I was gifted a cutting of Bulbophyllum careyanum recently. Several posters have had questions regarding mounting materials and methods so I thought I'd share one option in mounting. When I travel to Florida I collect those parts of the palms that connect to the tree. Sorry, I don't know the more scientific name for them but they are smooth on the exterior and porous on the interior. They look like this...
I have made an overlay of coconut fiber over the sphagnum and am getting ready to attach it with fishing line. The damp sphagnum lays below. Notice I have made a simple loop and drawn the line through. I cinch the fiber onto the mount to secure the sphagnum below.
I position the Bulbo on the mount with the newest lead and roots making contact with the mount. The older leads are less important. I'm wanting those young leads and their roots to grab on to the mounting material but I can't tie line onto that lead without a padding or I might damage the plant.
To tie directly across the lead would be like applying a tourniquet so I apply a very small pad of coconut fiber to the top of the lead by shoving it in there with a chopstick. The roots are still above the fiber but the lead is now covered and protected. I then tie the fishing line across that pad and tie the line off at the rear of the plant.
You are the sweetest person around here to take the time and post all this! Thank you so very, very much. I know all about these and many palm fronds as I paint on them :) Now I can do other crafts with them as well, wow they're handy little things! Thanks again for all the info, it's such a big help :)
This is one I did a few years back, working on Christmas ones now.
And here you have the finished plant. It will not look natural to its mount for a year or two because it has been repositioned but it should be happy. Not every mount should be done this way but I've found Bulbos love this method as do many other orchids. I am all about biodegradable, natural materials. This is a perfect material in my estimation. The mount is free and the remaining materials for this orchid cost under a dollar. This orchid is set for the next three or more years.
I have recently decided that a mounting or potting medium should last only as long as the orchid's need to move to a new home. I have orchids that need to be torn up and out of pots, baskets, etc. that will ultimately damage the plants and set back future blooms. Biodegradable containers, such as wicker baskets or mounts that are non-restrictive and can accommodate a 360 degree coverage are preferable. Hope this is helpful.
Nefitara, that is a very cool use of the stems. Is that tribal art of some type? Well now you have a new idea for the holidays that might include adding orchids to your art. Thank you for the kind comments though I decline any credit. Orchid forum has, hands down, the nicest people on DG and any anyone who says differently well... I'll give them a punch in the nose!
Great lesson, Laurel. Would a Phal do all right on a mount like that? How 'bout a Brassavola? I spent $6 for a piece of cork for my one big Brassavola, but I have at least 3 more that need to be mounted, and it will be great if I can use a mount like you made.
btw, the bases of palm fronds where they attach to the trunk are called 'boots'. Some palms, especially sabals, retain their boots, which gives the trunks the rough look, others shed them with the leaves. I have a nice big palm that sheds it's boots.
This little phal is really reaching for something . .
I am having terrible connectivity problems so please forgive.
Thanks, Elaine for putting a name to the "boots". They are great as instructed for Phals but the Brassavola would not need such a damp backing. I'd mount it straight on or maybe with a little coco fiber. Keep it moist until it attaches. The skin of that boot looks tough but orchid roots can grow right through and into that more fibrous, moist layer.
I don't know if this will help anyone but I like to use 'bird block' netting to help hold the moss in place. Here is a piece of birch that I picked up at a ham smoke house in Montenegro during our vacation. I've drilled a hole through it and attached a wire as a hanger.
This is a piece of the netting. They sell it in the garden department of the big box stores in 7 X 20 foot rolls. Its purpose is to cover fruiting plants so the birds do not steel the crop. I cut it in pieces and use it when mounting orchids.
I drill a couple more holes in the wood and use telephone wire to secure the orchid. I wet a small amount of moss and put it in the center of the wood, then put the bare root orchid on top and wire it in place. Perhaps you can see the orange wire.
That's a neat job, Jim. I even have some of that bird netting. Didn't help at all to keep the squirrels from eating my lychees . .
Here's a question, after reading the Ghost Orchids article Laurel sent a link for, d'you think it might be ok to use Spanish moss instead of sphagnum? Maybe good for Brassavolas that don't need as much moisture retentive stuff on the mount? I have lots of Spanish moss . . . and I like the color and texture of it.
dyzzypyxxy, I have one orchid mounted on a tree that I draped with spanish moss, and it loves it. Unfortunately, this orchid needs more light than it gets there, so doesn't bloom very well. The plant is rapidly spreading though. Just keep in mind that the moss thrives in an orchid environment, and continues to grow, so it might not be good on a separate mount. I got the idea from a book called "Growing Orchids In Your Garden" by Robert G. M. Friend. I'm thinking that a Brassavola might get lost in the moss?
If our predicted BIG wind doesnt blow everything away, I'll try to get a picture in a couple of days.
I do use live Spanish moss but not for mounting. It raises and stabilizes the humidity on some of the more delicate orchids; the ones that do not tolerate swings well. It's not a good general orchid medium for mounting. Now, that said, I brought home an armload from a tree in the parking lot where Jim and I had lunch. I was so attacked by chiggers on my arms and belly (yes I did hold it up against my chest bringing it in the house) and was itching for days. The critters seem to die off in the greenhut but I'll be more careful about handling Spanish moss in the future.
Ooo, chiggers are evil Laurel! They really like my jasmine groundcover around the mango tree, too. I spray with a mild soapy water solution all though the warm weather to keep them at bay. It always smells like my organic lavender hand soap out there even though the lavender plants die in the summer . ... but my ankles are bite-free generally.
So what I'm hearing here is that I can use it for 'decorative' purposes around the orchids, but not to use it for mounting? I've got a big hunk of Spanish moss sitting beside the driveway right now, so maybe I'll swish it in some soapy water and put it in the little orchid tent for humidity's sake. I wonder why it harbors more insects than sphagnum would . . ?
