Has anyone mounted a Billbergia nutans to a piece of wood? What is the process and does the plant do good grown this way? Any pictures would be a big help.
I haven't grown Bil Nutans on a piece of wood, but I have grown Bil. amoena on Hakia and Peppercorn trees and I don't see why they couldn't be grown on a piece of wood providing the following precautions are taken.
Most importantly, make sure the wood hasn't been treated with any type of preservatives i.e. paint, copper/arsenic compounds, creasote, oil etc. It must be free from all contaminents. Even driftwood from the ocean must first be given a thorough soaking and all salt which may have soaked into it is rinsed off.
I have found, that for any mounted plant to feel secure enough to attach itself with new roots it must be firmly attached and held securely so there is no movement. They can be attached by various means, and a common one is wire. But first a word of warning; The wire must not be copper, as this is toxic to bromeliads. Also I have found that if new galvanised steel wire is used, it can also damage the plants at the point of contact.
There has been good info in previous posts here on the GW about what to use and some of the things that come to mind are, old stockings, plastic coated wire, fabric strips and even glue for smaller brom's like mini neo's and tillys. I even know of one grower who just hammers nails through the rhizome and into the tree (Ouch!) and attaches his plants this way. My personal preference is for 4cm strips of green shade cloth. These have a certain amount of stretch in them, are very strong, won't rot, and blend in with the surroundings well, especially when finished of with a few bits of "old man's whiskers".
Kerry wrote some good tips on mounting plants in previous posts here on the GW and if you type "mounting bromeliads" into the search engine of this forum, I'm sure all of your questions will be answered.
Good luck, and please post some pic's of the results.
All the best, Nev.
Billbergia nutans grows extremely well planted in straight unamended soil here in California, but when it is stuck in amongst ivy branches on a wood fence with no soil and no automatic irrigation to wet it down in summer, it tends to not grow much at all and also dry out older foliage at a much faster rate. In areas with high summer humidity and summer rains it probably would do well without any soil at the roots, but if not grow moist/humid, it stresses here in California conditions when grown soil less. At the very least, I would recommend mounting it with sphagnum moss packed at the roots to retain a bit of moisture between waterings, and misting it daily. Even planting them in a greatly undersized pot with some soil seems to make a great difference for me.
I finally dug up an old pic of a Bil. amoena growing in the fork of a pepper corn tree. This was just securred in place and watered regularly. It took about 12 months before it had attached to the tree and I don't see why you couldn't mount a Bil. Nutans to a bit of wood in this way as long as it wasn't allowed to dry out.
Bahia recommends planting with sphagnum moss packed around the roots, but any time I've tried this I've found the roots just grow into the sphagnum and won't attach to the mount.
I've found the best way is to attach the plant directly to your mount whether it is a bit of wood, a rock or a tree and just make sure it doesn't dry out. The best time is when the roots are just starting to emerge from the base of the pup.
It's also worth remembering that mounted plants dry out much quicker than those in pots and they are especially vulnerable until they have attached their roots to the mount, what ever it is.
Perhaps if Kerry is reading this, she would care to give some tips as she is a "Brom Mounting Expert".