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An Orchid on Every Tree

Posted by epiphyte78 9 (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 5:55

When I drive around Los Angeles I see way too many naked trees. Naked trees should be the exception, rather than the rule. So let's get puritanical!

Adorning your trees with epiphytes and other plants is pretty much the funnest thing. It's kinda like attaching ornaments to a Christmas Tree...but 100x more awesome. That's because the ornaments are living and far more fascinating than ordinary ornaments.

Here are a few photos of my Cedar Tree...

Begonia boliviensis growing Epiphytically

Kalanchoe uniflora Growing Epiphytically

How many different plants can you grow on your trees? Perhaps it would be easier to list the plants that you can't grow epiphytically. So far I haven't had much success with Sanseverias. And the common parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) didn't make it either...probably because I let it go too long without water. There are probably a couple other plants that you can't grow on a tree.

If you want to make watering super easy...you just run a quarter inch polytube drip line up your tree...

Cattleya Penny Kuroda 2

Many orchids and most Tillandsias can be attached directly to the tree. In fact, with CAM orchids it's safer not to include any medium when you attach them to the tree. That way you'll decrease the chance of rot during the winter.

The important thing to remember when attaching an orchid to a tree is that the orchid must be very very tightly attached. I use a slip knot method to ensure that I don't lose any tension when tying the knot. If it's not securely attached then the new roots will break off if it has any room to wiggle.

Most other plants though will require some sort of medium...moss being the most common. For more information check out this thread I posted on mounting mediums.

Vertical landscaping isn't without its challenges though...

Raccoon With Epiphytes 2

....but the rewards far exceed the drawbacks...especially if you've run out of horizontal space. Even if you don't have space for a full sized tree...you can still attach dozens of miniature epiphytes to bonsai trees...

Crassula Bonsai With Orchids 3a

Let me know if you have any questions or complaints. If you've already adorned some of your trees...I'd certainly love to see your photos. For additional inspiration...here's a group I created on flickr for orchids on trees.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

  • Posted by chadinlg zone 9%3B Sunset 15 (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 13:43

I've wanted to do this with Laelia anceps, but I don't think it would be reliably hardy in the SF bay area. ANy other suggestions for Zone 9 ?

Chad


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 8, 13 at 15:15

That's a good idea. What about Epiphyllums?


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

Chad, I don't think "hardiness" as in "cold tolerance" would be much of an issue for Laelia anceps in the SF bay area. Did it freeze in the bay area this year? It got down to at least 32F here in Glendale (just inland of Los Angeles).

Generally the problem is more a lack of enough summer heat. That's why I tell people along the coast to try growing CAM orchids in full sun. Also, again, with CAM orchids, it's safer not to include any moss when you attach them to trees.

There are plenty of L. anceps varieties available. One thing you'll want to try and do is pick the ones that flower earliest. The ones that flower earliest complete their growth earliest which means that they require less heat.

Also, one thing I've just started to try and keep track of is which orchids are the first to initiate new growth. The earlier they initiate new growth, the more suitable, in theory, they would be for growing further north.

Here's a thread on the topic of...errr...got a message about "illegal string alert". Just Google "what orchids can grow outdoors in NorCal?"

Probably your single best source of outdoor orchid information would be Asuka Orchids in San Bruno. I had a chance to talk with them at the recent Pacific Orchid Expo and learned that they grow many...most?...all?...of their orchids outside year around. Plus, they are really nice and friendly guys.

Very generally speaking...you should be able to grow most orchids from Nepal and surrounding areas outside year around, many from China, all orchids from Japan, many from Australia, all from New Zealand (none are readily available), many from South Africa, most from Argentina, many from Brazil, and many from Mexico. Plus there are countless species that grow at lower latitudes but higher elevations.

Here's a list off of the top off my head...

Coelogyne cristata (Himalayas)
Cyrtochilums - many (Americas)
Dendrobium falconeri (Australia)
Dendrobium kingianum (Australia) (attached to a tree in Berkeley)
Masdevallias - many (Americas)
Maxillaria picta (Argentina, Brazil)
Miltonia flavescens (Argentina, Brazil)
Mystacidium capense (South Africa)
Neofinetia falcata (Japan)
Oncidium bifolium (Argentina, Brazil)
Pholidota chinensis (China)
Pleurothallis - many (Americas)
Polystachya ottoniana (South Africa)
Polystachya pubescens (South Africa)
Sarcochilus falcatus (Australia)
Sedirea japonica (Japan)
Sophronitis cernua (Argentina, Brazil)
Vanda coerulea (Himalayas)

By far the best source for orchids and other interesting plants in the Bay Area is Dan Newman...Hanging Gardens.

