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Mounted plants in the home

This is a discussion on Mounted plants in the home within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I've struggled to keep mounted plants happy as a home grower. I simply can't provide ...

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  1. #1
    Piper's Avatar
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    Default Mounted plants in the home

    I've struggled to keep mounted plants happy as a home grower. I simply can't provide the humidity they enjoy in greenhouse conditions. Yet there are some amazing orchids availble on mounts, and hanging them is handy if you're running short on shelf space.

    Slab mounts are the easiest to acclimate to the home. Simply add a little sphagnum over the roots and secure it in your preferred manner. Stick mounts are a headache, however. Securing moss to a stick requires a dozen hands to hold everything in place as you tie it down, and the stick ends up looking like a fuzzy ewok.

    The best solution I've found for sticks is sheet moss. It's commonly sold in garden supply stores. The moss comes in sheets that are 1/2-3/4" thick. I spent yesterday afternoon playing with it, and snapped some pictures as I went along thinking they might be helpful if others wanted to work with it.

    1. The first step is to soak the moss. As you can see in the first picture, the sheets are of varying sizes. So you can select the size and shape that will best wrap around the stick you're trying to cover.

    2. I ended up wrapping 3 Dends and one Laelia. In the second photo, you can see the before for two of the Dends. Dend. suzuki (a giant cruentum) is on the bottom and Dend. johnsoniae is above it.

    3. Choose a sheet of the approximate size you need, and lay the stick in the middle of it, so that you're wrapping the moss around both sides of the stick towards the front. This allows you to wrap it up to the plant, without actually covering the plant. You can cut away any excess so that the plant is clear of the moss. You can also patch with smaller pieces, should you have large bare spots.

    You don't need to cover the entire stick. Just the main roots. It actually looks more natural and more attractive to have bare stick showing in places. It's all right if you don't cover every last root. Just try and cover the larger root patches. In the third picture I'm holding the moss in place with one hand, and am about to tie it down. In the fourth picture a Laelia pumila, mounted on a tree fern slab, is set on a sheet of moss. I haven't yet wrapped the moss around the slab.

    4. Even though it can be tricky to work with, I prefer fishing line for tying mounts. I think it looks the best and allows max air to the mount. Tying it off is the hard part: both initially and when you're finished. For the initial tie, I create a lasso by tying the line back onto itself with a couple of slip knots. Then I trim the tail off. Note - make the lasso beforehand, so that it's ready to go when you're holding the moss in place on the stick. I slip the lasso around the bottom of the stick and slide the line taut. Then I can start wrapping it around the moss. I work my way upward and when I'm done, I tie the line off on the hanger. It works pretty well.

    5. The final step is to trim away any excess moss. This prevents the fuzzy ewok appearance. Snip the moss carefully! If you snip your fishing line by mistake, you'll have to start over! Cut away to expose bare stick, trim any moss that might be covering the plant itself, and generally cut back any stray moss that's sticking out.

    Julie
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  2. #2
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    Wow--what a nice pictorial lesson Julie. Excellent. I'm so fascinated with mounted orchids, but there is no windowsill way here in Colorado.

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    Default The results

    The first two photos show the front and back of the Dend. johnsoniae. The third picture is the Laelia pumila, and the fourth is the Dend. suzuki.

    Sheet moss doesn't hold as much water and will dry much more quickly than sphagnum, which I think makes it ideal for mounted Dends. and Catts. It will hold some moisture close to the roots, but will also allow them to dry out between waterings.

    That's it.
    The End

    Julie
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    Very nice. I notice you switched to white while mounting.... so red for repotting and white for mounting? (and scotch any old time?)

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    Very nice picture tutorial! Good job, Julie! I see that you spent quite a bit of time doing these things!
    Cheers. Hoa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diane View Post
    Very nice. I notice you switched to white while mounting.... so red for repotting and white for mounting? (and scotch any old time?)
    I was unsure what step that was also, Diane. Perhaps Julie could clarify....


