Muskoka Lakes Gardens

Epiphytic crops – Air crops – no soil vegetation

Epiphytic plants in Australia 2 #aboutthegardenmagazine.indd

As gardeners, most of us are completely accustomed to rising vegetation in containers or directly in the ground, but for some who absence the generosity of back garden place, developing plants can generally be a wrestle with room limits, tough corners to tackle or an overabundance of tree deal with to block out sunlight. Well what may seem like obstacles should maybe be viewed as great chances to embrace a unique group of crops that are very tailored to take complete benefit of these predicaments, the epiphytes.

Epiphytic plants are scattered around the world from moist tropical regions to dry arid zones and have managed to colonise natural spaces wherever many other plant species can normally battle to get a foothold.

Where by most vegetation form roots to acquire up nutrition and moisture from the soil, the roots techniques of epiphytes are specifically made to also keep them firmly in location in the bows or trunks of  trees, on fallen logs, and in some conditions, immediately on the tricky surfaces of rocks and other particles. They have created specialised tactics in which to extract humidity and nourishment sources in contrast to most other vegetation and this offers them with a obvious advantage when faced with severe climate situations.

Here are a couple of simple to expand species that you might like to delight in in your backyard.


There are many species of Birds nest ferns (Asplenium species) most of which are indigenous to Australia. They can be normally identified higher up in the canopy of trees in rainforests snuggled in in between the branches exactly where their majestic deep environmentally friendly shiny fronds are held out large to seize the dappled sunlight and falling particles. Some may also be observed growing closer to the floor on fallen logs in among other, smaller sized ferns species and from time to time can be witnessed developing correct at ground stage in decaying organic make any difference. Their distinctive shape is deliberate as the vast inexperienced fronds seize falling leaf litter from the surrounding trees inside the heart of the plant. More than time, this particles normally degrades and results in being an priceless supply of diet for the crops. They all have a potent community of very small roots that anchor them firmly in put and are able to face up to high wind. For those people gardeners with a keen eye for the aesthetic high quality of crops, stay clear of getting tempted to apparent the coronary heart of Aspleniums as this is vitally vital for the development of new fronds. But avoid intentionally filling it up far too a great deal with waste as this can inhibit development.

Another fern species most will be familiar with are the Staghorn Fern (Platycerium grande) and the Elkhorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum). Once again both are native to Australia and have been perfectly embraced by gardeners close to the nation. Not like the birds nest ferns, these species grow immediately on the trunks of trees and palms as extended as they can get a organization footing. It can take time for these epiphytic fern species to develop into fully safe in their purely natural positions so when procured from yard centres, they are generally uncovered now mounted on a backing board to make this simpler. They normally dwell off decaying organic subject that has landed in their backing shields however the Platyceriums love a little increase of potassium in their eating plan. This can very easily be attained by placing a banana skin down the back of the shield as soon as every 6 months.

Staghorn & Elkhorn

Birds nest, Stag & Elkhorns delight in expanding ailments, sheltered absent from the depth of the  sunlight, nevertheless in a dazzling place. Watering really should be carried out frequently in really sizzling weather and saved to a minimum in the course of the colder pieces of the yr.

Place the difference!

Elkhorn ferns develop in thick colonies that variety the glimpse of one monumental (rounded) plant with various smaller fronds in all directions, whilst the Staghorn has upward struggling with fronds that type a “shield” and two major fertile fronds hanging vertically downwards.

Epiphytic plants in Australia #aboutthegardenmagazine.inddEpiphytic plants in Australia #aboutthegardenmagazine.indd


When you point out the term Bromeliad to most persons, they normally consider them massed planted under trees as a terrestrial planting possibility or in designer pots on the balcony or veranda, yet most are obviously epiphytic by mother nature and can be located scaling huge trees in appealing colonies  manufactured up of quite a few hundreds of plants. Numerous of the scaled-down, clumping types this kind of as the Neoregelia species are really adapted to expanding in this way and can be easily connected to the trunks of a tree or even to the sides of strong hanging baskets for more effect. Most multiply immediately and build appealing shiny colours and markings depending on the time of calendar year. The root methods of these bromeliads are comparatively little, but are exceptionally robust as the crops steadily ‘march’ their way up a tree trunk. Watering isn’t a important issue as by guaranteeing that humidity is retained in the centre of each and every bromeliad it can be simply sustained.

