How to put an orchid on a tree


How To Grow Orchids On Trees – Orchideria

Growing orchids on trees is an exotic way to showcase your orchids year-round. If you live in a hardiness zone that permits growing orchids outside, (generally USDA Zone 11, which includes: Florida, Hawaii, the Caribbean and southern California) then you definitely will want to try this method. It’s where orchids grow naturally.

If you don’t live in a zone that provides the environment to properly acclimate orchids outside (you can check the hardiness zone on this website) don’t despair. We’ll teach you how to mount them on tree bark and hang them inside in another article.

Steps to Mounting Orchids on Trees

  1. Find the right Tree
  2. Locate the fixation place for the Orchid
  3. Choose an Appropriate Orchid
  4. Gather Material: moss and Cotton Ties
  5. Place your Orchid on the Mount and Tie

What benefits does the orchid get from the tree?

Being attached to a tree, your orchid will already have the light/shade requirements that it needs without supplemental lighting. If you are mounting an orchid on a wall mount, you’ll probably nee artificial light. You can read more about indoor lighting here.

The rain is free of chemicals that city reservoirs add to treat consumption water, like chlorine. You won’t have to used distilled water or let your water soak for 24 hours before watering.

The temperature of the water is perfect, not being too hot, and certainly not cold, like ice cubes.

Rain quickly drenches the orchid, and freely runs down the rest of the tree, not allowing for root rot. Drainage, drainage, drainage…
Image Credit: “Branch orchids” by Greg Lee is licensed under CC BY 2.0 .With adequate wind circulation, it’s hard for fungus and bacteria to accumulate in the crown of the orchid.

Wind will also favor pollinators, which is one of the orchid’s main functions.Being high up in the nook of a tree, an orchid is free from ground dwellers who munch on the leaves. They also are less likely to be infested with pests and insects, compared to dwelling on the ground.

Orchids don’t get their nutrients from the tree, so they aren’t parasitic. It won’t hurt a tree trunk to attach an orchid to it. Nothing is being robbed from the tree, in aid of the orchid. The only reason orchids attach themselves to tree trunks is to firmly hold on.

“Catasetum napoense (Orchidaceae) – male raceme” by Dr. Alexey Yakovlev is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Choosing the Right Tree for Your Orchid

Before you choose an orchid to mount, you need to find the perfect tree to mount it on. The overhead canopy needs to let some sunlight through, so don’t pick a spot on the tree that is 100% in the shade.

The bark needs to be rougher, with craggy nicks and uneven crannies, so the roots have something to attach to. Smooth bark doesn’t offer the enough difference in texture that the roots need.

Avoid trees where the bark will chip off in hunks. It’s easy for the orchid to completely break off the tree during a hard rain.

Good candidates for this are: oaks, palm, avocado, citrus, schefflera and any tree that has jagged, coarse bark.

Once you have chosen the perfect tree, find the best spot for your orchid. Make sure to observe the darker side of the tree, since no orchid like to be in the sun all day long.

Also, the darker side is usually where water trickles down the bark when it rains. If you attach the orchid to the driest side of the tree, the roots will dry out.

A good idea is to search for lichen.

Moss on tress signify that the airflow (and quality) is ideal and the sun isn’t too hot or direct.Verify to see how cold the northern winds are in your area, and if your orchid can tolerate them. Even if they do, don’t attach the orchid to the north side—if possible.

If you can, and all the items listed before match up, attach your orchid in the south-facing position. This gives the leaves adequate sun and bright light, without exposing your orchid to much direct sunlight or cold wind.

If the tree branches off, take a look at where the bifurcations occurs. If there is a crevice that accumulates water, then this isn’t going to be ideal.

Find crevices or nooks that can drain properly.

Choosing the Right Orchid for Your Tree

The second part of mounting an orchid in trees is choosing the right orchid. Not all orchids will live well in your climate, or adapt well to your temperatures outside.

