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Any experience with growing orchid on an olla?

4 days ago

Hi, I’m new here.

I have a few orchids; sedirea japinona, 1 phal and 2 paphs.

Has anyone had any luck growing any orchid on an olla?

I would like to try it, but I don’t want to make a rookie mistake.



Comments (8)

  • arthurm2015

    Depends, depends on your growing conditions and where you are in the world Alaska, Hawaii??? Olla? some sort of porous pot?

    Mounting orchids? Only if they grow better that way in your growing conditions.

  • kathyb0830

    I have an east facing large window over a frequently used steamy soaking tub in my bathroom in Dallas, Tx. Indoor central heat/air with misting several times a day with a very very weak orchid fertilizer. The sedirea is growing like a weed in charcoal and sphag moss, but it’s just a baby. The paph is well established in an open airy plastic pot in a chunky orchid mix. I have a new paph coming and was thinking of trying the olla. Yes, it is a porous clay pot. I also have a new spidery hybrid oncidium on the way. The plan was to wrap the olla with sheet moss, mount the orchid high on the pot so it’s not soaking wet full time and let it completely dry between waterings, like every 3 days or so.

    Maybe that will help you, help me. LOL

  • Meyermike

    Kathy, I have thought of doing that on a clay pot if it is like the same? Im curious too.

    I do know that my Sedirea do not like to go dry. They can die rather quickly if left to dry too long even in my barky pots. I already lost one due to drying out too fast and too often in a pot. My oncidiums the same. They like to be moist often and not left dry too long or the bulbs shrivel. So those I keep in a mix that stay moist longer. Not sure about growing on that either unless you have a set up where you can mist those types of plants often all day especially in hot or dry conditions. A nice moist place with constant misting might do the trick?


  • kathyb0830

    Thank you, Mike.

    I have a paph sandersonii hybrid, which I have seen images growing on cracks in limestone cliff faces with springs running over and thru roots. Sort of a natural hydroponic set up. LOL I wonder if the limestone is a necessary nutrient? I can always tuck some crushed eggshell into the moss.

    So, I want to see if I can do a similar set up with the olla and this paph. I found a post on a diff orchid board who had success with a similar type paph on sheet moss on an olla. They specifically recommended sheet moss, as sphag moss just stayed too soggy for the roots, causing rot. They also recommended only keeping a couple of inches of water in the olla, as too full makes for too much seeping of water thru the pot at all levels. He planted on the upper portion of the olla. The roots appreciated having the drier footing, didn’t rot and still had good root formation.

    I have a large bathroom with a big east facing window. I mist everything in there several times a day. Then, a couple of steamy showers or baths happen daily, as well. I have a couple of epiphyllums, stag horn fern, a mystery paph, the little sedirea and a holey monstera curling around my dressing mirror. All these guys (except the sedirea) have been doing great for over a year in this set up. So, I’m thinking this idea may have a chance at success. There is no shortage of humidity or air circulation.

    If the sedirea likes that much water, I might see if she’d like a spot lower on the pot. Growing several orchids on the same olla would be the BEST! Maybe it needs to hang in front of the window....

    I will keep posting my progress (or not) =) I will post pics as I go...

    live sheet moss arrives tomorrow.

    I appreciate any advice or comments, as I am totally winging it here *crossing fingers*

  • kathyb0830
    Here’s the mounted finished product. I got the olla and live sheet moss on Amazon.

    I chose two orchids that are lithophytes or have litho’s in their parentage.

    I tucked a little charcoal under the moss that is under the orchid to keep it sweet. The paph is mounted on a smaller piece of moss, because it might like it a little drier. The roots were brown and wrapped around inside the pot. I think they’ll like more air.

    And the Oncidium hybrid has finer roots, so it will probably appreciate a little more dampness without being smothered by damp moss.

    These grow on limestone rock faces with small springs or runoff for moisture. Leaves and detritus get caught in the roots. I am wondering if the limestone is needed and may tuck a few limestone chips in between the roots.

    And finally, the pot is sitting on a drain plate with crushed unglazed clay chips with lots of surface area for fast evaporation and good humidity production.

    We’ll see how this goes. East window, direct morning sun for an hour or two, misting 3-4 times a day and a humid environment. I will monitor the root health daily and adjust the mount to their liking, if possible.

    This is fun! I’m already planning my next experiment, a small Vanda mounted bare to a small olla, hanging in a sunny skylight. =)

  • kathyb0830

    I also read to only keep an inch or two of water in the olla. Filling it up all the way will cause weeping over the whole pot. A lower water level allows the water to creep upward and keep the clay damp, but not too wet.

  • jane__ny

    I apologize for having never seen nor heard of an Olla. Is this a vessel for growing plants? What is it made of? Plastic or clay?

    The opening appears very narrow. Are the roots growing down into the pot or around the outside. I don't see how your orchids will grow in something like that unless you plan to have it spread out on the outside of the Olla like a mounted orchid. I suppose it would grow in this for a year until it starts making new growths. Where would they go?

    I am not a fan of live moss as it can have insects and fungal spores. Unless it were sterilized, I would be cautious using it.


  • kathyb0830

    No worries, I didn’t know what it was either, until I saw a pic of one. LOL

    Do a web search for “orchid olla”...it looks so cool!

    An olla ( pronounced O’ yah) is an unglazed but fired clay vessel meant to be used in xeriscape gardens. It would be buried in the garden soil to wick water to the roots underground over several days, using less water in water rationing situations.

    I wanted to see if I could recreate a similar environment to their wild origins in my home.

    In my application, the orchid’s roots are gently bound to and wrapped around the outside of the olla by rubber bands. An internet orchid board recommended to separate the roots and pot with a loose layer of sheet moss to give more aereation to roots. Sphagnum moss was reported to stay soggy, causing rot. Who knows if they are right or wrong? Because anyone can post anything on the internet, so I have to do it myself. LOL

    It’s basically a slow release humidity ball with an orchid wrapped around it.

    Theoretically, in time the roots will grow around it and hang on by it’s own roots. You can always remove moss if roots need more air.

    I agree pests can be a problem with live moss. I will watch it closely.

    Keep in mind, I know just enough to screw it up properly! Any and all comments are a learning experience for me.

    ****It’s true, it all starts with one orchid...then by the 3rd one, your family starts to say, “ANOTHER orchid?”***

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