A long-term review of the BiOrbAir (part four)

I planted up my BiOrbAir, a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds, from Reef One, on 25th September 2014.  As this was the first time I had planted a BiOrbAir terrarium; I chose a variety of different plants and ferns to trial and see how they would grow inside the controlled environment of this terrarium, with the constant conditions the BiOrbAir provides.  I have changed the planting over time – this terrarium now contains ferns, mosses and miniature, epiphytic orchids.

You can read the first part of my long-term review of the BiOrbAir here.  I started writing this first instalment after planting my BiOrbAir in September 2014; I updated my review every month, until April 2015.  The second part of my review, then continues from May 2015 until October 2015, you can read the second instalment here.  The third part of my review continues here, where  you can read updates from November 2015 until April 2016.  This is the fourth instalment, here I will keep you updated on how well my BiOrbAir is working and how the plants are growing during April and May 2016.  I hope that by breaking my review into sections it will be easier for readers to digest and use, whether you’re considering planting up your own terrarium or choosing suitable plants to create your own indoor garden.

Irrigation

Naturally, I will regularly top up the base reservoir of my BiOrbAir with rain water as required; the water in the base reservoir will be absorbed by the capillary matting, which is fitted to the support tray above the base reservoir, which in turn will moisten the compost above.  The absorption of water through the capillary matting will keep the coir compost moist, and as a result, the ferns will be watered automatically.

I will regularly top up the ultrasonic misting unit with Humidimist, a pure bottled water, low in electrolytes, available from Reef One and included as part of the package when you purchase a BiOrbAir.  The Humidimist is the only type of water recommended for use in the ultrasonic misting unit of the BiOrbAir, and it is the only product I will use.

Fertiliser

Since September 2014, when I planted my BiOrbAir, apart from the feed I have given to miniature orchids, which are mounted onto cork, (the orchids have also received extra misting) I haven’t added any plant feed or fertiliser to the terrarium.  I used the peat-free coir compost that came with my BiOrbAir for planting, I didn’t add any additional compost, fertiliser or growing media to the mix – I just used the BiOrbAir coir compost as it was, nothing extra was added.  I have used rainwater to fill my BiOrbAir’s base water reservoir – this rainwater, together with the capillary matting keeps the coir compost moist.  Naturally, I have only used the specially designed Humidimist to fill up reservoir for the ultrasonic misting unit.  I have replaced the BiOrbAir terrarium carbon filter as required, following the recommendations on the BiOrbAir website.  I have documented any problems I have experienced, and any indoor gardening that I have carried out in my previous reviews; I will continue to update this review in the same manner.

I mist my miniature orchids when I think they would benefit from some additional moisture, I don’t have a set pattern or set day to mist the orchids.  I have been feeding my miniature orchids, I use Orchid Focus Grow and Orchid Focus Bloom to feed my orchids, I purchased both of these fertilisers from the shop at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  I feed my orchids only sparingly, following the instructions on the pack; these miniature orchids wouldn’t naturally receive an abundance of nutrients in their natural environment, over feeding can be detrimental to your plants, causing further problems.  These are the only fertilisers I have used inside this terrarium.

Terrarium Planting list

You can see the full planting list which includes of all the plants that I have trialled growing inside the BiOrbAir featured in this review here, where you’ll also find the full details of all the nurseries and garden centres I used to purchase the plants, ferns, miniature orchids, mosses and cork for this terrarium.

I recently visited The RHS London Orchid Show, I purchased a number of new, interesting miniature orchids at the show from Akerne Orchids, two of which I have included in this terrarium for this trial:

  • Phalaenopsis parishii
  • Restrepia seketii

Currently the following plants are growing inside this BiOrbAir terrarium:

  • Asplenium nidus ‘Crispy Wave’ (PBR)
  • Barbosella australis
  • Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’
  • Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Fluffy Ruffles’
  • Ornithophora radicans
  • Phalaenopsis parishii
  • Polystichum tsussimense
  • Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’
  • Restrepia sanguinea
  • Restrepia seketii

Of the plants growing inside this terrarium, the following plants were included in my original, first planting of this terrarium, back in September 2014, they are still growing inside the terrarium today – in April 2016:

  • Asplenium nidus ‘Crispy Wave’ (PBR)
  • Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Fluffy Ruffles’
  • Polystichum tsussimense

If you’re interested to learn more about the BiOrbAir, the terrarium featured in this trial and in my Miniature Orchid Terrarium Trial, you might be interested to read my review of the special features of the BiOrbAir.

