Vanda falcata, formerly known as Neofinetia falcata, is arguably the first orchid ever to be grown as a house plant in Japan in the 1600s. It is commonly known as Wind Orchid or Samurai Orchid, as Shogun Tokugawa Ienari fell in love with the plant, and it is rumored that samurai would help in searching and collecting the plants from the mountains.
It is one of the world's highest-priced orchids. Wind Orchids are enjoyed as bonsai are for the foliage and the overall presentation of the plant. In Japan, it is said that the key to growing them is to enjoy the plant every day of the year, not just for the flowers. They typically flower from spring through fall and have a very sweet fragrance that is strongest at dusk and dawn.
Growing Conditions and General Care
Wind Orchid is an easy plant to cultivate and flower and makes for a great addition to any orchid collection.
As with any orchid, use low to no mineral water. Reverse osmosis, rainwater, and distilled water should be used if your city water is high in mineral content. The high mount and perforated pot allow the plant to breathe well. If you allow the moss to completely dry out in spring, Wind Orchid often abort flowering for the season. Watch between the lower leaves and the axis for flower spikes to emerge. When it is colder and days are shorter, you can place Wind Orchid in an area that gets as cool as 40° F (5°C). During the cool season, only water or mist the plants on sunny days.
Fertilizing is important in the growing season only, which is from spring through fall. Orchid fertilizer can be applied every 2nd to 3rd watering. Fertilizer may be cut out 100% in the winter and when the plants are in bloom.
Wind Orchids are very strong plants and are quite easy to grow. They enjoy medium light conditions (no direct sun) and tolerate temperatures from 32 to 100 °F (0 to 38 °C). Ideal temperatures would be 60°F (16°C) at night, with a daytime temp in the mid-'70s.
Wind Orchids can grow in almost any substrate as long as they get good moisture to the roots with good airflow. They can grow in sphagnum moss, bark, bare-root in baskets, and mounted on cork slabs. Repotting is best done once per year in early spring, which is usually just before or as they are coming out of their winter dormancy. To create the sphagnum mound, long fiber sphagnum moss works best.
We can't emphasize how much your advantage is to grow these plants outdoors if or when your weather permits. Semi-shaded with brighter morning sun will make these plants grow to their full potential. Be careful not to have these outsides when the weather is under 50°F (10°C), and rain is involved. Being too cold and wet is often followed by bacterial or fungal rot. Also, remember to keep the plant watered adequately as the sun and wind will dry the plants out quickly.
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