Orchids, orchids, everywhere!
If you find yourself with limited “real estate” for the new orchids you just brought home, there’s no need to fret. Living in tropical climates, like Hawaii, grants us the luxury of moving our flowery friends outdoors.
Most orchids are epiphytes, which means in the wild they grow on and anchor themselves to other plants and trees. Their roots collect nutrients from the air, rainwater and organic debris like rotting leaves and twigs.
Once they become established on their new tree host they will require next to nothing from you and are generally much happier and healthier than they may have been in a pot. It’s a win, win for all involved!
Mounting Orchids 101 – It’s all about the light
So how might we go about this whole tree mounting business? The main requirement to consider is the proper lighting condition for the type of orchid you’re mounting.
Get to know your orchids’ particular light preferences and choose a location based on that.
BeautifulOrchids.com website has a great reference for light requirements for various orchid geniuses.
Typically, a spot with partial shade/indirect sunlight will be a good fit for most species. Once this is decided, it is time to attach the orchid to its’ new host!
- Select a tie-material: You can use cotton string, twine, hemp or even panty hose if that’s what you have lying around! Biodegradable strings are best for environmental as well as aesthetic purposes.
- Nestle the orchid with its newest growth and youngest roots up to the tree. This way as the new roots develop and grow they will eventually begin to attach and wrap around the tree.
- Add medium or moss: With the panty hose method or wide burlap ribbon you can add a little orchid medium to your mount to help it with water retention while the orchid adapts to its new environment.
- Tie your string of choice around the lowest part of the orchid and its roots until it is secure and snug with the tree.
- It will take approximately 4-6 weeks before you notice the roots beginning to attach themselves to the trunk of the tree and, eventually, wrap around it.
Mounting Orchids 101 – H20 & Fertilizing
During the first few months, you will want to water your orchid regularly to keep it from drying out.
Also, remember to fertilize every couple weeks to keep it flourishing.
Compost tea is an excellent source of nutrients and microorganisms to keep your orchids’ roots healthy while they establish themselves. If you don’t have time to make your own, Kauai Seascapes brews compost tea every week and is available on Thursdays.
Monitor your orchid closely over the first few weeks to make sure it is receiving adequate light and the leaves are staying a healthy bright green color. Yellowish green leaves means they are getting too much light while dark green leaves indicates that the plant is getting insufficient light.
It’s also beneficial to inspect for insect or pest invasions that may be occurring. Mist any ants or soft bodied pests with Safer Soap to eradicate
Once your beauty becomes established, mounted orchids last many years. They are self maintaining and very content in natural surroundings adding splashes of color and beauty all around your home!