Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Epiphytic Bundling Method

There's always a better way to do things.  But so far, in my experience, the most efficient way to attach epiphytes to branches is the bundling method.  This is simply where you use fishing line to attach some plants to a dense pad of moss, and then use fishing line to attach the bundle to a branch.  

For example, a couple weeks ago I attached the simplest bundle to Carol's avocado tree.  First I put a layer of wet NZ Sphagnum moss on a paving stone on my lap.  I sprinkled some Osmocote on top...




Then I put on another layer of wet moss...




Next I added Cycas debaoensis and Disocactus amazonicus as well as another layer of wet moss...




In most cases I put the entire plant including the roots on top of the moss.  In this case though I decided to cover the roots.  I firmly and repeatedly pressed down on the moss for a while before using fishing line to tie it all together...




Then I added a small piece of live green moss on top.  If the moss establishes then it will actually create more medium.  

Lastly I used fishing line to attach the bundle to the tree directly above a Platycerium superbum...




Virtually all plants LOVE growing in Staghorns, hence Rule #17.  

I feel like the key part is that the moss must be tightly compacted.  If the moss is too loose then it will dry out a lot faster.  So this is why when I make a bundle I use wet moss.  Naturally it is easier to press down than dry or damp moss.  It also helps to use a lot of fishing line.  I use enough fishing line so that there is around a half inch between loops.  

Here's a bundle that I made a decade ago... 


Epiphyte Grand Prix

I attached the bundle to my tree and the only plant still alive is the Anthurium scandens (xerophytic form).  You can see more pics here... Epiphyte Grand Prix.  

One version of the bundling method is to first attach the plants to a flat piece of wood.  Then, when the plants are very established, they can be easily removed and attached to a branch.  I used this method with some ferns...







The ferns included Lepisorus bicolor, Drynaria sparsisora and a NOID Pyrrosia.  It is just over a year later and all three ferns are still alive on Carol's avocado tree.  

Here's another version...



It looks like I attached three bundles to both pieces of wire mesh.  But I didn't.  Instead I put the moss and plants on top of the mesh and attached them using fishing line.  It wasn't very easy.  The two bundles went on Carol's avocado tree as well, right next to Cattleya orchids.  

On my own tree in a few cases the bundles started to dislodge themselves when the fishing line quit working.  The branches were too smooth for the plants to really root onto.  In situations like this it is a good idea to put the bundle next to a Cattleya.  The orchid roots will quickly grow into the bundle and attach it to the branch.  

Speaking of orchid roots...





A year or two ago I easily removed this clump of orchids and succulents (Kalanchoe uniflora is so good!!!) from my tree.  I think they had grown into a space that I needed to be in when I climb the tree.  They essentially formed a bundle.  I took the bundle to a cozy plant party where I split it up to share.  Carol got a piece that I attached to her tree.  She also won a piece that I auctioned, which I attached to a piece of wood...




Largish plants are generally easier to bundle...



This bundle, which went on Carol's tree, included Hoya bella, Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, Hatiora gaertneri and Hoya carnosa Chelsea.

Today I made a couple bundles of mainly small plants...



It was rather painstaking to try and avoid putting the fishing line directly on top of any leaves.  Part of the problem was that I probably included too many plants!  

In terms of plant selection, naturally you want to bundle plants with more or less the same requirements.  Some disparity in requirements is ok because conditions change, which is why the only survivor of my 1st Epiphyte Grand Prix was the Anthurium scandens.  It was more drought tolerant than its competition.  

In theory it might be a good idea to include the least related plants in a bundle...

Since then, many experiments have shown that multi-species plots are more productive. Cadotte's experiment showed for the first time that species with the greatest evolutionary distance from one another have the greatest productivity gains. 
[...]
What's going on isn't mysterious, Cadotte says. Distantly related plants are more likely to require different resources and to fill different environmental niches -- one might need more nitrogen, the other more phosphorus; one might have shallow roots, the other deep roots. So rather than competing with one another they complement one another. - Productivity Increases With Species Diversity, Just as Darwin Predicted

Plants I typically include in a bundle are...

Aroid - ie Anthurium scandens
Cactus - ie Rhipsalis
Crassulaceae - Kalanchoe uniflora
Fern - ie Microgramma vaccinifolia
Gesneriad - ie Columnea Elmer 
Hoya or Dischidia - ie Hoya serpens 
Peperomia - ie Peperomia pecuniifolia

One of each is a pretty good bundle.  

