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Thread: Mounted plants in the home

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    7,068

    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
    Real Name
    Lynda
    My Grow Area
    Porch/Patio.
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    phals, paphs, oncs
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Naples, FL
    Posts
    1,700
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Gender
    Male
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    Default

    It does not take much space to have mounted plants if one chooses the right species or hybrids. We grow and bloom some mounted species on sticks hanging off the side of the cockatiel cage, and this includes encyclias, Broughtonia, Euchile, Shomburgkia, and the tiny vandas formerly called Neofinitia. This is a good location for the plants because of the western light, and because it gets attention as much as twice per day for misting. The plants get taken down a couple of times per week for a flushing, followed by light fertilizer twice per month, and followed by another flushing rinse the same day and at least 20 minutes after the fertilizer (20 minutes is sufficient time for the fertilizer to enter the roots on a mounted plant.). This prevents salts buildup on mounted plants, which is very important for many of them. I suspect that some of the plants that grow just yards from the ocean and from the Caribbean may be briefly salt tolerant, due to some selection for survival in their environment, but recall that frequent fog and showers part of the year helps them survive that. Some other plants become deciduous under the drought conditions, and do all of their growing for the new season within about 2 months of rain right after they bloom, so pick plants that fit your conditions and you might find some that accept mounting quite well. Look especially at those which have natural xerophytic conditions for their parents.

  4. #4
    My Grow Area
    Porch/Patio.
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    phals
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Coastal Florida/Switzerland
    Posts
    214

    Default

    Santy heard me...California burl driftwood collected by my beautiful niece from the far northern beaches of Mendocino. I soaked each piece for 3 weeks in umpteen changes of water. Planted this tiny miniphal that I bought from Wally World for 3 bucks. The whole affair is only 4 inches (10 cm) long. It has a natural bowl that holds this little treasure just fine!! As she had just finished blooming when I bought her, I'll probably have to wait a year for her to get settled and produce another spike...the ornament is about 1/2" diameter. Name:  IMG_0669.JPG
Views: 342
Size:  113.2 KBName:  IMG_0670.JPG
Views: 366
Size:  100.8 KB

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    7,068

    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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  6. #6
    My Grow Area
    Windowsill
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Catts and Paphs
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Surprise, AZ
    Posts
    6,250
    Member's Country Flag

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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?)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Pasadena and Costa Mesa
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    2,408

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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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Hood River, OR
    Posts
    131

    Default

    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.

  9. #9
    Real Name
    Dick Schneider
    My Grow Area
    Greenhouse
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    species orchids
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Port Townsend, Washington
    Posts
    5
    Member's Country Flag

    Default Type of wood

    Sarah: The type of wood used to mount orchids can make a big difference to the success of your project. For instance I'd suggest not using driftwood or any branches grown near the sea. The wood can be quite salt laden and this wont be good for your plants. We have had excellent success with madrone or madrona (spelling depends on where you live). It is a member of the mesquite family; very hard, few to no bugs, little oil and no smell. We stay away from cedar or fir or any type of pressure treated wood. Hope this is helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    356

    Default

    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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