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Mounted Orchids

The Most Natural-Looking Way to "Pot" Your Orchids

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how to mount an orchid

When potting orchids one thing that may come to mind is versatility. Orchids can be potted in a traditional pot, or even without a pot, in a moss ball, kokedama style, or they can be mounted.0

You have the option of a hanging mount or a table-top mount. The table-tops are easier as the mount doesn’t have to be equipped with a hanger. Just be sure to protect your surface if you opt for a table-top mount.

While applying the moss, wind the fishing line over the moss to secure the orchid and the moss to the mount.

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Mount Your Orchid for a Natural Look

For a totally natural appearance, you can’t get any closer to an out-in-the-wild experience than you can with a mounted orchid.

tutorial - mounted orchids

Mounted Orchids Have Higher Humidity Requirements

On the downside, mounted orchids require higher humidity levels than potted orchids. With mine, in addition to using a humidifier, I’ve found that I just need to water it more frequently than my potted orchids.

Materials

  • An orchid. You may want to start with a Phalaenopsis, as these orchids grow well mounted and are less expensive. Then, you may want to branch out and try another orchid, such as a Cattleya.
  • Bonsai shears, for trimming off any dead roots.
  • Torch for sanitizing shears. To sanitize shears, hold shear tips in flame for about 20 seconds.
  • Something to mount the orchid on. Cork oak slabs, hardwood branches are all good choices. In my example, I am using a piece of driftwood. Avoid walnut wood as it contains toxins. NOTE: use faux driftwood as genuine driftwood is high in salts.
  • Invisible thread or 8 lb clear fishing line.
  • Sphagnum moss, or if you can support the high humidity requirements, you can use living sheet moss. My humidity levels will not support living moss, so I am using sphagnum moss. Osmunda fiber is another popular choice, though I have not used it.
  • A large bowl to hydrate the moss.

The following additional tools for hanging the mount:

Prepare Hanging Mount

If you’re using a rounded section of wood and you want a flat side to rest against a wall, if you’re hanging it, or to sit flat on a surface, you will need to cut the wood in half the long way, using an electric saw or hatchet. This will give you two mounts.

To hang the mount, drill a hole through the top of the wood and thread the wire through the hole.  Cut the wire with the wire-cutters leaving enough length to create loop from which to hang the mount and to twist the end of the wire together. Using the pliers, twist to form a hanging loop on the end.

Secure the Orchid to the Mount

To start, soak your orchid for about 20 minutes so that the roots become more pliable. Soak the sphagnum moss in water. It takes about 20 minutes for the moss to hydrate. Gently squeeze moss to remove excess water.

Next, unpot your orchid, tossing all the old potting media in the garbage. Using the sanitized bonsai shears, snip off and discard any dead roots.

Driftwood - orchid mount

The driftwood mount will give the orchid a natural look and will sit securely on a tabletop. Set mount under a tray, to protect the table.

sphagnum moss - orchid mount

Once the orchid has been picked clean of the old potting media and dead roots have been removed,  place a bit of moss on the mount to pad the orchid .

Orchid driftwood mount

Then, gently splay open the roots so that they wrap around the mount.

how to mount an orchid on driftwood

Squeeze the moss to remove excess water. Then, begin wrapping moss to cover the orchid’s roots. Avoid packing the moss over the roots. Instead, lay the moss over the roots.

Secure orchid mount

While applying the moss, wind the fishing line over the moss to secure the orchid and the moss to the mount.

Phalaenopsis orchid mounted

That’s it! The orchid is ready for display. PS Did you notice the mishap? The mount got away from me while wrapping the invisible thread around the mount and the tip of the flower spike broke off. So sad! I’d been waiting and waiting for this orchid to finish blooming so I could re-pot it. Then before the last bloom died, a new flower spike started growing. The potting mix was in bad shape and I didn’t want to put off potting it any longer.

Your Turn

If you have an orchid that ready to be potted, why not give try mounting it? Just remember that it will need to be watered more frequently. Higher humidity levels are also recommended. If you aren’t hanging the orchid, set the mount on a tray. Either way, enjoy the natural appearance of your mounted orchid!