Do your research to see if your orchid is a cooler climate or enjoys hotter temperatures. Does your orchid like sun or prefer shade?

High-light orchids are Vandas, some kinds of Cattleyas, and Dendrobiums. Orchids that prefer bright shade, or medium light, are: Miltonias and the majority of Cattleyas. Orchids that prefer bright light but totally in the shade are the Phalaenopsis, Oncidiums, and Paphiopedilums.

My suggestion would be to start with miniature Cattleyas (medium to high light) and Phalaenopsis (low-light), since these are some of the easiest orchid to grow.

If you have success, then try a Brassavola with a larger mount.

Image Credit: “Phalaenopsis Hybrid”
by o0o Dylan o0o is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Whatever orchid you choose, make sure it is drought resistant, since orchids outside will dry out faster. Wall-mounted orchids will dry out faster, too.

If your orchid thrives in a more humid climate, don’t try to attach it to a mount or a tree.

Once you match an orchid with light, humidity, and temperature preferences to your tree, then you’re set to go.

When is the Best Time to Attach the Orchid to A Tree?

Watch for new growth of roots. When an orchid has finished blossoming, and all the buds have fallen off, your orchid might go dormant. Some do, others don’t. After the dormancy period, which might be from a few weeks to a couple months, new roots start to appear.

This is the best time to attach the orchid to a tree, since the roots will be looking for firmness and sturdy bark. It’s harder to attach older roots that have already grown in potting medium to become accustomed to tree bark.

How do I attach the orchid to the tree?

1. Make a visual layout or preview before starting.

Spread the roots of the orchid outward, so none are overlapping each other. Arrange them on the tree bark as if they are giving the tree a small hug. The roots need to spread out, like a clock in all directions.

2. Don’t use any type of potting mix now.

The temptation will be to make a “chair” or “pillow” for the orchid, but resist this idea. The orchid needs to be directly in touch with the bark. Many new orchid growers attach sphagnum moss as an in between layer, but it doesn’t provide any advantages.

In fact, this layer in-between the roots  will only rot quickly.As for the plant, make sure you are holding it the right way, which would probably mean “sideways.” If it rains, will water be collected in the crown of the plant?

Phalaenopsis orchids grow naturally “sideways,” which to us, seems like it’s the wrong way. This isn’t how they are normally displayed in supermarkets and grocery stores. The main reason for this is so the rain will drain properly from the plant and not accumulate.

When attaching orchids in trees, make sure you are attaching them the way they’d grow in nature.

3. With cotton string, loosely wrap the orchid onto the tree.

Avoid the urge to securely fasten it, squeezing all the juice and life of its roots. If the orchid doesn’t wobble with the wind, or move when tugged on, then it is firmly attached.

If you wrap the cotton string too tight, you risk looking the roots and harming the stem. Wrap a couple times around the tree, making sure the orchid is attached.

In time, the cotton string will disintegrate into the environment. This might take one or two years, but by then, your orchid will have successfully attached to the bark and don’t need extra support.

If you’d like, you can use other material to securely fasten your orchid to the bark. Plastic ties or eve hot glue guns, but we don’t recommend them as much.

 4. Now is the time to add sphagnum moss.

Cover the roots with moss until they are well packed. This is important for the first few months for orchids in trees, as the sphagnum will eventually fall off or decay. But the initial humidity is important, since the roots will be more exposed to wind than before.

The aim is for the moss to fall off, so don’t wrap it too tightly either.

Leave out a few aerial roots so the orchid gets its nutrients from the dust and wind. If they are buried in sphagnum, they won’t function properly.

Don’t Stop Learning!

If you want to be included in a more information and get a 14-page fertilization guide, please sign up for my newsletter. I don’t spam, but send emails out bi-monthly with some curious topics of interest. If you want more information, click here to go to a specific page on this website where I explain it more in detail.

Also, if you are looking for an orchid journal to keep your notes specifically about orchid care, check out my 2 solutions for that on this page. If note-keeping isn’t your thing, then there is a free excel spreadsheet that you can download. Click here for more information on how to do that.