Typically I don't include orchids, since most of my favorite orchids are safer without moss, but there are some exceptions... such as Dockrillia pugioniformis.  If I had enough of it I would probably include it in most bundles.  

In terms of Begonias, I don't usually include any in bundles.  There has to be a good one for SoCal bundles but I haven't found it yet.  Maybe the closest that I can think of is Begonia fisheri.  Looking at the above list though, all the example plants are more or less trailers, which B. fisheri is not.  Begonia solananthera is a trailer but I somehow killed the cutting that Michelle gave me and I'm too embarrassed to ask for it again.  

I'm finally growing Begonia radicans!  Hopefully it will become the one Begonia that I typically include in bundles!  

The main motivation for this blog entry is that this week I sent some plants to my new friend Keith in Tampa Florida...

Orchids...

Dockrillia lichenastrum x teretifolium
Dockrillia pugioniformis
Encyclia nematocaulon seed pod 
Epidendrum Little Miss Sunshine
Epiphronitis Veitchii 
Lambara Five Aces
Laelia anceps division from seed germinated on tree
Laelia (lundii & purpurata) 
Laeliocattleya Clayton Waglay 
NOID seedling germinated on tree 
Prosthechea vitellina x Green Hornet
Psychilis macconnelliae X Myrmecophila thompsoniana aurea

Others…

Anthurium lanceolatum 
Anthurium scandens (xerophytic)
Columnea Elmer cutting x 2 
Columnea schiedeana cutting 
Crassula spathulata cuttings x 6
Dischidia sp Irian Jaya
Echeveria rosea 
Hoya australis keysii
Hoya serpens 
Kalanchoe Orangery (K. manginii × K. jongmansii)
Kalanchoe Tessa (K. gracilipes x K. manginii)
Kalanchoe uniflora x 2 
Lemmaphyllum microphyllum (from nursery)
Lemmaphyllum microphyllum (from my tree x 2)
Microgramma vaccinifolia x 2 
Peperomia pecuniifolia
Peperomia villosa
Rhipsalis clavata 
Rhipsalis NOID Puerto Rico x 2 
Selenicereus inermis
Tillandsia aeranthos x 4
Tillandsia albertiana 
Tillandsia bandensis 
Tillandsia capillaris
Tillandsia capillaris 'Pitchfork' 
Tillandsia edithae
Tillandsia funckiana 
Tillandsia ionantha 
Tillandsia myosura (adult and seedling)
Tillandsia Mystic Albert (albertiana x stricta)
Tillandsia retorta 
Tillandsia tricholepis
Tillandsia usneoides
Vriesea flammea

He initially asked me for some recommendations of orchids to attach to his tree.  I ended up becoming too curious about how some of my fav epiphytes would do Florida.  I told him about my bundling technique but figured that it would be worth it to post some pics.  Voila!

Hopefully you've all been inspired to attach bundles of plants to all the branches in the world!  Please let me know if you think of a more effective or efficient way to attach a wide variety of plants to trees.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Auction: Three Rupicolous Laelias




Laelia angereri 'Peter' x kautskyana 'SVO' AM/AOS
Laelia milleri 'Dr. Koopowitz Red' HCC/AOS x kautskyana
Laelia NOID

Auctioning these three orchids in VGT.

And here's a random picture of Aloe africana, one of my fav tree Aloes...


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Upcoming Events: Begonia Show, Griffith Park Plant Party, Epiphyte Presentation

Before sharing some neat upcoming events, I want to share Jen's very first Youtube video!




I love it!!  Way to go Jen!!!

At least half of her plants are from me (haha j/k?) so I highly recommend subscribing to her channel to learn about some cool plants.

Ok, upcoming events!

Begonia Show/Sale (Facebook post)

When: Aug 24, 9 AM – 4 PM
Where: South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Blvd Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274

Which are the best Begonias for growing epiphytically??  Let's find out!

Plant Party In The Park (Facebook post)

When: Aug 25, 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Where: Griffith Park, 4659 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Bring plants (preferably epiphytes of course) to trade or give away.  Make some new plants friends!

Epiphyte Presentation (Facebook post)

When: Aug 25, 5:00 PM – 06:00 PM
Where: Planta Nursery, 6011 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042

My friend Joel is going to give a talk about epiphytes.  Way to go Joel!!  Tickets cost $5.

Now some pics of Begonias growing epiphytically.  Here's a Begonia listada that I recently mounted...



I received my piece from Scadoxus, and she received hers from Candy and Norm.  It is mounted with a Scindapsus pictus from Jen, an Asplenium from Fernando, and a Peperomia Pixie Lime from Bonnie.

