How to Grow Orchids in Trees

How to Grow Orchids in Trees
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How to Grow Orchids in TreesIt was brought to my attention that I needed to, well, improve the instructions that I provided in this earlier post about how to grow orchids in trees.  I would like to thank my Rollins class for their honesty!

I hope that the additional photos will help to explain the process for preparing your orchids for planting.  As previously mentioned, I really love having a blooming orchid in our house and I think that for the $10-15 bucks it costs you get a good value because the blooms should last 2-3 months.  And after that is over I am not keeping it around the house anymore.  Nope, not happening.Supplies for Growing Orchids in Trees

This is the time to plant your orchids outdoors!  The photos will show, but the key here is to make a little sphagnum moss “pillow” for your orchid that you can then put just about anywhere.  To do this you need your old orchid, fishing line (I love this because it is invisible in your plants), and sphagnum moss.  Sphagnum moss is a long, fibrous moss that holds moisture well.  Make sure to soak your sphagnum well so that it is a dark brown color and fully saturated.

How to Grow Orchids in TreesThe steps below:

  1. Begin by laying out a little bed of sphagnum moss.  You want to have enough here so that you can wrap it around the plant, at least covering the back and sides.
  2. Set your orchid on the sphagnum.  It is fine to leave the previous potting material right on the plant.
  3. Pull the sphagnum up around the sides and completely cover the olHow to Grow Orchids in Treesd growing media from the orchid.
  4. This is the time to get a helper if someone is available!  You will wish you had an extra hand here, although as you can see it is doable by yourself.  Now you want to take your fishing line and wrap it around your sphagnum so that your little orchid is completely enveloped by the moss pillow you are wrapping it in.  You really can’t over do it here, so keep wrapping until the plant and moss are nice and tight.  You should be able to hold it without any moss falling off.  Note: keep the moss off of the growing point of the orchid.  If you have it too high just go ahead and pull this off.

How to Grow Orchids in TreesWhen you are looking for a place to hang your plant you will want a location that is partially shaded, in particular from the intense midday sun.  I prefer to put orchids in the crotch of branches because it looks more natural for support. The hard part is done– Now you will use your fishing line to secure your orchid to the tree or branch.  Make sure to tie it very tight as orchids like to be secure and will attach themselves more quickly if they are firmly attached.  The fishing line will last about two years at which point it will disintegrate but the orchid will be attached on its own by this point.

I like to water my orchids once a week by soaking the sphagnum moss with a hose.  You will see it turn from the light brown to the dark color to let you know that its soaked.  Watch for small roots to start to make their way out of the sphagnum and wrap on to the branches.  Orchids are not parasitic so they won’t hurt your plants but the roots will be used for attachment.  It is also helpful to fertilize with a water soluble fertilizer to encourage blooming.  You can tell by the light green color that this orchid is hungry and needs some nitrogen.

Your orchid should rebloom in a year or so.  Let me tell you, it is a real treat to walk outdoors and look up to see orchids flowering in your trees and shrubs! This is a simple way to recycle your orchids and enhance your landscape at the same time.

How to Grow Orchids in Trees


  1. Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thank you

  2. what are good varieties of orchids to attach to trees in SE Queensland. On the coastal area.

    • Your warm temperatures should be perfect! I would recommend phalenopsis and vandas. Most phalenopsis, or moth orchids, tend to be fairly inexpensive after they have finished flowering and that is a good time to purchase and plant in your trees. For an added bonus, if there is an old flower stem on the plant, cut it off just above the place where the third flower was growing. Often this will encourage the plant to send out another bloom stem!

  3. Hi! I live in Okinawa, Japan and have just attempted planting orchids on a piece of clean, sanded driftwood. The orchids as purchased have a stabilizer to keep upright. Should I remove them? Thank you for all the advice!

    • By a stabilizer, do you mean a small brace to hold up the flower stem? If that is the case then I would leave it as long as the stem is green. By the time your orchid blooms again it should be anchored well to the driftwood so that you won’t need to this support.

  4. Can aground orchid be put in a tree?

    • A ground orchid, something like a Spathoglottis, would do best planted in soil. It should flourish at the base of a tree, so I wouldn’t push to go vertical with it!



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