Categories: Fertilizing, Growing, Photos, Watering
Who needs flowerpots? Orchids can grow attached to wooden mounts or trees, mimicking how they live in the wild as air plants. Despite this more natural look, mounted orchids aren’t as common as potted ones, since mounted orchids need extra care. Potted plants are usually better choices for orchid beginners.
For gardeners in tropical and subtropical areas, people with greenhouses, and experienced growers, mounted orchids can fill vertical gardens. Many types of orchids prefer to grow on mounts. For example, Vandas like to have their roots in the open air. Cattleyas need to dry thoroughly between waterings. Angraecums don’t like repotting.
To grow mounted orchids, consider how their care differs from potted orchids:
- Extra water – Mounted orchids need more frequent waterings, especially on warm or windy days. Exposed roots dry much faster than roots in a pot. That’s good, because it limits problems with bacterial or fungal infections.
- Constant high humidity – All orchids need high humidity. However, without moist potting material around their roots, mounted orchids are very susceptible to dry air. Maintain at least 50% humidity at all times. Heaters and air conditioners can dry the air, leading to problems when growing mounted orchids indoors.
- Consistent fertilizer – Mounted orchids need regular fertilizer. Without decomposing potting material as nutrients, their roots have no food reserves. Fertilize weakly, weekly.
- On trees or in trees? – Rather than attaching plants directly onto trees, many growers hang mounted orchids on branches. On its own mount, the plant is not permanently attached to the tree. Growers can bring orchids indoors for harsh weather, or to better enjoy the blooms.
- Remounting – If an orchid outgrows its mount, it may be best to attach the entire plant, with its old mount, to a new mount. Removing an orchid from its old mount can severely damage the roots. If an old mount breaks or falls apart, remove all rotten material, and attach the orchid to a new mount.
Check back soon to explore further. I’ll cover how to mount an orchid.