How to Grow Orchids on Trees
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How to Grow Orchids on Trees

Orchids can add a touch of tropical beauty to your garden space, they’re not just houseplants! Most people are familiar with orchids growing in a pot, but did you know that you can also grow them on trees?

Orchids grow on most types of trees with just a few easy steps. Approximately 70 percent of orchids are epiphytes, also known as air plants, that attach themselves to other plants and survive on just water and air. They use other plants, mainly trees, for support — growing together in perfect harmony.

Here is everything you need to know about how to successfully grow orchids on trees. Try experimenting yourself today!

Tools You’ll Need

Transplant plants. Transplant orchids. Home gardening, breeding of orchids.
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Here are the tools you will need to attach an orchid to a tree.

  • Orchid plant
  • Scissors
  • Gardening gloves
  • Cotton string, pantyhose, or an old t-shirt

How to Grow Orchids on Trees

orchids growing on a tree
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Before you begin, make sure you have the right environment to grow orchids on trees. This exotic flowering plant typically thrives in a warm, tropical environment. They are often found growing outdoors in places like Hawaii, California, or Florida. In order to grow successfully on trees, the ideal temperature range is from 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit with at least 40 percent humidity.

Step 1 – Choose Your Orchid 

Start by figuring out what type of orchid you would like to grow. There are quite a few different types of orchids. The most important thing is to choose an orchid that is an air plant as other types won’t be able to grow on trees.

Some orchids prefer partial shade, whereas other types prefer full sun. Determine which type you would like to grow depending on your climate and sun exposure. Sun-loving orchids include vanda and dendrobium. Whereas oncidium and phalaenopsis orchids prefer less sunlight.

Step 2 – Pick a Tree and Location

Once you have chosen your orchid, it’s time to decide what type of tree to attach it to. Choose a tree that receives the right amount of sunlight for the type of orchid you are growing. Pay attention to how much sun the tree receives and at what time of day it is receiving it. While most orchids like adequate sunlight, you don’t want to scorch the plant with intense afternoon sun.

The best types of tree to attach an orchid to include oak, citrus, bottlebrush, palm, schefflera, and calabash trees. Look for trees that have a more rough texture to their bark so it is easier for the orchid to attach itself.

Step 3 – Remove the Orchid From Its Pot 

Next, carefully remove your orchid from its pot being gentle with the roots. If needed, clean the roots and remove any potting material that may be attached. Your orchid roots should be clean and free of debris before attaching them to a tree.

Step 4 – Gather Your Materials

When attaching an orchid to a tree, you’ll need something to tie it with and scissors. Popular choices include cotton string, pantyhose, or an old t-shirt. This is needed to initially attach and keep the orchid growing on the tree.

In time, the roots will continue to grow and wrap around the tree trunk on their own. Eventually, you can remove the tie or leave it to disintegrate and break down on its own. Avoid using plastic or wire ties — these will not break down at all and may cause damage to the plant.

If you are using pantyhose or an old t-shirt, cut a few strips that are ½ to 1 inch wide. With cotton string, cut multiple strands long enough to wrap around the trunk or branch a few times. 

Step 5 – Attach Your Orchid to the Tree

To attach the orchid, hold the base of the plant and spread the roots directly over the trunk or branch. Using one hand to hold the orchid in place, take your tie of choice and start wrapping around the plant roots. Wrap the tie around multiple parts of the plant until it is firmly secured.

Orchid Aftercare

caring for orchids
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Orchids growing on trees don’t require much maintenance once they are established. To water your orchids, spray the tree with a garden hose — just try not to blast it with too much water pressure. You want to lightly mist the plant.

Another option is using a sprinkler. Set up the sprinkler near the tree and have it lightly spray over the tree and plant.

Although, when you first introduce your orchid to the tree, water the roots heavily for the first two weeks. Come week three you can water the plant every other day and within a month your job is done!

Orchid You Not!

Turn your backyard into a tropical orchid oasis! If you’re looking to add interest and excitement to your garden, then consider growing a few orchids on trees. Before you know it, you’ll be the envy of your neighbors with lots of beautiful blooms popping up around your backyard.

Have you tried growing orchids on a tree before? Leave a comment down below and share your experience.