I may have discovered a new material to tie orchids to mounts. Today I mounted a small gift piece of Epidendrum schlecterianum http://www.orchidspecies.com/epischlecterianum.htm using polyester knitting yarn. I used yarn to tie plants in the garden this summer and it is very long lasting. The photo in the link was taken by one of my fellow orchid society members and comes from the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
Good luck, Ted. Though this is slightly off topic by referring to potting instead of mounting, remember you asked me about chopping wine corks? Here's the size I use for general potting. I'll follow with a few other mounts.
A cedar roof shake can be used whole or cut into several slender mounts. Make sure it is not treated. Because it is flat it is not good for mat forming orchids, IMO. Something round is better for those. Think about what the specimen will hopefully look like in a few years and decide if it will look its best on the proposed mount.
I always leave the Bulbos horizontal on their mounts when first monted. They stay more damp while establishing. Sometimes I leave them horizontal. Before the greenhut I placed the plant and its mount on an attractive dish with wet gravel. That made sure they had good humidity.
This Brassavola cucullata had outgrown its mount. The piece of wood it was on had a slight curve. I found a larger piece, also curved. Since there were roots on the back of the original mount I put a sandwich layer of sphagnum between the two pieces of wood to protect those roots and tied the two mounts together.
Been busy and I'm behind looking at posts. Thank Laurel for the cork pic. I have been working diligently collecting wine corks. Especially Merlot. I hear orchids really like those lol
I have saved this topic. Thanx to you it has become my reference for mounting. And I am finding I like the look of mounting better.
Here is the pic of the orchid mounted on the lemon tree, with Spanish moss draped around it. I just tied the plant on the tree with panty hose strips (no pad under it) and draped the moss around it to help with moisture.
LOL! Not! That was just an example for Dizzypixxi that the moss continues to grow, even in this climate. It is pretty, as an accent, but not a good medium for mounting. Did you noitice the thermometer? It made it up to 70 today. I had to shed my flannel! The Spanish moss doesn't grow here naturally, but we can buy it bagged, and it grows great in a protected area.
Carol, thanks! It does look really pretty. I'm going to try draping my big Brassavola with a little swag of it, as it's hanging against a stucco wall under the overhang right now so could use a little help with humidity.
I'd love a Spanish Moss sweater myself! Ditto on the offer of more moss if you want it. I have 3 huge oaks nicely adorned with it here.
Hmm, how about a living wreath made of moss for the holidays? I think I'm going to try that!
A friend of mine wanted a shady spot where there were no trees. She put up some vertical 4X4s and some cross pieces, building a pergola like structure. Then she stretched netting across the top and threw a bunch of Spanish moss on top of it. It grows and fills in nicely forming the roof. When it starts hanging down too far, she just clips it off and tosses it back on top of the net. Both she and the chiggers are quite content.
Lol, Jim! No chiggers on my Sp. moss. I swish clumps of it in a little tub of soapy water before I mess with it, and that seems to take care of the little beggars. Can't get rid of them in the jasmine groundcover, though . . but again, mild soapy water spray keeps them away from me.
I'd be willing to bet that the dry air in California kills chiggers, as well. Unless, of course you kept them happy by misting your Sp. moss and orchids, like Carol undoubtedly does . . . p'raps we'd best keep our moss.
Ted, it's been reported that orchids thrive on/in corks high in tannins. Keep up the good work but let me know if you need help. Maybe some Cabernet for balanced nutrition? Strictly speaking of orchids you know.
Suppose we must refine our tastes, and buy wine with real corks now. The synthetic ones sure don't absorb much tannin.
I'm in position to conduct a scientific experiment on the efficacy of tannins for orchid growing! (pretty good for a beginner, huh?) I drink white and DH likes red so if I can only remember to separate the corks . . . after all that collecting LoL
Then of course I'll have to buy two more 'chids. What varieties do you grow in the cork medium, Laurel?
Did I mention this orchid habit is getting both addictive and expensive?? Lovin it. Elaine
The few Cattleyas I grow seem to love the cut up corks. I have also seen them glued into a wooden frame to create a raft for mounting. I am going to drill a bunch through the long end and string four or five with monofiliment, then take three string's worth and join them horizontally with monofilament to create cork "logs". This idea came to me after seeing cork for mounts at twenty dollars for a ten or twelve inch piece.
We have an orchid society holiday party tonight along with a ribbon judging. I've got to get to filling out the papers on the 'chids participating in the beauty contest and cook.
I was wondering about in the Vanda section of one of the local grower greenhouses. Four foot long roots were bouncing off of my head as I looked for name tags. Then I noticed something was awry. One plant had the roots but the leaf structure was all wrong. When I red the tag, it said "Slc. India Rose Sherwood". I had never before seen a Catt with over four feet of dangling roots. This big boy wasn't cheap but it had to come home with me. I have it hanging here in Vanda row just to show how it stacks up with my big Vandas. The grower told me that almost any Catt will grow roots like this if it is mounted and properly cared for. I am really leaning toward mounting more and more of my orchids. It is the one in the center of the picture with the red flowers.
That looks great, Jim. For some reason the thumbnail is showing up as blank space unless I press on the box. Let's see if my pic does it.
Here's a photo of Dendrobium nemorale, a back bench rescue from last year's shopping with Jim. I cut a coconut in half, removed the nut and wired in the Den with extra coconut fiber on top. It is very happy. When it gets watered I hold the shell and fill it with water, then let the water run off.
That is some gaggle of roots, Jim. No, I've not seen quite that but I've seen them left on diamond grid benches overly long without repotting and they have grown in, around, through and down to the floor. I am doing a bit of annual root pruning on some of the 'chids, especially Vandas, to encourage new roots. It seems to be working out for me. Close to half my mature Vandas are in spike after being root pruned this past spring..
I forgot to mention that the actual coconut found an orchid use too. It got cut in half, the coconut removed and eaten, and the bottoms of the two halves drilled with three drainage holes each. I potted minis in them using small coconut bark chunk medium. The edges can be drilled for hanging. I stuck mine in terracotta pots to keep them from tipping. Much better than having to smash pots to repot the orchids.