Am I the only person in the world trying to experiment with growing Begonias epiphytically?  Nope!  Andy's Orchids has a couple...




Begonia prismatocarpa!




Begonia dregei.

Want to see more pics from Andy's Orchids?  Here you go.

If you have tried Begonias epiphytically then please let me know!  And hopefully I will see you at an upcoming event!

Thanks Randy for confirming the Begonia IDs! 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Culver City Succulent and Bromeliad Show 2019

Before I share some show pics, I'd like to mention that I finally met my favorite Ficus friend Kyle!!!  We've been online plant friends for nearly 20 years and a couple weeks ago we met at the LA Arboretum.  Scadoxus joined us and the three of us had a great time.  It was surreal meeting Kyle in person after having known him online for so many years.  One big difference is that he's so much funnier in person.  His humor is... subtle?  Not exactly sure how to describe it, but I love it.   

I'm so happy that Kyle is no longer on my list of plant friends that I'd love to actually meet in person.  Two people who are still on this list are Carlos in Brazil (flickr) and Erik in Australia (flickr).  Both of them joined the tropical plant lovers Facebook group that Kyle recently created!  Yay!!!  Now I'm two people closer to realizing my dream of all my plant friends being friends with each other.  I have this very bright idea that, the better connected my plant friends are to each other, the more awesome the outcome.  We can create a huge and incredibly dense network that will quickly capture all the best plants and plant ideas. 

With this in mind, my favorite thing about the show was that several of my plant friends got to meet each other for the first time!  For example, Monica and Sarah met, Dave and Ulysses met,  Rich and Steve met and so on.  Each meeting really deserves its own blog entry!

I enjoyed the show itself and took several pics of the show plants.  Unfortunately, I'm not happy with how many of the pics turned out (insert typical excuses here... ie poor lighting), but I figure that even a poor pic of a great plant is better than nothing.  Some of my motivation in sharing the pics is that I've got a plant friend, not going to mention any names, *cough* Allison *cough*, who doesn't think that bromeliads are so wonderful.  Yikes!  Unfortunately, she wasn't able to make it to the show, so figured it might be worthwhile to bring the show to her, and to you too! 



Cyrtanthus elatus x montanus

This wasn't in the show, it was in the sales area for $20.  Since Scadoxus loves bulbs, but wasn't at the show yet, I texted her a pic and asked if she wanted it.  She replied asking if it had a pretty flower.  Heh.  Steve ended up buying it and then later on when I searched my gmail for "Cyrtanthus" I learned that, not too long ago, Shawn had given me a small bulb of this species and I had given it to Scadoxus.  Sheesh.  There's actually a Cyrtanthus epiphyticus!  Yes, I already tried it epiphytically and sadly it didn't survive.  It was a long time ago though, so maybe it was before I started using the quality New Zealand Sphagnum moss for certain plants.  I haven't tried many bulbs epiphytically but so far the biggest winner by far is the pregnant onion (Albuca bracteata). 



Hydnophytum formicarum

This is a really cool epiphyte that has a big caudex that, in nature, provides a home for ants.  In this case we get a peak inside the caudex.  Exhibited by Laurel Woodley who I was lucky enough to chat with.  In 2013 I took a pic of the same plant at the same show.  She brings it inside during the winter.  I've been growing a related species, Myrmecodia beccarii, outside year around since 2012.  It is still small though because I have it on a small mount without much moss and it probably doesn't get as much water as it would like during the summer.  Maybe I should auction it off at the upcoming VGT plant share

Dave has been growing Myrmecodia platytyrea entirely outside (with protection from the rain) for a few years in Eagle Rock...



Maybe it's the biggest epiphytic ant plant in the Rubiaceae family that is growing outside year around in California?  Do you know of a bigger one?  If you're interested in learning more about this species I highly recommend checking out the ant-plant forum

Back to the show...



Sedum torulosum

Also exhibited by Laurel Woodley.  For a while I've really appreciated the "treelike" Sedums and Crassulas.  For example, check out Sedum dendroideum ‘Colossus’.  Do you see the picture of Myron Kimnach standing next to it??  Woah!!  Mine is around 3', I should really bring some cuttings to the plant share. 



Sinningia polyantha

Similar to the Sinningia piresiana growing on my tree, but much taller.  Yes, I sincerely do wish that I had learned about Gesneriads a whole lot earlier!



