I live in the North Island of New Zealand and I have a subtropical style garden.One of the main features of my garden is the large amount of plants growing up in the trees.Most but by no means all of these plants are epiphytes.The main tree is a Pin oak (Quercus palustris). I grew the Pin oak as well, it was only a metre high when I planted it so if you consider that to be the starting point of my Epiphyte tree then it has taken twentytwo years to get to this point
I live in a high wind zone and summers here are warm so in prolonged windy conditions and during long fine spells I have to water the plants in the tree.Many of these plants (Epiphytic ones) would survive quite well without water for long periods however they would not be growing at their best and may even go into a state of dormancy.As they have occasional frosts down to minus 2 degrees celcius (28.4 degrees fahrenheit) during the winter I want them to grow and multiply as much as possible over the warmer months. I grow all the plants in the fibrous root masses of dead naturally occuring epiphyte (Collospermum hastatum) however any natural fibrous and water retentive but free draining medium such as coconut fibre with the addition of some sphagnum moss and bark based orchid growing mix around the roots would be fine.Check out pages Simple epiphyte mounting / Growing mounting tips .and How I mount epiphytes / Page 2 The reasons for growing in such a way are threefold.
1) The Pin oak is still young and has quite smooth bark (hard for plants to get a grip).So by wrapping the growing media completely around the branch the plants roots will also wrap around the branch making it very secure even in a high wind zone..
2) Because the Pin oak stands alone (not in a forest) the humidity is too low for most epiphytes to grow directly on the bare bark (Except Tillandsias and some Orchids) so the growing media gives the roots some protection that would normally be provided by moss or lichen.
3) It allows me to grow a much wider range of plants that can handle dry conditions but are not epiphytic e.g Phormium cookianum,Agapanthus,Iris japonica,Dianella to name a few.
Check out the photo albums.photos .All photos unless otherwise stated taken in my garden.