Additional sources of information...

Epiphytes in the Summer Garden - Lots of information on temperature tolerance.

Epiphyte Tree (England) - I posted a list here of possible cool growers.

Epiphyte Tree (New Zealand) - Be sure to check out Maurice's excellent website for information and inspiration...Epiphyte Tree.

You'll be able to grow more species of orchids outside year around than any other family. But there are plenty of other families to try as well.

One plant that I would absolutely recommend growing epiphytically is Agapetes serpens. Some genius attached them to tree fern stumps around Golden Gate Park. I purchased a good sized one for a very reasonable price at The Dry Garden Nursery. The Berkeley Horticultural Nursery has some crazy specimens...but not sure if they have any for sale.

Epiphytic Rhododendrons (Vireyas) are pretty awesome as well...here's one growing epiphytically in a Platycerium basket in Berkeley Botanical Garden.

For the most vertical gardening inspiration I highly recommend Flora Grubb Gardens. Be sure to talk to Clarke...that guy really knows his stuff...especially when it comes to Tillandsias outdoors in the Bay Area.

In terms of the big picture, the most important thing is to grow plants from seed and select for cold/drought tolerance. Because it makes more sense (requires less resources) if we conform the plants to our conditions rather than conform our conditions (greenhouses) to the plants.

hoovb, if you look through Maurice's website you'll see some great photos of Epiphyllums being grown epiphytically. Just like the rest of the Cactaceae (Rhipsalis, Hatoria, Schlumbergera)...they'll be happiest with a healthy helping of moss.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

I have always wanted to do this, but I was afraid that I would cause my tree to rot behind the orchid. I tried one on a locust tree but I don't think it got enough water. How much water do you give them? Would my pepper tree collect too much water in the bark and rot?


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Wow! So very pretty! Would love to try it! Many dormant trees on our property.

What kind of pressure do you have to pump the water UP the trunk? We have huge issues from a previous owner's bad irrigation where he had lines going UP hill and not DOWN and across, and there wasn't enough PSI for proper irrigation, so many of his nice fruit trees died. We get the job of re-plumbing and irrigating properly and replacing the dead trees with new ones.

Would love to know your method of getting water to travel UP!

Suzi


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hosenemesis, epiphytes occur in habitats that range from dripping wet rain forests to near deserts. Personally, my interest is in the most drought tolerant epiphytes...especially orchids. Here's a list of some that are relatively drought tolerant...

Ansellia africana
Barkeria (all)
Brassavola (all)
Cattleya maxima
Cattleya nobilior
Cattleya walkeriana
Dendrobium canaliculatum
Dendrobium compactum
Dendrobium speciosum
Dockrillia linguiforme
Dockrillia teretifolium
Dockrillia wassellii
Encyclia (all)
Laelia (Mexican... albida, anceps, autumnalis, furfuracea, gouldiana, speciosa)
Laelia sincorana
Myrmecophila (all)
Mystacidium capense
Oncidium cebolleta
Oncidium onustum
Psychilis krugii
Rhyncholaelia digbyana
Rhyncholaelia glauca
Schomburgkia splendida v cauca
Schomburgkia superbiens
Sobennikoffia robusta

Like I mentioned, it's safer to mount these orchids without any moss and it's essential that they be very very securely attached.

Right now here in inland So Cal...many of these are just starting to put out new roots. So from now until around June is a perfect time to attach them to trees.

In terms of host suitability...most trees should be perfectly fine...with natives being the exception. I do know of several people growing Laelia anceps and other Mexican Laelias on our native oaks with no problem. But I wouldn't recommend it though. Here's a Pepper Tree covered in epiphytes.

In terms of watering frequency...during the coldest days of winter I water first thing in the morning once every 10 or so days. During the very hottest days of summer I'll try and water my Cedar tree every night.

In my desert garden area I'm establishing CAM orchids and Tillandsias on Pony Tail Palms, Madagascar Palms and Mexican Palo Verdes. I even attached an orchid to Kalanchoe beharensis and one on a giant Echeveria gibbiflora. Because these are all drought tolerant epiphytes...I stop watering around September and don't start until around May/June.