Carol, I sometimes smash small terracotta pots and get rid of the loose pieces along with the old medium, letting the roots that cling to the terracotta stay put. Much better to not injure the tinies that are more fragile than big ones.
That is funny, Ted. I'd need a crane to lift our two beasts onto a mount.
Well, we're getting some light rain now, and the first thing I saw when I logged on to the internet was "high wind warning from tonight thru Sat. morning" so I'll likely have a few more smashed pots. Oh well, this low pressure system has brought the night temps up from the 30s to the 40s, and I got Andy's show schedule for shows...
We had an exceptionally warm day today. I opened up the greenhut for a good airing. The cool growing 'chids have been out for two days and will be able to stay out until Sat. night when the temps dip again.
Mine would not be a problem, Laurel. She is a Shih-Tzu and he is a Pug Tzu.
Raining here too Carol. Have to batten down some of the hanging plants tonite. Oh, Well. I got that e-mail from Andy's. His first show is at a reptile show at the LA Fairgrounds. Obviously Andy is a man of many interests. lol
Andy's will be at our show in March. Actually Harry will be here. I think our show is the same time as the Santa Barbara show (?) Andy is a very interesting guy. I really enjoyed meeting him this past year. He is very down to earth and easy to talk to. I've only met Harry via telephone. He too is warm and easy to have an exchange with.
That's funny, Laurel. His help seems to think that Harry is the talker, but I spent 20 mins chatting with Andy at the last show here. Of course he was selling...
Ted, the Westminster show is in Feb. That has been good these past two years, and lots closer. I should know what I need to replace by then...maybe. In theory, I'm going to have a helper to get my orchid shack enclosed this weekend, but it will depend on his cut finger and if we get serious wind, I suppose. In the meantime, I'm doing my spring cleaning in Dec. due to the fumigation.Uhggg.
Carol, I've been waiting to hear about your construction. What's up with that? You've been vague about it here. Are you going green(hut)?
Ted, it's the San Diego show I was thinking of. Andy is supposed to be at that one while Harry is at ours. Harry will be staying over to talk to our orchid society the following Monday night. Additional great news is Ivan Portilla from Ecuagenera is coming as a speaker this winter too. If you can find him at your shows you will love his species orchids. http://www.ecuagenera.com/epages/whitelabel4.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/ecuagenera
Laurel, I've got a roof and the triangle shaped windows on the orchid shack, but life got in the way before I got walls and door. Right now it is wrapped with some shade cloth to buffer the wind. I got a roll of visqueen (sp?) the other day, and a friend is supposed to help me get it enclosed this weekend. We'll see, the winds are blowing now, and predicted for tomorrow too.
That's the plan! Too late. I thought I had a roof on it, but when I went out to water I found I only have 2/3 of a roof. The other third was wedged in the lemon tree. The wind has backed off a bit, but it's almost sunset, so it will have to keep till tomorrow.
So, following on Ted's lead of looking at everything as potential mounts for orchids, did someone mention "totems"? LoL
My dad used to carve these out of pieces of driftwood he found. This one is red cedar and may have had a little bit of some type of oil on it 20 yr. ago. Any thoughts on using it to let my Vanilla orchid climb?
I hear you, Carol! I left a few roof panels unfastened and raised this past October and went out of town. It was warm during the day and I was trying to ventilate heat off the roof. Youngest son called to say it had turned cold and asked if there was plastic around for the open part of the roof. I told him to just lower the roof panels and he said, "What panels?" I assured him there were panels somewhere. They had blown clear off the deck. That one cold night blasted flowers on all the Vandas and several Dendrobiums in bud.
Also found this half-basket festering in the garden, and figured it might hold my big Epi if I just fasten it to the fence. Should I put in a new coco fiber liner? Or maybe just line it with mesh fabric to hold some medium until the roots grow through to hold the plant in place?
That Epi is horribly fragile and I'm breaking stems off every time I move it so I'm anxious to get it settled somewhere. Can I just lay the cuttings on the medium and mist faithfully to get them to root? Some pieces have aerial roots already but some don't. They aren't wilting or anything just yet, though.
I think that half basket would be perfect for a big Epi. I would put a piece of coco fiber just in the back to keep the roots off of the fence. Leave the front open for the roots to cascade down. Some mesh and bark is fine in the beginning but the orchid will ignore it as time passes.
Good grief, Laurel! (been watching Charlie Brown onTV) I'm hardly up to speed on my orchid addiction and you think I should try Hoyas, too??
I actually have another of Dad's driftwood totems that's over twice the size and already hanging on a north-facing wall but it's made of yellow cedar which is a very oily wood, so I'm not as keen to try it as a mount just yet. It has been outdoors a lot longer than this one though, so possibly would work fine too.
Maybe next summer it will support all these crazy little phals I seem to have - like the tribbles, they're multiplying!!.
Funny you should mention the Westminster Show, Carol. Never made it there and just put it on my calendar today. And I'll make a note of visiting Ivan Portilla in Santa Barbara, Laurel. Wind has been bad all day. Our shop is in Covina. About 15 miles due north and along the foothills and the wind was blasting. When we got home we found that the two dogs got loose. Somehow the gate blew open. Fortunately we have great neighbors and they got them back in the yard and put one of my larger pots against the gate to hold it shut. Not too much damage, but like you said, it is supposed to keep up until mid day tomorrow.
Really, Carol, you are so lax about being accountable here. Maybe it's because your having to chase things down all over the yard. lol I actually get the roof and window thing. The framing is done and it's partially covered guys. Don't you know nuddin' 'bout construction?
Ted, glad you recovered your dogs. That's always scarey. I read a few years ago that more than half the dog owners lose their dogs forever at some point.
