Living Orchids Tree

Episode: 9
Title: Living Orchids
Broadcast: 31st October 2015
Presenter: Kim Syrus

Without doubt, one of the most attractive plants to grow is the Phalaenopsis or moth orchid. Their perfectly formed symmetrical waxy blooms come in a range of different colours and hues that last for many months.

  • They are not a full-time plant but they do enjoy bright conditions. So if you do have one that has not flowered, chances are they are in a too dark a spot so move it somewhere lighter.
  • Phalaenopsis orchids are epiphytes or air plants, they are not parasites which makes them perfect candidates for placing them in trees. They get their moisture and nutrients from runoffs along tree branches that collects around the roots.
  • The first thing in creating a orchid tree is to select a host in a protected area, preferably away from any hot drying winds. Open canopied, deciduous trees and large shrubs allow ample light to stimulate the flowering buds and then, once leaved up will stop the harsh sun from damaging the bloom.
  • Carefully tip the orchid from its pot and remove any potting mix. Inspect the roots for any damage.
  • Pack a good handful of sphagnum moss plus some orchid food around the roots as this will help retain moisture and gives the plant a burst of energy. Wrap in something organic, a paper bark is ideal.
  • Look for a place among the branches that will allow the orchid roots to wrap securely around the tree. Place the orchid against the branch, making sure the new growth faces out to prevent water from collecting at the crown causing rot. Tie with hessian and string to hold it in place. It will only take a few months for the orchid’s roots to wrap around the stem and secure itself.
  • Keeping these plants moist is very important, a misting system is ideal to maintain humidity. Give the orchids regular feeds using a dedicated orchid fertilizer.