Orchids on Trees: How To Grow Them Easily and Precisely

Grow orchids on trees is a commonly discussed topic amongst gardeners, so now, is it possible? Yes, of course, it is, but you should first choose the right species, find the perfect spot, spread the roots on the bark, and use a nylon cord to tie the orchid until it starts growing.

Orchids on Trees

You must be thinking it is a complicated process, simplified in this article! Continue reading to learn about the easy steps to grow an orchid on a tree.

How To Grow Orchids on Trees The Right Way?

To grow orchids on trees, you must pick the right kind of orchid, and select the right tree for the process. Then, you should pick the proper spot, and gather the right tools. Now, get your orchid ready, attach it, water it regularly, fertilize it well and monitor the plant.

1. Choose the Right Orchid

The first thing to do when you decide to have an orchid on a tree is to select the right species. Not every orchid can grow on a tree. It is actually suggested to go for Oncidium, Cattleyas, or Dendrobiums.

On another note, the Phalaenopsis orchid is an equally popular choice among gardeners because of its gorgeous flowers. They beautify the surroundings, which makes all the effort and money you spend worth it.

2. Select the Right Tree

Just like orchids, you should be picky regarding trees too. Some trees don’t have the strength to hold the orchids, so choosing them will only lead to frustrations for you. Moreover, some are grown in areas that could be better for orchids. So, if you grow them on these trees, they will stay fragile and sick.

So, what kind of trees do orchids grow on, this is a question that you may be wondering about; the young palm tree in this case is the best choice that you can have. It has the strength to hold the orchids when you attach them.

The right reason is that these trees have fewer branches than the others, which is also suitable for epiphytic orchids. You can also go for oak and avocado trees, as they have rough bark, making it easy for orchid roots to stick.

Inspecting the tree carefully before you do anything else is also critical. If you see signs of diseases or pest infestation, or the tree is weak, choosing another tree far from it is better.

Note that it is very important to set it to a healthy tree so that it can provide benefits to the orchid. It is known as orchids on trees commensalism- a phenomenon in which one gets the benefits but the other stays unharmed, of course with no advantages and no loss. In this matter, orchids get all the good things while trees stay safe and unscathed.

3. Pick The Proper Spot

After deciding on the selection of the tree, even though it would take a bit of time, the next step is to find a perfect spot on it where you can attach an orchid. Which is the ideal site? The main thing to look for is how well-lighted the spot is, then moving on further.

In this case, you should be aware of how orchids like indirect light for at least six hours to thrive. This light is needed to do all the physiological functions, which helps them grow and produce flowers. Ensure no direct light falls on the area, or else the process will not be as successful as you wish for it to be.

Direct sunlight can lead to a faster evaporation rate, which causes water scarcity. When this happens, leaves curl up, which halts photosynthesis. Also, leaf and stem cells die when exposed to high-intensity light. This causes discoloration, and the orchids start looking sick. Therefore, we cannot stress enough about choosing the perfect spot for orchids on the tree you shortlist.

When growing orchids on trees in Florida, you will find it easy to decide the ideal point on the tree. The sun is always shining in this state, and there will always be a space where the orchids can enjoy plenty of indirect light, and you should also try to pick the south side as it has the most indirect light.

If you live where you don’t see the sun for days, then orchid growing is not for you. USDA has called hardiness zones 6 to 11 suitable for orchids. As a result, ensure you check your locality and then decide to have epiphytic orchids.

Pick The Proper Spot

After indirect lighting, look for lichens as well. In short, this is the gray, white, or yellow blotches on the bark indicate that moisture is present. This moisture will be helpful for orchids to stick properly and help them grow.

4. Gather All the Tools or Material

When you have done deciding about everything, the next step is to gather the tools and materials you will need to grow an orchid on a tree. Make sure you have a sharp pruning knife, a simple dull knife, and a pair of sharp scissors. These tools are ones that may have contagious diseases on them, which is why it is very important that you sterilize them. Also, have a nylon cord, burlap, and sphagnum moss.

You can easily purchase them from any nearby gardening store if you don’t have them. In addition, ensure you sterilize the tools before using them, just as a precautionary measure. Mix one part bleach and nine part water to make a solution.

Then, soak the tools in them for 30 minutes, as this will disinfect them, and they will be safe to use. It would be best to make a new solution as its effectiveness decreases with time.

5. Get Your Orchid Ready

Before mounting Phalaenopsis orchids on trees, cutting off any dead or weak parts you see using sharp scissors is super important. You can also remove such leaves that are old. Just use your fingers to pluck them out. You should also prune off those parts you think are infected with any disease.

Next, remove the orchid from its potting mix, and for this, run your dull knife from a side and move it along the circle, be gentle in this step. Then, invert the pot at a very slow pace, and now, you must also give a few taps at its back, and the orchid will come out of it easily.

