In nature, orchids can be found worldwide growing in the strangest places, rocks, bushes, trees or even soils. However, the majority of them are found growing on trees. These particular types are referred to as epiphytes. Epiphytes are not parasites, and they do not derive their nutrients from the tree that they have planted themselves on. Instead, they use the tree simply as support.
If you are an avid grower, or just want to try a different growing experience, you can create your own epiphyte environment at home. Why try to replicate the environment in a manufactured ceramic or terra cotta plant? Instead give your plants the closest to its natural environment and learn how to mount them precisely.
The Material You Need To Use:
An orchid can be placed on almost any type of material. However, the natural materials tend to be the ones that are most aesthetically pleasing. Avoid any material that may have been chemically treated, as they could release potentially harmful toxins in your environment. They can be supported onto almost any naturally porous material, from tree ferns to wooden plaques.
How To Mount an Orchid:
Correctly attaching these specific plants is a fairly simple process. In fact, it can be done in three simple steps.
- The first thing to do is to soak whichever material you’re using for your flowers overnight (ideally for a minimum of 12 hours). This will give your plant the natural moisture and humidity that it seeks, and will promote the roots to grow into this material.
- Once the material is nice and moist, tie the plant into the area with fishing lines or twist ties around the root. About 16 inches of fishing line is usually sufficient to insert them to its material.
The easiest way to do this, is to have one end of your fishing line in a S-hook shape. Push the back of the S-hook into the material to be used. With the remaining fishing line, gently wrap the roots of the orchid to the material. Ensure that the ties are tight enough so that the plant remains on the material, but not so tight that they limit the natural aeration that the roots require.
- Observe the shoots of your plants closely. Once the roots have grown into the fabric, carefully remove the lines or twist ties. Typically this attachment takes about two weeks. When you remove these lines, be careful not to create any damage to the roots itself. Sever only the fishing lines or ties, not the roots.
Maintaining your Mounted Orchid Plant:
Keeping these plants in this state requires a bit more upkeep then a potted one. However, the end result of a beautiful flower in its natural environment will make the work worthwhile.
The largest modification that you will need to make for your flowers is in the area of watering. As the roots of the plant are exposed, they will tend to dry quickly. As a direct result, you will need to increase the amount of watering for your plants. Ideally, one that is attached should be watered on a daily basis. In addition, the will require frequent misting. Misting your orchid mimics the natural humid environment that this plant would have grown in.
Additional Tips for Mounting:
- Provide frequent aeration: whether with a fan or an open window to ensure that the roots are receiving a continual source of fresh air.
- Watch the roots for any residue, whether from a fertilizer or soft water, and gently wipe this residue off of the plants.
- Monitor the leaves for any disease or insect infestation, and treat the plant quickly to avoid the infestation from spreading.
This process is the most natural way to maintain these exotic plants. Although it does require a bit more upkeep, the rewards for nurturing this growing experience make the work worthwhile.