How to care for bromeliads


Quite a few of our much-beloved orchids these kinds of as Cattleya, Vanda and Oncidium species that are generally bought in pots make superb selections to be applied together with quite a few other epiphytic crops. In reality most naturally grow in soilless environments where their fleshy roots adhere tightly to the trunks and bows of trees or are lightly coated in fallen natural debris from which they get a frequent source of nourishment. Orchids arrive from all elements of the globe and can frequently be very best savored when encouraged to develop in their all-natural natural environment for most effective result. Most indigenous species orchids, these types of as the many dendrobium species, will eagerly climb their way alongside branches while forms, these kinds of as the Oncidium (Dancing Ladies), will variety large wholesome clumps that flower at the end of spring each and every yr with an eruption of weeping spikes in dazzling yellow, orange and red bouquets. They can be divided each number of a long time for straightforward propagation and positioned in other parts of the back garden or potted up and specified away as items. Orchids can simply be made use of in open up hanging basket scenarios when planted into a specialty orchid combine and hung specifically from tree limbs or balconies and verandas for an more stunning aspect for everyone to get pleasure from. In their native tropical environments, moment particles of particles act as fertiliser, however in a back garden setting, the addition of a compact amount of money of liquid or gradual launch fertiliser every a few or 4 months will present plenty of nourishment throughout the year.  Most orchids favor a safeguarded site with bright light-weight, nevertheless Oncidium orchids also have the means to mature and flower nicely in entire solar.

Dividing and Repotting Cattleya Orchids

Epiphytic plants in Australia #aboutthegardenmagazine.inddEpiphytic plants in Australia #aboutthegardenmagazine.indd


Tillandsias are a first cousin to the bromeliads that are mainly grown and are correct ‘air plants’. There are lots of kinds in cultivation and most develop brightly coloured interesting blooms on sensitive flower spikes straight from the centre of each individual plant. These are particularly simple to expand and can be only attached to items of wood and hung in situation or even in a vertical wall problem put together with orchids and other small bromeliads. Absolutely adaptable to equally comprehensive solar and light shade, Tillandsias truly convey robust fascination to a yard scene and are remarkably preferred with the younger technology for their novel visual appearance. The most perfectly-known of all species is the previous fashioned ‘Old Man’s beard’ (Tillandsia usneoides) with its appealing silver gray wonderful foliage cascading in excess of low branches or wood fences. This kind is eagerly utilised by lots of more compact bird species that use it as nesting substance and in change unwittingly spread this species to several neighbouring branches of trees and shrubs.

Grouping several diverse species of tillandsias jointly on fallen tree branches alongside with compact orchids is a single definite way of earning an outstanding attribute in any sized back garden.  In nature, tillandsias seize hefty dew on their great foliage so do not require major watering to endure. All through the heat of summer, basically splashing h2o about the crops is more than plenty of to guarantee a gradual colonisation to happen.

Epiphytic plants in Australia #aboutthegardenmagazine.inddEpiphytic plants in Australia #aboutthegardenmagazine.indd


Typically noticed in hanging baskets, an not likely addition to the epiphyte environment is the Hoya. These climbing crops deliver aerial roots that also adhere to their host tree and can make interesting and simple care vegetation for the yard. Australia can assert a number of species of hoya (H.australis) to this vast and various household that develop limited clusters of honey scented blooms. They detest remaining wet for prolonged intervals and are remarkably adaptable to most environments.

Epiphytic plants Hoyas in Australia #aboutthegardenmagazineEpiphytic plants Hoyas in Australia #aboutthegardenmagazine

Most epiphytic crops call for very little or no treatment as much as insect or sickness control is worried minimising the need for spraying severe substances in and all over the residence. Compared with most potted plants that have to have interest, they bolster peace of head if you transpire to be absent from the backyard garden for prolonged periods as they will unquestionably look as balanced on your return as when you left.

Epiphytic plant Air plant care products in Australia #aboutthegaEpiphytic plant Air plant care products in Australia #aboutthega
How to Treatment for Staghorn and Elkhorn Ferns Dividing and Repotting Cattleya Orchids How to Care for Bromeliads

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Gardening is more than just a hobby—it's a way of life that connects us to the natural world, nourishes our bodies and souls, and fosters a sense of community and belonging. Whether you're a seasoned gardener with years of experience or a novice eager to dig your hands into the soil for the first time, there's something magical about watching seeds sprout, plants grow, and flowers bloom.