If you wondering if there is an orchid that is loved for its foliage – Neofinetia falcata is the answer!
Orchid enthusiasts love this beautiful orchid species for both its foliage and flowers.
Our plant experts have created this guide to help you all there is to know about the stunning Vanda falcata.
What Is Neofinetia Falcata?
Neofinetia falcata or Vanda falcata is an epiphytic orchid found in parts of Japan, China, and Korea. It belongs to the Vanda genus and Orchidaceae family.
Neofinetia falcata’s common names are Vanda falcata, the Wind orchid, and the Samurai orchid. Carl Peter Thunberg introduced it to the West first in 1784 and called it Orchis falcata. Finally, H.H. Hu described it in 1925.
One interesting fact about the Wind orchid is that only samurai warriors could grow this orchid during pre-industrial Japan, which led it to get the name Samurai orchid. It was also the first orchid grown as a houseplant in Japan.
There are many different varieties of Neofinetia falcata, such as Gekkeikan (variegated leaves), Seikai (beam-leaf and curved-leaf style), Tora-fu, Hariba (needle-leaf), and Kogane-Nishiki.
Size and Growth
In its natural habitat, Neofinetia falcata grows as an epiphyte on rocks and deciduous trees in places of high humidity. It can get 3 to 5 inches tall on a 1 to 2 inches long stem.
It rarely grows beyond 6 inches tall. It has monopodial stems. It means that such species have a single stem that grows upward from a single point and adds leaves to the apex every year. Monopodial orchids produce aerial roots that grow long and hang down. They do not have rhizomes or pseudobulbs.
Vanda falcata orchids enjoy a cool, dry rest period during the winter months and frequent watering during the growing months of spring and summer.
The Japanese Wind orchid has leathery leaves that grow on monopodial stems. They are oblong-falcate and could be anywhere between 2 and 5 inches long. It is not only enjoyed around the world for its pretty blooms but also for its beautiful foliage. The leaves could be variegated, striped, or differently shaped.
Neofinetia falcata blooms are a beautiful white color and smell divine. They are about 1 to 1.5 inches across. They smell strong in the morning and evening and reduce a bit over the night. The flowers bloom during the summer and rainy seasons and continue to bloom for several months.
The 2 to 3 inches long inflorescences carry 2 to 15 fragrant, white flowers. They have a sweet, coconut-like fragrance. Each flower has a curved nectar spur that emits a lovely scent. Additionally, there are three petals surrounded by three sepals.
Vanda falcata has white roots that grow from the base and help in anchoring the plant to tree trunks and rocks. They also help in providing essential nutrients to the orchid by collecting the washed-down water that runs below.
The roots tend to grow fast, get long, and grow through the basket. The roots prefer good ventilation when grown indoors.
Neofinetia Falcata Culture and Care: Its Growth Requirements
The Japanese Wind orchid is an easy-to-grow orchid if you follow a few care tips. Provide a well-balanced mix of the right amount of light, water, fertilizer, humidity, and your orchid will be happy forever.
Follow our guide below to know about the right growth requirements.
Place your orchid in a spot that receives dappled sunlight throughout the day. Bright, indirect light works the best for its growth. It grows well under LED lights also.
Avoid placing it in direct sunlight during the summer months, as strong sunlight can cause leaf burns and reduced growth in the orchid. East and west-facing window sills receiving filtered light during the day work well with this orchid.
Neofinetia falcata receives high rainfall in the jungles. It loves to have its soil moist at most times. Water your orchid frequently in the summer months and reduce it during winter since the plant goes into a rest period in winter.
The brighter the area around your orchid, the higher the watering frequency, and vice versa. There should be wet to moist soil conditions followed by dry periods. But do not let your orchid remain dry for too long.
If you allow the moss to remain dry for long periods, the plant will start shedding leaves, and there will be less or no flowering.
As with most other orchids, use water with no or very low mineral content. If the tap water in your area is high in minerals, use reverse osmosis or distilled water to water your orchid.
Neofinetia falcata is a warm to cool growing orchid species. It prefers temperature fluctuations between day and night with warmer days and cooler nights. It prefers an average daytime temperature between 78 and 87 Fahrenheit in summer and an average nighttime temperature between 65 and 74 Fahrenheit.
