Orchid on tree bark is a way that you can grow them to help develop in a healthy root system and survive much longer than in a pot. Orchids, especially epiphytic orchids grow invasively, so it is a good idea to mount them soon; you do not want them creeping on your houseplants or walls.
Now, go ahead and keep reading our article, as we will discuss each step in detail, so you can easily attach your orchid to the tree.
How To Grow Orchid on Tree Bark?
To grow orchid on tree bark, you should first identify the right place to mount it, and ensure you do not add any compost. Clean the soil off the roots, and spread the roots on the bark. Attach the orchid, and provide it with the right care.
Although all orchid species make a great missing piece of the puzzle to orchids on tree bark, the best orchids to mount on trees are Phalaenopsis orchids. The process starts with finding the spot on the tree to mount the orchid, removing the additional compost, and finally hoisting it onto the tree.
Most orchid species grow fine in pots, but some species have an invasive growth rate and can overpower your beautifully kept lawn. Such species have a weak root system, so to help them, it is necessary to mount them to firm support, like trees.
1. Identify the Place on the Tree to Mount the Orchid
Proper light conditions are a must for mounting orchids. Contrary to popular belief, the mounting orchids do not damage the trees. The tree trunk is an orchid’s favorite place because it is where it can receive the most amount of sunlight.
Some orchid species are shade-loving and prefer to grow on horizontal branches. The ideal trees for mounting orchids are hardwood tropical with rough bark, like mango, avocado, oaks, etc.
In the case of shade-loving orchid species, low to medium light levels work best. Plant them on the branches close to the tree’s trunk, as they can get a lot of shade from the canopy or on structures on the bark to protect them from the sun.
Look for yellow, green, white, and gray spots on the trunk, as these places are the moistest and receive less sunlight throughout the day, ideal for the shade-loving species.
For medium to bright light levels, look for a spot towards the end of the branches with a horizontal alignment, as this spot is perfect for partial shade and partial sun. However, an ideal plant is a palm tree planted in direct sunlight or a branch receiving direct sun if you have full sun-loving species.
Growing orchids on trees in Florida are quite common as well, such as when you grow them on palm trees. Only those plants can mount palm trees that are full sun lovers. This is because they can be easily grown on such trees by finding the best possible sunny spot, ensuring no excess soil between the plant and the tree so that the orchids attach to the palm tree better.
2. Do Not Add Any Additional Compost
At this point, you might be intrigued to make a compost cushion for the orchid, but we can tell you there are better ideas than this one. In this case, you may go ahead and try adding a layer of moss between the orchid and the tree, but remember that doing so does not support the plant.
This is the type of matter that makes it difficult for the orchid to bond with the tree. The mounted orchids are enough to hold onto the tree firmly, and in short, they will not need any soil for this. What happens is that the roots eventually wrap tightly around the tree trunk when used to the new habitat.
3. Clean the Soil or Sphagnum Moss off the Roots
Your next step is identifying the roots near the stem’s base. Try to make the’ pseudobulbs’ roots directly contact the tree. The best technique that ensures that the plant easily comes out of the pot is to place the entire pot in water for at least 20 minutes so that it starts to revitalize.
Note that the plant detaches easily from the pot, and the roots are more pliable, meaning you do not have to put much effort to cling them onto the tree. You must ensure nothing on the roots can hinder contact with the tree and brush off the moss so that the new roots do not have difficulty making their way through and attaching to the tree.
As you have initiated the process with a potted orchid, you can now go ahead and remove the sphagnum moss and potting mix from the roots by shaking the plant thoroughly. Make sure you have exposed roots after all the moss is dusted off. You can tilt the plant to the side and slightly push it so the compost loosens and comes off easily, and you will do this matter in a successful way.
4. Spread the Roots on the Bark
Make a visual map of where you want to mount the orchid and this way you can spread the roots around the tree in a hugging manner. Making the roots fan out gives you a rough idea of where to attach the orchid.
5. Attach the Orchid
We recommend using a non-metal material to attach the orchids; you should try using a material with high tensile strength; for instance, some biodegrade after a few days and fall down the tree after the orchid is fully attached to the tree. To hold the orchid in place, you can also use zip ties if it is heavy and constantly falls because of the weight. Abstain from using a metal wire around the tree as it can kill your tree as it grows and damage the process overall.
Find the strongest point of the tree, usually where the stem and roots meet, to anchor the orchid. Do all this while ensuring the plant’s roots are in contact with the tree. Align the plant in such a way that the roots face downwards, and the leaves face upwards.
Ensure you do not let the leaves close to the tree to ensure good airflow and prevent problems like rot. Once you have mounted the orchid to the tree, tap it a good few times so that it is secure and does not fall off.
6. Provide the Right Care
Water the mounted plant aggressively in the initial days of planting it. To help the plant establish its roots on the roots, water the roots regularly daily for at least two weeks. However, after two weeks, you can slowly lessen the water given, and at week three, water the plant every alternate day.
You must also go ahead and water the plant every three days after four weeks; there is no need to continue watering after a month. Now, you should be able to plan a schedule to water it right and not excessively, so that it doesn’t get weak in the roots that the plant is establishing.
Furthermore, you can cover the roots with a blanket of coconut husk, which can retain water for several days. If everything goes according to plan, you can expect orchid blooms in the spring and summer.
Most orchid growers often make the mistake of fertilizing the orchids side by side, which is wrong. They only need fertilizer once they show active growth. You can then fertilize them with an orchid bloom fertilizer or phosphorus or potassium-rich fertilizer. You can also apply a liquid or diluted fertilizer according to the instructions mentioned in the product.
Make sure that you would add an orchid bloom fertilizer to the orchid as soon as it shows active growth. For this purpose, try to use the fertilizer in diluted form according to the instructions on the product’s label. You can also use a potassium or phosphorus-rich fertilizer every month to ensure healthy growth.
You are now ready for mounting phalaenopsis orchids on trees, and even other species, the professional way, using the information that you obtained from our article! But before you leave, let’s do a quick round-up of the main points once more:
- Orchids are mounted on trees to prevent them from invading the other plants and walls.
- The process is easy if you are an amateur, as you do not require any tools apart from the metal wire to hold the orchid in place.
- Almost all the orchid species are fit for the job, but Phalaenopsis works best.
- Remove all the excess soil from the roots, so they can bond better with the tree.
- You only have to water the plant regularly in the first few days of mounting. And there is no need to fertilize it until it shows active growth.
You now know how to attach an orchid to a tree with all the recommended tips and tricks that have enabled you to grow an orchid on a tree’s bark professionally. Grab your orchid and let the mounting begin.
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