by Jason Fischer,
Orchids Ltd | www.orchidweb.com
1.Hardware cloth (pvc coated wire mesh, available at most hardware stores)
2. 2 x 3.5″ unglazed clay pots. Or, a terracotta fish breeding cone.
3. One flat stone/clay shard, hard plastic piece etc to plug one drain hole.
4. Gorilla Glue
5. Grow Strong hydroponic material. GS1 product works well.
6. Milled sphagnum moss (fine dust like sphagnum moss is best if available).
7. Oregon green moss/tree moss/sheet moss/feather moss. Available at www.mossunlimited.net
8. Green tinted braided fishing line.
9. small zip ties
10. 1 pair Bi-material diagonal pliers
10. Chain hanger (optional)
The following instructions explain how to make a medium/large sized jungle log, which is the most ideal size for lower maintenance (smaller ones need water more often).
The first step is to use the gorilla glue to adhere your stone/plastic/clay shard piece to plug one of the drain holes of the unglazed 3.5” clay pot. Once this has set, take your second 3.5” clay pot and glue the rims of the two pots together until they have set. This creates the water reservoir for the jungle log. If you have an unglazed clay cylinder without drainage that will fit into the jungle log (based on the size you choose), that works out fine also. I’ve since discovered that the easiest thing to do is just order a terracotta fish breeding cone!
Use the wire cutters to cut the hardware cloth to create a cylinder shape with an 8~10 inch circumference in diameter by 18 inches in length. Cut out a matching circumference circle piece in which you will go around with several of the small zip ties to attach it to one end of the cylinder to create a base. Next, blend about 10~20 percent of the milled sphagnum with the growstone product. The growstone should be pre-washed with water and the sphagnum should be slightly damp.
Use large sheets of the green moss of your choice (I prefer using tree moss or sheet moss) that will wrap around the outer side of the cylinder. Use the tinted fishing line to secure the moss around the outer side of the cylinder. Typically I will tie around 3 to 4 sections until the entire surface is wrapped. Next stand the unit back onto the base and put enough green moss at the base to help prevent small particles of growstone or milled moss to fall through. Fill the base of the cylinder with the sphagnum/growstone about half way, then place your clay reservoir cylinder in the center. You will want to position the cylinder so that the open end is at the top of the open end of the jungle log. Then finish adding the growstone mix until it fills the jungle log to the top. That is the final step if you are going to use the jungle log as a standing unit. Most people add a chain hanger to the top of the hardware cloth so the until can be hung.
Last, you add your epiphytic orchids to the jungle log using more of the tinted fishing wire. Make sure you go around each plant 3 to 4 times in order to secure it well to the jungle log. Within 6 months the orchids should develop enough roots to secure themselves to the jungle log. Check on them often while developing as if they come loose from the jungle log they will not root into the log well.
Once plants are mounted, water the entire unit heavily to charge the moss with water. Dunking the entire log into a large bucket is effective. Make sure to fill the clay water reservoir to the top. You can top off the water in the clay reservoir anytime. It could be filled every 1 to 3 days for optimal water to the root systems. Make sure the outer moss is moistened often as the new root system needs to develop and reach inside the jungle log to access the extra moisture inside. If the outer moss feels dry, mist heavily or pour water around the entire log.
Now you have built virtually maintenance free epiphytic orchid log that should last at least 10 years!