My Mounted Plant Journey (and the Master of Mounts)

Nothing like a little mounted Platycerium in the garden.

Long ago I saw my first mounted plants in conservatories and orchid collections. Even then I knew myself well enough to say, “No, Ann. Don’t do it. Don’t go there.” Then a few years ago, I did this. Nothing like buying some of the more difficult mounted plants…

The three Huperzia plants I purchased at Dick’s Greenhouse before the property was sold. Only the on on the far right is still alive. These are not easy to keep happy in average indoor conditions. They do best in a humid greenhouse or tank.

I’ve talked about Dick’s Greenhouse before, but it really was an amazing collection of plants and pottery created by a lifelong plant lover. While my friends and I often joked about mold inducing mounts in homes, nothing could stop me from wanting a few new babies to try for the first time. I pretty much failed with all of them, and should have transferred more of the plants to tanks when I had the chance, but that was it, I was hooked.

Who doesn’t want a greenhouse to keep their own collection in? Right? If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that many people want to hide in jungles in their own homes. Over the last few years I’ve enjoyed dreaming about what Dick’s collection of plants was like to visit. What a treasure to have known it so briefly. Personally, all I can do (and afford) is my space in the back garden so I move my plants in and out each year. It’s not quite as nice as an established greenhouse collection, but it works for me.

After Dick sold his home and greenhouse, I continued to play with mounts, and this year I finally spoke about them a few days ago at the Northwest Flower and Garden Festival. In all fairness, my mounts still tend to be a bit mixed with kokedama, but I love my moss meatballs. I intend to make more mounts though in the coming months, ones that I can enjoy all summer outside, but first let’s just look at a few more of my inspirations…

During the recent trip to SoCal and back with my plant partner in crime The Practical Plant Geek, we stopped at a few locations with mature mounts. One was the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate.

To say that seeing that many orchids was inspiring is an understatement. It was overwhelmingly beautiful and I bought a few of the plants posted above. Best of all, they can live outdoors for many months of the year here in Oregon if I place them just right.

Microclimate madness is a good thing!

Before that though, we’d also stopped in Los Angeles to see the home garden of a plant friend that I’d met online. His name is Carlos Cruz, but I’m going to refer to this fellow plant geek as the Master of Mounts. Like a true plant collector, he’s been at this for about 3 decades and he’s pretty much just focused on mounting anything that is available. I think it is safe to say that Carlos is up for experimenting and that’s a wonderful thing.

While for some folks this is a bit too experimental, it’s how we learn more about how to cultivate a plant, and we often learn a lot more about plants by putting them through this kind of thing. There are so many factors that can be altered, and growers in different parts of the country, and even the world, can compare notes. Carlos though, he is the Master. I’m so glad he responds to my inquiries since I’m such a newbie at this.

For tips from my presentation, you can find them on Sunday. I will have a permanent page setup and will also post a link to it from here. I was a bit late this week finishing this post thanks to traveling away from home. I am so grateful to have had that opportunity though. I love talking about plants so much.

To find Carlos on Instagram, click here. If you ever have any questions about epiphytic plants, especially rare and unusual ones, reach out to the Master.