I’ve stayed clear of the vandas. When I say ‘vanda’ I’m refering to a large group of orchids that consists of all sorts of hybrids and species of vandas, ascocentrums, rhyncostylis and a whole bunch of other species. To me ‘vandas’ are the ‘hanging’ orchids that are grown in wooden baskets or just on a hanger, without any grown medium at all. They have, if they’re in good condition, lots of aeral roots that absorb moisture from the atmosphere and they do LOVE humidity and moisture. You can find vandas hanging in trees all over south-east Asia.
It’s not that I don’t like them. Oh, I like them alright! It’s just that they have culture requirements that I have not been able to meet.
But when I got the greenhouse I finally felt that I could try some vandas. Obviously, I could have bought some and potted them as phals and grown them inside, but due to their light and humidiy requirements I’d most likely not succeed with anything except creating stress, and probably death. The greenhouse finally provided me with a suitable home for them, where they could hang from the ceiling and receive enough water and sunlight.
A vascostylis is an intergeneric hybrid between ascocentrum, rhyncostylis and vanda. While vandas can become monster plants growing meters tall and with massive, brightly coloured flowers, the rhyncostylis generally have smaller flowers, but can become large plants. The ascocentrum is the dwarf in the mix.
And a Vascostylis Crownfox Magic is a hybrid of Ascocenda Tubtim Velvet and Vascostylis Five Friendships.
I have four ‘vandas’ hanging side by side in the greenhouse, and of the four it looks like the vascostylis is the one that requries the least light and is more prone to sunburn than the rest of the bunch. It’s got lighter/more yellow leaves than the ascocenda and the vandas haning next to it. While it is flowering it’s also more prone to dehydration than the others, naturally. For the time being though, I will accept that it’s really at the limit of the amount of sunlight that it can tolerate, but I might have to shift it in the future.
This orchid does not blow me away the way I thought it would. I’ve discovered it’s difficult to predict my own reactions to first-time bloomers. I pick out plants based on pictures and sometimes the real deal fulfills the imagination and expectations, other times not.
The vascostylis is turning out to be ‘just another orchid’ for me and it does not manage to charm me like a small dendrobium jenkinsii or an angraecum. I’m also not gawking in awe like I was when the Namib Sunset opened up a couple of weeks ago.
But, it is flowers! And flowers are always very welcome in the house and in the greenhouse. It’s also some sort of victory to manage to make a vanda flower, so despite not being completely head over heels, I’m still very happy about these cuties.