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Building a fake tree to mount bromeliads and orchids on


metalfan

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Has anyone done this? Years ago (literally years ago) on my old Dell computer that is no longer with us I had bookmarked a site for building a natural looking tree from scratch for this purpose. I searched for it again but can't find it. Does anyone know how to do this? What materials to use?

"You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes"---SliPknot

 

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There was a spectacular one in Fairchilds conservatory. It was made of PCV pipes as the base and natural cork as the covering with moss sheeting in certain spots. With the right combination of PVC elbows etc.it could be very realistic. Holes can be cut out to actually plant some of the plants that need some soil.

Edited by scottgt
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El Oasis - beach garden, distinct wet/dry season ,year round 20-38c

Las Heliconias - jungle garden ,800m elevation,150+ inches rainfall, year round 15-28c

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^ Agree w/ Scott, a great idea for sure.

Might also try and pm Carlos (@Epiphyte here on the Forum) additional thoughts / ideas. @Gonzer likely has some thoughts on this as well. Carlos has shared pictures of such projects around San Diego / Southern CA. on another forum.

If i remember correctly, San Diego Botanical ( Formally Quail Botanical Gardens) created some large, fake, tree- like structures out of Concrete for some of their Epiphytic plant displays. There's also a picture of what remains of a cut down tree covered in Bromeliads, Staghorn Ferns, some Succulents and other Air plants / Epiphytes somewhere in San Diego posted  on Reddit. Think it was originally posted there back in 2016.

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Thanks guys! Now I  just have to find an affordable source for cork tubes.......I can get large pieces of freshwater driftwood and cypress locally, but it ain't cheap either.....

"You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes"---SliPknot

 

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Here's a pic of my friend's sparsely adorned concrete tree...

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I have absolutely no idea how he made it, but here are some additional pics of his garden.

All else being equal, personally I think that even the most boring real tree is more interesting than the nicest fake tree.  The exception being something like the fake tree at the Quail Botanic Gardens that is turning into a real tree because lots of rooted Ficus thonningii cuttings were attached all over it.  I believe that all the cuttings came from the Ficus thonningii at the LA Arboretum, which has by far the best aerial roots in California.  Thanks to Kyle for finding that photo. 

Lots of plants such as Ficus can grow from really large cuttings... Aloes, Aralias, Bougainvilleas, Cordylines, Cup of Gold, Grapes, Moringa, Pachiras, Plumerias, Pomegranate... what else?   In Florida it should be relatively easy to find a perfect sized limb with great branches.  Then you'd saw it off, stick it in a pot, wait for it to root and voila!  Nearly instant, largish, living host!  

Last year I did a video of some of my phorobanas.  None of them are super impressive but the beauty is trying to figure out the best combination of epiphyte and phorophyte.  

Anyways, it's just an alternative!  :D  

 

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That looks great and your ideas are also tantalizing. I do have two living big Bauhinia trees in th greenhouse, I have had to severely prune them on top for several years now in order to keep them in the greenhouse....fortunately they do not seem to care. I am going to use them I already have a few things attached. And I have a Spindle Palm in there that I have some brows on. My only concern with using a dead tree is the eventual rot (which will occur even with the driftwood or cypress of course). And I do have some sizable plumerias! I had not house of utilizing them. I had a huge grapevine in there when I first started the greenhouse up, the problem with it was it DID start growing and I then had to keep all the grapevines pruned off but you are so right it was very long lasting. I may do that again, we have so many here on our property that are the size of jungle liana Thank you for the advice!!!

"You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes"---SliPknot

 

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Here is an old photo of a small portion of the fake tree with epiphytes in Quail Botanical Garden (now SD Botanical Garden).  I've been meaning to pay a visit since it's close to home and I have a membership.  This reminded me to make my way down to the children's garden where it's located when I'm there next. The photo is from November 2011, so the Ficus should be much more established now.  I've been back many times since I took the photo, but I don't often wonder down to this corner of the garden when I'm there.

20111002-IMG_8066 quail botanical.jpg

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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I did this about fifteen years ago in my "Monster Greenhouse".  I Started by setting a 6" wide PVC tube into cement.  Then I added branches and built up the "tree".  I covered it all with tube cork, which was not terribly expensive.  I did have to wire the upper branches to the greenhouse roof, as the branches were horizontal and a great deal of weight would cause them to sag or even collapse.  I mounted all of my orchids on this, and watered daily.  The orchids thrived.  Some bloomed so frequently that it was boring!

If I can find photos, I will post them, but I think they are lost in the cloud!

 

Bruce

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The easiest would be to use driftwood to make a tree to put your plants on. I've always like this first one. I plan on doing a few wall hanging ones too. 

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Edited by Palm crazy
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VERY cool! I have a lot of small pieces of that blasted grapevine. Smaller than the one in your third photo. I wouldn't know where to find anything like what you have except for the driftwood. There is a guy who has a cypress yard in the next little town over that has pieces like that

"You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes"---SliPknot

 

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Gina, if you're looking to purchase some driftwood, cholla wood, etc... I just found this great place that sells pieces for really good prices. There call B & B Blooms & Branches floral supplies, decorative branches, where the pros shop. The largest pieces I found were 18" and 24" and lots of smaller ones. Enjoy! Not sure if these will work for mid or larger bromeliads, but very good for small ones. 

Edited by Palm crazy
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On 12/16/2018, 8:28:26, Palm crazy said:

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Reminiscent of "Andy's Orchids on a Stick".  An Epidendrum marmoratum and Encylia mounted on little sticks.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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Thanks Tracy! LOL I am an Andy's customer since many years ago!

"You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes"---SliPknot

 

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Keep me coming...these are super cool

David Simms zone 9a on Highway 30a

200 steps from the Gulf in NW Florida

30 ft. elevation and sandy soil

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There are tons of example on the net of bromeliads and epiphytes on tree branches. This first one is one of my favorites. I could see me cutting down a large branch and supporting it with 4 by 4 post like an arbor to walk underneath. 

Check out these groovy bromeliads on tree branches and let your imagination go wild. 

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Edited by Palm crazy
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Yes that is what I want to have but I don't think I can put that large of a real tree trunk in my greenhouse singlehandedly. It would be too cool though!

"You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes"---SliPknot

 

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But what about longevity? How long would it last against rot? I ask as a 60 year old Crone, not a Maiden or a Mother LOL because I need at least 10 years against time

"You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes"---SliPknot

 

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yeah I will have to look around. There are some huge grapevines along our road that are bare right now, some of them are 12-14 inches around. I could rev up the chainsaw and cut one or 2. I have been going out into the woods and harvesting fallen wood that is not rotted and has interesting contours and shapes.

"You can't see California without Marlon Brando's eyes"---SliPknot

 

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On 12/12/2018, 9:16:12, Tracy said:

Fake concrete tree with epiphytes in Quail Botanical Garden (now SD Botanical Garden).

Some updated photos of the one at San Diego Botanical Gardens.  They have used some Ficus, Monstera deliciosa as well as bromeliads and orchids.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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