It grows well during the winter months, with an average daytime temperature of 52 to 55 Fahrenheit and an average nighttime temperature of 37 to 41 Fahrenheit.
Neofinetia falcata loves high humidity and moisture. So it is crucial to provide it with a well-draining soil mix to maintain constant air movement. According to some Japanese experts, high-quality sphagnum moss is the perfect medium to grow this orchid species. A blend of bark chips and perlite also work equally well for this orchid’s growth.
The Japanese Wind orchid grows well when mounted on tree ferns or cork slabs. Japan’s custom is to grow these orchids in sphagnum moss, but you can grow them comfortably in bark chips mixed with perlite or charcoal.
In nature, Neofinetia falcata grows in high humidity. It needs 80 to 85 percent humidity during the intensive growth period of summer months and 70 to 75 percent in the winter season.
While growing it in homes, try to keep the humidity level above 50 percent by using humidifiers or humidity trays.
Use a fertilizer that is rich in micronutrients once a week. Apply one-fourth to one-half of the recommended dose on any orchid fertilizer. Use a phosphorus-rich and low-nitrogen content fertilizer in autumn to improve flowering in the next season.
You can also use seaweed solution or fish fertilizer once a week to fertilize your orchid. Do not fertilize during the winter months.
Repotting Neofinetia Falcata
Repot Neofinetia falcata when the roots are fully dormant in late winter. Repot your orchid every year. First, take the plant out of the pot and gently remove the moss from the plant.
Do not break the roots while removing the moss. This might take a while. Remove any dead parts like leaves, flower stalks, and dead roots to prevent infections and diseases. Check old flower stalks and remove them, if required. Remove the dried-out and decaying roots.
Rinse the plant with water and trim the extra-long roots that would not fit in the pot. Use high-grade sphagnum moss to plant your orchid in a new pot. Dip the moss in clean water and drench the water out. Place a long wine bottle, take a handful of moss, place it over the bottle, and press it into a ball.
Place the plant over moss, spread the roots around it, and tuck the roots down to the ball. Hold the roots in place with one hand. Grab a few more strands of sphagnum moss and carefully wrap them around the roots.
Wrap tightly to keep the roots in place. Keep repeating this process of wrapping until a clean, stable ball is formed. Tuck the newly wrapped orchid in a new, well-ventilated pot.
If you notice problems in your orchid, such as scale infestation, cut off the dead or brown leaves. Soak the plant in a bleach solution to kill the scales. Scale is a common pest in orchids.
If there is a light infestation, you can treat it with household remedies such as bleach solution, rubbing alcohol, neem oil, and other home remedies. However, if your orchid is heavily infected, you will have to treat it with chemical methods such as using a synthetic insecticide.
Neofinetia falcata is the perfect miniature orchid for you if you want to enjoy both foliage and flowers. We have summarized below all the essential points that you need to keep in mind to grow it.
- Neofinetia falcata or Vanda falcata is an epiphytic, monopodial orchid species.
- It is native to China, Japan, and Korea, where it grows attached to trees and rocks.
- It can reach a height of 3 to 5 inches and has beautifully scented white blooms.
- Apart from its blooms, the orchid is also loved for its distinct foliage.
- It needs bright, dappled sunlight throughout the day to grow well.
- If mounted, water at least once a day in summer and three to four times a week in winter.
- Use distilled water or water that is low in mineral content.
- Frequent watering during the intensive growth period of summer will make your orchid plant healthy.
- Mount it on slabs of tree fern or cork using sphagnum moss or osmunda fern.
- The flowers bloom during spring and summer and have a lovely, coconut-like fragrance.
- It loves high humidity, with above 80 percent in summer and above 70 percent in winter.
- Fertilize your orchid once a week using an orchid fertilizer or seaweed solution of fish fertilizer.
- Repot the orchid once a year in late winter or early spring by wrapping new sphagnum moss and placing it in a new pot.
- If your orchid is infected with pests, use alcohol or bleach solutions to get rid of them in case of light infestation.
The Japanese Wind orchid is the one for you if you like sweet fragrances. There are many varieties available in the market with different foliage patterns and flowers. Now that you know all about it, it is time to add this beautiful orchid to your plant collection.
We hope our orchid cultivation guide has helped to answer all your doubts and apprehensions about this orchid!
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