Quick Up-Date

emerging flower spike

All was not lost. This orchid really wanted to bloom. A new flower spike emerged just below the spot where I accidentally broke the flower spike. I’ll add a picture when the orchid blooms 🙂

how to mount an orchid

The third time is the charm. After breaking off the tip of the flower spike twice, my orchid grew a new spike for the third time. Finally, my Phalaenopsis is in bloom. Isn’t she lovely?

How to Care for Orchids

Keep reading to learn all the essentials of orchid care

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These tools will help you too!

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14 Comments
  1. Anita lui says:

    Thank you Anna. It is very informative. I really enjoyed reading them. Hoping to do that sometime. My Phal is not doing very well, I don’t see healthy roots coming, but it still produce new leaf. It’s encouraging, but not so happy about it. Perhaps it can be happy being mounted on a tray. what do you think? Regards.

    1. Anna says:

      Anita,
      A new leaf is a good sign. It’s a normal part of the orchid growth cycle. First, I would, if possible, check the roots to make sure you aren’t overwatering. Overwatering is the most common reason that orchids fail to thrive. How are your orchid’s leaves? Drooping leaves mean the the orchid is not getting enough water, either because the orchid has been underwatered or because it has been overwatered and the roots have rotted.

      About mounting: Yes, repotting/mounting is a good idea if the potting medium has broken down.
      Anna

  2. Maryna says:

    Thanks Anna. I am not up to date with mounting my orchids. I will send you a photo so please tell me if my orchids need repotting.

    1. Anna says:

      Maryna,
      Sure, I would love to see a photo of your orchids. My email is [email protected]. Here are some reasons why your orchid needs repotting: the potting medium has broken down (or will break down soon), fertilizer salts have built up, the orchid has out-grown its pot. The best time to repot is after the the orchid has finished blooming and new roots are growing.
      Great to hear from you,
      Anna

  3. harold wurtz says:

    Thanks again Anna mounting is a great idea, and now that I have so many pots, I will try this to vary the displays. I’ll forward photos when I get some good ones done.

    1. Anna says:

      Harold,
      Thanks for sharing! I look forward to your photos!
      Anna

  4. Yvonne says:

    Hi. I have 4 Phal there in my bathroom I soak them for about 12 days. The leaves are dark green and firm, they’re blooming, everything looks OK, the only thing I’m concerned about is the root system the main roots system is a dark brown. but, they are growing spikes and they’re like a silver green and look healthier . Is the normal ?

    1. Anna says:

      Yvonne,
      Are the dark brown roots firm or mushy? If they are firm, your orchid could have some fungus or bacterial growth on the roots. Try pouring a bit of hydrogen peroxide on the roots and see if that helps. If the roots are mushy, they are overwatered. Also, there may be some sort of bacterial or fungal growth caused by soaking the orchids for 12 days.
      Let me know how it goes,
      Anna

  5. Mary Calder says:

    I like the idea of mounting an orchid. I live in quite dry high mountain desert so it may not be for me. My orchids love the East facing kitchen window where I keep them they bloom and rebloom. Even tiny new plants have appeared and most live if I am patient while they make new roots ready to plant. I absolutely love everything about them.

    1. Anna says:

      Mary,
      Thanks for sharing. I too live in a high desert climate. I use a humidifier and I do have to keep an eye on my mounted orchids. It isn’t for everyone as these orchids will take extra care if you live in an area with low humidity (as we do).
      Best,
      Anna

  6. Hannah says:

    It was really interesting and helpful .
    Thank you 😊🌸

    1. Anna says:

      Thank you, Hannah!
      Have a great day!
      Anna

  7. Glenda Bland says:

    I noticed that you used driftwood – was this from the ocean? I’ve read not to use wood that has been in salt water. I live on the ocean in Mexico and can easily get ocean driftwood. My orchids love the heat and humidity here in Mexico!!

    1. Anna says:

      Glenda,
      Excellent point. Orchids would not appreciate a salted mount. Mine was not true driftwood. In addition to the salt issue, you don’t really know what kind of wood you are using. Here are some mount alternatives: hardwood (avoid walnut), fruit tree wood such as cherry and citrus, cedar and redwood. Avoid using wood that has been treated.
      ~Anna

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START HERE to Learn More About Caring for Orchids

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YES! THANK YOU!