Elaine, you will need some semi-rigid plastic on the flat side of that basket. It can go into the inside of a new coco liner. Otherwise the roots will go straight though the coco mat. I have orchids on solid wood mounts with roots that have gone through the wood. I'd use bark chips or coconut husk chunks inside the liner. The orchid will need time to establish before it can rely on the elements for consistent moisture and nutrients. I top dress my orchids with variety of media, depending on the plant, as the old mix washes out.
Okay, forgot why I came here. lol Several years ago there was a fire on the property adjoining Maypop. Unfortunately the fire spread to our property and burned about a half acre of our woods. I won't get into how distraught we were but while scrambling around to assess the damage I found a neat piece of wood and packed it out. Knowing that orchid mixes often contain charcoal there had to be a potential resident in the collection. Here it is with a Saccolabiopsis tenella.
*Note to self to check: Check spelling more often to not embarr(ass) self about spelling words with "ass" in them like assess. lol
I drilled a hole through it about an inch and a half from the top. Then I drilled a smaller hole straight down from the top so that it intersected the first hole. I doubled a wire and put the two ends down the top hole and fished them out each side. I brought up the ends and wrapped them around the loop that is protruding from the top.
I put some orchid bark in the basket followed by the bare root orchid, then more bark so it is tightly in place. Once the orchid firmly attaches itself to the wood, I will remove the wire basket and the orchid bark. Here is the final result:
I mentioned a few years ago that I used to mount on luffa. It's become quite expensive but recently a fellow orchid society member who is also an avid veggie gardener came to me at a meeting and handed me a huge luffa she had grown and cured this summer. Wow! Well I didn't grow Bulbos back in the days I used luffa but now do and decided to try a few sprigs of Bulbo. odoritssimum on a piece of the luffa. Often Bulbos are bad about repots but this one has gone to town with new roots and new leads.
Here's my new 'David Sander' going every which way in a tiny little clay pot. It's very green, healthy and vigorous looking, but also confused as to which way to grow? I imagine giving it a permanent location will help with the directional challenge?
Probably shouldn't disturb it for now with the 3 new leads or spikes going off upper left, but this looks like a case where I'm going to eventually need to break the pot to give this guy a new home.
Sure would welcome suggestions - if I mount on a palm boot with coco fiber, or a piece of cork can I maybe get it to all go one way?
I mount those types hanging down. The new leads will grow with some going up and some going down giving a rounder, and IMO, better form to the plant. Now would be the time to mount while new growths are coming so the new roots can anchor to the mount.
Loofa, who'da thought. We have some of that laying around and I was wondering if the store bought kind would work. I realize it would have to be boiled, Laurel, to get it clean, but do you need to do anything else to it?
Any thoughts out there on sealing or curing a piece of wood before mounting an orchid on it? You don't want the wood to rot nor grow fungus but you don't want chemicals that will harm the plant either.
In furniture building, another hobby, I know the only safe coating would be shellac. AFTER is has dried and cured. It is made from bug parts (really) and when dry is actually edible. If fact, most of the gloss you see on candies and pills is shellac. Drying and curing are important as the carrier of the shellac is usually a solvent. Drying is when it is dry to the touch and curing is when all the solvent has gassed out of the varnish. Length all depends on how thick, how many coats, humidity. But we are talking days here not months or years.
Jim, I haven't searched back but I'm pretty sure Laurel was saying earlier in this thread that it's not a bad thing for a mount to break down in 2 or 3 years as that's often time to re-mount anyway.
That being said, if you have a slow grower mounted on something like cedar, I'll bet it would last many years. Red cedar is used for siding and roofs (not so much any more - fire hazard) very commonly up in the soggy Pac. Northwest where I am from. Weathers to a lovely grey patina and lasts for decades.
Seems like shellac is more of a surface sealant rather than something that soaks into the wood to help preserve it. It might prevent the orchid roots from attaching to the wood, or if the roots attached to the shellac, would it then flake off?
So maybe just pick your type of wood according to how fast the orchid will outgrow it?
That's food for thought, Elaine. You and I both know that here in Florida lichens, moss and mold grow even on the shady spots of live trees. I have been soaking prospective mounts in a clorine/water mix and then using a wire brush on them before washing and drying in the sun. That at least gets rid of the majority of stuff living on the old wood. I was just thinking it would be nice to then soak the mount in something to preserve it and hinder the lichens from regrowing.
MaypopLaurel wrote:And here you have the finished plant. It will not look natural to its mount for a year or two because it has been repositioned but it should be happy. Not every mount should be done this way but I've found Bulbos love this method as do many other orchids. I am all about biodegradable, natural materials. This is a perfect material in my estimation. The mount is free and the remaining materials for this orchid cost under a dollar. This orchid is set for the next three or more years.
I have recently decided that a mounting or potting medium should last only as long as the orchid's need to move to a new home. I have orchids that need to be torn up and out of pots, baskets, etc. that will ultimately damage the plants and set back future blooms. Biodegradable containers, such as wicker baskets or mounts that are non-restrictive and can accommodate a 360 degree coverage are preferable. Hope this is helpful.
Yeah, and I recently did a Master Gardener presentation on 'Alternatives to Turf' where somebody commented about stuff growing on nearly anything that stands still for long enough here in Florida! It's the price of living in a greenhouse, right?
Does it matter if lichens and moss grow on an orchid mount? If they were growing in nature, surely orchids would deal with that small competition?
Ted, I don't know how to prep the luffa but will try remember to ask the grower when I see her tomorrow.
Jim, you do want the wood to rot and fungus to grow. That is part of the symbiotic relationship that orchids have with other organisms in the environment. Some of those organisms might be creating food for your plants. You should not need to disinfect your materials. I love to find wood with mosses growing for my mounts. Any preservative can be toxic to plants. As for glazed ceramics, aside from not knowing the contents of the glazes (like maybe lead), they seal the container and prevent it from breathing. It's like growing in plastic. The beauty of mounts is there is very little clean up to an outgrown mount. You can't say the same of potted plants that need re-potting. Even when my growing space was mostly shelves and not ideal for mounts I mounted and stuck the mounts in weighted terracotta pots.