The first year you attach orchids you'll want to water somewhat more frequently until they establish a good root system on the bark...perhaps 3-4 times per week at night. Once they are established...then they can be watered around twice a week at night during the hottest days.

Here are a few photos that might be of interest...

Oncidium/Zelenkoa onustum growing on a cactus (additional photos)
Orchid growing on Euphorbia
Psychilis krugii growing on a cactus

Here's a photo of a Mexican Laelia growing on a Yucca...

Laelia autumnalis on Yucca

It's a perfect example of a good root system. Unlike Tillandsias, epiphytic orchids are all about the roots. You can see, however, that the base of the Yucca has rotted out. It didn't really seem to phase the Yucca though as it's still growing quite vigorously. The photo was taken at the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate which is a stone's throw away from the ocean.

Here are some epiphytes on a Pony Tail Palm in a private garden here in LA...

Tillandsias, Encyclias on Beaucarnea recurvata

For some additional info...here's a thread I posted about CAM orchids.

Suzi, honestly I have no idea what my PSI is. My water pressure is decent...it's not a fire hose but nor is it a trickle. Basically I just attach the hose to 1/2" polytube which runs to the base of the tree...where it attaches to 1/4" polytube that runs up the tree. There are probably around 20 drip emitters at various strategic locations on the tree.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

Thank you for the detailed and informative answer. I'll try it!


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I've been hanging epidendrums and some bromeliads in my apple tree, but eventually the pots get too heavy, and I have to divide them and get stronger chains. One epidendrum is still waiting to be rehung, once I can get the chains replaced. It now has about 15 spikes on it, and I may need to divide it again.

Lars


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

Well, I'm interested! The property we purchased has many Queen and Mexican Fan palms and some huge pines. Most are so big, they live with zero irrigation, but there is some close by. There is a small oak growing horizontally out of a crack in a rock... It gets no irrigation. We have a messy Silver Oak (NEVER plant that tree) that grows with no irrigation also. Would love to reach out and enjoy orchids on that one!!

I assume that orchids do fine in shade? They would get some sun on a trunk when the sun is low in the sky.

Suzi


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

I saw some beautiful laelias and laelia-cat hybrids on trees at Norman's Orchids. They used a high throwing sprinkler 3 times a week as I recall ( the metal kind that moves back and forth and sounds like chick-chick-chick )


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

Suzi, most orchids require shade or else the leaves will burn. The epidendrum is one of the few exceptions. You might not get enough shade from a palm tree for some orchids, especially phalaenopsis, which I grow indoors or in very protected shade. Cymbidiums could grow under palm trees, but they are quite heavy, and I have not seen them hanging.

You can always check at the Orchid Forum.

Lars


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Hey,Carlos...what will bloom all summer on a tree?.. Impatiens?..and common plants at nurserys in packs that could be used? Any ideas?
I just mounted a Aglaomorpha coronans pup on my Podocarpus the other day. And so far the cats haven't knocked it loose. Its tucked in a cranny,not tied.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

Lars, nice photo! Reed Stem Epidendrums are neat because they frequently produce keikis. If you're feeling adventurous you might try attaching some keikis directly to your tree with some moss. Reed Stem Epis aren't really terrestrials...but neither are they really epiphytic. So they do need a decent amount of moss to grow on if you attach them to a tree.

Suzi, the majority of orchids are perfectly fine if they receive a few hours of protection from the summer sun. How far are you from the coast? The closer you are the more direct sun you can give your orchids. In fact, CAM orchids do best with full sun for people near the coast. This is because CAM orchids require heat to grow and they are going to get more heat with more sun.

I'm just a few miles east of downtown Los Angeles and am trying to experiment with how much direct sun some of my orchids can take. My biggest problem has been from not adequately acclimating my orchids to more sun. Even an orchid that can easily grow in full sun for me such as Oncidium cebolleta will burn if I don't give it adequate time to adjust to more sun. Generally speaking, the colder it is the less time an orchid needs to acclimate to more sun.

The most commonly available orchid that can tolerate the most sun is probably Dendrobium nobile. It has no problem growing in full sun here in Glendale. It's easy to tell if it's getting enough light because it will be pendent and green in insufficient light. With adequate light it will grow straight up and it will be yellowish green.