If you subscribe to my newsletter, I will send you a 14-page guide on the main tips of orchid fertilizer. It is downloadable and you can print it out on your computer. I designed the guide to double up as a coloring book, just to make it fun.

How do I care for an orchid attached to a tree?

During the first few months, your orchid will need additional care. Mist or spray your orchid daily, to ensure that the roots are getting adequate humidity and water.

Check often to see how the cotton ties are holding up and if the sun is directly shinning on the orchid leaves.

Masdevallia orchid

 Looking for Inspiration?

If you need inspiration, this article in the Miami Herald talks about a social project that involved attaching orchids on trees around the city. The Million Orchid Project, done in 2013, was conceived to teach students about biology and botany.

With the help of the city, 750 orchids were donated and attached to trees, including “butterfly orchid (Encyclia tampensis), cowhorn orchid (Cyrtopodium punctatum), cockleshell orchid (Prosthechea cochleata), and night fragrant epidendrum (Epidendrum nocturnum).”

If you want more inspiration, take a look at my Pinterest Board, with images that I collect from viewers. The link takes you directly to the board about Orchids mounted on Trees, but there are tons of other boards on my Pinterest page to inspire you.
Now that you know all about mounting orchids in trees, what to look for when selecting a tree and the right orchid, and how to attach it, it’s time to get your hands dirty. LOL Check out some of our tutorials on how to design a great floral design or build a terrarium with orchids.

If this information was of any help, and clarified any doubts you had, please mention so in the comments. I love to interact with other orchid enthusiasts, and can share from our experiences.

Share this page with a friend who has an orchid, comment, or just give me a thumbs up 😊 in the comments below.

Happy cultivating!

How to Grow Your Wild Orchids on Trees

In South Florida, you can grow orchids attached to trees in your yard. Most epiphytic orchids (tree-attached orchids) will prefer tropical hardwoods with rough tree bark or a shady palm tree. Select horizontal limbs that have some shade from the afternoon sun. You can also plant directly on the trunks (on the side of the tree), preferably on the north or east face to avoid the direct afternoon sun.

Below are some steps to show you how to grow orchids on your trees. If you want more information on how to grow orchids in South Florida, read more about the Million Orchid Project at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden!

Shop Orchids at the Fairchild Plant Store Online!

Take a look at our selection of orchids available in the Fairchild Garden plant store, some of which support the Million Orchid Project.

Explore Our Orchids

How do you attach orchids to trees?

Know your orchid species, know your tree, and know the best location on the tree trunk to grow orchids!

Step 1 – Identify where on the tree to attach your orchid

Sun-loving orchid species love the trunk more because it’s sunnier. Shade-loving orchids will prefer the horizontal branches and the shade of the canopy. Ideally, opt for hardwood tropicals with rough bark, like mango, avocado, oaks, or really any hardwood with rough-textured tree bark. Palms are a great selection for hot-growing species that want a lot of light.

Shade-loving orchid species – low to medium light levels

Plant these species in the branches near the trunk of the tree, where they will get plenty of canopy cover, or on crotches between branches and the trunk or structures on the bark near the trunk of the tree where they’ll get protection from the sun. Look for the presence of lichen (green, grey, white, and yellow blotches on the trunk) – these tend to indicate moister and shadier conditions, ideal places to grow orchids.

Partial shade or sun-loving orchid species – medium to high light levels

Select a spot closer to the ends of the branches of the tree, a branch with a horizontal orientation, but still thick enough to give purchase to the roots of the orchid. The spot should give some partial sun but give some protection via the shade of the canopy. Once again, look for the presence of lichen to indicate moist conditions.

If you have a particularly sun-loving species, you can opt for palm trees in direct sunlight or a branch with bright light.