Why then, after visiting dozens of grower greenhouses down here, have I yet to see an orchid mounted on a piece of wood laden with lichens and fungus?
Besides, I'm not too keen on bringing that sort of thing into my spiffy new greenhouse.
Jim, most commercial growers buy mounts by the box load, already drilled and with hangers, from milled scraps. However, I have a number of mounts from a variety of growers (including Andy's) that have live mosses on them. I sometimes go out in the yard and remove moss from rotting trees and mount it with the orchids.
I've been casting around the yard for a good mount for my new 'David Sander' shown above.
Here are my two options, and I'd sure appreciate input as to which I should use. One is a palm boot with a chunk of coco fiber attached, as Laurel described above. Boot was soaked in rainwater, and is nice and clean.
The other is an old tree fern stump that I hacked out of the flower border and has had nothing done to it. Plan to cut it in half lengthwise to make two nice size mounts. I really like the dark color and texture for setting off the plant, but probably need to treat this material somehow before using it. Bayer insecticide douse? Soak in something?
On the same mounting job, when I go to remove the 'chid from the little clay pot, I'm assuming I'll have to break the pot? Hammer? Crack it like an egg? Soak the pot first? Those little clay pots are pretty sturdy sometimes - especially when you want it to break, right?
Roots do seem to be firmly attached to the clay, both inside and out. Is there any harm in leaving the pieces of clay attached to the roots? Feel like I'd hurt them a lot more if I tried to remove the clay.
I would crack the clay pot with a hammer. Any clay remnants firmly attached to the roots can be mounted with the orchid. I like that piece of tree fern and would probably opt for it. I think soaking it in soapy water would be sufficient.
I mounted Bc. mermaid 'Janice' on a piece of orange wood today. Here she is:
That looks lovely, Jim. Her little double leaves look like the tail of a mermaid, too.
Thanks for the advice, I'm still trying to find the right tool to cut the tree fern stump so that it has a flat side. The Sawzall didn't work too well, but I think if I get a finer-toothed blade it will cut. Soapy water sounds like a good plan, too.
I'm now working on a little rectangular bamboo raft to fasten three of my Little Lulu's onto, so that I can then fasten the raft onto the big oak branch. I want it to have lots of spaces where the roots can get through to attach to the oak bark. Every time I walk under that branch I'm thinking how pretty it will look if they take to the spot, and bloom. The light on the branch is just perfect for a Brassavola, gentle peeks of sun through the foliage all day long. Even when the sun's overhead, it will have good light but very little direct sun.
I have a whole family of little 'chids that are needing to be mounted in the next month or so. Been shopping at the grower along the street who is closing down, lots of neat things, I even got a 'Sharry Baby' for $6!
Mounting exercise for 'David Sander' as I finally got DH to cut the tree fern stump in half for me so I have two nice mounts. The little clay pot broke nicely with a few taps from the handle of my big screwdriver.
Now, I've teased out a bunch of the old medium, but I have a big mass of tightly bonded (but otherwise mostly healthy looking) roots that were up against one side of the clay pot. They are stuck to each other very firmly and I need to know if I will do more harm to leave them stuck together, or to get more aggressive with my chopsticks and pull them apart?
I have not fastened it to the mount yet, it is just sitting on top in these pictures.
I see people here advising to always take the whole mass and pot on. This is not what I learned. I always cut away about a quarter to a third of the roots and (in more recent years) dust with cinnamon or (formerly) treat with fungicide. This encourages new root growth. Though some orchids hate it, many orchids benefit from dividing and root pruning just like perennials. You're wanting the shorter roots to start to branch.
Shoot I haven't taken pics of my cedar planks that I have so will later for evaluation from the experts here. But a quick question is how long should the wood "cure" I've had it cut and hanging for about 8 weeks now.
Thanks to Elaine for shopping for me and getting some killer deals I have a nice little box of Orchids to mount.
Still trying to figure out if I can sneak off to go to Apopka with you guys since it's so close...and would be fun to have some shopping buddies !
I don't know what the cure time would be. We had a couple of really old shingles out in the garage. It would be a good idea to give them a good soaking. Be very sure your shingles are not treated. Crape myrtle makes great mounts too and cuttings are usually pretty easy to get hold of from landscapers. Remember, most orchids grow on live trees, not dead ones.
The only cedar I've used are kiln dried shim shingles and that's just a few times. Years ago, SO gave me a beautiful jewelery box carved from a single cedar burl. It had drawers and secret compartments lined with felt. After placing jewelery in the box, the silk holding my pearls together had rotted, my watches stopped and everything was gummy. It was the cedar oil (which was really more like tar) seeping from the wood. My watches had to be disassembled and rebuilt, stones removed for cleaning and the pearls de-gummed and restrung. I've been wary about cedar ever since.
Mj, to get rid of the aromatic oils from the wood, maybe something like pouring boiling water over it will speed up the process? Just a thought about what could be non-toxic (soaps might or might not be) but still remove oils.
Maybe leave the pieces out in the sun/rain, and try that on one piece to see if it 'weathers' faster. If it turns color faster than the other pieces, that means the oils (which preserve the wood) are leaching out.
All those little slatted baskets and rafts you see at the orchid growers are made of cedar, aren't they? Tons of orchids grow in them just fine. That's a little cedar basket sticking out the other side of the flowers in this pic.
Elaine, that's what I was thinking also..alot of the baskets are made of cedar. I'm just wondering how long to let it age...I've got them hanging on a wire fence, and have been watering them ( not like I don't have enough to water LOL...), they aren't in the full sun. SO was concerned that would make them split, tho I'm not sure that would be a bad thing.
