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outdoor orchid tree #1

This is a discussion on outdoor orchid tree #1 within the OrchidTalk Members Grow Area - Photos forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; this is the artificial 'orchid tree' at the more exposed western (south facing) end of ...

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  1. #1
    coeruleo's Avatar
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    Default outdoor orchid tree #1

    this is the artificial 'orchid tree' at the more exposed western (south facing) end of my balcony. it is made of an assortment of tree fern pots ranging in size from 3" to 10" in diameter, with a nylon stake stuck through them to support them. this one is off-set. others i have built are vertical tree trunks. it is winter now, so the sun angles lower in the sky, forcing the shade cloth. there are also other plants the other side of the cloth out of view that help shade the orchids.

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    the base is mostly a cactus mix, with some peat moss mixed in. they top layer is old orchid potting bark mix and random chunks of moss and stray bark from the floor forming a nice mulch layer. i have a couple varieties of dragon fruit cactus (connie mayer, voodoo child, haley's comet) and Selenicereus pteranthus cuttings. there are a couple kinds of bletillas planted in the base that are just coming up. there is also a 3 year old cutting of Oerstadella schweinfurthiana in the base. there is also a stray impatien plant with pink flowers that will one day be yanked. mostly because of the spider mites it seems to always have. they don't provide much shade. the old fashioned red geraniums did pretty good at shading the plants last summer, but the winter sun overwhelmed them. i can weed them out now that i will be using the shade cloth in winter. that will give the bletillas more light too. the little red cryptanthus will eventually be put into the mulch layer also.

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    the base needs to drain really well, since in summer it gets watered really often. the cactus are tropical, but cannot be soggy at all. in winter, many of the plants don't need much watering, so it is mostly a good heavy misting with a spray bottle in the morning, a few times a week. the pots are filled with a mix of items meant to last a long time, so very little bark. but i do use tree fern shredded fiber, tree fern chunks, pearlite, charcoal, gravel, clay pellets, a little moss (especially on top to conserve moisture in summer, sometimes in winter i pick out some of the moss to keep dryer during cold weather. my lows get down to maybe 42f or so. i'm in zone 10b i think. pretty mild and cool, but a few weeks of very dry heat in august. mostly orchid growing is a matter of shading the plants enough. my balcony is a long narrow area facing south, in the full sun all day. summer gives more shade as the overhang of the balcony upstairs shades mine pretty well accept early morning. i have put of some trellis and shade cloth to strategically shade the plants in winter.
    Last edited by coeruleo; February 11th, 2014 at 06:16 PM.

  2. #2
    coeruleo's Avatar
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    Default

    the lower level gets a lot of sunshine, now shaded a bit by the cloth. i have Ansellia africana var. gigantea Nilotica "Waunakee" which i hope will do better now that it has some shading. last winter it lived, but lost some leaves. it is still a young plant. hopefully i have saved it. it will eventually get some pot mates too, perhaps a laelia.

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    the next pot up has had the Myrmecophila (Shomburgkia) tibicinis for 2 years, and it is another of the unfortunate guinea pigs that i used to test the strength of the sun before the shade cloth. it is recovering though. one piece has firmly rooted into the tree fern pot. i recently added the Dendrobium tetragonum while in bud. i have had it a while, but just planted it into the tree recently.

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    ---------- Post Merged at 02:38 PM ----------

    this Amaryllis papilio bulb has been in the tree for 3 years. it has more moss in it's pot, which has been bad for adding anything in with it. i am trying a Tolumnia now, Ester Oka "Lake View". it came in spike.

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    the Brassavola nodosa is a new addition. the Oncidium (Trichocentrum?) cebolleta has been there a while now. i might order another as it is so small. also recently added is small (but possibly budding) Dendrobium aphyllum (also noted as pierardii).

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    Last edited by coeruleo; February 11th, 2014 at 06:21 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default

    another casualty of the sun, Rhyncolaelia digbyana. it seems to be doing ok with the shade cloth now, it was behind a tall kale tree and i moved it one day and forgot to put it back, so this poor thing got burned. it is tucked behind a Lepismium cruciformis that has been in the tree for 3 years now. it could handle the sun before just fine with no protection. tucked on the left side of the pot is a cluster of Tolumnia Jairak Firm "no. 35" that has recently been added, while in flower.

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    above that is the cutting of an Oncidium that is probably Sweet Sugar or Gower Ramsey that i bought from an old russian lady in West Hollywood who sells cuttings from her garden she only knows it as 'Dancing Lady Orchid'. it is growing up the back side and has firmly attached itself. it needs the most water in winter, so it has a bit of moss too. this is where i nearly killed the little Renanthera Tom Thumb last winter. now with the supplemental shading, i am considering towards tucking it back in behind the Oncidium again. i have also tucked in a small Tillandsia aeranthos which is supposed to be cold hardy.

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    Last edited by coeruleo; February 11th, 2014 at 06:23 PM.

  4. #4
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    near the top i have some cuttings of Selenicereus wercklei that are probably getting too much sun and too much water... but hanging in there. i recently stuck some keikis of Dendrobium kingianum in with it. they refused to stand up and i stopped fighting. if they don't make it, i will try again later this year with fresh keikis.

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    the top is a recent addition, a few months back i cut most of the branches of my Selenicereus anthonynianus (fishbone cactus, rick-rack cactus) into the top piece. i have pinned down a bare root Dendrobium anosmum var. superbum. it arrived much larger than the keiki i was expecting and made placing it into the tree a little tricky, but i hope it will eventually attach itself well with new growths.

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  5. #5
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    ---------- Post Merged at 03:12 PM ----------

    i still plan to add a few more smallish plants to this tree, over time. definitely more Tolumnias. and more Tillandsias. maybe a few mini Dendros like unicum. maybe a mini like encyclia bolybulbon in with the oncidium. or the Renanthera i nearly burned before. still might add another Dendro to the top as well. most of the plants i keep pretty dry in winter, and only water with the spray bottle for the most part. i try to be careful of not splashing water into sensitive parts of the plants, and only spray in the morning. it is not as complicated as you might think. the tree is really just a sort of huge mount.

  6. #6
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    Novel idea!

  7. #7
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    this is awesome!

  8. #8
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    these are the 2 flowering tolumnias: first, the red one, Tolumnia Jairak Firm "no. 35"
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    and now the other one is opening, yellow and red spots. Tolumnia Ester Oka "Lake View"
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  9. #9
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    Lovely very bright idea it's seem you need to spraying water very frequent as the plants now adapted very well.

  10. #10
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    i do tend to spray a few of them pretty much every morning before work. this time of year i can get a break, it is colder at night, so i don't water as much, and most of these need a dry rest anyway, so it works out. in the heat of summer though, i give much more water.

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