Step 2 – Clean the roots of soil or sphagnum moss

Identify the new roots near the base of the stem. You will want to try to make the roots at the base of the stem – called the “pseudobulb” – press directly against the tree. You don’t want anything impeding that – don’t leave moss on it the pseudobulb, as the new roots will have to grow through it to attach. If you’re starting with an orchid in a pot, get all the potting medium (sphagnum moss/soil) off the roots. Make sure the new roots are completely naked.

Step 3 – Spread the roots on the bark of the tree trunk or branch

The new roots grow from the pseudobulb and are what will attach to the tree, but the old roots are still functional and you should leave them on. The most important thing is to make sure the orchid roots are bare and that the roots are very tightly secured to the rough bark of the tree trunk or tree branches. Then, get as many of the roots onto the bark as possible, spreading the roots as necessary.

Step 4 – Attach the orchid to the tree bark

When it comes to orchid attachment, use a strong non-metal material. Use jute, burlap, or another plant-based twine – a material with a high tensile strength that will biodegrade and fall off the tree after the orchid is attached. You can opt for zip ties if the plant is really heavy. Zip it on as tight as possible with the pseudobulb off the tree. The zip ties will eventually snap and will not girdle your tree. Avoid using metal wire for orchid attachment, as this can kill your tree as the tree grows.

Anchor the orchid close to the strongest point on the plant – where the stem and the roots meet – all the while ensuring that the new root tips are touching the bark. Orient the plant so the roots face downwards and the leaves face upwards. Avoid pressing the leaves against the bark to improve airflow and reduce rot. Once the orchid is attached to the tree, tap it a few times to make sure it is secure.

Step 5 – Watering to establish the plant

Follow up the initial mounting of your orchid plants to the tree with aggressive watering. When first establishing a plant, water the orchid roots daily for a good two weeks. After 2 weeks, you can slowly wean the orchid off water; by week 3, water every other day. At week 4, water it every 3 days, and after a month, there’s no need to keep watering.

Additionally, you can blanket the roots to cover the top of the roots – a product you can use safely is coconut husk, which will hold a little bit of water for a little longer. If all goes well, you may expect that your newly established orchids bloom in come the spring and summer months.

Learn more about how to grow orchids on trees in South Florida in our video demonstration:

Why do orchids grow on the branches of trees?

It’s an evolutionary trend that we think is to escape the competition of the understory of the tropics. In a tropical forest, thousands of species are competing for little ground and sunlight. In the understory, there’s an evolutionary arms race of which plants can grow the fastest; plants even kill each other through chemical warfare and blocking out light. Orchids grow in “low rent” real estate to escape such as tree trunks, rocks, and cliffsides. Because they evolved this behavior in tropical climates, these orchid plants also do well in South Florida.

Is the Orchid Tree invasive in Florida?

No, it is not, and it is a great option for attaching an orchid native to South Florida.

Growing Orchids Indoors

If you don’t live in South Florida or another subtropical or tropical climate outside the US, growing orchids on trees is likely not a possibility. When it comes to most cultivated orchids as houseplants, conditions will generally be the same in all houses, except maybe sunlight levels (which could depend on how far north or south you are, the amount of natural light in your room, and how many overcast days per year you have).

In general, opt for cooler climate orchids native to temperate regions, as most tropical orchids don’t like the cold and dry conditions of a house. A great choice for the indoors is the Jewel Orchids (Ludisia discolor).

Indoor orchids are commonly planted on sphagnum moss, fir bark, or peat moss. Some may even prefer soil, although soil may often keep the plant too moist in the pot and cause problems. Frequently grown indoor sympodial orchids for beginners include the moth orchid, a Phalaenopsis hybrid, or Cymbidium varieties, which have a few cooler-climate varieties you can get away with growing indoors. Cattleya, a genus of South and Central American orchid, also grows well on fir bark and other potting substrates; Cattleyas can be great choices for an indoor plant, and with its bright pink flowers, a Cattleya is always a crowd-pleaser.

Additionally, growing it indoors can mean a variety of different things. Is your indoor growing environment a low-light shade house or a bright greenhouse, or are you just growing in your house? Will the room have good air circulation? These conditions might change the ideal species to choose for growing.

