With their captivating beauty and myriad forms, orchids are truly astounding. But don’t be fooled by their delicate flowers, these marvels are relatively simple to grow once you’re armed with the know-how. Just follow this guide and plant up a score to grace your garden.
Many orchids grow naturally on the trunks or branches of trees – these are called epiphytic orchids, and include oncidium or laelia. The best time to attach an orchid to a tree in your garden is when its new roots are starting to emerge – this will vary, but any time from spring to early winter is best.
Gather your supplies
• Dead tree
• Epiphytic orchids (we used Oncidium ‘Twinkle’ and Laelia anceps var. veitchiana)
• Sphagnum moss
• All-purpose cleaner (we used Tricleanium)
You’ll also need
Saw; shovel; quick-set concrete; secateurs; small container; plant ties or cotton string
Saw or trim large branches off a dead tree to give it a neat, compact shape, then saw tree at ground level. Dig a hole at least 600mm deep, position trunk in hole and stand upright. Backfill with quick-set concrete and allow to completely dry.
Fill small container with all-purpose cleaner and allow secateurs to soak for 15 minutes, then wash them in clean water and wipe dry. Carefully remove orchids from pots and gently shake off potting mix. Trim roots about 100mm from base.
Ball up roots and position plant on trunk. Place sphagnum moss on top of roots and secure with plant ties or cotton string. Water every 4-7 days, depending on your orchid’s moisture needs. Once rooted to tree, remove ties or string. Established orchids are relatively carefree, but periodic applications of water and fertiliser are beneficial. Fertilise with chicken manure or Organic Life Garden Food Pellets.