Aeonium Bing Thing

Aeonium Bing Thing = (tabuliforme ×  arboreum Zwartkop) × sedifolium.  This is a crazy cool cross made by John Trager.  A. sedifolium is super tiny!  I'm very glad that Nels Christianson decided to enter this plant into the show!  Remind me to ask him if he'd be willing to trade a cutting of it for something.  I'd also be happy to have some seeds of it, because I'd be very curious to see how much variation there would be among the seedlings. 



Peperomia Amigo Marcello

Woah!  Is this the right name??  I've been calling this Peperomia Elmer Lorenz for years, because that's who gave it to me, but he didn't know the name.  This Peperomia does great epiphytically. 



Euphorbia sp

Unreal!!  Wish that the pic was clearer!  Anybody know which species it is? 




Rebutia flavistyla

Exhibited by Christine Kaunitz.  I'd love to see this species growing and blooming on a tree! 



Pelargonium punctatum

This one stunned Fernando.  Heh.  Stunned me too!  This would look amazing on a tree!  He is actually growing Pelargonium tetragonum epiphytically.



Vriesea Strawberry

Dang, I'm so disappointed that my picture failed to capture the luminescent glow of this bromeliad!  :( 




Vriesea Strawberry

Closer pic. 



Billbergia Casa Blanca

Fun foliage!




Billbergia Mystic Torch

Billbergia Mystic Torch = (Pink Champagne x Arriba) x Domingos Martins.  More funner foliage? 




Epiphytically Enhanced Branch

Tillandsia albertiana, Maxillaria tenuifolia (?), Crassula (which one?), Ledebouria socialis, Hoya serpens, Rhipsalis... wow!!  Exhibited by James W Schumacher.  I'd sure like to make friends with this guy!!



Tillandsia duratii

This is the bigger variety.  The sequentially opening flowers are relatively large and very fragrant.  I think they smell kinda like grape kool-aid.  Everybody should grow this species.  Exhibited by ESSC member Rich Fleg! 




Tillandsia novakii

So so so so impressive!!!!   Several years ago I first saw this species at the Conservatory of Flowers and instantly loved it.  Fortunately, this one was exhibited by ESSC member Sarah de Heras, so hopefully there will be seeds available to spread around! 




Tillandsia novakii

I volunteered Ulysses to provide some scale.   Thanks bro, sorry about the bad pic!  :( 



Tillandsia sp

Also exhibited by Sarah de Heras.  Love it!  Hopefully she will place it next to the Tillandsia novakii so that the hummingbirds can cross-pollinate them. 



Tillandsia prodigiosa

Also exhibited by Sarah de Heras!  Not the best pic, and the spike isn't fully developed, but everybody should know about this Tillandsia.  Check out the Google Image search results for this species.  One sad thing about this species is that it is monocarpic!  Ugh.  Hopefully it will produce lots of seeds though. 




Scadoxus' haul box, it was the prettiest one that I ever did see!  I'll share the list later on. 

If you live in the Los Angeles area and love plants then be sure to join Village Green Thumbs!  And if you live outside of the LA area and love tropical plants, then be sure to join Tropical Plant Lovers!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Sorry

I'm all about elevating the discourse but... rules have exceptions.


Titania McGrath is funny.  I wanted to share this pic in this thread.  In another thread I want to share a photo of Dischidia formosana growing epiphytically on my tree fern (VGT post for more info).




In a third thread I want to share this photo of Scadoxus' Scadoxus puniceus (VGT post)...





Thursday, February 14, 2019

Dead Ends

This year my Aloe tenuior hybrid is blooming its head off...


It is currently pushing out two new spikes. 

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, so far it hasn't produced any seed pods.  Same thing last year, which was the first year it bloomed.  I'm guessing that it is sterile. 

What about the pollen?  So far I haven't seen any.  But maybe that's because the hummingbirds seem to visit this Aloe every 5 minutes. 

This Aloe sure does produce a lot of offshoots though.  Right now the main branch is around 4' tall and its one head is just starting to become two.  The branch still needs to be propped up but I'm hoping that it will thicken with age and then small orchids and Tillandsias can be attached to it. 

Here's a pic of Myrmecophila tibicinis attached to my Aloe thraskii...




I posted it in the Village Green Thumb Facebook group.  Julia Ba shared a photo of a phorobana that she saw at a show...




Phorobanas are SOOOOOOO good!!!

A few days ago I joined the Alhambra Plant Swap FB group and offered offshoots of my Aloe tenuior hybrid (it's a closed group). 

What else?  This last Sunday Scadoxus and I attended a plant swap at Planta Nursery in Eagle Rock.  We had a great time.   

Friday, December 7, 2018