How-To Guide for Mounting Epiphytes: Great How to article

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How-To Guide for Mounting Epiphytes

By drdawg
January 10, 2015

Lots of people grow epiphytic plants, but most of them are grown in pots, simply because that's the way we are used to growing houseplants. However, that is not the way most of these plants grow in nature. Though they might grow on rocky outcrops or even electrical and/or telephone wires, the vast majority will be found growing in trees. Why not mount some of your epiphytes, so that they grow the way they do in nature?

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Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jan 9, 2015 7:13 PM CST
Ken this should make things clear enough for a beginner! Thumbs up
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Jan 9, 2015 8:49 PM CST
I agree
You make it look so 'easy'!
Well, if you can find the cool wood and the epiphytes...

So, I am dying to know how do you water them if they are mounted and hanging on a wall in your house, for example, which is where I grow my staghorn cuz I live in a cold-winter place with no greenhouse...and what about when they get really big???
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jan 9, 2015 9:12 PM CST
The first question is easy. Do what I do. Take them down, bring them to a large sink (I have a utility sink in the laundry room to use in the fall/winter months) and drench them. Drain and then put them back on the wall. During the spring/summer months, take them outside and hose them down. Better yet, IF you have trees, hang the plants under the trees during the warm months, like I do. Easy.

Like any plant, when they get really large, you will have to divide them or re-mount them. I divided mine. I had one that got over 100 lbs.! Heck, I could not begin to lift her. She got divided into six plants, and each was mounted. There is always a solution for every problem.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Jan 9, 2015 9:43 PM CST
Thank You Ken!
I'm thinking about it ... kinda scared about it though...
okay--so mounting bigger ones--same principle?
Name: David Paul
(Zone 9b)
Cat Lover Hibiscus Seed Starter Native Plants and Wildflowers Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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DavidofDeLand
Jan 10, 2015 5:41 AM CST
well done article Ken! I tip my hat to you.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jan 10, 2015 6:54 AM CST
Thank you, David Paul.

Yes, Dirt, regardless of the size plant, it will be the same. Sometimes with larger plants I will use both the criss-cross and the straight-across tying together, just to have more "hold". Thus you would have four wires across the plant/root-ball. With tall bromeliads (or any taller plant), I will drill two additional hold further up the mount so that I can loosely support the upper part of the plant. Just use your imagination. The plant won't care if you are not perfect! Whistling Go for it, Dirt. No risk-no glory.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Jan 10, 2015 11:10 AM CST
Great article Ken! I don't know if you had seen the one that I mounted on the cork that I got from you...Here it is...Growing a new basal frond!
Thumb of 2015-01-10/terrafirma/0636a7 Thumb of 2015-01-10/terrafirma/9e1ddb

Was easy peasy, Dirt! Go for it! Thumbs up
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jan 10, 2015 11:22 AM CST
Tara, that is developing into a very nice staghorn specimen plant. Its even trying to grow a pup! It is always a good sign of great health when they grow "babies". Hurray! Stags grow so well on cork slabs and yours is a great example of that.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Jan 10, 2015 1:08 PM CST
I'm trying to get up the courage...and thinking about what to mount it on and where to put it...kinda have a plant-hoarding space problem ya know Whistling
I have a neato hunk of driftwood--but it's too big

right now, it (I think there are three) is in a broken clay pot on top of a book shelf (can't really see the broken part -heh)
Thumb of 2015-01-10/dirtdorphins/3b7026

I am pondering using a long horn that I have...somehow... and flip-flopping the shelves...
I kinda like the idea of a staghorn on a longhorn Hilarious!
Have you ever grown them on bone?
I think the actual bone of the horn would look pretty cool, with all the little holes for the vasculature...but it would be kinda heavy and I might regret that...the keratin casing is hollow without the bone, would be easy to drill and much lighter, but much less attractive...unless I can figure out how to polish it up or something or accept the weathered look...
or go wood hunting...

Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jan 10, 2015 1:19 PM CST
I have never used bone. If I had a source, I would certainly see how it worked. Unless the driftwood must remain as-is, you can always cut it to get it to a more manageable size. I cut, shave, and/or sand practically every mount I use. I also like to finish one side of the wood and coat that side with a durable layer of epoxy. I can't do that with some pieces of driftwood though.

Good luck. I am sure you'll come up with something that will look great.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Jan 10, 2015 4:04 PM CST
Well, I went and dug the horn out of the snow and I am hatching mad plans for how to drill it and hang it--
I'm sure I'll come up with something that looks weird, anyway Hilarious!
I'm gonna try it on both, the bone and outer shell and see what happens.

Thanks for a great article and all the encouragement!
Name: Chuck Pfeiffer
McKinney, TX (DFW) (Zone 8a)
chuck7701
Jan 10, 2015 4:23 PM CST
I could see how using an old cow skull or a shoulder or ham bone would make for a neat epiphyte project. Is this a longhorn horn? You might consider using the open end for a plant, hanging it vertically with more plant attachments down the length.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Jan 10, 2015 5:08 PM CST
Isn't imagination a wonderful thing!? Hurray!
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Jan 10, 2015 5:32 PM CST
Yeah--I thought about using my buffalo skull for a few seconds, but I do not want it consumed by the fern so I got over that urge real quick!
The horn is just a long, fat horn with a gentle curve, about 28"--it's not a longhorn horn, but it's still cool.

Yes--current thought is the biggest one in the open end and one in the curve and hang it vertically, somehow. I'd like to put a cable down the center and I'm working on that...

Terribly exciting, really nodding
Name: Donna King
Selmer, TN (Southern West TN) (Zone 7b)
Hummingbirder Garden Ideas: Master Level
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donnabking
Jan 10, 2015 6:02 PM CST
Wow, all these ideas are super cool! Y'all must post pix when you get this done!!!
The Hooterville Hillbilly @ Hummingbird Hill
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Jan 23, 2015 8:30 PM CST
Okay--I did it Blinking
here's the evidence...looks a bit pathetic after the surgery
Thumb of 2015-01-24/dirtdorphins/af34be
I had no clue what all the stuff was that seemed to be attached??? it really seemed to be sphagnum moss and sticks and I could not tell what was roots, if anything. I tried to preserve as much of 'whatever' that was but I really had to pare it down to jam it in the top of the horn (couldn't even really come close to getting it in there, so it is mostly mounded on top) and there is a way too big pouch on the side, as far as I'm concerned. I hope that it manages to figure out how to cope.
And if this fails--I may try again with babies...

The yellow wire...left over stuff from the electric fence Hilarious! not attractive but real easy to work with (oh well, I keep telling myself this is an experiment not a show piece Hilarious! ) and a little ghetto action with the temporary rubber band 'til it catches on to the new shape...
Thumb of 2015-01-24/dirtdorphins/683df0

cable around the horn, thru brass bearings and up the middle
Thumb of 2015-01-24/dirtdorphins/5bd73f Thumb of 2015-01-24/dirtdorphins/614066
Thumb of 2015-01-24/dirtdorphins/c64c6f
should really be strong enough to hold more than I can carry to the shower

and the end of the horn--just because it's cool
Thumb of 2015-01-24/dirtdorphins/4b6eca

Thank You Ken for such a great article!!!
and thank you and everyone else for all of the extra help and encouragement too!

Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Jan 23, 2015 9:22 PM CST
That is sooooooooooo cool, Dirt! I think it looks fabulous. You have done something I have never seen done before. You should feel proud of yourself. I think the stag will do well. I am not so sure where it will wrap its basal fronds, but the results will be most interesting.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Jan 23, 2015 9:49 PM CST
Thanks Ken!
I appreciate that a lot Smiling
Yeah...it will be interesting...I'll share periodic pics of the weirdness
It may try to envelope the cable
I hope it gets snugly by the time I hang it in a tree --we get some wicked winds in these parts
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Jan 24, 2015 6:56 AM CST
Thumbs up
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

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