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Growing Orchids On Trees

Updated: Jan 27

Seeing something this beautiful had me thinking: "can I do this with my existing orchids too?" The answer is most assuredly, yes! With a few Google study sessions, I saw that I only needed three items & five minutes to make it happen. And you can too!



Why Grow Orchids On Trees?

During the year which shall not be named, I was in full lockdown mode. I found myself spending a lot of time (really all of it) at home and in the yard. It wasn't until then that I really took notice of the orchids that my dad had planted on our trees when I was a child. Seeing something this beautiful made we wonder if I too had a green thumb and could add my own splash of beauty to our yard.


What Orchid And What Tree To Choose?

In all honesty, I was a tad worried about killing my orchids by trying to have them grow on a tree. Rather than risk one of my larger (and more expensive) Cattleyas, I started off with a small Phalaenopsis that had already flowered that year.


In my research, I read that choosing a tree that provides adequate light through the canopy is key. Additionally, a tree with rough bark gives you an added benefit for the roots to grab hold and groves to settle into. My neighbors attempted this and used palm trees, but I already had my bottlebrush tree with my dad's orchid, so I chose a different tree limb to get to work!


How To Attach That Orchid To Your Tree

You only need three things to make this happen:

  1. pantyhose (the ones that go up to your waist)

  2. sphagnum moss

  3. an orchid

Now that you have your ingredients, the recipe is as follows:

  1. Cut off each pantyhose leg individually (at the top where the two legs meet) so you are left with two separate leggings.

  2. Take a couple handfuls of sphagnum moss, wet it down, and stuff it into the middle of the pantyhose leg.

  3. Hopefully this analogy will make sense, but just like when you make pizza, you start a big ball of dough and want to stretch it out so have a nice flat surface area to work with. You want to do the same with the panty hose. Stretch it out a bit so it's a little wider & flatter.

  4. Take your orchid delicately out of its container and clean off all the potting media so you are left with bare roots.

  5. Place your orchid against the tree and attempt to spread out the roots as much as possible over the tree. The more roots spread out over an area give the plant a better opportunity to grab hold and secure itself to the tree

  6. Take your stretched out panty hose and place the mossy area over the roots and tie the ends around the tree keeping your orchid securely in place.



It wasn't long until the roots started wrapping around the tree and seemed to settle in just fine. I've since attached Cattleyas and Brassavolas with success!


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