Orchid Mounting Instructions:
First choose a mount made out of a material that will last for several years under orchid growing conditions. (Warm and often wet) Most orchids are mounted on wooden sticks or plaques, cork bark, tree fern fiber, stones, terra cotta or other non-glazed ceramic These are all long lasting materials with at least some surface texture that absorb some moisture. Also make sure the mount is large enough to accommodate several years of growth.
Whenever possible orchids should only be mounted or repotted when there is active root growth. Water the orchid to be mounted thoroughly. This will make the roots more pliable so they will not break as easily and help reduce the chance of the plant being shocked by drying out too much After removing the orchid from Its pot or mount, remove any old, unhealthy roots and as much of the old potting media as you can without damaging the roots too much. Trim off any old or unhealthy back bulbs or leaves using sterile tools that have been held in a torch flame or dipped in a mild bleach solution or 90% rubbing alcohol. This is a good time to inspect for pests and disease. Carefully remove any old sheathing from around the base of pseudobulbs being careful not to break off any new growth. Look for any insects hiding there, it’s an especially common place to find scale and mealy bugs as well as those nasty tiny snails. Remove any pests you find with a soft bristled toothbrush dipped in rubbing alcohol and a strong spray of water.
Find a place on the mount where the orchid fits well and looks attractive where there is room for future growth. This is where it is good to know how the plant grows in nature, for example, on top of a branch growing horizontally or on the side of a tree trunk growing vertically. Also, does it grow with its roots exposed or covered in moss and other detritus? Some orchids can sit languishing for years until you get them oriented correctly and then they take off!
Have some New Zealand sphagnum moss soaking in fresh water handy. Take a small amount and squeeze out most of the water. Hold the plant in place on the mount Tuck a little moss under and around the plant. **If it is a species that comes from wetter areas then you may want to use more moss to take longer to dry out between watering
Use thin plastic coated wire to crisscross back and forth around the plant, moss, and mount until the plant and moss are held firmly in place Fishing line is nice because it is hard to see but it is easy to cut into the plant when pulling it tight and it is quickly broken down by the sun I prefer coated wire for this reason and don't find it too unsightly.
This is a good time to make a fresh name label for the orchid. Use a vinyl tag that will not quickly fade or get brittle from the sun and copy the old tag as clearly and completely as you can fit is hard to read or incomplete, then type what you can read into Google and you will most likely be able to get the missing information. Include the date on the back of the tag so you know when you put it on the mount Use tags with a hole or make a hole in the tag with a drill, or heat up a piece of wire with your torch and melt a hole (carefully) and wire it onto the back of the mount where it will not be seen.
After researching your plant you will be aware of its needs based on its natural habitat. Something from year round wet deepest darkest rainforest may want to be hot and wet all the time. Others may live where it is very hot and wet for part of the year and then dry for rest of the year and must not be over watered during that dry time. (Or in some cases watered at all during their winter rest, I’m looking at you Catasetinae.)
Be sure to adjust to how quickly the mounted plant and moss dry out compared to your potted plants and increase watering as necessary. They will need as least a heavy mist just about every day and perhaps more than once if you live in a very dry area or grow inside with the heat or air conditioning on.