Easy DIY Orchid Mounting

Orchids, orchids, everywhere!

There may be a point in your orchid obsession where every table, windowsill and shelf in your home has become residence for one of these special plants.

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

Orchid mounted on a tree

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!

DIY Step-by-Step:

Orchid mounted on a palm trunk

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Tie your string of choice around the lowest part of the orchid and its roots until it is secure and snug with the tree.
  5. 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

Happy established mounted orchid!

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!


Somer with OrchidsWritten by Somer Wilkenson – Orchid Guru @ Seascapes Nursery

4 Responses to Easy DIY Orchid Mounting

  1. Mary January 25, 2018 at 1:32 pm #

    I read your article on the Butterfly Pea and became interested in the tea. I would like to know how I can purchase the plant from you but I live on Oahu and would consider visiting your plant nursery if Agriculture or TSA will allow me to bring it to Oahu. Or is there another option in getting it here?
    Thank you,

  2. Serina Roush Marchi March 11, 2018 at 3:51 pm #

    Hi Mary, I would recommend you search for Butterfly Pea seeds. Online seed stores specializing in edibles would have them. The Butterfly Pea is easy to start from seed. While the Department of Agriculture should allow you to carry a plant over as long as they’ve inspected it, if you can find a seed source that would be a more economical option. But we’d love to have you visit our nursery if you do make it over to Kauai! Best of luck!

  3. Deb Freund June 4, 2018 at 7:34 am #

    Somer- I’m wondering if there are any trees in our Kauai landscape environments that orchids particularly LIKE being mounted to? Or some that they clearly do not favor? Does bark texture make a difference? What about allelochemicals? Thanks!-Deb

    • Serina Roush Marchi June 4, 2018 at 7:55 am #

      Hi Deb,

      We have found that many varieties are happy mounted on palm trees (we have many in our Areca Palms at the nursery), and are also happy mounted in most types of trees. We haven’t found any trees that orchids just plain dislike. Light conditions are very important with mounting orchids though, so you’ll want to research how much light your variety wants (hours of filtered light or if it can handle any direct sun) to find the right spot in your yard. If area is too dark your orchid will not bloom, if too bright it can dry out or sunburn the orchids. Also keep in mind if the tree you choose tends to loose its leaves part of the year (like Plumeri) and only mount orchids that can handle more sunlight during those times. Bark texture doesn’t seem to matter from our experience. Also some varieties such as Vandas and Phaleonopsis like to have their roots exposed to filtered light, where others that are more terrestrial such as Paphiopedilums like more sun-protection which can be achieved with sphagnum or Spanish moss. Sometimes it can be a bit of trial and error, and you may need to relocate an orchid if the first spot turns out to be less than ideal. Stop by nursery on Wednesdays or Thursdays if you’d like to talk further on this with Somer. Best of luck with your mounting!


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