Get Your Orchid Ready

After this, clean the roots, and in doing so, you should soak them in the water for some time or use a wet cotton swab. You should also cut off any dead parts you see because they are useless. Similarly, discoloration or spots on roots are not acceptable either, which is why you should also get rid of those parts. Remember that the remaining healthy roots get soft before attaching them to a tree.

The roots coming from the base of the stem are important too. As a result, this is the time when you must inspect them and remove any dead or discolored parts you see. Lastly, clean them of any soil/dirt you see because these roots will be pressed on the tree bark.

6. Attach Carefully

The next step is to attach orchids to the tree with care; for this, you should spread the roots on the bark or trunk as much as possible. The more roots touch the tree, the better, and in order to have an effective result, you must now cover the roots with sphagnum moss. Doing so, will help with the attachment and provide a stable environment for the roots.

Next, take out burlap to help orchids attach to the tree, and it has high tensile and gets detached with time, which makes it perfect. You can use a nylon cord to tie your orchid, but note that any other material can downgrade or decompose, and the orchid can fall off, so it is key to use nylon. Some people make the mistake of using steel wire. It is not ideal, as it can hurt your orchids and trees.

When attaching, ensure the tips of new roots are touching the trunk. Furthermore, the leaves should be facing upwards; of course, this is important so that it would start the photosynthesis process. After you tie the orchid, tap it a few times and see if it falls. If it doesn’t, it means you did a great job, and now, you can remove the cord when the orchids become stable on the trees.

7. Water Regularly

After mounting the orchid, water it daily for at least two weeks. It is because most of the roots are exposed to the air, and their only source of moisture is the water you apply. For proper watering, we suggest you first touch the roots and sense whether they are dry. If they are, then spray them.

You can slow down on spraying when the third week starts. During this week, leave one day and then water on the next. In the fourth week, you should begin to mist the roots after every three days. Follow this schedule strictly to avoid fungal growth.

If you are worried about roots drying out quickly after watering, it is best if you cover them with coconut husk after spraying. This will retain the water, which the roots can absorb easily later, and to see the plant thrive, you should remember that this one requires high moisture content, so this part is essential in the care guide.

8. Fertilize Adequately

Fertilization is a critical part of growing an orchid on a tree. This gives them enough nutrients to strengthen their roots and initiate new growth. That is why those orchids that are regularly fertilized show better results than those that aren’t.

How to fertilize orchids on trees? This is a very important step because now you have done everything right, which is why you have to use those made specifically for orchids. They contain nutrients according to the orchid’s needs, which helps them thrive. Give one dose once every month, and you will see orchids spreading on the trees.

Regular fertilizers will also work if you want to avoid adding orchid fertilizers. For new growth, make sure the fertilizers are rich in nitrogen, as this is a key mineral for its health. For blooming, add those fertilizers that are high in phosphorus and potassium.

9. Keep Monitoring the Orchids

When you have mounted orchids, you should monitor their health and how well they respond to watering and fertilization. If you spot insects roaming around them, apply organic insecticides like neem oil spray or even soapy water because you want the plant to establish well with no possible intruders.

If the population keeps on growing, then apply commercially made chemical insecticides. You must wear goggles and a mask while applying the insecticides, as the orchids are usually shoulder height, and this is because the chances of the fumes going into the eyes or mouth are high.

Keep Monitoring the Orchids

If you see spots on orchids and smell a foul odor, diseases have attacked them. In this situation, prune off the infected part and then apply fungicide or bactericide, depending upon the disease. It is also important to check if any tree branch is casting shade on orchids.

Note that trees keep growing regularly, so the new branch can likely cover the orchid. If it does, cut it off, because they would hinder the growth and would get in the way. Moreover, you should also start the treatment immediately if the tree gets sick.

That’s how to grow orchids on palm trees, or any other. You now don’t have to look for tree orchids for sale online. You can grow your own instead of spending hundreds of your hard-earned bucks.


All-inclusive, an orchid on a tree looks beautiful. In this article, we discussed how you could grow it in detail. Here is the list of the main points so that you don’t forget the key details:

  • Choose the right orchid species, as not all can grow on trees. It is best if you pick any of the ones that would ensure like phalaenopsis, oncidium, cattleyas, and dendrobiums.
  • Select the right tree, as not everyone can support orchids; it is best if you go with palm, oak, and avocado.
  • Clean the roots, cover them with sphagnum or peat moss, and spread them on the bark for smooth attachment.
  • Tie the orchid with a nylon cord and remove it when it becomes stable.
  • Make sure to provide it with the proper health and the right kind of care so that it would thrive and establish very well.

You now know how to grow epiphytic orchids without any problem. Give it a try right now and beautify the trees!

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