Mounting orchids is a challenge for some people, but the task overall is quite easy. For this, you must select the right orchid, cover its roots with sphagnum or Spanish moss, and use a wire to tie the plant. But it is still hard for beginners to do these steps if they need to know the purpose behind them.
Don’t worry; if you haven’t mounted an orchid before, you can do this easily after reading this article, so keep reading.
How To Successfully Mount Orchids?
To successfully mount orchids you should decide on the type of orchid first, and then select the perfect tree. Choose the best spot, prepare it, and gather your tools.
After that, sterilize the tools, clean the roots and wrap them, then attach the orchid gently and provide the right care.
1. Decide Which Orchid to Choose
You must select the right orchid for mounting. There are around 28,000 orchid species, most of which cannot grow when you mount them a little high from the ground. Experts also suggest you avoid going for those orchid plants that are too small, immobile, or do not like to be transplanted.
So, which orchids can grow easily when you mount them? The best ones are epiphytic orchids- those that grow on trees.
You can also try to choose the Brassavola nodosa, because it is one of the popular epiphytic orchids. Many people know it by its other name, “lady of the night.” People grow it in large numbers because of its elegant-looking and colorful flowers.
It is also known as one of the best mounting orchids on rocks, but you can grow it using many other media. It has a long pseudobulb, which stores water and nutrients. There is also a trend nowadays to mount Brassavola on baskets inside the home.
You also have the option to grow cymbidium orchids, since they are one of the best mounting orchids on driftwood. People love it because of how fast it can grow and produce flowers. It is also known as the “boat orchid” because of its lip shape. Another great thing about Cymbidiums is that they are easier to mount because of their deep root system.
Lastly, you may go for the ohalaenopsis, because it is an easy-to-grow orchid that is famous all over the world because of its moth-shaped flowers. It is also known as the common orchid because you can find it in the garden of every orchid lover. This premium orchid can also handle the repotting stress like a pro, so we suggest you choose this one.
2. Select a Perfect Tree
After picking the orchid, the next part is to decide where you will mount the orchid because this is the place where it will grow so well. If you decide to do it on the trees, note that you can’t decide on a tree randomly. Some need to select those with a thick canopy, but well, such trees can cast shade on orchids, making them light-deprived.
Since you will have to water-mounted orchids, you should also go for those woody trees that are not damaged by watering easily. So, which is the best wood for mounting orchids? Well, the answer is simple-the rot-resistant wood, as it is recommended that you should select hardwood trees like palm, mango, avocado, and oak.
A palm tree is an excellent option for those orchids that need a lot of filtered sunlight. But before making a final decision, check the bark carefully. It should not be weak or exhibit signs of diseases. Even though some people get confused between the disease symptoms and lichens.
To elaborate further, the lichen is the green, gray, white, and yellow spots on the trunk, indicating moisture inside. Trees with lichen spots are ideal for attaching orchids. In addition, make sure the tree you choose does not have a thick canopy.
On another note, if you want to mount orchids on a wall, select the perfect side; this would be the one with plenty of indirect light. But then again, it should also be able to handle nails, as you will have to tie wood mounting baskets on them, as this is the whole concept.
3. Choose the Best Spot for Mounting
If you mount your orchid randomly without considering some scenarios, there are high chances it might not grow at all, even if you follow all the other steps correctly. Therefore, take your time and identify the best spots on trees or even on walls for smooth mounting.
On the other hand, high-intensity light increases the temperature, which leads to faster evaporation, and the water you have to place would not be sufficient. Also, such light can kill the leaf and stem cells, which causes yellowing; as a result, you must choose a spot where filtered or indirect light falls.
On trees, such a spot is on the left side of the lower branches, and also, it should be high enough for aerial roots to drop easily. This is why you should try to check the air circulation too—the better the air movements, the easier for orchids to handle the stresses and continue growing.
Moreover, you should also check if there is any moisture there or not. A little moisture is good for orchids as they can use it to fulfill watering needs. Note that if you have chosen to mount an orchid on a wall, you should also be careful about the exact spot.
Generally, the wall facing the windows is the best. However, sunlight falls on it, too, in most cases. Therefore, you should always aim to decide on a tree for mounting an orchid, and it would be a lit place; it is the best way to see it develop.
4. Prepare the Spot You Choose For Mounting
Before attaching the orchid, you should water the selected spot, and clean it too. It will help the orchid feel at home because of the moisture you have added to the place. It is also important you water the bark smartly, and this is why it is best that you add water to the spray bottle and then mist the bark for mounting orchids.
Clean any dirt or dust you see there, which is why you can try to rub a soft towel in hydrogen peroxide on the bark. You can also carefully pour the boiling water on that spot, as the hot water can splash on you.
Note that in this case, it may seem like an unnecessary thing to do, but what if we tell you the orchid’s health depends on it? It’s true. The dirt can be the home of harmful fungi or pathogens. So, getting rid of it is significant, and make sure the environment is a pleasant one.
5. Gather the Tools and Materials
After the above steps, you must gather orchid mounting supplies/materials. The tools you will need are a sharp knife, a pair of scissors and a nylon cord. You will also need some material such as a coconut husk, tree fern, or cork mounts, sphagnum or Spanish moss, and lastly, bark chips.
If you have been growing plants for some time, you may already have most of the tools and materials. For the rest, you must cough up some bucks and purchase them from any gardening store.
After gathering all the tools, the next step is sterilizing them, so you don’t unintentionally make the orchids sick. Don’t worry; sterilization is easy, do it by soaking these tools in the 10 percent bleach solution for 20 to even 30 minutes.