Stan! Last summer my friend purchased a few packs of wax begonias and impatiens and I helped attach them to his trees. When I visited last weekend the begonias were still in bloom. The ones that were happiest were of course the ones that we stuck behind the Platyceriums that we had attached to his Palm Trees.

Here's an Impatiens sodenii that grew from some seeds that I had sown directly on the tree last year...

Impatiens sodenii and Columnea

It's already starting to produce buds. And here's a photo of some sodenii that have volunteered on palms at the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate...

Impatiens sodenii on a Palm

Sodenii sure thrives in the bay area so I would highly recommend it. Plus it easily produces seed and easily grows from seed. It's super important that we try and grow as many plants as we can from seed so that we can select for the individuals that can grow colder/drier.

We also stuck a few ivy geraniums on his tree. I have one growing on my tree that grew from seeds that I had sown in a coco fiber pocket stuffed with moss. Ivy geraniums are fairly tolerant of dryness...but they will need some good light to bloom well. You might also try nasturtiums.

Hanging fuchsias would be great if you could keep them moist enough...which is certainly easier for people along the coast. There are actually some epiphytic species but few of them are available in cultivation.

Right now I have a couple dozen Fuchsia procumbens that I grew from seed. They are still just seedlings. Not sure if I should select them for drought tolerance or give them to my friends.

Oh man, Aglaomorpha coronans is stupendous! Check out these photos of it in its habitat...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dans180/6890959363/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25539388@N07/3191174338/

Last year I attached one to my tree. It's the highest plant on my tree...easily three stories up. When I attached it I included several large handfuls of the really good New Zealand Sphagnum. Because the fern is so close to the top of the tree it's incredibly exposed to sun and wind. I'm really happy that it's already put out several new fronds this year.

When I was up for the Pacific Orchid Expo I noticed that Flora Grubb was selling one gallon containers of it. They really need to stick one on a tree so that people can have some idea of its potential. I'm really happy though that somebody is mass producing it. For a while it sure wasn't easy to find...which really sucks because everybody should have at least one on their trees.

Another epiphytic fern that is pretty great is Drynaria fortunei. It put out fronds even earlier than coronans. In fact, fortunei's spore patches are already ripe. Given how early it completes its growth, I think that it would be an excellent candidate for the bay area.

But I think hands down the one plant that I'd most recommend for growing epiphytically in the bay area is Agapetes serpens. Last year Annie's Annuals had several for sale when I visited their nursery but I guess they sold out. On that same trip I purchased a 5 gallon Agapetes Ludgvan Cross for $34 from The Dry Garden (thanks for telling me about them!). I kept a cutting and gave the main plant to Kartuz so that he could propagate it and help ensure that it's more readily available.

I'd also highly recommend putting some rooted cuttings of your nice Nematanthus on your trees. Not only would they look great, but it would also help you hedge your bets. I'm a huge fan of not keeping too many eggs in the same basket. As we all know, a garden can have numerous microclimates...so spreading a plant around the yard will increase the chances that it will survive the winter. Plus it's always nice to have established cuttings to share/trade with friends. It's never completely altruistic when I share with friends though because I always reserve the right to get a cutting back should I happen to lose mine. :D

Since your Nematanthus does so well...you might also have good success with Codonanthes. Not sure which species is the most cold tolerant...but my carnosa/devosiana? is already actively growing.

If you want to get really crazy with the cheese whiz then you should definitely try growing Sarmienta, Asteranthera ovata and Mitraria coccinea on your trees.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

For a couple of years Carlos, I had the largest ( i think!) A.coronans in the bay area. And then...I placed it on a ceramic pot of soil hoping that it would grow over that like it had the basket it was in..Before I knew it,fronds died, and after a few weeks of not getting better..I pulled on it and saw that the huge rhizomes had rotted,not rooted. I re-hung it,and it very slowly recovered to be five separate plants..SMALL separate plants compare to the 3'+ fronds hanger it used to be. A couple or three weeks ago,I did it right and replanted in new baskets,pots,and one in the Podocarpus tree.
So,the lesson is with these ferns..Rhizomes need air.
And do you know that the one plant I get asked about the most on Dave's Garden as to" where to find?" Is that fern. So thanks for the tips.