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Browse our current selection of Orchids.

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When and how to plant orchids on trees?

Very often people orchids in your garden hang from trees, or inside your house in a pot. However, instead of placing orchids in pots, you can tie them to a resin-free tree trunk or bark.

Watching them grow and bloom on the branches is a precious thing. However, it is very important for to choose the correct view that you want to place , otherwise you risk losing it due to weather conditions.

Index

  • 1 Things to remember before planting them on trees
    • 1.1 Which orchids are the best at resisting cold?
      • 1.1.1 Cymbidium
      • 1.1.2 Epidendrum
      • 1.1.3 Oncidium
  • 2 How should trees be?
  • 3 When to plant orchids on trees?
    • 3. 1 How to do it right?

Things to remember before putting them on trees

Orchids are generally tropical plants that like warm and stable climates. Therefore, most do not withstand sub-zero temperatures. , so if you want to place it, for example, Phalaenopsis on a tree in the north of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain), where it can get frosts down to -4ºC, it will surely die that day, despite the fact that these frosts are short.

And the fact that each plant largely depends on the climate of the area. That's why, if you want orchids on trees, you must keep in mind that in order for them to be beautiful all year round, You should choose the ones that best suit the conditions in your area.

Subscribe to our Youtube channel

Which orchids resist the cold best?

Considering that the vast majority of orchids come from warm jungles, I thought it best to talk to you "only" about those that are resistant to cold. They are few, but enough for you to enjoy a tropical garden in a place with moderate temperatures:

Cymbidium

Image - Wikimedia / Michael Wolf

This is a genus of evergreen orchids native to Australia, Africa and parts of Asia. They are usually terrestrial, but the ones sold on the market are epiphytes, which is good to know as it means they grow on trees 😉.

They produce beautiful flowers in different colors: yellow, green, white or pink. Resistant to light frost down to -3ºС.

Article subject:

Cymbidium orchid suitable for beginners

Epidendrum

Image - Wikimedia / Filipe Fortes from Seattle, USA.

Known as star orchids, they are native to tropical America, from Florida to northern Argentina. Many of them are epiphytes or lithophytes, that is, they grow, leaning on rocks or stones.

They have a variety of flowers: white, pink, purple, red, yellow. They resist the cold, but the frost hurts them.

Oncidium

Image - Flickr / Eduardo A. Pacheco

Known as dancing ladies, these orchids are native to Puerto Rico and Florida, where they live in tropical rainforests. They develop as epiphytic or lithophytic plants.

Flowers usually yellow or brown, but may also be orange. They do not resist frost, but the cold does not hurt them either. .

How should trees be?

Although orchids are by no means invasive plants or parasites, not all trees are suitable . In fact, only one that meets these characteristics will serve you:

  • Must be for adults , or at least be taller than 3 meters with a trunk of at least 20 centimeters.
  • It is necessary to plant in the ground for a long time, at least 2 years, so that its root system takes root well on the ground.
  • Must not emit gum or tar. , which is typical for Ficus for example.
  • There will also be no eucalyptus or pinos This is one of the trees that emit gases that prevent anything - or almost nothing - from growing under their branches.

When to plant orchids on trees?

Image - Wikimedia/Dinesh Valke of Thane, India

The best time to plant them on a tree is during the season when the plant is in bloom, or during the warmest and rainiest months of the year , which depends on your hemisphere.

Remember that the branch or trunk of the tree you are using should not receive any light or direct sunlight during the day, as this may burn the leaves and the flower that has been grown, as they are not ready to grow under the influence of the King. . Star.

How to do it right?

To place the orchid on a stem, remove the plant from the original container and clean each root. with distilled or rain water so that they do not leave traces of dirt. Then find the place where you are going to place it and try to tie the orchid to a tree. I recommend you try knitting it with plant fiber like cotton or raffia. . Keep in mind that the roots in contact with the tree will stick to it after a few days: they need very little time.

