Cattleyas are one of the more tolerant epiphytic orchids. Although they require both humidity and high levels of light, they can dry out in-between waterings far more than the average orchid. I looked online and I've found several people with them growing attached to stumps receiving full sun. So... I decided my Cattleya would be happier attached to wood as well.
A few days ago I went out to Cottonwood Community Gardens are found a nice looking piece of wood. It was a little dirty so I brought it home and cleaned it, washing with extremely hot water. After letting the wood dry for a few days (and to make sure there were no insects) I was ready to transplant my orchid.
The Cattleya I bought was originally in a pot with densely packed spagnum moss. This is nowhere near the natural environment of Cattleyas and the roots were far to wet. I thought about simply putting it back in the pot with some wood chips but though placing on a piece of wood would be far more interesting.
It took about 40 minutes to remove the moss from all the delicate roots. Somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 or the roots had actually died and also had to be removed.
After this was complete I placed the Cattleya on the wood. The shape of the wood piece actually held the plant in place relatively well. I was worried it would fall and thought about tying it on but just leaned it against a wall instead. The new roots have been growing well and some have hit the new wood surface. Most of the old roots aren't touching but they'll probably die and they were grown in a much more moist environment. The three oldest pseudostems are a little shriveled but the fourth (which also has a flower spike coming) seems completely fine.
I expect the older portion of the plant will eventually die but the new portion has two pseudostems forming and several more roots. I'm not sure if the flower will make it but at least it's been moved to a better home. I've been misting several times a day but never late in the evening because these plants don't like to be wet at night.
Eventually I'd like to put the wood in the centre of a large water proof tray with some pebbles and water. This way humidity will be provided and moisture will trickle up to the orchid. It should also look great!