I have a little bit of a strange obsession with hardware stores. It’s likely the African in me, but I do love to make something out of nothing. I had absolutely no idea that leaf strainers for gutters were actual things, but as soon as I clapped eyes on one I had to have it! I’m quite sure that there are a million other things one could make from them, but being on my green-thumbed mission I decided it would probably make a great mini-planter. After a little thinking & some research I decided to settle on making an upside-down hanging planter for an orchid.
After my first foray in orchid research, I discovered that if I chose an epiphyte variety of orchid, this would be the perfect plant for my project & for my chosen container. Epiphytes have thick roots that the plant uses to attach itself to trees, and are extremely unhappy if they are planted in soil – air & good drainage are the bliss of this plant.
Voila! For less than $20 I created this fab planter that would make a really lovely gift, or a thing to make you smile.
Here’s what you need:
- baby orchid (make sure it’s an epiphtye variety)
- soaked & strained orchid peat ( I used what was in the pot)
- 2ft long piece of aircraft cable*
- 1/16″ aluminum sleeves*
- aluminum leaf strainer* (removed the cap)
- a length of raffia
- soaked & strained moss
Before you start:
- remove the orchid carefully from the pot & remove any peat from between the roots
- examine the roots & with sterilized scissors, snip off any that look spongy or slightly blackened
Feed aircraft cable under the base of the leaf strainer & place aluminum sleeve where ends meet
Secure an aluminum sleeve tightly to the ends of your aircraft cable with a pair of pliers.
Tie your length of raffia in a triple knot to the aircraft cable. You’re doing this to create a cradle for your orchid, so make sure you have a good length.
Fill about a quarter of the bottom of the leaf strainer with moss, then spoon in some of your dampened orchid peat.
Very gently, place your orchid inside the strainer. This is where your MacGyver skills will need to be summoned. Wrap the raffia around a solid part of the stem, not too close the roots, & avoid tying it too tightly. Next, weave the remaining ends in & around the loops of the strainer. Carefully test how secure it is by tipping the strainer & plant upside down.
Continue adding moss carefully around the roots. Orchids need airflow to survive, so pack in enough to secure the plant & fill gaps, but don’t stuff in too much so that the plant isn’t able to breathe. Once you’re done, remove the support stake, hang in a well lit room & enjoy!