Tony “The Vanda Man” Romani Featured in the Palm Beach Post

R&R Orchids founder and owner Tony “The Vanda Man” Romani was featured in the Palm Beach Post in a July 2012 article titled “The Vanda Man: Orchids Are His Passion”, written by staff reporter Barbara Marshall.

Tony Romani in the Palm Beach Post

Photo by Brandon Kruse

In it, she poses the question: Can Tony turn the objects of his passion into an empire?

Take a read for yourself! Enjoy!

The Vanda Man: Orchids Are His Passion

Can he turn the objects of his passion into an empire?

By Barbara Marshall

“People actually ask if I dye them,” said Tony Romani, walking through a mass of orchids so flamboyantly colorful they could make rainbows weep in despair.

Romani grows vanda orchids, the showiest of all orchid species, with blooms the size of saucers and look-at-me shades of violet, magenta, purple, neon yellow, coral and fireball orange.
Subtle, they are not.

But then, neither is Romani.

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The Vanda Man On WPTV Channel 5!


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Tony Ramoni and his crew are busy getting ready for the West Palm Beach Green Market, opening Saturday morning.

“I get a chance to see what my colors are going to look like tomorrow, you know?” He says while hanging his plants.

This is his 10th year coming to the Green Market!

“I thought of the green market as…that’s my home. No matter where this business takes me, which is hopefully to the stars, the Green Market will always be my home and I will always be at the Green Market.”

Tony specializes in exotic Vanda orchids, which grow without soil, hanging from the sky.

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When Will My Orchid Grow Flowers?

Many first time orchid owner wonder when their flowers will bloom.

Under conditions where the temperatures is generally maintained above 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Most of today’s modern Vanda and Ascocenda hybrids can bloom at any time of the year.

The heaviest periods of bloom tend to be late in the spring time and in the early weeks of summer. Blooms can also happen in the beginning of fall and winter.

Most specifically, it’s the day to night temperature swings or diurnal fluctuation, as well as the seasonal lenghtining and shortening of days, that causes Vandas and Ascocenda hybrids to bloom. Some plants such as Ascda. Suksumran Sunlight and Ascda. Princess Mikasa flower practically year round.

Are the conditions above being met, and you’re worried that your orchid is still not blooming? Tell us about it in the comments!

Understanding Humidity Levels

Proper humidity levels are just as important as proper watering. The ideal humidity range is between 50%-80%.

Any drier than this range, and the threat of dehydration gets real.

In drier climates, a second late morning or early afternoon watering can be helpful in raising the humidity in each individual plants micro-climate, while still ensuring the plants are dry before dark.

In areas with excessive humidity, growers must deal with the threat of numerous variations of fungi, algae, and mold that can attack and kill your orchids.

Are you wondering whether your climate is good for orchids to grow in? Ask us in the comments!

How to Fertilize Vandas and Ascocendas

Wondering how to fertilize your new vandas and ascocendas?

Vandas should be fertilized weekly with a high-quality balanced fertilizer. Look for products that have all three numbers equal or the last two slightly higher. This fertilizer should be applied three times a month.

On the last week of the month, apply a high phosphorous (middle number) or blossom booster fertilizer. We recommend using fertilizers such as DynaGro or Jack’s Classic. Spending a few extra dollars on a good fertilizer will pay off in the end with award quality blooms.

In winter months, you may reduce the fertilizer strength by about a half.

Proper Lighting for Vandas and Ascocendas

Vandas and Ascocendas have a higher light requirement than most other orchids.

In South Florida, we grow our Vandas in an unobstructed area (i.e. there are no trees or buildings to block the sunlight).

We also cover our grow houses with 60% screen in the summer and 50% screen in the winter. We find this style of growing allows us to maximize our total daily solar radiation. A foot candle reading of 2,000-4,000 ft candles under shade is best. A foot candle meter can be purchased online.

Do you have questions about how to construct grow houses to maximize your total daily solar rays? Ask us here in the comments!

Proper Watering Technique For Vandas and Ascocendas

Understanding the proper watering technique for Vandas is crucial for their health and well being. The dryer the climate, the more important watering becomes.

The most common techniques are hose watering or overhead irrigation. When hose watering, a two-step method is beneficial. First, give the plants a good once-over for about 30 seconds with a low pressure water breaker nozzle. Then, wait just a few moments for the roots of the Vanda to stop dripping.

This initial “priming” serves to allow the next application of water to be absorbed more efficiently. Once the water stops dripping completely, saturate the plant again, watering the leaves and roots until the roots have turned  a deep green color from their original whiter state.

This usually takes at least one minute per plant. Repeat this process on every bright and sunny day. This could be everyday in some locations (here in South Florida!) and once a week in others. Watering Vandas and Ascocendas in the morning is important.

Unlike other orchids, Vandas and Ascocendas need a wet and dry cycle; watering in the evening will encourage fungus.

Automatic sprinkler systems are the easiest way to ensure proper watering of your orchids

Automatic sprinklers can be elaborate or simple, but the goal is simple: to thoroughly water your orchids, and take away the human error factor. They should run for at least 5 minutes, but for no more than 20 minutes, depending on water pressure and nozzle type.

Mist heads should not be used in the watering of Vandas and Ascocendas. Instead, choose a full circle shrub type nozzle.

For more detailed information about how to properly water any orchid variety, please call us toll-free at (855) RR-ORCHIDS!

Where to Grow Vandas

In a residential setting, there are many options to consider.

In the sub–tropics, ideally one should mimic our technique by building an inexpensive shade house. The 10’x20’ carport style canopies make great shade houses. They can be purchased typically under $200 at most home improvement stores.

Purchasing pre-fabricated shade panels, also inexpensive, in the 50%-60% shade range will maximize your Vanda and Ascocenda growth. These are the “Vanda machines” that we first started with. Vandas can also be very effectively grown under loose canopied non-deciduous trees.

Oaks, Black Olives, and certain varieties of palms i.e. Robellinis and Canaries make wonderful host trees for Vandas. In northern climates Vandas can also be grown successfully. However due to their cultural requirements they can be difficult at times.

A greenhouse, solarium, or other climate controlled structure as well as supplemental lighting and humidification is required. For more information on growing Vandas in northern climates please contact us.

Interesting in learning more about whether your particular climate, area, or environment can sustain Vanda growth? Either leave us a comment below or contact us at (561) 568-6085!

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