Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vandachnis Premier, a large growing orchid that will delight and impress visitors

Vandachnis Coronation is a hybrid of Arachnis  flos aeris and Vandopsis lissochiloides

When the sun backlights the flowers they show a beautiful yellow color

A single inflorescence, the inflorescences can grow to five feet of lenght

Five plants were grown side by side so that their inflorescences would bloom together

The aim is to delight the viewer with a massed display of flowers
Most orchidists I know grow their orchids in pots and baskets so that they can be easily moved for display,for cultural reasons or to protect them from the weather. But there are some plants that become too large to grow this way. These plants are generally displayed in the growing area since moving them is not an option. As a result many large growing monopodial orchids are usually grown in the midst of a plethora of other orchids in pots, baskets, stands and along with other garden brick-brack this often means that their flowers are not displayed to their best advantage. Given that even one of these plants can take a big chunk of real state when grown to full size, it is understandable why few people have groupings of them. My plants of Vandachnis Coronation have large and showy inflorescences and I decided to grow together a few of them so that when the plants bloomed there would be a mass of flowers to delight and impress the visitors to my garden.

But even though this plan sounds as a fairly easy proposition growing a group of Vandachnis takes some planning given their large size and slow rate of growth. First you need a place where you can grow the plants undisturbed for at least three years. This length of time is dictated by the fact that although by its Vandopsis parent standards of growth these plants grow lightning fast by the Arachnis parent standard their growth rate is glacially slow. Also you need an area where there is good support for the stems of these plants. Vandachnis Coronation can bloom well when it is six feet tall, but they bloom even better when they reach seven or more feet. The inflorescence of a small plant can be a single unbranched modest affair, the inflorescence of a tall and strong plant can have four branches and be five feet long.

I placed five plants fairly close together side by side in 2006 and started caring for them and waiting. In 2008 I got the grouping of inflorescences that I wanted. As you can see in the photos there were dozens of flowers massed together. The flowers of Vandachnis are relatively thick and leathery and an inflorescence can spend weeks opening new flowers. This means that the display lasted for about three months before all the flowers had fallen. But the blooming was at its best for about a month, just after most of its flowers had opened by before the first ones to open had started to drop.

Unfortunately the plants were damaged by the winds of a storm which meant that the blooming 2008 is still their best show. However I am planning to put a new group together and see if I can get even more inflorescences and flowers all at the same time.
For cultural advice on this plant go to:

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