Growing Native Orchids in a Log

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Don planted up a hollow log with Australian native rock orchids, to create a fabulous natural effect in the backyard.

Hollow logs make great planters. You might have a tree in the garden that has died and fallen over, or if you live on a bush block there may already be some small hollow logs lying around on the property.

Australian native rock orchids (Dendrobium kingianum)

Native Australian Orchid flowers

Native Australian Orchid Flowers

This hardy orchid often grows on exposed cliff faces and is able to withstand long, hot periods with little moisture. It has deep green, leathery foliage and the flowers are usually pink, although there are white and red forms. D. kingianum grows naturally on the east coast of Australia, between Rockhampton in Queensland and the Hunter River in New South Wales.

Planting your rock orchids

1. Fill your hollow log with free-draining, orchid compost (do not use soil).

2. Trim the roots of the rock orchids so that they will fit into the ends of the log. (Tip: you may want to make some extra planting holes in the log, depending on your arrangement.) Don’t worry about trimming some of the orchid roots, their purpose is mostly to anchor the plant in place.

3. Plant the orchids in the log.

4. Place the log in some natural spot in the garden. Another alternative is to hang it from a tree using screw eyes, or put a bolt through the branch and fasten with a nut on the other side. (Tip: never wrap wire around the branch of a tree– you might kill the branch.)