stretch their roots out through, as they have extensive root systems.

Orchid bark mix is a great potting medium for these orchids. Potting mix should be made up of large particles that allow water to pass through freely.


Close-up of many hanging black baskets of Vanda orchids, in a greenhouse. Plants have long, thick, light green, aerial roots and beautiful, long, narrow, shiny, dark green leaves.
Growing Vanda orchids in hanging baskets provide good drainage and mimic their natural habitat.

There are three basic types of orchid pot that are commercially available, and they will all work fine as containers for vanda orchids, although a Vanda’s extensive root system will make an enclosed pot very crowded in a short time.

Terracotta orchid pot

Terracotta orchid pots are great because they wick water away from the roots of the orchid. These will look like standard clay pots, except that they have more, and larger drainage holes.

Hanging orchid basket

Hanging orchid baskets are great for orchids kept outdoors or in a greenhouse. They provide maximum drainage and mimic the natural environment best, but they can be messy indoors as they don’t do the best job of containing the potting medium.

Ceramic orchid pot

Ceramic orchid pots are the prettiest and come in the greatest number of options. Aesthetically, these are the nicest orchid pots. Just be careful with a pot that has a dish attached to the bottom, your orchid’s roots should never sit in water.

Planting Depth

Close-up of a woman planting an orchid flower in a glass pot, on a wooden table, indoors. The girl is dressed in a bright orange and white T-shirt and dark pants with a leafy print. The girl pours the bark, on top of the roots, into a glass pot. The plant has long, dark green, glossy leaves and dark green aerial roots. There is also a large flat wooden bowl full of pine bark on the table.
The roots of the orchid should be covered with the bark mixture, and the plant secured in place with wire to hold it in place.

Orchids don’t require a specific potting depth or planting depth. Vanda orchids, in particular, do not need any special consideration here, as they don’t really need to be potted at all!

If you are potting your orchid in a container, just cover the roots with bark mix, and use wire or orchid clips to secure the plant in place until the roots start to attach to the pot and bark mix.


Close-up of a beautiful purple Vanda orchid lit by bright indirect sunlight in a garden. The flowers are large, flat, composed of rounded petals and sepals, pale purple in color with rich dark purple veins on the lower sepals, and dark purple freckles on the petals and upper sepals.
Vanda orchids prefer bright, indirect sunlight or dappled sun.

In general, orchids need bright light, but they don’t like direct sunlight. If you consider that they grow beneath a tree canopy, most orchids get lots of filtered sunlight during the day in their native habitat.

Some Vanda orchids can adapt to full sunlight, but it tends to bleach some of the color from their flowers and leaves, so it’s not ideal.

Indoors, a Vanda will thrive near a sunny window, just out of the direct sunlight. When growing outdoors, partial shade or dappled sun is best. If you notice your orchid producing a lot of dark green leaves but you haven’t seen flowers for a year, it probably needs more sun. If the foliage looks pale and dehydrated, it is probably getting too much sun.


Flowering plant submerged in sink for immersion watering method. The plant has white flowers and is waiting on getting watered.
Watering by immersion is usually best for indoor plants.

Vanda orchids take a lot more water than most genera, especially if they have bare roots. If your vanda is not in a container, submerge the roots in water for one minute, twice per week.

If you have your Vanda potted indoors, once per week should be enough, but make sure to check on those roots from time to time and pay attention to the leaves as well.

Climate and Temperature

Close-up of growing Vanda orchids in small, black, hanging pots, in a greenhouse. Plants are large, tall, have many layers of long, narrow, flat, dark green leaves with slightly pointed tips. Orchids have long, green roots hanging from pots.
Vanda orchids prefer a humidity level of 80% and a temperature in the range of 70-90 °.

This is where Vanda orchids are tricky. Most orchids will be just fine in a sunny bathroom with a humidity level between 50-60%. Vandas won’t like this one bit. The ideal humidity level for a Vanda orchid is 80%.

This is where that greenhouse comes into play. 80% humidity in the home is very high and will cause damage to other objects in the house. Vandas really do need a greenhouse or to be kept outdoors where the climate permits.

Vandas also prefer heat. They need temperatures during the day in the range of 70°-90° and only about 10° lower at night.

If you keep your Vanda outdoors in the summer and move them indoors in the winter, you may be able to get them through the winter in a warm bathroom, but anywhere else in the house, they probably won’t thrive.


Close-up of a gardener's hands in blue gloves pouring liquid fertilizer from a pink bottle into a pink cap, against the backdrop of potted houseplants. Fertilizers are dark brown. Next to the plants is a large, bright yellow watering can.
It is recommended to fertilize orchids once a week during the growth and flowering period.