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I have successfully attached some of the common "houseplant" bromeliads to my Australian Tree Fern. I haven't tried much else though. I'm afraid that it's too cold where I live to grow most orchids outside with the exception of maybe cymbidiums, but I'm not sure if they'd grow well attached to a tree.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

Stan, yeah, it really helps to know whether a plant is an epiphyte or not. I hope the people at Flora Grubb tell their customers that because Aglaomorpha coronans is an epiphyte it needs well drained media. The problem is...before you know it, bark in a pot will turn into soil. That's why it's safer to attach epiphytes to trees.

central_cali369, there are plenty of epiphytic orchids which grow alongside tree ferns and bromeliads in nature. Where do you live?

Cymbidiums, Epiphyllums and Reed Stem Epidendrums all do relatively well because they tolerate it when their potting mix breaks down and turns into soil. There have been numerous times when I've unpotted these plants for other people and discovered earth worms happily living in the broken down media.

But Cymbidiums, Reed Stem Epis and Epiphyllums can all be attached to trees...you'll just need to give them a good amount of moss. The advantages are that you'll clear up your horizontal space and you won't need to worry about dividing and repotting.

Check out this photo of an orchid growing epiphytically alongside an Epiphyllum. Here's the same orchid species...Miltonia flavescens covered in snow...and here's a Vanda coerulea covered in snow.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

I like your idea of putting orchids on trees, but I do not have trees for doing this. So far the only sturdy tree in the back yard I have is my apple tree, and I cannot really attach plants to its truck because the branches start too low. I have banana trees, but I think they would be unreliable, as would my citrus trees. I'm growing a cherimoya in a pot, and when I get it established in the ground, that might be a good candidate. I also have a young white sapote that is too small to support orchids at this point. My papayas have been unsuccessful, or else they would have been good for that.

In my front yard I have a silk floss tree (still a bit young - I have been in this house only three years), but I think it might be really good for attaching moss to, since it has a spikey trunk. I'm just worried about them getting too much sun, but perhaps when the tree is bigger and makes more shade, that won't be a problem. I'd like to get some of my epiphyllums attached to trees - they are multiplying like crazy and need more space. The night blooming one needs lots of shade, and I've been giving away cuttings from it because it has overgrown the front porch.

Lars


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

epiphyte, I live in Fresno, (sunset zone 9, USDA 9b). Our summers are extremely hot and dry


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

Lars, I have plenty of orchids growing on my lemon tree. I have big orchids on the trunk and miniature orchids on pencil sized branches. I also have orchids growing on trees in pots...Floss Silk tree, Ficus, Magnolia tree...and on non-trees in the ground such as Madagascar Palm "trees", Pony Tail Palm "trees", Alluaudia procera, Kalanchoe beharensis...and I even have an orchid attached to an Echeveria. One of the best trees to attach orchids and other epiphytes to is the ubiquitous Pygmy Date Palm. But I definitely agree that bananas would not be suitable for attaching orchids to.

central_cali369, the heat sure isn't a problem for CAM orchids...they really love it. Here are a few orchids that are fairly available that should do well for you...

Cattleya intermedia (Southern Brazil)
Dendrobium kingianum (Southern Australia)
Dendrobium nobile (Himalayas)
Encyclia cordigera (Americas)
Laelia anceps (Mexico)
Myrmecophila tibicinis (Mexico)
Rhyncholaelia digbyana/glauca (Americas)

As I've said before, when you attach them to a tree...don't use any moss and make sure that they are very very securely attached.

In terms of watering...the first year, during the hottest days, you'll need to water them around every other night. After that, once they've got fairly extensive root systems, then you can reduce the watering to around 2-3 times per week during the hottest days. Spring and Fall you can water during the day...1-2 times per week...depending on how hot it is. Winter you can water 1-3 times per month also during the day.

Basically, the hotter it is, the more frequently and later you should water. During the hottest days it's a waste to water mounted orchids during the day time because the evaporation rate is so high. When you water at night the orchids have more time to fully hydrate.

Slugs and snails have no problem climbing...so the higher you attach the orchids on the trees the safer they'll be. These pests can easily eat all the new roots off a mounted orchid...and if an orchid doesn't have any roots...then it wont grow.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

A question posted in reply to this thread...Driest Growing Epiphytic Gesneriads...

"Also off topic: have you considered any of the epiphytic amaryllids, such as a. calyptratum?
--Rr"

Rr, last year I divided up my Hippeastrum papilio and attached the main bulb to my tree. It didn't establish and the bulb rotted. The variegated Clivia that I attached right next to it wasn't very happy either but it seems to have established.

