Orchids Growing on Trees: How to Successfully Accomplish it

Orchids growing on trees is a method of commensalism a spell-bound phenomenon, and you should know how to successfully mount the orchids on trees and ensure they remain there. If your mounted orchids are slipping off or not growing as they should, there are aspects to consider.

Orchids Growing on Trees

Keep reading this article as we are here to help you with exactly that, we will guide you on all the steps that play a huge role in ensuring that the orchids do not budge from the tree.

How To Have Orchids Growing on Trees?

The steps that guarantee the success of orchids growing on trees include picking the appropriate growing environment and the right tree, removing the orchid from the old potting medium, cleaning and getting rid of the dead roots, finding the right spot to attach the orchid, and then finally watering and fertilizing according to the orchid’s needs.

1. Choosing the Right Growing Environment

The first step is to match the orchids with the environment. Some originate from shaded swamps, while others bloom on the treetops. Look at your garden’s light exposure and select the related orchid species. For instance, Vandas are full sun lovers, while Oncidiums and Phalaenopsis prefer dim light.

There are wide orchid varieties that grow well in both conditions. Your local nursery can help you in choosing the right one. Choose the tree that receives the most amount of sunlight. Such trees include Oak, Bottlebrush, Citrus, Palm, etc. Do not opt for Fiscus, as it can cast too much shade. It is also important to make sure to choose a tree that has many stems.

2. Take the Orchids Out of the Pots

Now that you have selected the tree, it is time to remove the orchid from its pot. The process is pretty simple. Grab the pot’s base firmly in one hand and gently tug the plant with the other hand. The plant will come out, but you can try an alternative method if it does not. Allow the plant to sit in water for ten to fifteen minutes, and it will come out easily.

3. Get Rid of the Potting Soil

You do not want the old potting soil stuck onto the plant when it moves to its new home. Removing the old soil helps remove the salt build-up, preparing the roots for their new home. Another reason is to remove any disease the orchid’s roots might have built over time.

Furthermore, there can also be harmful pests in the soil, so the best solution rests in removing the previous soil. Some people believe that the soil contains beneficial bacteria and should not be removed, but it is always safer to detach the plant from it. Shake the plant to get rid of the soil from the roots.

Get Rid of the Potting Soil

And if the soil does not come off easily, lay the plant sideways on a flat surface and roll it sideways. The soil becomes loose and comes off easily.

4. Clean the Roots

Getting rid of the potting mix was tricky, but the remaining process is simple and easy. Even though you have gotten rid of the potting medium, there is still a chance that some of it is still stuck to the roots. Or it is hiding somewhere between the roots. You need a clean brush to get rid of the left-behind soil. After dusting the soil, take a damp kitchen towel and wipe it on the roots thoroughly, not missing the top and tips of the roots.

5. Get Rid of the Dead Roots

Every plant has a few damaged or dead roots, no matter how well you care for it. They can be affected underground without you knowing. Now that you have clean roots, you can better see which roots you need to remove. Removing the dead roots is also important, as it can dehydrate your plant.

You can make your sterilizing solution. Grab a pair of garden scissors or shears and a hydrogen peroxide solution. Mix one part of hydrogen peroxide with nine parts of lukewarm water. Mix thoroughly and submerge your tools in the solution for almost thirty seconds. Remove your tools and place them on a paper towel to dry. You can also spray this solution on cut orchid roots or stems to prevent bacteria from transferring.

Running them through water is the easiest trick to distinguish healthy roots from unhealthy or dead ones. And since we have already done so, the healthy roots will plump up. You can also tell them apart by their appearance. The silver roots turn green when you give them water. If the roots are already green, they are hydrated enough. Most roots are sunburned but can still be used, and such roots are brown in color and firm to the touch.

In comparison, the dead roots are brown and flat. Gently tug the roots that appear dead; if they are dead, they will come off easily, leaving a brown string behind. You can clip these strings with the help of the scissors you sterilized.

6. See if They Stick to the Trees

With clean and healthy roots, it is time to map the orchid on the tree. Wrap the roots around the tree to see where they fit perfectly without putting force. This step can take time as you must run back and forth to find the perfect spot. The spot should be where you can enjoy the beautiful orchids from the patio, your walkway, and even inside your home. You do not necessarily have to work with an established plant, seedlings or divisions work fine too.

Once you find the right spot, set the plant directly onto the tree’s limb without any sphagnum moss in between. The moss can create wet conditions and cause root rot. Also, the roots will grow into the medium rather than onto the tree. You can use a cotton string to hold the plant in place.

7. Water and Fertilize

The roots take up to six months to form on the tree, but once they do, it is short before they will encircle the tree. To help the plant grow a stronger root system, water regularly for the first two weeks of attaching it to the tree. After the second week, cut down on the watering, and by the third week, water every alternate day. Water the plant every three days in the fourth week, then reduce the frequency to monthly.

Water and Fertilize

Experts recommend fertilizing orchids at least once a month after the blooms fall. Fertilizing the plant when the orchids are in full bloom causes premature bloom loss. The phase when the plant loses its bloom is its dormant phase, and during this stage, the fertilizer helps the plant utilize the energy for sprouting a new stem or flower. The best fertilizer for orchids contains equal nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and is diluted. Remember not to fertilize on the watering days.


1. Why Do Orchids Grow on Trees?

Orchids arise from various habitats and prefer to grow on trees to meet their sunlight requirements. The orchids use the trees as an anchor to soak in the maximum sunlight they could not get while growing in pots.

2. How to Fertilize Orchids on Trees?

Choosing a fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium helps the orchids bloom. Dilute the fertilizer and transfer it into a narrow-spouted pitcher. Once the plant is dormant, pour it into the orchids, avoiding the leaves.

3. How to Grow Orchids on Trees in Florida?

Once you know how to grow orchids on wood, you can grow them with the right orchid care anywhere around the globe.

Grow Orchids on Trees in Florida

Mounting Phalaenopsis Orchids on trees in Florida is easy as the weather is warm enough for growing orchids. 

4. How to Grow Orchids on Palm Trees?

Orchids can be grown on palms by attaching them to the tree’s trunk. You can use a stake or any support to hold the orchid in place long enough for its roots to familiarize themselves with the new growing environment and develop around the tree. Fertilize and water alternately.


You are now geared to help your orchids grow on trees and now know how to make them stay there long enough to attach to the trees and what factors contribute to the success of the process, using the information that you obtained from our article:

  • Selecting the right tree plays a huge role in determining whether the orchid will survive on the tree or not.
  • Removing the old potting medium not only gets rid of any hidden infestations but also helps the roots to grow and wrap around the tree.
  • For additional support, you can use cotton strings to hold the mounted orchids in place until you feel they are established enough to grow independently.
  • Water the growing plant regularly for the first two weeks, then cut down the watering.
  • Fertilize the plant only when the blooms fall, as fertilizing in the growing season causes the blooms to fall early.

Now that you have all the recommended techniques, you can professionally facilitate your orchids growing on trees. Grab your orchids, and get mounting. And get yourself an orchid tree.


  • https://teara.govt.nz/en/orchids/page-1
  • https://extension.umd.edu/resource/care-phalaenopsis-orchids-moth-orchids
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