Vanda grafting

tropical_philippinesJune 30, 2008

I have a Vanda sanderiana which is dying from fungus infection. I examined the stem and everything has gone brown from roots up to the uppermost portion of the stem, leaving only the upper leaves and the uppermost stem still green and alive. I intend to cut this upper portion as the lower portion is already dead and the infection is slowly climbing up to the topmost portion of the stem. (If I don't decide soon, I'm going to lose the vanda.)

Vanda sanderiana tends to root only at the lowest portions of the stem (the part that is already dead) so there is practically very little chance that the remaining 'upper'portion which is still alive can root.

I plan to graft this 'still alive' upper portion of the sanderiana into another vanda. (I have plenty of those cheap, very common vandas for use as 'rootstock'.)

My question is, will it survive the grafting or will I have better chances making the cut upper portion root (very slim chance considering it is a Vanda sanderiana)?

Vanda experts, please help.

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Hello -
I don't have an answer, but am eager to see what kind of responses your question generates. I've never heard of orchids being grafted, and have wondered why - particularly the more succulent, fast-growing types; cattleyas especially would seem likely prospects for grafting.
Good luck with the plant. Hurts to lose a nice one.
Regards - Nancy

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 9:51AM
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Interesting , if you do it (might as well try) I would do a cleft graft .. Good luck with it .. Let us know how it turns out . Gin

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 9:49PM
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I actually did a google search on 'orchid grafting' but haven't found relevant hits. It probably isn't being practiced because most orchids propagate easily throwing out keikis here and there.

However, the case with my vanda is a unique one. I think, (in theory), it could really benefit from grafting. If it succeeds, I get to prevent it from dying and once it develops roots above the grafted portion, I can cut it so it reverts back to 'own-root', or I can keep it grafted to the more 'vigorous' root stock so that it is more resistant to fungus.

I'll just ensure that there will be no keikis coming from the rootstock so the health of the grafted vanda is preserved.

I think there are benefits to this. First, I don't have to start all over again and pay a premium price for a large, mature, flowering size plant or pay a lower price for a young, replacement plant which can take years to mature and flower (and which will have much lesser survival chances).

Second advantage is that the grafted vanda can really benefit from a vigorous rootstock. Third is if and when this 'rare' vanda is no longer available or is difficult to 'reorder' or to 'obtain'.

These are just thoughts though. I haven't really tried my hand on vanda orchid grafting. I tried grafting other plants once (not orchids) but failed so I'm hesitant to do it with such a priced specimen.

Here's a photo of my 'vanda sanderiana' when it was in bloom and was much healthier. (Locally, we call this 'vanda sanderiana' orchid as 'Waling-waling'. It is an endangered specie and is endemic to Mindanao, Philippines [the place where it was first found and where it originated]. Currently, harvesting them in the wild is prohibited so those sold here are usually tiny ones mass produced using meristem culture and are years away from flowering. I was fortunate to buy a large, mature one at a really bargain price [700 pesos or about $15 at the current peso-dollar exchange rate], but now its dying. I'm so sad.)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 12:24AM
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that is beautiful. i hope you will be able to save it.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 8:16AM
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ray_ratliff(z10 South Florida)

I read your post a couple days ago when you first posted it & have spent a couple hours searching around the web to find out about grafting orchids & found absolutely nothing relevant to monopodial orchids like Vandas & Phalaenopsis. When I have problems like you are having, I cut off the top of the plant (an inch or so above the infected part of the stem) & soak it in a fairly strong solution of rooting hormone, hang it in a basket with coconut fiber & place is in the area where it receives medium-high Cattlleya light. I soak it ever day & get the medium nice and saturated. I treat with super thrive (by foliar misting) ever week or two. I have a Vanda that has been in this condition for about 5 weeks & is not producing its first root. It is a rescue plant that only has about 6 inches of its original 18 or so inches of growth. If it were not a particularly beautiful flower, I would have just let it go (it is a lot of extra work), but this one looks really special (at least to me). I have e-mailed Dr. Martin Motes with your question to see if he has head of such a thing as grafting Vandas to one another. I will let you know his response once I get it. Good luck!


    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 5:31PM
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just a thought: would it root if keiki-root was applied? vandas seem to root anywhere between the leaves.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 7:33PM
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Vanda sanderiana is really an unusual vanda. Most vandas root all over the entire stem length and among the leaf axils and are very easy to root. Vanda sanderiana on the other hand, a strap-leaf (and some other strap-leaf vandas with vanda sanderiana in their lineage), tend to root exclusively only at the lowermost and oldest portions of the stem.
There may be hope in the still living upper portion but then again, with vanda sanderiana, chances are extremely low even with a rooting hormone. There is better chance in a case of an infected vanda with a healthy root system and lower stem but an infected upper stem as the healthy root system and lower stem can still produce keikis so long as the infection at the upper part has not spread to the lower part.


Your vanda's condition closely resembles mine. My vanda also has 20-24 inches or so of stem length but now only the upper 6-8 inches is still alive (I know this from bark 'stripping'). I've had a few of my vandas die this way (stem climbing fungus infection that originates at the lower stem/root portion) so I'm more aware of this condition now and stop them from progressing whenever I can. This type of infection has always spelled death to my strap-leaf vandas once it has started to spread upwards.

Thanks for your help, Sue and Ray. Will be waiting for the reply to your email, Ray. In the meantime, I think I'll decide to cut now and try to get the upper cut portion to
root in a month's time. (Vanda cuttings normally would already root in one month's time.) If it doesn't root in one month, I'll attempt to graft it to another vanda (strap-leaf scion to a terete or semi-terete rootstock.)
I'll let you know if I succeed in rooting it in a month (Aug 3).


    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 1:50AM
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hello, tropical, thanks for the info. i hope you will post in a month's time to let us know what the situation is then.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 9:09AM
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ray_ratliff(z10 South Florida)

Hi Tropical, I got the e-mail from Dr. Motes this morning, he said he has never heard of attempts at grafting Vandas. He has heard of people successfully grafting cactus onto one another & suggested researching cactus grafting for inspiration on tips & protocols. I am at work so I have not had much of an opportunity to look for any info yet, but tomorrow is the 4th of July so I am off of work, I plan to do a little digging. More to come (I hope)


    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 3:32PM
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Thanks again, Ray.

Yes, Sue, will update you and Ray
on the 'rooting' outcome if it succeeds or not.
I'll post photos in about an month's time.

It's already 4th of July here! Happy Independence Day!
(Current local time: July 4, 2008, 9:20 AM [GMT +8.0])


    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 9:20PM
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Sue and Ray,

I decided to cut the stem of my vanda sanderiana last Sunday afternoon in order to possibly root the remaining living part of the vanda.

However, when I cut the stem, I noticed that the central tissue is already brown and dry. I cut further up and still, the tissue color is brown. A little further up and still it's brown until I reached the tip of the leaves... I guess I decided too late.

My vanda sanderiana is dead. :(

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 8:44PM
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Oh bummer!! I sorry for the loss.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 9:35PM
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that is too bad. sorry to hear that.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2008 at 10:42PM
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ray_ratliff(z10 South Florida)

Hi, I was wondering if you had the oppertunity to try vanda grafting with any of your other plants since July when you first posted? I know your beautiful sandriana died, did you find a new one?


    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 2:06AM
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