Advice from the South Australian Orchidaceous Society Inc
Orchids suitable to mount.
The two types of orchid suitable to mount are epiphytes and lithophytes. In their nature habitat, epiphytes grow in the nooks of trees, while lithophytes grow on rock faces. Both types of orchid are held in position by their roots; some roots grow in cracks to hold the plant while others remain exposed. The plants feed by absorbing nutrients from the surrounding material when it rains.
Cymbidiums and zygopetalums are likely to outgrow their mounts quickly.
Large phalaenopsis and large cattleya orchids are more suitable to a tropical climate where they will no dry out as rapidly as they would in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne or Hobart. Miniature phalenopsis and miniature cattleya are more suitable to these aforementioned locations and surrounds.
Oncidium type orchids tend to produce dense mats of fine roots to aid holding and feeding the plant, while other orchids will develop flattened roots.
Some dendrobiums are smaller and slower growing, but their pseudo bulbs help to reduce drying out of the plant.
Some sarcochilus need a consistent moisture level.
Materials for mounting
Consider the appearance, functionality and durability when choosing the material for your mount. Tree branches, wood off-cuts, driftwood, cork, tree-fern, are all suitable to use to mount your plant. Some materials will retain moisture longer than others, while others will last longer before remounting in necessary.
Mounting the orchid
The mount needs a wire or string attached to it so that it will hang.
The mount needs to be soaked before starting.
All potting material is removed from the orchid roots.
The roots are packed with sphagnum or bush moss.
The root ball is attached to the mount with fishing line, strips of nylon stocking, florist wire or some other material which will not disintegrate while the roots are taking hold.
Leaving the mount horizontal for a period of time after mounting will give it a chance to gain root hold and retain moisture initially.
Your plant will not suffer from wet-feet since excess water will drain or evaporate readily. It may need watering every day or even twice daily during summer, and once or twice a week, or not at all during winter. This will be determined by your positioning of the mount. When the mount dries too quickly, it should be submerged to allow everything to get saturated. For this reason, many growers prefer to grow mounted orchids on a horizontal position rather being hung vertically.
In nature, the orchid would be growing in the shady understory of a tree or a rock-face, most likely not exposed to direct sun-light; it would be exposed to wind. A lack of airflow promotes diseases.
A little weak fertilizer often.
This can be achieved by submerging the mount in a bucket of weak solution, laying the plant horizontal and spraying with fertilizer solution or pressing a small basket of fertiliser into the mount, above the plant, sot that it gets a feed every time it is sprayed.