The great root containment project

Stelis gelidaI have been working on solving a problem, a rather nice problem I suppose… but a problem never the less. All the mounted orchids in the cool vivarium are doing really well and are growing like crazy. They are also putting out roots like crazy. A lot of them have grown straight through the EpiWeb mounts and begun to attach to the back wall. This is a wonderful sign of health of course, but I really would like to try and keep all the mounts flexible and movable, so I rather them not getting stuck.

So, until now I have just been attaching a second EpiWeb block on the back of the original mounts to collect the sprawling roots. But I am now seeing roots coming straight through the second mount as well, so I have been working out what I think is a rather clever solution, but only time will tell if it will work as good as I hope. I got some weed barrier fabric, the stuff you put down before laying down landscaping rocks for example. Since the fabric is made to withstand wet outdoors conditions and UV rays I think it will last a very long time. I cut a piece to size and glued it to the back of the EpiWeb mount using a hot glue gun. Hot glue sticks really well to the EpiWeb and it was pretty fast work actually.

For the double mounts I put the fabrinc across the bottom and all the way up the sides of the back mount and then sewed the two pieces together using fishing line. On single mounts where the roots have begun to peak through I just glued the fabric onto the back of the original mount and going about half way up the sides. All in an attempt to keep the roots contained within the mount. I would like the roots to fill the mounting brick horizontally rather that growing straight back. I really hope it works…

Root project -weed barrier fabricRoot project -weed barrier fabricRoot project -hot glue gunRoot projectRoot project Root project Root project - Pleurothallis rowleii Root project - Pleurothallis rowleii Root project - Pleurothallis rowleii Root project - Stelis gelidaRoot project - Stelis gelidaRoot project Root project - Porroglossum peruvianum

By | 2017-10-13T11:25:54+02:00 October 30th, 2010|Categories: Cool vivarium build, Projects|Tags: , , , , , , |8 Comments

About the Author:

Karma is a digital nomad graphic artist and writer, orchid nerd and long-distance hiker from Gothenburg, Sweden. Former editor-in-chief for the Swedish Orchid Society magazine, published internationally and held lectures on orchid culture.


  1. Demosthenes October 30, 2010 at 21:04 - Reply

    ..clever tips Karma…thank you!

  2. Karma October 30, 2010 at 22:41 - Reply

    Anytime! I just hope this little trick will work. 🙂

  3. Bill Hunter October 31, 2010 at 18:31 - Reply

    Don’t forget, your orchids want their roots free and wild. They will probably push through anything thats the slightest bit porous. Having their roots un-contained is important to them.

  4. Karma October 31, 2010 at 19:34 - Reply

    I am with you 100% Bill. The trouble is that if they get stuck in the back wall they will be equally boxed in – and not mobile should I need to move or divide them for example. This way I am hoping the roots will curve back into the mounting block, filling it with roots and perhaps come out a bit on the sides. Time will tell if it will work. I will come with an update in a few months.

  5. Bill Hunter November 13, 2010 at 18:22 - Reply

    I look forward to the update. The main thing is keeping the plant happy, which your’s certainly looks like it is.

  6. Karma November 13, 2010 at 19:15 - Reply

    Thanks! 🙂 Yes, happy plants is the goal. I will keep you all posted on how it goes.

  7. Ulrich February 3, 2011 at 15:41 - Reply

    Many thanks for this really interesting blog and the beautyful pictures of your blooming plants!
    Slightly of toppic to this post – how do you fix your epiweb-mounted plants – I mean the slabs – to the backwall? Lookes like a nail for me? Of which material – stainless steel? I already tried toothpick (rotting soon) and plastic coated wire. I didn’t want to pollute my orchids through metal-ions…

    • Karma February 3, 2011 at 16:21 - Reply

      Thanks Ulrich, it is always nice to hear that you enjoy my blog. 🙂 Yes, I use copper nails to attach my mounts to the back wall. Works great as they do not rust, and soon the copper will start to tarnish to a lovely green and you cannot see them at all.

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