Orchid Project techniques – Dividing and mounting orchids

 Spring is the busiest time for dividing and repotting/ mounting plants in our collection.

The Plant of Masdevallia decumana shown in the photo needs dividing and remounting as the cork is deteriorating and the plant would benefit from fresh cork to root to.


We start by sterilising scissors (we don’t want to spread and diseases especially viruses) and drilling three holes in some fresh cork.

The plant is then pulled off the old cork bark and pulled apart into natural clumps – this plant turned into four clumps.

Thick support wire is put in the top hole in the cork. A clump of Masdevallia is placed in the centre of the cork to be tied on with thin wire (we never add any moss as we find mounted plants do best when their roots can grow straight onto the cork) with the newest part of the plant against the cork (this is where new roots will come from)

Finally the the thin wire goes around the roots just below the stems and through two holes in the cork. A twist at the back ensures that the plant is held firmly until new roots grow onto the bark.



Join the Discussion


  1. Agnes Jones says:

    This is a very well explained step by step guide. In fact it is excellent with really clear photographs. I like the way the plants, tools etc contrast against the wooden worktop making it easy to see, even for those with vintage eyesight, what is going on.
    How easy is it to remove the orchid from the bark? The orchid looks very delicate like beetroot or spinach seedlings. Is it easily damaged?

    • Simon Pugh-Jones says:

      Fortunately plants are quite tough – handling needs to be gentle but firm as and wobbling will damage new roots.

  2. BENDA FRAY says:

    Dear Simon

    I am very keen to learn more about orchids. Can I please join being a student of Writhlington School Project. I am from Bristol.

    Many thanks for your time.

    Kind regards,


    • Simon Pugh-Jones says:

      Hi Bend – glad to hear of your interest in orchids – Our next open day is planned for the second Saturday in December.