Vanda Orchids like to be fertilized often. All orchids are fertilizer lovers, but Vandas, in particular, can utilize a lot of the nutrients that fertilizers provide. They willl reward you with plentiful, brightly colored blooms when they are properly fed.

Feed your Vanda once per week during its growth periods and flowering seasons. Reduce to biweekly after the blooms fall and until the growth picks back up. Specialty orchid fertilizers work well, but any balanced fertilizer should do the trick. A 20-20-20 fertilizer diluted to ½ strength should be just right.

Maintenance & Pruning

Close-up of a gardener's hands cutting off damaged, diseased leaves of a domestic houseplant with scissors. The orchid plant has large, oval, oblong, smooth leaves, dark green in color. One leaf has a dull shade and black-yellow damaged edges.
Сut off old, dead leaves and those that have been affected by insects or diseases.

Orchids are susceptible to several pests and extremely vulnerable to fungi. In terms of general maintenance, you should inspect your orchid’s leaves and flowers at each watering. Look for signs of rot or discoloration, as well as dehydration which can be the result of sap-sucking insects.

Orchids do not need to be pruned regularly. You will see the oldest set of leaves begin to die, generally once per year. It’s fine to remove dead or dying leaves.

If your orchid has fallen victim to insects or disease, it is best to remove damaged foliage. This gives the plant a chance to redirect its energy toward new growth.

There are a number of popular vanda varieties you can grow, depending on your goals. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular. You’ll notice that they can bloom in several different colors and have slightly different growth traits.

Vanda Miniata

Close-up of a blooming Asocentrum miniatum in a greenhouse. The plant has beautiful, long, narrow, shiny, dark green leaves with slightly pointed ends. Miniata has many small bright orange flowers that grow in large racemes. They have an elongated labellum with a dark red spot towards the center.
Vanda Miniata is a miniature species of orchid with narrow, glossy leaves and bright orange flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Asocentrum miniatum
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright Filtered Light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

This miniature Vanda orchid does its most active growing from spring through fall. It is a smaller orchid, so it looks beautiful mounted on a piece of driftwood.

The leaves are narrow, shiny, and dark green with slightly pointed ends. Miniata has bright orange flowers that grow in large clusters. They have an elongated labellum with a deep red spot close to the center.

Benson’s Vanda

View from below, close-up of Benson's Vanda orchids blooming, on a tree in the garden, against a blurred background. The plant has an inflorescence of bizarre flowers. The flowers have slightly ruffled, elongated cream-colored petals with purple-brown veins. The column and lip form a single unit in the center of the white and magenta, and the lip protrudes.
Benson’s Vanda produces fancy flowers with ruffled, elongated petals and prominent purple labellums.
botanical-name botanical name Vanda bensonii
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright Filtered Light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Benson’s Vanda is an unusual-looking orchid, and its quirky blooms are quite fragrant. It is native mainly to Thailand and likes loads of humidity.

The leaves are long, thin, and somewhat irregular. Where most Vandas have leaves that grow in an organized ladder-type fashion, Benson’s bright green leaves have a bit more movement.

The blooms are insect-like, with ruffled, elongated yellow petals that are veined with a purple shade. The column and labellum form a unit in the center, in white and purple, and the labellum protrudes.


Close-up of a flowering plant Vanda sanderiana (Waling-Waling) in a sunny garden against a blurred leafy background. The flowers are large, flat, of the classic Vanda shape, with pale pink dorosal sepals with small freckled dark pink spots in the inner corner and on the petals. The lower sepals are densely covered with dark purple veins. The labellum is small, with a pale yellow tint.
This variety has large flat pale pink flowers with profuse deep purple freckles and veining on the lower sepals.
botanical-name botanical name Vanda sanderiana
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright Filtered Light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

The Sanderiana orchid, also known as Waling-Waling, is critically endangered in its native Philippines. It is worshiped as a Diwata or lesser goddess among indigenous peoples.

This stunning variety has classic form Vanda flowers. The large, flat blooms have a pale pink dorsal sepal, and a tiny smattering of purple freckles graces the inner corner, as well as the petals.

The lower sepals are heavily veined in deep purple with hints of an orange sunrise at the very edges. The labellum of this flower resembles a face with an open mouth. It is small and unobtrusive and adds an air of joviality to the blooms.

Curvifolia Vanda

Close-up of a flowering plant Ascocentrum curviflorum in a greenhouse against a blurred background. The plant has long, narrow, bright green leaves and tall clusters of small, bright red flowers. The flowers have elongated, narrow, rounded petals and sepals, and yellow labellums protruding from the centers.
This variety produces delightful clusters of red flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Ascocentrum curviflorum
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright Filtered Light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Curvifolia is a gorgeous plant that is easily identifiable by its striking clusters of red flowers. Its long leaves drape lightly. The clusters of flowers are small for a Vanda, but a bright vermilion color makes them impossible to miss. This orchid can grow quite large and start branching over time.

