Manuvadee & Me

by Colleen Rochette

During the Fall of 2012 I hunted down Vanda Manuvadee. Fantasies of a similar Vanda from an orchid show that past Spring kept popping up in my mind. I could not shake them! The tangle of roots that hung below the tall, perfect stack of foliage was so arousing. I really resented the fact that I did not bring one of these babes home with me.

In November I sought out my dream Vanda, solely based on appearance. It was a gift for myself, for my Birthday. Sigh, this orchid was divine. As I stumbled back to reality I realized that this orchid may also be toughie. A tough orchid in Brooklyn? That sounds okay, right?

After learning more about Manuvadee’s preferred treatment, I found out that she was crossed with the true blue beauty, Vanda coerulea. It put me at ease to know that her lineage included a cold tolerant Vanda. Perhaps she really would be happy in my windowsill?

As Manuvadee and I have strengthened our relationship we have fallen into a pretty steady routine. Each morning when I wake up, Manuvadee makes her way into the bathroom with me. While I brush my teeth and wash my face she relaxes, submerged in a bucket of warm water for about 20 minutes.

Every 4 days I add a teaspoon of fertilizer to the water to ease this hungry gal’s grumbling belly. She loves to be nourished! After bathing, she hangs from my bathroom windowsill to drain while I tuck stands of her unkempt potting medium back into place. Manuvadee quickly returns to her perch in the living room where she basks in loads of Southern sun. Her needs are also supplemented by a grow light during the short winter evenings or on rainy days.

Currently, Manuvadee stands about 16″ tall and has had significant growth since November of 2012. Her top set of leaves have grown an additional 3″ – 4″ and she is currently putting out an impressive set of new roots, which is why I am so excited!

IMG_5888Happy and moist, Vanda Manuvadee stands erect. Her growth habits have been remarkable and my fears have subsided for the most part.

IMG_5904 Hey, new roots are developing! This larger one has grown to be about 2″ long now. It emerged as a ridiculously fat, single root but has since split in two?

IMG_5921There is also a single root that is coming through on the opposite side of the orchid. The tip of the root is comically fat. This pudgy guy looks like he just punched through the base of that poor little leaf. Additionally, many of the roots underneath and within the basket also have green, jewel-like tips on them as well. Spring is surely in the air!

IMG_5912Even though Manuvadee is in a vanda basket, I do keep some varied medium very loosely tucked around her roots. A bit of coconut husk has been stretched and scattered on the bottom. To fill the voids slightly, large cork chunks, charcoal and fluffy Chilean sphagnum have been added to keep her moist and happy throughout the day. Surprisingly, all of this dries out completely before nightfall, so Manuvadee is ready for another swim the next morning.

If you peek through the slats you can see Manuvadee’s roots. When I received her she was completely tucked into a 4″ plastic pot. Yuck. While I tried not to shake things up too much, she was transplanted immediately. Months out of the ice cube tray, her ‘root ball’ still maintains that squarish shape, but in time I hope that Manuvadee will untangle herself and let it all hang loose.