Epiphytes in the Vivarium
PLANTING IN CORK TUBES
Pictures and text by Ken Uy
 

 Cork tube positioned in tank


Cork tube filled and planted

     Some epiphytes come from evenly moist environments such as moss covered branches in cloud forests, or they may grow in locations such humus filled pockets or among the roots of larger epiphytes such as staghorn ferns which are able to collect debris using specialized leaves.  Unless you are able to mist the tank several times a day, it may be easier to grow these moisture lovers directly on the floor substrate of the vivarium, much like terrestrial plants. However, one way to maintain the "hanging garden" look is to plant these in hollow cork bark tubes that have been filled with a light but moisture retentive medium such as an orchid planting mix. The tubes can then be arranged like fallen branches, or elevated with brackets attached to the wall of the vivarium.  All that is required is to block the ends of the tube with moss or coconut fiber or even plastic window screen, then fill the tube with the planting mix and slip in the root balls of the plants. Think of it as planting a window box. Additional epiphytes that can withstand or require more dryness can be attached to the outside of the tube, directly on the bark, thus completing the illusion of an epiphyte laden branch from the rainforest. 

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 Copyright 1999 by Kenneth K. Uy. All rights reserved.