Oncidium Fiexuasum

by Johnny Hopkins

The decision now is where to place each plant so that it contributes most to the attractiveness of the finished tree. Usually the seem to decide for themselves, looking just right in particular situation. Some may look best on or near the main branch, whereas others will hang daintily from the extremities of a side twig. Bear in mind also that they must have space to grow. The should not be crowded onto the tree. Six would be quite enough to a tree, say, 3 ft ( m) high.

For rebarking a larger piece of bark will be required, plus a wad of osmunda fibre or possibly live, green sphagnum moss, a pair of pliers, a pair of scissors and a length of green plastic-coated wire. A piece of rigid wire should be inserted at one end to form a-hook from which to hang the plant.

If this is done from the hack of the tree, very little of the wire will show at the front. Monopodial Vanda cristata being positioned, with the wire being placed around the lower leafless part of the rhizome. With sympodial orchids, the wire must pass between the pseudo- bulbs and never cut into them.

As the tree begins to take shape it is amazing how different some of the plants look out of their pots. Dendrobiums which may have needed several stakes to keep them upright look much more comfortable when allowed to assume a naturally pendent habit. Those plants which were already supporting aerial roots give the tree a mature look.

If a plant outgrows its piece of bark by growing continually upward, it will not affect the plant, provided that it is given sufficient moisture by regular spraying and has plenty of aerial roots from the newest pseudohulbs. However, there inevitably comes a time when rebarking is desirable to improve the looks of a plant. This is best done in the spring, whcn new roots are about to start.

It is possible to use a variety of tree barks or branches, but the most popular is cork bark. This has a rough, attractive appearance, the roots can get a good grip, and it is long-lasting.

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