What is Ascocenda?

Todd M.
Todd M.
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Man mowing the grass

Ascocenda is a hybrid genus of the Orchidaceae family that is a result of cross pollination between orchid species in the Vanda and Ascocentrum genera. This genus was created by horticulturists during the middle of the 20th century, and the hybrids rapidly became popular amongst orchid enthusiasts. All species of Ascocenda orchids feature the compact foliage of Ascocentrum orchids with flowers that are the same shape of Vanda orchids. Most species in this genus were created in India, Thailand and the Philippines. These orchids are epiphytes, meaning that they grow on other plants without harming them, and they bloom two or three times a year with dynamic, long lasting flowers.

Most Ascocenda orchids are easy to grow so long as one follows a few basic principles of orchid care. These species are more tolerant of cooler temperatures than most orchids and will continue to grow in temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit (about 10 degrees Centigrade). They prefer to be hung in baskets outside throughout the warmer months of the year in temperate and tropical regions. In colder climates, the plants should be hung in indirect sunlight and should not be moved or rotated unless absolutely necessary. Ascocenda orchids require more fertilizer than most orchids, and most growers prefer to use a time release orchid fertilizer that is designed specifically for year-round orchid care.

There are a number of different hybrids and cultivars of Ascocenda orchids available with blossoms ranging from muted shades of brown and orange to bright blue and neon pink. In most cases, these orchids have obtained their color from their Ascocentrum parent instead of a Vanda ancestor. Three of the most popular orchids in this genus include Peggy Foo, Majik Fancy and Prapathom Gold. The Peggy Foo species has very large pink flowers, while the Majik Fancy cultivar has a cluster of light pink flowers that are covered with mottled specks of pink and brown. Prapathom Gold orchids have multiple yellow flowers with small, dark brown spots.

One of the most highly treasured orchids in this genus is the Ascocenda Princess Mikasa. Ascocenda Princess Mikasa orchids have large, fragrant flowers overlaid with a contrasting pattern of pink and purple or shades of blue. The plant blooms twice a year if cared for properly and should be planted in a hanging pot filled with fern fibers that are sprayed with mist at least once a day. This orchid was created by cross breeding the Ascocenda Motes Goldpiece with the Vanda lamellata. The Vanda traits present in this particular hybrid allow it to thrive in cooler regions that are difficult to raise most other orchids in.

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