Because I'm a huge fan of not putting all my eggs in one basket...I also added one of the papilio offsets to a "kokedama" and it has established nicely. I stuck another offset behind a Platycerium growing on my friend's palm and it too has established nicely.

Last year I ordered some Hippeastrum aulicum seeds and I now have 5 happy seedlings. I plan on giving a couple of them to Kartuz.

I'd certainly be interested in trying Hippeastrum calyptratum...but haven't managed to find any.

My question is...are these species significantly better suited for growing on trees than the other species or commonly available hybrids? I've wondered the same thing about Echeverias and gingers.

Not sure if it's related to Hippeastrum...but June 2011 I purchased a few seedlings of Cyrtanthus epiphyticus. The two I attached to my tree didn't make it past the first winter but the one I placed in a well drained hanging pot did. It hasn't sprouted yet...so not sure if it's dead.

I think the only "bulb" plant that I've got on my tree is the common pregnant onion. It's doing really well...

Pregnant Onion Growing Epiphytically

Unfortunately, 1. the flowers aren't very showy, 2. it gets way too much light for its leaves to hang down as long as I've seen them in shadier locations and 3. it hits people in the head with baby onions. It's not like being hit in the head with a coconut...but it's the thought that counts.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

  • Posted by nil13 z21 Mt. Washington L (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 14:33

They aren't orchids, but there was a great image in the Jan/Feb '13 issue of the Cactus and Succulent Journal of Dioon califanoi with Mammillaria flavicentra growing epiphytically on the trunks. I would like to see something like that on a ubiquitous Cycas revoluta. I just just imagine the amazement people would express over cacti growing out of the trunk of a 'palm'. lol.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

  • Posted by nil13 z21 Mt. Washington L (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 15:10

*double post*

This post was edited by nil13 on Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 15:35


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It might be a good way to grow Syngoniums...hardy all through low California,not just the coast. Especially since they came out with some new eye catcher cultivars.
I also have a large Rypsalis dangling down 4' from a dead Schefflera. I can see the Shefflera is rotting fast..and now its where to move that Rypsalis that's been good to me all these years. It likes more sun then most shade plants. On the Stagnhorn?..might not look good since the Stag wraps around the whole trunk of a (living) Podocarpus.


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nil13, I saw the same photo as well...it's pretty great. I'd also love to see cactus and other plants growing on the very common Sago Palms. It's just a matter of inspiring/encouraging people to think vertically.

In this thread...Growing Succulents Epiphytically...there are quite a few photos...and links to photos...of various cactus and succulents growing on trees.

Here's a photo of a pretty good sized Opuntia growing on a palm...and here's a photo that I took a while back at the Huntington...

Accidental Epiphytes on Butia capitata

I also recently posted a thread that has quite a few links to some interesting habitat shots...Cactus, Orchids and Bromeliads

The only non epiphytic cactus on my tree is Mammillaria gracilis. I put four or five on my tree in different locations. One rotted because it got ran over by a fern...two are on some decent medium and are doing fine...and one is just on plain bark. The one on plain bark has rooted...but it hasn't grown as much relative to the two on some medium.

I also ordered quite a few cactus seeds from eBay last year. Most of them germinated really easy so I plan on experimenting with them to see if any of them are noticeably more suitable to growing on trees. In this thread...Selecting For Drought Tolerance...you can see some photos of my seed sowing technique.


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hoovb, not quite an Epiphyllum...but pretty close...

Hatiora rosea, Papilionanthe vandarum, Kalanchoe uniflora

stanofh, the right Syngoniums will definitely climb a tree. But for the most part I've been shying away from hemiepiphytes because I don't like having anything planted near the base of the tree. The less plants near the base of the tree...the less likely it is that you'll have slugs/snails/sowbugs/millipedes climb up and munch on your plants.

Have you propagated your Rhipsalis? As I said before, I'm a huge advocate of not putting all the eggs in one basket. Rhipsalis grow super easy from cuttings and seeds. Personally I would prefer growing it from seed. That way there's a possibility that you might end up with a somewhat more cold and/or drought tolerant individual. Growing plants from seeds facilitates progress.

Here are a couple photos of Platycerium baskets...

Impatiens and Begonia in Platycerium

Zygopetalum in Platycerium

The first Rhipsalis I remember seeing was growing from a Platycerium...

