Mounting an orchid

by Richard Cozby
(Lincoln City, Oregon, USA)

Can you instruct me on how to mount a Haraella retrocalla orchid? Thanks
Richard Cozby
Lincoln City, Oregon

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Sep 27, 2012
Cable's Reply
by: Cable Thompson

Sure! Haraella retrocalla is one of my favorites, and I think growing them mounted is the best approach.

First, you'll want to have the slab of bark you'll mount it on; cork bark is the usual choice, though you can get creative with almost any sort of wood. I've also used tree fern with good results. Other things you'll want to have handy: some sphagnum moss, some fishing line, and some wire to use for the hook. (Most people use galvanized steel wire.) You can also lie the slab on its back if that suits your space better than hanging it from a hook.

First, make a hole through the bark for your hook. If you're using cork, you can poke a hole with any sharp object, or maybe even the wire you'll be using. Generally, though, a drill works best. Put your wire through the hole, bend it upward on the front and back, and make your hook. (People attach the wire in different ways; some will bend the front part of the wire over the top of the bark and twist it around the base of the hook; others simply jam the end securely into the bark. Do whatever will keep the hook secure.)

Then, place a pad of wet moss on the slab, probably a couple inches wide. Then arrange the plant's roots; it might help to wet them first, as they'll be more pliable. I suggest keeping the plant at a similar orientation to how it has been growing previously; they tend to adjust their leaf angles to help prevent water collecting where it will produce crown rot.

Once you're happy with how the plant and its roots are positioned on the slab, tie your fishing line to the base of the hook and start winding it around the slab to secure the roots and moss in place. Go around several times with moderate tension until everything is held securely. Then tie it off, either to the hook again or to another part of the fishing line.

Punch a hole in the plant's label and slide the label onto the hook, so it hangs behind the slab.

And that's it! Mounting an orchid the first time will feel like a somewhat involved undertaking, but with a little practice you'll soon find it to be really easy. And plants like Haraella retrocalla really appreciate it.

Have fun!

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