I've been looking on line and have found cork and tree fern are the most recomended. Pine is bad for the sap output. Fruit wood is also on the good list. I did not see cedar listed as either good or bad. I did find this: "Whichever of the orchid mounts you choose (other than the direct tree mount), you will need to soak it in water for at least 8 hours along with some Sphagnum Moss. Remove your orchid plant from its pot and, with disinfected shears or scissors, snip off any part of the roots that is dried up. Spread the pre-soaked moss over the waterlogged mounting media and then arrange the roots of your orchid plant on top of it. Now you need to tie the plant to the moss and the mount and for that you can use a fishing line, a pair of old panty hose, a plastic covered wire and so on". I hope this helps.
Here's an 'environmentally positive' idea - leave the hose lying in the sun, so the water in it will warm up. Whenever you think of it, give those cedar pieces a spray with the hot water that's in the hose. I think if the pieces are going to split or crack, they'll do it sooner or later anyway. Again, it's the oils that help the wood retain moisture so it doesn't crack. You're wanting to leach out the oils so . . . splits happen.
(couldn't resist) As you pointed out, it doesn't really matter for an orchid mount anyway - give the plant a place to get its roots into the wood.
You also might be able to tell it's cured when the wood has lost most of its aroma. Sniff it every week or so when it's warm in the sun, and see if the cedar-y smell is getting less. It's the oil that makes the wood smell (so good).
I just found this on the Marble Branch Orchids web site: "We mount our orchids on very long lasting materials, typically Eastern Red Cedar and Crape Myrtle. Many of these plants can stay on the same mount for many years to come".
Wood used for construction is kiln dried. I can't advise you here with surety. I would say if you have spare orchids to experiment with you might know within a few months. SO makes my baskets from scrap cedar fencing boards. It's kiln dried. The heart wood will have the heaviest oils. I have gone to him for advice on this and he says, "Do not use the heart wood as that will have the heaviest oils. That is what is used for aromatic cedar". Well that's the advice from one orchid grower and one orchid enabler. Got a planer?
Cork sheets for mounting have become really price prohibitive, IMO, and tree fern, though not endangered, has been grossly over-harvested. There is a huge anti-tree fern contingency among orchid growers out there thus the growing popularity of Epiweb http://www.epiweb.se/english.htm I have tree fern saved from many years ago (when I admittedly attributed to being part of the problem). I'd probably not buy it today.
Laurel, have you used the Epiweb? If so, positives-negatives? The only US dealer I could find was Paramount Orchids, and it seemed a bit pricey, but so is the tree fern. I'll ask Ursula too, but two opinions are better than one, and I know she uses it.
I've not needed it yet, Carol. I know Ursula loves it. It's expensive for what should be a cheap product but look at it as a non-degradable product that will serve as a mount for many years. I've been lucky enough to have alternatives at this point. Truthfully though, I've mentioned it before, I prefer degradable products.
Here's my (almost) finished mount for my 'David Sander'. Just need to get DH to help me put a wire through it to hang it.
I used a piece of dead tree fern stump from my garden, and tied the plant to it using the bird netting that Jim suggested. I cut some pieces and was having trouble getting it fastened nicely. So I cut a few more pieces on the bias (diagonally across the squares) which made the netting stretchy, so I could tie it nice and firmly across the back of the mount and it stretched around the plant. I really like that you can hardly see the netting.
I think I'm going to hang it with the leaves facing sideways so they'll all go in one direction. If I point the leaves up, they flop over every which way. I know eventually - being a brassavola cross - the plant will put leaves out in all directions anyway, but for now I like the way it looks sort of flowing to the side.
It looks great, Elaine. My only issue with plastic netting is you can never get it out once the roots go through it. What's going to hold that orchid on the mount is the new roots going into the mount. Once that happens I usually remove whatever was securing the plant. It looks like this plant should do well.
Plastic netting is easy to snip off with a pair of scissors.
I made another wrong turn on my way home from the supermarket today and found myself in front of Phelps' Orchid Farm greenhouses. The purpose was to inquire about using wood for orchid mounts, at least that is what I was telling myself at the time. The advise I was given was to avoid pine and eucalyptus. Grape vine, cork, fruit wood, cypress and bottle brush were the best. I asked specifically about cedar and was told that cedar shake shingles make great mounts but I should avoid aromatic cedar.
I soon spotted a huge Schomburgkia (now Myrmecophila) tibicinis mounted on a 3 foot piece of grape vine. It was just beautiful but they wouldn't budge from $100. I finally managed to talk my way into a $25 cutting from it and I did get about a quarter of the plant. I already have it mounted and hanging out in the OC. To understand why I am so excited, check this out: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/orchidsgal/msg051121... A small but healthy looking Epc. Rene Marques 'Tyler' jumped into the truck at the last minute. They had a big one in full bloom and it is lovely. Here is the bloom: http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchidtalk/cattleyas-vandas-de...
Wow, Jim that Rene Marques is a fabulous flower! Looks like the lip faces backwards?
Are you going to mount your Schomburgkia up in a tree?
I've got another big hunk of tree fern, plus two cedar rafts and a palm boot mount all ready to go, but we're going sailboat racing tomorrow, so . . well maybe tomorrow evening I'll get time to work on mounting my new 'chids.
Mj, had another thought about your cedar branches, as I was just looking at your pics of the pieces above.
Maybe mount the orchids on the side of the piece with bark? That way it would be away from the heart wood that has most of the aromatic oil, and by the time the orchid roots get to the heart wood, hopefully a lot of the oil will be gone.
Getting into this mounting exercise, now. On the right is Lc. Cariad's 'Mini Quinee' - love the name. Think I should tuck some sphagnum around its roots? It's got coco fiber behind and some of the roots are tucked in between the coco fiber pieces.
Left is Catcyclia Leaf Hopper, ready to go on a little cedar raft. Again, does it need some more fiber-y medium?
I broke off a couple of little pseudobulbs (middle of pic) as I was easing it (yeah right!) so gently from it's tiny plastic prison. Any future in putting them out to pasture, or are they just spent?
