How Do You Water Vandas: Expert Tell You

Learn how to properly water Vandas with expert tips. Understand their watering needs, choose the right schedule, and avoid overwatering or underwatering. [Vanda watering guide]

Understanding the Watering Needs of Vandas

Vandas or vanda orchids like high humidity and abundant moisture but their roots require good air circulation around the medium. Only water the plant when the medium is almost dry to avoid root rot. Vanda orchids need constant moisture on their roots and pseudobulbs without sitting in water for long periods.
More comprehensive information and care guidelines can be read here.

vanda, water droplets, water waves on blue sea during daytime
Photo by Gayatri Malhotra / Unsplash

Choosing the Right Watering Schedule

The ideal watering schedule for vandas will depend on the season and weather conditions. During the active growth period in spring and summer, vandas require more frequent watering to keep up with high transpiration and humidity levels. In winter, they go into a semi-dormant state and need less water. As a general rule:

  • During spring and summer:
    • Check the medium daily to ensure it is moist but not saturated.
    • Water thoroughly once or twice a week to soak the entire root system. This may require 1-2 liters of water per plant.
    • Allow the excess water to drain away and do not leave the plant sitting in water.
  • During autumn and winter:
  • Reduce watering to once every 7-10 days. The plant will need less moisture due to:
    • Cooler temperatures
    • Shorter days
    • Decreased light levels
    • Reduced metabolic activity

The ideal frequency and amount of water will depend on:

  • Pot size
  • Medium type
  • Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Light conditions

Some key things to monitor:

  • Check the medium daily by feeling the weight of the pot or inserting your finger 1-2 inches into the medium. Water when the medium is no longer moist.
  • Pay attention to how quickly the medium dries out. Adjust watering accordingly.
  • Monitor new growth and leaf color. Wilting, yellowing or drooping leaves may indicate under- or over-watering issues.
vanda, water droplets, water drop on black surface
Photo by Trac Vu / Unsplash

Proper Watering Techniques for Vandas

The key to proper watering of vanda orchids is thoroughly moistening the entire root system without leaving the plants sitting in water for long periods. The following techniques can help you achieve this:

  • Use tepid water at room temperature. Avoid cold or hot water as this can shock the roots.

  • Water in the morning so the plants have time to dry before nightfall. This reduces the risk of fungal and bacterial infections.

  • Place the pot in a tray and pour water over the medium until it is completely saturated and water starts draining from the bottom holes. Do not pour water directly onto the plant.

  • Continue watering for several minutes until you are sure all parts of the medium are moistened. Vandas have shallow roots and may require 1-2 litres of water per watering depending on pot size.

  • Allow the excess water to drain away completely, then remove the pot from the tray. Do not leave the plant sitting in water for more than 30 minutes.

  • Water less frequently in winter when the plant is growing slowly. However, still follow the same thorough watering procedure.

  • For plants mounted on slab or bark, place them in a tray of water for 15-20 minutes until they are fully saturated. Drain away excess water and return the plants to their original position.

  • Consider using water-retaining granules or orchid bark to provide moisture between waterings and reduce the frequency of watering required.

vanda, vanda, black and white porsche 911
Photo by Theodor Vasile / Unsplash

Signs of Overwatering and Underwatering Vandas

Both overwatering and underwatering vanda orchids can cause issues, but the symptoms are very different:


  • Yellow or mushy leaves: excess moisture can cause leaf spikes to turn yellow and leaves to become mushy.
  • Root rot: the roots start to break down and turn brown due to lack of oxygen in the medium. This is a common problem with vandas.
  • Bacterial and fungal infections: too much moisture encourages the growth of organisms that can attack roots and leaves.
  • Stunted growth: the plant is not getting enough oxygen to the roots for optimal nutrient uptake.

The following factors may contribute to overwatering:

  • Watering too frequently
  • Poor drainage in the pot
  • Excessive humidity
  • Not allowing the medium to dry out adequately between waterings


-Wilted or shrivelled leaves
– Shrivelled pseudobulbs
– Brown leaf tips
– Slowed growth rate
– Leaf drop

Underwatering may be caused by:

  • Incorrectly assuming that the plant needs less water in winter
  • Allowing the medium to become too dry before watering
  • Infrequent misting or failure to increase humidity

Possible solutions for underwatering include:

  • Increasing watering frequency
  • Grouping plants together to raise humidity
  • Adding a humidifier
  • Watering more thoroughly during each watering
  • Placing plants ontrays of moist pebbles or leca balls
vanda, water droplets, blue water drop on water
Photo by FLY:D / Unsplash

Additional Tips for Successful Vanda Watering

In addition to proper watering techniques, the following tips can help you grow healthy vanda orchids:

Fertilize regularly. Vandas are heavy feeders and require constant nutrition to thrive. Use a balanced orchid fertilizer at half the recommended strength every time you water.

Water in the morning. This allows the leaves to dry during the day and reduces the risk of bacterial and fungal diseases. Avoid watering at night.

Place on trays between waterings. If your vanda is potted, place the pot on a tray filled with moist gravel, leca balls or sphagnum moss. This helps to maintain higher humidity levels and moisture around the roots between waterings.

Group plants together. This increases the overall humidity for all of the vandas, reducing water loss and the need for frequent watering.

Increase air flow. Good ventilation around the roots helps them absorb water and oxygen efficiently. Use a fan to move air around the plants.

Check humidity. If the ambient humidity is less than 50%, consider using a humidifier to supplement it. Vandas prefer 60-80% humidity.

Use rainwater, if possible. Rainwater is soft water with a neutral pH that will not leave minerals deposits on the leaves.

Wait until the pseudobulbs are plump again. After watering dried-out vandas, wait for the pseudobulbs to regain their turgor pressure before watering again, indicating they are fully hydrated.

Monitor new growth. Healthy new roots and leaves are a good sign that your watering routine is sufficient to support the plant’s needs. Adjust as needed based on the plant’s response.

vanda, vanda, a city with a mountain in the background
Photo by Tanya Paquet / Unsplash

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