Rhipsalis Growing with Platycerium

Every Platycerium should have at least one Rhipsalis growing from it.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

I'm getting ready to take the plunge. I bought the last "Orchid" moss they had, So,I also bought two bags of long fiber moss. Its might not be as good as the Orchid,but looks much better then regular basket moss. Pictures when done. I hope my Dendrobium is up to growing on a tree..


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

See other post...

This post was edited by stanofh on Tue, May 28, 13 at 16:42


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

I put a Dendrobium "King Comet" I've had for years on the Podocarpus. After buying that moss,I read you said NO moss for them. So,I just wedged it on a nook on the trunk. I added some Rhipsalis species (pilocarpus?) under it in some leaf detritus. Nothing tied. If cats or squirrels leave it alone-- its wedged in enough to root. I just hope it roots fast.
Some pieces of the Orchid broke off...root them in a media first or can they be wedged in place on a tree minus ANY media...just all Orchid?
And I had to do something...snails had eaten the leaves,and I made the mistake of wrapping it in moss last summer. Bad Stan!


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

Stan, wedging will sometimes work...but it's rare to be able to wedge something tight enough where it doesn't shift because of a strong wind or a direct hit from the hose. So if you don't see any new roots attaching to the tree within the next couple of weeks...here are the possible causes...

1. insufficient light/heat - the closer you are to the coast, the more direct sun you'll need to give CAM orchids and/or intermediate/warm growers.

2. pests - slugs/snails can really climb! Sowbugs will also eat orchid roots and new growth. Not sure if mice/rats/squirrels will eat new roots but they will sure eat the pseudobulbs.

3. loosely attached - if an orchid has wiggle room, the delicate root tips can be broken off.

Unlike Tillandsias, orchids are all about the roots.

Moss is essential for some orchids...generally speaking orchids that lack decent storage facilities...such as most Pleurothallids. But moss has the significant drawback of providing a perfect haven for slugs, sowbugs and millipedes. Plus, it's risky to use with orchids that like to dry out between waterings...such as CAM orchids. It's not so much an issue during summer...but it can greatly increase the chances of rot during our occasionally wet winters.

Regarding broken off pieces...it depends how large they are. If they are small enough that I'd lose track of them on a tree...then I'll tightly attach them to a piece of wood that I can hang somewhere.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

Well,you were right Carlos..watering did cause the whole thing to shift...the Rhips,fell off. So,I redid it and tied 'Comet King' with wide green tape. Below it (Not under it) I used that moss for the Rhipsalis and White rabbits foot fern pieces from a larger plant I have. 'Comet King' had done fine in a pot on my porch never getting any sun other then early morning's low winter sunlight. Out of bloom,I like the shiny green leaves and bulbs. Starting the cuttings is alright. That's a plant I wouldn't mind having more of.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

The green tape that I'm thinking of has the advantage of stretching a bit...which isn't very much of an advantage when it comes to securely attaching orchids. But it might do the trick if you pulled it tight enough. I've also heard of people using nylon stockings. For the longest time I just used regular string. Effective but a bit unsightly. Now I use fishing line ranging from 10lbs to 50lbs...depending on the size of the orchid.

Figuring out the slip knot method was extremely helpful. That way I can cinch the line tightly without having to worry about losing tension when I tie it off.

Regarding the Rabbit's Foot fern...I actually had to remove it from my tree! It was doing too well...too many other plants were getting ranned over. Having rather limited space is all about opportunity cost.

Be on the lookout for Davallia canariensis...(photo 1, photo 2). I like it a lot better than the common Rabbit's Foot fern. The fronds are around twice as large...and so is the rhizome. As its name suggests...it's from the Canary Islands and surrounding areas. So it's primarily a winter grower.

I'm really curious whether it would be possible to create a Davallia 'Hercules'...summer/winter crosses.

If you get a chance you should really try and create a Polypodium 'Hercules'!!! Just cross your native Polypodium scouleri with Polypodium polypodioides or any other summer growing epiphytic Polypodium.


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RE: An Orchid on Every Tree

I had the very beautiful Davalia fejeensis Carlos years ago in my greenhouse job. Some have a bluish tint. UC Davis has them around a small pond..beauty. And it was a large variety...20"~fronds.
Hey, I ordered a Platycerium superbum. What is better- eventually mounting on the side of a trunk,or in a branch crotch? or keep on a slab of wood?


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