By Randy at 2006-05-26 17:44
When I first started growing orchids I had a problem with over watering. This lead me into the path of mounting. People in my local orchid society love what I've done with my mountings and consider me the "local expert". Maybe I am the Southern New Jersey expert in mounting orchids because I have lots of practice at what works and what doesn't. But I am no "expert" by any means, I just have experience.
Certain genus of orchids do very well on mounts while others don't. Most Bulbophyllums & Oncidiums are both generally good to mount, as are some species of Dendrobium. When mounting take into consideration the size the plant will grow to, not the current size. Also, take into consideration the watering requirements & the growth habit of the plant. Do careful research before deciding what plants to mount
Cork & treefern are readily available. Sometimes you can also find other types of wood available on the Internet. However, the most interesting pieces you will find are generally those you will find on your own.
Use unique materials if you can. Fresh water provides some fabulous driftwood. I have found driftwood to always be unique. Some of the pieces I've found have had indentations where there were once rocks that made great spots for putting pads of sphagnum moss.
Grape wood also provides for some unique shapes, sometimes it even comes with holes. Other wood that can be found with unique shapes are Rhododendrons & Mountain Laurels. Azalea wood never really gets large enough for mounting anything but a miniature.
If you live in an area where Cacti grow naturally large you can sometimes find the skelatal remains of one. They are expensive to buy and difficult to find on the Internet because they are all for lizards, but try one for mounting an orchid! You can fill it with ozmunda fiber or sphagnum and have yourself a great mount. Certainly a unique one.
Some of my personal favorites are root stock, especially if they've been through fresh water for a while. But even if they come straight out of the ground they can be used, you just need to let the wood season. I have also used Bald Cypress Knees for large specimens.
There are certain woods to avoid because of toxins. The majority of fruit trees, at least those that grow in the Northeastern USA contain cyanide which is in the wood just below the bark. Certain species of Oaks have concentrated amounts of tannic acid in their leaves and bark, so they should be avoided also...
Always remember to let any fresh wood thoroughly dry out before using it to mount on. This way you avoid sap and the mold that can come during the drying process. Mounted orchids do take some extra care, so be aware of that, but they can also be very rewarding because they can be a work of art.
Please see my mounted orchids in the folder Randys Pics May 2006. There are a couple of very unique Bulbophyllums in there.