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mounting an orchid -- by request for Phillip and Maura

This is a discussion on mounting an orchid -- by request for Phillip and Maura within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Phillip had inquired, I believe, about mounting orchids as the topic came up whilst he ...

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  1. #1
    pavel's Avatar
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    Default mounting an orchid -- by request for Phillip and Maura

    Phillip had inquired, I believe, about mounting orchids as the topic came up whilst he was showing his Ang. dideri in bloom in a pot. As I recall he said Maura was interested in trying mounting some orchids. There is a sticky on the subject in the general culture section, but since I was doing one yesterday for a Haraella odorata, I figured I'd take some pics and post. It's truly not terribly difficult, though it can be awkward.

    Step 1
    First choose your mount. You really can use just about anything. Many people and nurseries will use a wood shingle or splint. Personally, I find those esthetically unpleasing. I prefer more natural looking pieces of wood -- branches and such. But again, that's just the way my tastes run.

    So here's what I chose to use

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    Step 2 (NOTE: Some people may skip step 2 depending upon the particular orchid and/or their growing conditions)
    Next, you can make a pad of moist sphag. How much you need to use depends on the size of the orchid and just how much moisture you wish it to retain. I decided I wanted to experiment and instead of using sphag, elected to try coconut fiber. To that end, I cut a section out of one of the coco liners used for hanging pots and baskets. Because it is not as moldable as a handful of sphag would be, I tried to gauge about how large a peice I wanted to use. I put a couple slits in the pad -- one so it would fit better over a protrusion on the mount, and a second to slide around the base of the orchid.

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    Step 3
    There are several options with this but it all deals with determining placement of the orchid onto the mount. Once you determine how you want the plant oriented, you can:
    a) place the pad of sphag or fiber on the mount with the orchid's roots on top of the mount; or
    b) place the orchid on the mount then cover the roots with the pad; or
    c) put a pad on the mount, place the orchid on top of the pad, then put another pad on top of the roots
    I generally do b) or c).

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    Step 4
    Have a length of string, thread, fishing line, or whatever it is you plan on using to secure the plant to the mount cut and at the ready. (Most folks I know use fishing line. However, not only do I find fishing line to be a pain in the posterior to knot tightly, I also don't like the looks of it. Instead I use brown thread. Again, just my personal preference. I find it easier to work with and it blends in better. While nylon lasts longer, I figure by the time the thread degrades the plant will have rooted to the mount and the media I used will likely need replaced anyway.) Now we have reached the awkward part -- especially if you are doing this by yourself. With one hand you will be holding the plant and pad in place on the mount.

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    Step 5
    With your other hand & as much help as your occupied hand can manage, tie the plant + pad firmly in place.

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    In this example, the plant's orientation was not quite as I wished. However, the plant was stubbornly refusing to cooperate to the degree I wanted it to. So we had to reach a compromise.

    These are a few other mounts. Sorry for the blurriness -- especially on the Ang. dideri. The dideri is one I would like to remount. It was already attached to this splint of wood when I got it. Rather hate the thought of trying to peal its roots off the mount. As such I may just have to accept the way it is.

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  2. #2
    cdayinflorida's Avatar
    cdayinflorida is offline Senior Member
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    Great pictorial!

  3. #3
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    Nice information, Pavel. I have promoted your post to an article for the Orchid Article Library.

    cheers,
    BD

  4. #4
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    Thanks Pavel, could you temporarily pin the coconut fiber to the wood to stabilize it so there is one less thing to wrangle when tying the orchid on? And do you have to water mounted orchids more often than potted orchids? - martha

  5. #5
    pavel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brutal_Dreamer View Post
    Nice information, Pavel. I have promoted your post to an article for the Orchid Article Library.
    cheers, BD
    Had I known you were going to do that, Bruce, I would have spent more time on it. As it was it was getting late and I was half asleep so cut it short.

    Quote Originally Posted by Teena View Post
    Thanks Pavel, could you temporarily pin the coconut fiber to the wood to stabilize it so there is one less thing to wrangle when tying the orchid on? - martha
    I don't see why not, Martha. Sounds like a good idea to me, though it would be much harder to implement with sphag I would think. The mount might also be an issue in some cases. I could foresee some mount materials being either to hard to stick a tack or pin into, and others that would not provide a dense enough material to hold a pin/tack in place. For larger peices twist ties might work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Teena View Post
    And do you have to water mounted orchids more often than potted orchids? - martha
    Typically, mounted plants need watered FAR more often. However, for some folks mounts work far better -- especially if they live in a warm, very humid climate. For those of us in arid areas or who live in the cold temperate climates in which we have to use heaters which result in very dry air, you may have to water mounts twice a day.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Pavel, I guess mounts are not for me, watering twice a day ... way too needy for me. Once a week is hard, before orchids my poor houseplants were lucky if I remembered to water them once a month! Probably why I only have 3 very sturdy but large plants left, actually I have to amend that, I had to give away two plants which became too big to house. Luckily for the orchids that they keep on rewarding me with pretty flowers so they keep on getting watered and fed.

  7. #7
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    Thank you for the tutorial!

  8. #8
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    Excellent tutorial, Pavel. Love the accompanying photos as well. Thanks for posting. Glad BD has included it in the Orchid Article Library.

  9. #9
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    Pavel, I just came across this post and I appreciate your time and effort in getting this all together. I like the mounts and may follow your directions with one of my neofinetia falcata's just to see how it works out. I have two of them, so if for some reason the mount doesn't work out, I'll still have one.

    Again, thank you so very much for putting this together. I apologize for being so late in seeing it. It's great documentation and information. Thank you again.

    Phillip

  10. #10
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    As for the mount you're not happy with. Rather than ripping the plant from an established mount could you cut the stick mount down and just attach the whole thing to a more pleasing mount for you to enjoy?
    Cheers,
    Tony

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