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Mounting Dendrobium kingianum ‘marginata’ to a tree in a So-Cal garden

I took a trip to Southern California over Thanksgiving weekend a few weeks back. More specifically, I stayed in Huntington beach. As a thank you to my host, I mounted a Dendrobium kingianum ‘marginata’ from Norman’s orchids (more on my trip to Norman’s in a later post) on one of their potted ficuses in their garden.

I picked Dendrobium kingianum for this because it’s hardy in that area (zone 10b) and since it’s tough as nails, it should be fairly easy for the recipients to care for it. ‘Marginata’ is a stunning variegated variety of Dendrobium kingianum, with bright purple and white, fragrant flowers that form in the spring. This orchid will look great year round, with or without flowers.

Epiphytic orchids typically thrive when mounted (if you can keep them watered enough). Dendrobium kingianum is a lithophyte (meaning it grows on rocky slopes, weaving it’s roots through moss and into crevices) however it can be grown as an epiphyte without issue. For those that are unfamiliar with how to mount orchids, typically the strategy is to unpot the orchid, remove the old media, wrap the roots around the tree or orchid mount, place a pad of sphagnum moss on top of the roots, and then secure the whole root mass and moss with twine or monofilament. This way, the roots can grow and attach to the mount, and the moss can help keep some moisture around the roots. Eventually, once the roots are firmly gripping the tree, the twine can be cut away to prevent strangling the tree as it grows.

The end result is usually a stunning, naturalistic mounted orchid!