During this growing season, when the plant is just tied to the tree, it is important to water it daily as exposed roots tend to dehydrate faster than when they are covered.

If your orchid doesn't bloom the first year after you tie it to a tree, don't worry, it usually does. It is important to be patient and wait, as this can flourish later. If the conditions are right, sooner or later it will bring you the desired joy, alegría.

I hope you find it useful.


When and how to plant orchids on trees?

Very often people orchids in your garden hang from trees, or inside your house in a pot. However, instead of placing orchids in pots, you can tie them to a resin-free tree trunk or bark.

Watching them grow and bloom on the branches is a precious thing. However, it is very important to choose the right view you want to place , because otherwise you risk losing it due to weather conditions.

Index

  • 1 Things to remember before planting them on trees
    • 1.1 Which orchids are the best at resisting cold?
      • 1.1.1 Cymbidium
      • 1.1.2 Epidendrum
      • 1.1.3 Oncidium
  • 2 How should trees be?
  • 3 When to plant orchids on trees?
    • 3.1 How to do it right?

Things to remember before placing them on trees

Orchids are generally tropical plants that like warm and stable climates. Therefore, most do not withstand sub-zero temperatures. , so if you want to place it, for example, Phalaenopsis on a tree in the north of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain), where it can get frosts down to -4ºC, it will surely die that day, despite the fact that these frosts are short.

And the fact that each plant largely depends on the climate of the area. That's why if you want to have orchids on the trees, you must keep in mind that in order for them to be beautiful all year round, You must choose the ones that are best suited to the conditions in your area.

Subscribe to our Youtube channel

Which orchids resist the cold best?

Considering that the vast majority of orchids come from warm jungles, I thought it best to talk to you "only" about those that are resistant to cold. There are not many of them, but enough for you to enjoy a tropical garden in a place with moderate temperatures:

Cymbidium

Image - Wikimedia / Michael Wolf

This is a genus of evergreen orchids native to Australia, Africa and parts of Asia. They are usually terrestrial, but the ones sold on the market are epiphytes, which is good to know as it means they grow on trees 😉.

They produce beautiful flowers in different colors: yellow, green, white or pink. Resistant to light frost down to -3ºС.

Article subject:

Cymbidium orchid suitable for beginners

Epidendrum

Image - Wikimedia / Filipe Fortes from Seattle, USA.

Known as star orchids, they are native to tropical America, from Florida to northern Argentina. Many of them are epiphytes or lithophytes, that is, they grow, leaning on rocks or stones.

They have a variety of flowers: white, pink, purple, red, yellow. They resist the cold, but the frost hurts them.

Oncidium

Image - Flickr / Eduardo A. Pacheco

Known as dancing ladies, these orchids are native to Puerto Rico and Florida, where they live in tropical forests. They develop as epiphytic or lithophytic plants.

Flowers usually yellow or brown, but may also be orange. They do not resist frost, but the cold does not hurt them either. .

How should trees be?

Although orchids are by no means invasive plants or parasites, not all trees fit . In fact, only one that meets these specifications will serve you:

  • Must be for adults , or at least be over 3 meters with a trunk of at least 20 centimeters.
  • It is necessary to plant in the ground for a long time, at least 2 years, so that its root system takes root well on the ground.
  • Must not emit gum or tar. , which is typical for Ficus for example.
  • There will also be no eucalyptus or pinos This is one of the trees that emit gases that prevent anything - or almost nothing - from growing under their branches.

When to plant orchids on trees?

Image - Wikimedia/Dinesh Valke of Thane, India

The best time to plant them on a tree is during the season when the plant is in bloom, or during the warmest and rainiest months of the year , which depends on your hemisphere.

Remember that the branch or trunk of the tree you are using should not receive any light or direct sunlight during the day, as this may burn the leaves and the flower that has been grown, as they are not ready to grow under the influence of the King.


Learn more