I worry about mounting on the bark side of a brance as the bark is always the first thing to decay and fall off. Also, whether you should tuck more moss around your orchid mounts depends on how much you water. If you mist or water daily, no moss is necessary.
I mist daily, but do so right about Noon, so every thing drys off well before the temps drop. For a few days it will be run out there at around 10:00 tonight and turn the heat on low, just enough to keep every one happy, but not baby them too much.
Well, let's just hope this works...oh and I picked up a couple of cuties, and will post tomorrow, but I can say for now, Stanhopea tricnoris, IS NOT a fragrance I care to have around...UGGHHHHHHH, Smelled on in full bloom this afternoon at EFG...I don't care if you gave it to me, it's no one I'd have living here !! Yuck... !!!!!!
I do mist everybody most days. But after a rain - like yesterday - I let them all dry out for a day. Think I'll add a few bits of moss to Mini Quinee - chop sticks work great for poking it through the netting. Also pad the raft for Leaf Hopper with coco fiber. That way if I do have to miss a day here or there I won't worry about them.
I'm with you Mj. I don't care how pretty a flower is. If it smells bad it ain't living at my house. Druther look at a picture of a stinky flower.
Philosophy at the last two houses was "if it doesn't smell or taste good, I'm not growing it". I'm still growing lots of fragrant and tasty things, but must admit I've fallen off the wagon on this garden, with the beautiful foliage plants, insectivorous ones and of course, some - only a few! - of my orchids aren't fragrant.
Speaking of stinky Orchids...was up at EFG yesterday, and there was a Stanhopea tricornis blooming...YUCK..
Did have a Potinara Hoku Gem sunspots nice overgrown 3 in. pot which had already bloomed on 3 spikes for $5.00 and a BR noid Cat in bloom for $5.00 come home with me. I'll take a pic of it later.
Didn't think to ask if the Potinara was a good one for mounting, either way it's one I can't wait to see I love freckled blooms..
I'm having a busy weekend but wanted to drop in with the response from Mark Reinke from Marble Branch regarding the cedar mounting. It is as follows...
"We haven't used much Western Cedar, which is what I'm assuming she is planning on using because its not generally available here, so our only experience with it is kiln dried shingles and board scraps. Those were just fine. But I would think fresh wood should be dried for about a year and allowed to weather a bit outside for the best results. That is what we do with the Eastern Red Cedar (really a Juniper) and Crape Mytle wood we use. The fresh sap, as you suggest, could be harmful to orchid plants."
It's Southern Red Cedar,also known as Eastern Red Cedar, ( Juniperus virginiana) cut here in Florida when a utility line had to be cleared.
I figured it would need to age while, but didn't realize a year. We've cut a bunch more into thin slabs similar in size to the cedar shake shingles. It's all being stored outside where the elements can do their job. I'll just use something else in the meantime.
And now for something completely different. Check out this piece of bamboo. I saw it at Phelps Farm Nursery when I stopped there the other day. It is about a yard long and 5 inches in diameter. They cut little rounded slices out in the hollow areas and drilled holes in the back for drainage. It looks like you could mount 4 little orchids in it and let them dangle. I love it.
Very nice, Jim. I was wondering about using bamboo, since nobody's mentioned it. I figured it was because it's so hard and smooth. But the cut edges and interior are more rough, so maybe better for roots to attach to?
I have a huge clump of bamboo, but my culms are about 2 1/2in diameter. Wonder if I could fasten two lengths together side by side, then see if DH can cut me a couple of semi-circles to mount my three 'Little Lulu's into. Then I can fasten that on the old oak tree branch easily and it would look nice while the 'chids get themselves attached.
I made a little raft out of small bamboo branches, but it's not very stable and I'm circling it warily before I take the plunge and fasten anybody onto it.
I love this forum! I think it's one of the best on DG. The pictures that you all post give me inspiration, I love coming here and seeing what everyone is doing with their orchids.
I'm just starting out and only have 4 orchids myself, but in Oct. my first orchid (that I really tried to keep alive) will make 1 yr that I've had her and she is doing ok. Not as good as all of yours I see, but it's living and I'm happy about that. I have a phal orchid that I brought into the house, it wasn't doing good outside...maybe too hot? the leaves were getting droopy. It seems to be doing a little better in the house. It seems to like the cooler months in Fl, rather than the summer months.
After six months, this thread comes to life. Welcome, Nefitara, it's good to have you here. Port Richey is close enough to call you neighbor. The problem with your Phalaenopsis is probably not related to the heat. I have several of them living outside and they do fine. Floppy leaves could well be a watering issue or a root rot issue. What are you using as your potting medium?
Yes, it's always nice to have a new person on the Orchids forum! Glad you found us, Nefitara. I agree with Jim, all my orchids live outside and my phals are very happy even though it's been so hot. I would take your phal outside again asap! They do not like a sudden change of light, humidity or temperature very much. (they're divas, jmho, and don't like any sort of change, in fact)
I've had a couple of my phals do that floppy-leaves act. Both of them recovered after about a month. I carefully re-potted them - well, one I took out of its pot and mounted it on a piece of palm boot. In each pot I found a big soggy wad of sphagnum moss bunched up under the roots. If your phals have been outside the last month or so, in all the rain we've had, and IF they also have that moss in their pots that stays wet too long, there's a good chance you've got a root rot issue. Take the droopy one out of her pot right away and look at the roots.
Re-pot using phalaenopsis mix you can get at any nursery or garden center. There are good directions on the bag. When you have the orchid cleaned off and all the rotted roots removed, dust the roots with cinnamon powder. It's the Big Secret to saving phals, in my opinion. It has both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
ps. I don't remember seeing Ted's posts with the orchids mounted on the tree fern above - do you suppose that is a living tree fern? I have a beautiful big tree fern growing in my border, but didn't know if it was such a good idea to mount orchids on its trunk - guess I might try it now!
