The best epiphytes for planting
on bare branches are those that are adapted to regular cycles of moisture
and dryness, much like what they would get in their natural habitat where
they get rained on, then their exposed location on the branches allows
them to dry out a bit. Many of these epiphytes rely on their roots
more for anchoring themselves to the branches, rather than for collecting
When growing epiphytes on a branch,
it is better to first determine where the branch's permanent position
will be in the vivarium, then take into consideration the amount of space
the plants you will be attaching will have in relation to the vivarium's
top and walls. Don't forget that plants will grow if you do everything
right, and that if they bloom the flower stalks will require additional
If the branch is rather large and difficult
to position, put it in place before you begin planting because a large
branch with plants attached to it will be even more difficult to handle.
It might be a good idea though to first drill some holes and thread plastic
covered wire through them in the places where plants will eventually be
attached, to make things a bit easier.
Some epiphytes will like at least a bit
of moisture around their roots, so before tying them into place wrap some
moist green moss around their roots. This will also act as a pad to keep
the wires from damaging the plants. Omit the moss for plants that prefer
dryer conditions, but be extra careful when tying them in place. Position
the plants, then wire them firmly into place. It is important that the
plants are firmly attached so they can root onto the branch properly.
After they attach themselves, the wires can be removed. Keep the
plants well watered, but don't forget to allow them a brief drying out
period in between. When you do water, make sure everything, including
the entire branch, is well soaked so that the roots will be encouraged
to grow onto the wood.
If you have a particularly interesting
piece of wood, don't get carried away and cover the entire surface with
plants. Leave some bare wood and show off the branch like a piece
of sculpture. Limit the plants to groupings at certain points, such as
the base and the crooks of branches. Consider the plants' growth
habits; for example, if a plant tends to trail then put it on a higher
position so that its branches can hang down naturally. If the plant
gets rather large, then don't put it where it will eventually shade plants
under it to the point where the underplantings will suffer.