Pachara Delight

Close-up of three flowers of the Vanda Pachara Delight plant against a blurred background. The flowers are large, flat, have large rounded petals and sepals, bright deep purple with a lacy effect. Labellums are slightly elongated, saturated purple.
This variety blooms with incredible purple flowers, the petals of which have a distinct, lacy appearance.
botanical-name botanical name Vanda Pachara Delight
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright Filtered Light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Pachara Delight is among the easier varieties of Vanda to cultivate and makes a great starter Vanda. This purple orchid has vibrant violet flowers that are certain to impress.

The flowers are large and flat, with a classic Vanda form, and they come in shades of pink, violet, and blue. Pachara’s petals have a distinct, lacy appearance to them.

Pests and Diseases

Orchid leaves are pretty irresistible to sap-eating insects. Fortunately, Vanda’s leaves are less fleshy than some other types of orchids, which helps. However, they also have specific needs where heat and humidity are concerned, which makes them more vulnerable where fungi is concerned.

There are a handful of issues that can crop up in a Vanda. The best way to handle them all, of course, is prevention. Always make sure to isolate infected plants while treating them. You don’t want anything jumping ship and taking up residence on neighboring plants.

Sometimes there are unavoidable issues, or we take on an ailing orchid to recover. Here are some of the more common issues to look out for.


Top view, close-up of a mealybug on a large orchid leaf. The mealybug is a small, soft-bodied insect pest with an oval body covered with a white cotton-wax coat. The leaf is large, oval, bright green.
Mealy bugs are small insects that can starve your orchid of its nutrients.

These small insects have a fuzzy appearance and are a very pale pink, almost white in color. They are also very difficult to get rid of and can do a lot of damage to an orchid. They have a rapid reproduction rate, and they can drain your orchid of nutrients in a hurry, leaving behind a sticky excrement called honeydew.

Honeydew doesn’t sound so bad, but it causes black sooty mold to form on the leaves of an orchid which will create a double whammy of sorts.

If you see these little fuzzy bugs congregating on your orchid, immediately isolate, treat, and repot your orchid. Dispose of the old potting medium and clean out any container used thoroughly.

Interestingly, mealy bugs have a number of natural predators, so moving an infected plant outdoors can solve this issue in some cases. Leaving them indoors, there are no natural ways to get rid of them, and they will spread if left unchecked.


Close-up of a blooming white orchid covered with black aphids, in a garden, against a blurred green leafy background. The plant has tall stems and blooming white flowers with narrow, slightly pointed petals and sepals, veined with green. The stems are covered with swarms of black aphids. Aphids are tiny, soft-bodied insects with oval bodies, thin legs, and proboscis.
Aphids prefer to feed on the juice of new growths and flower buds.

One of the most common garden pests, aphids, are green and brown insects that love to feed on plant sap. They can decimate flower buds very quickly, so they are particularly troubling when they come around at bloom time.

A sign of aphids is the curling and withering of new growth. The lack of nutrients available to the plant will also stunt new growth. They also leave behind a trail of sticky excrement which can cause secondary issues such as sooty mold.

Introducing infected plants is the main culprit of an aphid infestation. You can typically spray these bugs off of the plant with water, but insecticidal soaps are helpful in a more extreme case.


Close-up of a tiny thrips insect on a white flower bud. Thrips are tiny winged insects with dark brown oval oblong bodies with a lighter upper body and head.
Thrips also feed on orchid sap, appearing first as chlorotic spots on leaves.

These garden pests are winged insects that also enjoy feeding on orchid sap. They are very small, so they can be difficult to see. This also makes them quite difficult to diagnose. The damage they cause shows up first as chlorotic spots on the leaves, then stunted growth, and eventually, the entire leaf wilts and dies.

Checking for thrips is easier when there are flowers present, as this is where they will take up residence if given the option. To test for these insects, look into the center of the flower, and give it a little flick. If there are thrips in there, you will see them run around as they are disturbed.

A severe infestation of thrips will cost you the orchid if not treated early on. They are one of the most difficult types of pests to get rid of and they multiply quickly.

This is one that I wouldn’t mess around with alternative remedies for. Reach for the insecticide and get rid of these guys fast.


Close-up of a scale insect on a bright green leaf. The scale is a small insect covered with a round, brown, waxy shell.
You can get rid of the scales with the help of cotton swabs moistened with alcohol.

Scales are the most common orchid pest, and they are capable of reproducing quickly, meaning that there can be more than one generation present simultaneously, which can be a big issue for orchids.

