Dear Docs - July 29
I have some spiral, twiggy-looking orchids that grow continuously, but will not bloom. However, they multiply fast. I have them on some royal palm trees. What am I not doing right?
You seem to have the terete vanda, the national flower of Singapore. It is widely known that it does not bloom until it has surpassed its host. In your case it seems like it will never bloom. May I suggest you remove them and put them in the broiling sun and water well, only this time please make sure the host is shorter or is easier to outgrow. This type of orchid needs plenty of fertiliser and water.
Whenever I purchase bare root vandas I usually have a problem with them, as they shrivel and some even die. What can I do to correct the situation?
Bare rooted plants are usually very weak. When you have trimmed the roots and potted them, please mist them as often as you can. At this point the orchids are not able to absorb the water through the roots as they have been disturbed; therefore, you must mist the leaves as often as possible until the orchid has grown new roots. The dehydration is caused from the lack of roots to absorb the water, during which time the sun is draining the plant.
Betty Ashley is an avid orchid enthusiast who has spent decades successfully cultivating orchids for herself, as well as for orchid lovers across the island, earning herself the title 'Orchid Doc'. Send your orchid questions and/or concerns to: firstname.lastname@example.org.