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mounting orchids what is the best material?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by jai, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    I have seen so many kinds of materials(tree fern, wood plank, wood basket, cork bark, net pot, kool-log, hygrolon, moss ball, sticks, ceramic plaque and ect.) for mounting orchids on but what really works?
    Any opinions will be appreciated thank you.
     
  2. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    They all work. What you use depends primarily on your conditions (humidity, how often you water, etc.) and what the plant requires (need to dry quickly vs. never dry out). For example, a plant that needs to dry quickly might be on a stick or piece of cork with no moss, but a plant that shouldn't dry out might be in a wood basket with lots of sphagnum moss. Initially you may have some trial and error for your conditions. Another factor may be availability. If you have access to appropriate twigs/sticks/bark from your back yard you may not need to buy anything.

    FYI, another consideration is how much moss, if any, to cover the roots on a mount. I have warmer, dryer conditions than many so I probably use more moss on a mount than someone in more moderate conditions. On some species, even in my conditions, I don't use any moss on the roots.
     
  3. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    I was thinking the same thing, but i just wanted to know if I was thinking wrong. Are their types of wood that should not be used?
     
  4. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Many woods will quickly rot. I wouldn't use pine, fir, Douglas-fir, willow, birch, etc. Where you live you probably have access to oaks, hickory, pecan... Ask someone local what available materials are rot resistant. I use oak and manzanita because they are available, and also cedar fencing boards and redwood scraps because I have some laying around. I know some folks like blueberry twigs, grape vines, sassafras... lots of options.
     
  5. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    So their is no natural tree preditor to orchids?
     
  6. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There could be pests in the wood depending on what it is and where you get it. For starters, don't use any wood that is showing any signs of rot or fungal activity and preferably nothing that has been on the ground. Some people say it needs to be baked in the oven to kill pests. What I do is select dry, seasoned wood and lay it in the sun on concrete for a few days. In my climate that will kill any insects or eggs. Probably doesn't kill fungus spores but they are ubiquitous anyway. I collect a small stash to get me through the winter.

    I have been leaning toward cork for most because it lasts so long. I use local small sticks often for miniature creeping species (ie. Schoenorchis scolopendria) and larger branches (2" diameter or larger) for large heavy species such as large Dendrobiums and Cattleya. It is largely a matter of preference.

    FYI, don't use ocean drift wood because of the salt content. Lake drift wood is OK.
     
  7. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    Thank you for the info, I have a box of tree fern cubes coming in the mail soon
     
  8. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Tree fern will keep mounted plants moister than cork. A lot of grapevine will rot quickly unless it has been pruned back to the same spot many times. So the larger branches and root of grape hold up well. I'll disagree with Kelly on one thing. Douglas fir bark ( not the wood) holds up really well. Lilac and citrus wood also works well.
     
  9. carl

    carl Active Member

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    My pleurothallids and other miniatures grow quite happily on rhododendron branches. They've been on several years, with vigorous roots. I use a minimal pad of sphagnum when mounting, and the roots go everywhere. The bark is rough and very durable.

    I also have found that aerangis are quite happy on pin oak branches. I cut some green branches some time ago, and sawed it in half, then mounted on that. The branches were 2-4" diameter. That lasts reasonably well.

    I also picked up some corky bark from what I believe is a locust tree, but I'm not sure of the species. That's also quite durable.

    Wine corks also work for miniatures. I cut them in half. Best part of these is acquiring them;)
     
  10. jai

    jai Orchid addict

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    My overall intake on the subject is it is the growers opinion and preference.