Well call me a naysayer, but Phals hate hot weather, especially when potted in a sphag or old bark medium and kept wet. Indeed Phals are warm growing but struggle with high summer temps and wet media. They are better off in air conditioning and lower humidity if you live in a hot climate. I quit growing Phals because they are orchids that are easy to grow if you have their zonal conditions but there's more to the equation outside of that (my) range. They can survive hot weather if properly mounted and conditioned but need a cooling off period in Fall to bloom during, which accomodates their normal Winter to Spring bloom cycle. They, like many other orchid genera, are day length sensitive so you should have an understanding of day length effects to get blooms. This is super important.
All this said, a friend brought over a bunch of salvaged and sunburned Phals, all unnamed, a few weeks ago. The leaves of most have fallen off and I am now in the rescue business of fifteen or so mini and standard Phals.
Phals grow well in that high summer range of 75-85 degrees. That's why they are the perfect houseplant and a more challenging outdoor or greenhouse plant. They are also happiest with mid fifties to sixties shorter day autumn temps for a good four to six weeks to induce blooms from winter through spring.
Elaine, that tree fern is on concrete and tho you can't see the top it is cut off about 6 inches above the picture. What I am getting at is that it is not a living tree. Don't know if that makes any difference or not, but thought I'd just let you know.
Nefitara, just to further confuse you, I'll throw in my 2 cents from the West Coast. I also recieved a bunch of Phals, in bloom, from a neighbor's funeral arangement last year. Since I really don't need 7 white standard Phals, I decided to experiment with different potting mediums. Keep in mind that our temps haven't gotten above 80 until this week, and we have NO rain from March to October. Mine are in a kind of portable greenhouse...open in summer, closed in winter. The ones I potted in dried pine bark, and the ones I potted in expanded ceramic are not doing well for me . I believe it's because those mediums don't hold any water. The ones in fine fir bark, same story. The ones doing the best for me with my weekly watering schedule are in either coarse (fir bark) orchid mix are doing well, as are (though I hate to say it) in long fiber spagnum. In your environment, with the summer rain and humidity the first two I mentioned would probably work well for you, or mounted should also work. Phals need bright shade,and some moisture in the root zone, but not wet. If they are in packed spagnum, it has to be fresh. It breaks down quickly and needs to be changed, or the roots rot.
They say that Phals are easy beginner orchids. Ha! I think they say that because IF you can get them to survive, you can grow any orchid.
Good luck, and welcome to the orchids forum!
Ah, yes I didn't look all the way to the bottom of the tree fern picture. Guess I might hold off on mounting an orchid on my living tree fern. Thanks, Ted.
I wonder if phals do ok in the heat here because it's so nice and humid when it's hot. (ick) I hardly ever water mine, and you can see in my picture above, they are very happy. Jim says his are outside, too, and doing fine. ON days when it clouds over in the afternoons, it rarely gets above about 88. Other than the odd cold night in winter, we have fabulous conditions most of the time outdoors here, for at least half the year and they sure seem to bloom great.
Mine seem to put on a lot of big, healthy growth in the summer. I guess they are well conditioned, except for the little variegated one I mounted on the palm boot, which seems to struggle no matter what the weather. It bloomed happily in the spring, then wilted before the blooms were even finished. Then it got the black plague in June when the weather was so wet. This time the phals are staying put, and will do without water for a week. Should be better for them than if it rains and they get soaked again.
There seems to be a very fine line between "moist but not wet" with phals. I mist the roots that are hanging out of the pot when I water my mounted orchids, but only actually pour water through them every 10 days, depending on the weather. Dunking them doesn't work well at all for me!
Isn't it Phals that don't like water sitting in the leaves, where they join the stem? I know I'm always careful when watering to water the medium & not pour water onto the leaves. The one I have on the deck is far enuf in that when it rains, it does not get wet. The other Orchids, I water the entire plant.
Good point, Jean. Water left sitting in the crown can be fatal, especially on cool days.
On another point, millions of Phals are raised in unairconditioned green houses in southeast Asia, Latin America and Florida. They can handle 90 to 95 degrees just fine as long as there is good air movement, correct humidity and proper watering. What they don't like is cold and change; kind of like us old folks.
Yes, they need good air movement and don't mind wet leaves as long as water does not stand in the crown. However, in warm climates they are greenhouse grown with swamp coolers to bring down those mid-nineties temps and keep high humidity from causing disease problems. They are often commercially grown on slanted racks to avoid wet crowns. Finally, they are frequently sprayed with fungicides and fertilizers as well as growth and bloom additives. Light and temps are also controlled since their blooming is triggered by day length and a temporary drop in temperature that mimics a tropical winter.
And I have Phal's in Clay pots hanging out under the Oak Tree's ...Crowns straight up...knowing that when the weather cools they will sit on the lower shelves of the greenhouse...they are lush, happy and getting bigger it seems all the time...I think they just do what they want to do...I know I've done this for several summers and never was lacing for blooms from Nov/Dec on. I have a noid purple one now that still has one bloom left...that it just will not let go of. But all of these get good air flow...makes me thing that is maybe the biggest factor.Oh and lots of fertilizer...they are hungry puppies.
Been away for a while. I enjoyed all the advice, but now I'm a little more confused...lol. Let me first say, when I first got the phal I became a member of DG. If it weren't for this forum my orchids would be dead, so I want to Thank Everyone who gives advice and opinions on this thread!
Yes, I repotted and cleaned the roots out last year as soon as I got it. I bought orchid bark by Better-Gro and got a bag of lava rock. I had read that lava rock was good to mix in with the bark. I did bring my phal in the house because I thought it would be better and I was right. It may be true that they like the heat and can live out doors just fine, but mine for some reason likes the window in the kitchen. I did do something that I never did before. I soaked the phal (in pot) in a bowl of water and a small amount of miracle grow. Since I did that it perked up, growing a new leave out of the middle and has 3 new roots growing off it now!! I guess it needed that. I wasn't sure it that was good idea, but I tried it and it worked. :))