Because of their rapid reproductive rate, it is imperative to treat early and repeatedly so that you catch all stages of their life cycle. Killing only the adults won’t take care of the eggs, and vice versa.

One of the most effective treatments is to swab the visible scale with an alcohol-soaked q-tip. Whatever method you use, be vigilant.

Root Rot

Top view, close-up of a female hand showing a yellowed leaf of an orchid on a white background. The orchid plant has large, oval, elongated, dark green leaves. One leaf is yellow. Orchid in a translucent plastic pot.
The first signs of root rot are yellowed leaves.

The main culprit of root rot is over-watering. Orchids need a lot of air circulation, and their roots should never sit in water. Even watering them too often can cause this dreaded disease.

Rotten orchid roots are dark brown and mushy, and they fall apart easily. If you can catch root rot early, you may be able to remedy the situation by repotting and altering your care regimen.

Sadly, when root rot starts to show, the primary visual symptom is leaves that yellow and begin to fall off. Once this takes place, it’s generally too late to save the plant.

Black Rot

Close-up of a black rot Vanda orchid. The plant has bright green, long leaves covered with black rotten spots and marks. A young aerial root grows from the stem.
Black rot appears on new growth, causing wrinkling and death of delicate tissues.

This fungal disease travels by water. It is commonly spread by introducing an infected plant and allowing water to splash from that plant to others during watering.

Good gardening hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of this disease, as well as inspecting plants and buying from a reputable source.

Black rot will typically show up on new growth first and will cause these more tender tissues to shrivel and die. When it begins to affect older growth, it will initially be spots and then entire swaths of black on the leaves.

To avoid this and other diseases, keep orchids off the ground if kept outdoors. Maintain good air circulation and practice good plant hygiene.  Remove affected foliage to avoid spreading disease from one plant to another.

Petal Blight

Close-up of an orchid flower affected by Botrytis in the garden, against a blurred background. The flower is large, flat, has two rounded petals and 3 similarly shaped sepals, white, covered with small black dots and larger dry dark brown spots on the edge of the petal. A bright pink labellum protrudes from the center of the flower.
Botrytis is a fungal infection that affects orchid flowers.

Also known as botrytis, petal blight is a fungal infection that affects orchid flowers. Because of its preference for cool, damp air, botrytis is more of an issue in winter, indoors. The fungus shows up in the soft tissue of buds and flowers as small brown spots.

The infection can kill an orchid quickly if it’s not caught early on and treated. Fungicides are effective; however, damaged tissue should be removed so that the plant can focus energy on new growth.

Maintaining good airflow around your orchids is the best defense against this fungal infection. Always isolate infected plants to avoid spreading the fungus.

Final Thoughts

Taking on a Vanda orchid is a brave endeavor. These beautiful plants have some complicated needs that make them best suited for a greenhouse. With the right combination of environment and climate, Vanda orchids grow into some of the most spectacular and stunning specimens in the orchid family.

The reward of growing a plant like the Vanda orchid far exceeds bragging rights. While it is a challenging plant to maintain, when it blooms, it is breathtaking and brilliant.

pink orchids


15 Pink Orchid Varieties For Indoor & Outdoor Gardens

Looking for a pink orchid to plant in your indoor or outdoor garden, and can't decide what to choose? There are many different pink varieties to choose from, so picking just one can be a challenge. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss takes a deeper look at some of her favorite orchids that bloom in beautiful shades of pink!

Dyed Blue Orchid Flowers


Blue Orchids: Are They Real Flowers? Do They Exist Naturally?

Many gardeners look for that single flower that will set their garden apart from others. For some people, that's finding a flower of a unique color. Few flowers are more beautiful than orchids, and blue flowers are some of the most sought after. So what about blue orchids? Are these flowers actually real? Do they exist without being modified? Gardening expert Madison Moulton gets down to the nitty gritty details in this article.

Vibrant Orchids Blooming Outdoors


11 Tips For Post Blooming Orchid Care

Not sure how to care for your orchid after it blooms? These sensitive flowers are notoriously picky about their maintenance routine, especially after they've bloomed. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss shares her top tips for post-blooming orchid care.

cymbidium orchids


How to Plant, Grow and Care For Cymbidium Orchids

Are you thinking of adding some Cymbidium Orchids to your plant collection? These popular flowers can do well in a wide variety of indoor environments. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss examines everything you need to know about Cymbidium Orchids, including their maintenance and care needs.

Dendrobium Orchid Growing in Garden


How to Plant, Grow and Care For Dendrobium Orchids

Have you decided to add a Dendrobium Orchid plant to your indoor or outdoor garden? These interesting orchids can display beautiful blooms when they are properly cared for. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss explains everything you need to know about growing dendrobium orchids, including their maintenance and care needs.