Mounting Orchids

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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...

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Port Richey, FL(Zone 9a)

Very interesting! Looks like an old palm frond.

Port Richey, FL(Zone 9a)

Can you explain more please. Do you grow the orchids right on these? Do you tie them to the frond and let them do their thing? Forgive me just trying to learn.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

It is indeed a frond stem, one of my favorite mounts among other weird items.

The photo above shows the palm frond stem after it has been soaked in water for several hours. Here is a photo of the moist sphagnum over the top.

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

BTW, go back two pics and you will see there is already a hole drilled with a wire loop to hang the finished mount.

Here is a photo of the back side of the frond stem showing the fiber (which is holding the sphagnum) secured.

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

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Port Richey, FL(Zone 9a)

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.

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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.
Laurel

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Port Richey, FL(Zone 9a)

It is VERY helpful. I can't thank you enough! Those pics and your comments are perfect. I have to say you are the best!

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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!

Port Richey, FL(Zone 9a)

:) I can't argue with that...don't want a punch in the nose ;)

Port Richey, FL(Zone 9a)

Oh yes, just a little design I came up with. I love tribal.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

lol and :)

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

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 . .

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

This message was edited Dec 19, 2011 9:36 PM

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

And here I've just been dragging those old fronds to the curb as trash. I'll need to start "recycling" some of them.
I'll be in FL Sat so will have to see what is lying in the yard that I can use.

Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

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.

Jim

Thumbnail by hawkarica
Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

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.

Jim

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Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

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.

Jim

Thumbnail by hawkarica
Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

Finally, I wet some more moss and put it on top of the orchid and wrap it all with the netting. I attach the netting to the back of the mount using a staple gun. Here is the final product.

Jim

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

That's a very good idea, Jim.

Port Richey, FL(Zone 9a)

Hi Jim, I really love what you did. That looks neat!

Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks, neighbor. The net really holds the moss in place.

Jim

Fleming Island, FL(Zone 9a)

I have used the mesh bags onions & apples come in to do the same mounting with my Bromilliads. They last a couple years.

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

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.

Elaine

Santa Ana, CA(Zone 10b)

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.

Carol

Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

I agree with Carol. The problem with Spanish moss is that it continues to grow and it harbors insects.

Jim

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

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 . . ?

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

Brea, CA(Zone 10b)

Laurel, when we were out this weekend we picked up some fronds from the wind storm. Going to try your system. Love the look of it.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Hickory pieces for this pair...

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

In the last photo I used dogwood. It lasts for years. Here are several different Cleisostomas also mounted on dogwood.

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

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.

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Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

This is a Brassavola nodosa mounted a year ago this past July. It's also on a curved piece of dogwood. Look at how it has grown and attached so many new roots!

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