    Julie, you must remount my mounted orchids for me lol
    I mounted with some moss I dug up out in the woods. I took a chunk of moss and set the orchids on top and tied them all down with clear stretchy jewlery string... lol
    It doesn't look that bad, but I think it's not a permanent solution.....

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    Thanks for the visual Julie!

    One question - does it matter what type or condition of wood to use for your mount? For instance, perhaps driftwood wouldn't be a good idea because of it's previous exposure to salt? Or would a good soaking fix that? I have a Phal.parishii that is mounted, but looks like it would love to expand so I've been on the look out for a nice larger piece on which to mount the existing mount.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the great article Julie. If you were going to mount for green house conditions, would they need the moss? My fatal experience with my Masdiavella tells me no. Whats your opinion?

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    Thanks, all! The sheet moss really worked nicely on the first Dend I did, and I thought it might be useful info, so I snapped the pics of the next three sticks.

    Yes, Diane, repotting requires the heavier tannins of a red.

    Kirstie, the first time I mounted an orchid, I used a thick piece of oak bark from my wood pile. It didn't last 3 months. As it dried out it changed shape and cracked up the middle. I think using moss from the woods may be a trial and error process, but you're probably right - short term. You could also be introducing critters to your plants. Sphagnum is so touted because of its water retention abilities, but I recently tried to wrap a stick with sphag and it was incredibly difficult to get it wrapped on both sides of the stick, and I made a huge mess. And it does look like a fuzzy ewok on a stick.

    The sheet moss definitely comes from a forest floor - there are some twigs and acorn shells to pick out. But it does hold together in a sheet quite nicely. Which makes handling and tying much easier. I really liked that it holds less water than sphag. That's great to ensure the roots dry out between watering for the Dends and Catts.

    Sarah, I'm not up on the best trees for sticks. For slabs, I'll use either tree fern slabs or cork bark. The roots grow right into the tree fern and it holds water well. The roots grow into the cork bark crevices, but they are removeable with some gentle teasing. That would be better for drier plants and can be useful when a plant overgrows its mount. I can e-mail Darrin about what trees he prefers to use. He would definitely offer his opinion and selection guidance.

    Tindo, plants need both ambient humidity and water. If, in a home situation, you mount a plant bare root that is, just tied to the mount with no moss, you can water every day, but the plant will still suffer. The roots aren't getting any humidity in between waterings. They'll dessicate right up. Well, not right away, but over time the plant really suffers. By wrapping the roots in moss, you offer humidity in between waterings. A pot does this even more so - to the point that the line between watering and ambient humidity blurs a bit from the root's perspective.

    Plants that like to dry between waterings are excellent mount candidates, but you can't forget the humidity. If your grow environment doesn't have it mine doesn't you need to supplement with moss. Simply having a greenhouse doesn't promise significantly higher humidity. But good growers have misters and humidifiers that create the environment best suited to the plants they have. I got these Catt's and Dends from just such a greenhouse. So if they were happy on their sticks, with the misters and humdifiers, I know I have to offer them something more to keep them happy here. Hence the moss.

    Tindo, PM me and I can shoot you Darrin's e-mail. He's a Masd guy and I'm sure would be glad to advise you on your terrarium-Masd's needs and long-term happiness.

    Oh and Sarah, you can use driftwood, but I'd check it first. You'll need a TDS meter, but you can get them for about $30. PM me if you need a source. First fill a bucket with water and test its TDS. Then soak the wood in that water for 12-24 hrs. Then remove the wood and test the water again now referred to as the leachate. If the TDS has risen significantly the salts will probably freak out your orchid. That's the only way to be sure.

    Julie

  10. #10
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    Here are the orchids I mounted 2 weeks ago with Cork slab.

    The small one is LC Hua Yuan Angel 'Little Bauty', the big one is Lc Love Knot 'Carmela Blue'. The roots kept getting rot when I had them in the pots, now they are doing much better on the mounts. I need to water them daily.

    Qing
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