6. Clean up the Roots
Next, you should clean the orchid’s roots gently; it is best if you try to soak them in lukewarm or slightly cold water for some time. During this time, keep checking if the roots have gotten any softer than normal, and as this has been accomplished, drain the water and let the roots dry. Then, use a paper towel to get rid of any dirt.
After you clean the roots, you will see some that feel mushy and have spots on them. Cutting them with a sterilized knife or scissors would be best. You should also look for any dead roots and cut them too.
Freeing your orchid from such roots is important because these roots stop the plant from growing new ones. This happens simply as the roots start to die; the plant will waste energy on reviving them. As a result, more energy is needed to produce new growth; therefore, do your orchid a favor and eliminate any infected or dead root in this step.
Gardening enthusiasts also recommend sterilizing the roots once they remove the discolored parts. You can pour a three percent hydrogen peroxide solution and soak the roots there for 10 to 15 minutes. You can also mist the roots with this solution if you want to do it before 15 minutes.
7. Wrap the Roots With Sphagnum Moss
It would be best to loosely cover the cleaned orchid roots with sphagnum moss. Some may find it illogical to do this, but the key here is that moss will aid in the orchid’s successful transition from being in a container to being mounted.
The orchid can easily stick to the bark without causing any trouble. It can also hold the moisture near the roots, which they will utilize later to continue growing. When roots start to stretch after mounting, it is safe to say that you have successfully mounted an orchid; this is a clear sign that everything has been done successfully.
8. Attach the Orchid Gently
After applying sphagnum or Spanish moss, the orchid is ready to be mounted. Here, it is best that you spread bark chips, coconut fiber, or husk on the roots before you mount them, but yet, just a thin layer is enough.
It would be best to do this because chips and coconut fiber have excellent water retention properties. As a result, they will only let the roots dry slowly, which means here, you should add a layer of orchid mounting wood to avoid wrapping them on the roots.
Then, spread the new roots of the orchid on the selected spot, making sure that the old or the weakened roots can stay suspended, but not the new ones. The new roots are of supreme importance when you mount an orchid as they grow quickly, ultimately making the whole process successful.
9. Fix the Orchid With Care
Attaching an orchid to the bark is not enough, and remember how it would be best if you did something extra so that it does not fall off. As a result, to fix the orchid, you can tie it with a nylon cord.
If you are mounting orchids on cork bark, you can use any other non-biodegradable material. The popular choices are floral wire, fishing line, or U-shaped metal clips, less durable than nylon cord, and it would work well.
Try to check and tie it; this will secure the moss-wrapped root ball to the mount. We know the orchid will not look pretty due to this, but you will have to endure the unaesthetic nylon cord for a few days. Once you think the orchid is stable, you can cut it off.
10. Give Sufficient Water at the Right Time
When you mount an orchid on a tree, it needs daily water. This is why you should now make the root balls moist using a spray bottle and keep doing this for two weeks until the plant has established proper grounds. Then, slow down on watering, and in the third week, you can spray water one day and skip the next, but after that, you should try to mist it again after every three days.
Consider how you should water an orchid on the tree via spraying only. Making sure that don’t go for any other method, as it can lead to overwatering. On the contrary, adding more water can be detrimental to the orchid and the tree. We all know that excessive moisture promotes fungal growth, and different fungi would cause the roots to have root rot.
11. Fertilize Properly
Give mounted orchids a small weekly nutrient dose. You can also go for monthly fertilizer applications if you can’t maintain the weekly schedule. Furthermore, if you want to see orchid flowers, we recommend using potassium-rich and phosphorus-rich fertilizers.
Adding fertilizer sufficiently is an integral part of growing plants, including orchids. Focus on it when you mount one on a tree as well because the roots of a mounted orchid need full access to the soil where they can absorb the vital minerals. These roots depend on the nutrient doses you add.
It would be best if you also had to be careful about which fertilizers to add, you can buy these fertilizers online as some places also offer free shipping. Purchase those that are made specifically for orchids, and such fertilizers can fulfill nutrient needs better than any other ones available.
12. Keep Growing With the Right Needs
Lastly, you must follow care measures if you want the mounted orchid to keep growing on the tree. Make sure the sphagnum or Spanish moss covers the roots entirely.
In The humidity levels should ideally be between 60 and 70 percent. If they are below 50 percent, spray water on the orchids regularly. If they are more than 75 percent, then prune off some tree leaves to improve air circulation.
Please keep checking the position of the orchid regularly. Tighten the nylon cord if it gets loose or tilts in one direction. Keep checking the leaves to spot any disease attacks in the earlier stages. If you see discoloration, remove such leaves and dispose of them.
It would be best if you kept an eye on insect infestation. Spray neem oil if you see insects around the orchid or the tree it is on, or try to sprinkle some diatomaceous earth, wood ash, or sulfur to ward off the pests. Doing this will work most of the time; however, spray chemical insecticides if you notice their population increasing.
Growing a mounted orchid is a trend nowadays, and everyone wants to become a part of this, even though many need to learn how to grow without facing any problems. In this article, we have comprehensively explained all the growing steps that anyone can do easily, so remember these points:
- Choose an epiphytic orchid for mounting, as they love growing on trees.
- Ensure the tree’s bark has moisture and gets plenty of filtered sunlight.
- Cover the roots with moss and coconut husk, as they will help trap moisture they can use to grow.
- When you attach an orchid to the tree, the new roots should spread on the tree bark.
- Keep following the care measures to ensure orchids don’t face any trouble.
When you do all of these things, it will be like child’s play for you to grow a mounted orchid. That’s everything you have to do. Now you know growing orchids on trees is both fun and adventurous.
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