It 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.
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.
- 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.
- Set your orchid on the sphagnum. It is fine to leave the previous potting material right on the plant.
- Pull the sphagnum up around the sides and completely cover the old growing media from the orchid.
- 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.
When 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.