Now that the “terete vandas” have been placed in their own genus Papilioanthe,the plants which have long been called semi-terete and ¼ terete vandas are now properly Papiliovanda. The ancestral species of Papilioanthe are among the most sun loving of orchids inhabiting in nature tropical mangrove swamps and other seaside locales. When crossed to strap leaf vandas, Papilioanthe confers this sun tolerance on its progeny. Papiliovandas will thrive in full tropical sun and are great garden plants for South Florida.
Once adapted to full sun, papiliovandas will flower abundantly 3,4 or even more times per year. Adaptation best takes place gradually. Plants can be placed in plastic pots with cypress mulch and a time release fertilizer. The pots should be positioned where they will receive a few hours of direct sunlight at first, then, gradually moved to a brighter and a brighter location until they are in full sun. Another strategy is to construct a bed in full sun using cypress mulch and provide some shade (palm fronds or such) which can be gradually removed as the plants harden and acclimatize.
Papiliovandas are nearly the ideal orchid for naturalizing on palm trees as the palm canopy provides shade from the mid day sun but allows abundant morning and afternoon light to stimulate bloom. Care should be taken that the crown of the Papiliovanda is set at a slight angle off the palm trunk, lest it be shaded by the trunk and be reluctant to bloom. Like vandas, papiliovandas require light from both sides to bloom well.
Although well established papiliovandas tolerate drought well, they thrive with abundant water and fertilizer. Daily watering is excellent but twice daily is often even better. Low phosphorus liquid fertilizer weekly is recommended. Plants in beds or pots can receive time release fertilizer or even dried sheep manure.
These colorful easy orchids should be in every South Florida yard! You can find out more and order yours by clicking here.