Changing how I mount my epiphytic orchids onto cork bark

When I first included miniature orchids in this terrarium, I chose to mount the miniature orchids onto the cork using fishing line to secure the orchids in place.  I was thinking purely aesthetically when I chose to use fishing line to secure the orchids – as it’s clear material, and so not as visible – I felt it wouldn’t detract from the beauty of the orchids.  I did have real concerns that the fishing line could act as a cheese wire and slice into the roots of the orchids, but I went ahead and used it regardless – all of the orchids were mounted onto the cork bark and secured in place with the fishing line.  When I added the Restrepias to this terrarium, again, I secured them in place using fishing line.

During a recent visit to the The Botanic Gardens at Kew, I was talking to the orchid experts in the tropical nurseries, where I found out that Kew use strips of material cut from stockings, to secure all their epiphytic orchids.  Although I haven’t noticed any problems from using the fishing line to secure the orchids so far, I have now taken the decision to remove the fishing line securing all of my epiphytic orchids.  Where necessary, re-mounting any orchids, using small strips of material cut from stockings, to secure the orchids in place.

For many years now I have used stockings as ties for trees and other garden plants with great success.  I haven’t previously used stockings to secure epiphytic orchids, just purely for aesthetic reasons – the strips of stockings are very visible, and this does detract somewhat from the beauty of the orchids when viewed as a display.  However, I am certain that securing the orchids using soft strips of stockings is better for the orchids, and that’s my priority.  With this method, there isn’t any risk of slicing through any of the orchid roots, as there was when using the fishing line.

I removed all of the fishing line from this terrarium on the 9th April 2016, all of the orchids were then secured in place using strips of material cut from stockings.  Going forward this is the method I will use to mount all of my orchids onto cork bark.

Right, first a recap, here’s a photograph I took of my BiOrbAir after planting on 25th September 2014:

The BiOrbAir after planting on 25th September 2014.
The BiOrbAir after planting on 25th September 2014.

The BiOrbAir on 2nd March 2015.
The BiOrbAir on 2nd March 2015.

My BiOrbAir pictured on 29th August 2015.
My BiOrbAir pictured on 29th August 2015.
My BiOrbAIR terrarium is planted with ferns, miniature orchids, mosses and other plants that thrive in the high humidity created by this specialised terrarium.
My BiOrbAIR terrarium is planted with ferns, miniature orchids, mosses and other plants that thrive in the high humidity created by this specialised terrarium. My BiOrbAir is pictured here on 18th October 2015.
My BiOrbAir terrarium, pictured on the 9th April 2016, after I had re-mounted my orchids onto cork and added two new miniature orchids to this trial and review.
My BiOrbAir terrarium, pictured on the 9th April 2016, after I had re-mounted my orchids onto cork and added two new miniature orchids to this trial and review.

New miniature orchids!

I have added the following new miniature, epiphytic orchids to this BiOrbAir terrarium:

Restrepia seketii

Restrepia seketii, pictured after it was unpacked from The RHS London Orchid Show.
Restrepia seketii, pictured after it was unpacked from The RHS London Orchid Show.
Restrepia seketii pictured with a British five pence piece to clearly show the size of this miniature orchid and its inflorescence.
Restrepia seketii pictured with a British five pence piece to clearly show the size of this miniature orchid and its inflorescence.
Restrepia seketii as pictured on the 9th April 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. I have mounted this miniature orchid onto cork bark, using strips cut from stockings to secure the plant gently, yet securely in place on the cork.
Restrepia seketii as pictured on the 9th April 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. I have mounted this miniature orchid onto cork bark, using strips cut from stockings to secure the plant gently, yet securely in place on the cork.
Restrepia seketii is a new addition to this terrarium. This is a far smaller Restrepia cultivar than the other two Restrepia cultivars that are growing inside this terrarium. I am really interested and excited to see how this miniature orchid will grow inside the BiOrbAir. The Restrepia seketii is pictured here on the 9th April 2016, as you can see its flower is just opening.
Restrepia seketii is a new addition to this terrarium. This is a far smaller Restrepia cultivar than the other two Restrepia cultivars that are growing inside this terrarium. I am really interested and excited to see how this miniature orchid will grow inside the BiOrbAir. The Restrepia seketii is pictured here on the 9th April 2016, as you can see its flower is just opening.

Phalaenopsis parishii

Phalaenopsis parishii pictured with a British five pence piece to show the diminutive size of the plant. This miniature Phalaenopsis has very large flowers compared to the size of the plant.
Phalaenopsis parishii pictured with a British five pence piece to show the diminutive size of the plant. This miniature Phalaenopsis has very large flowers compared to the size of the plant.
A close up of a Phalaenopsis parishii bloom.
A close up of a Phalaenopsis parishii bloom.
Phalaenopsis parishii, pictured on the 9th April 2016 inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. This miniature Phalaenopsis has large, attractively marked flowers.
Phalaenopsis parishii, pictured on the 9th April 2016 inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. This miniature Phalaenopsis has large, attractively marked flowers.
I am really excited to be growing this beautiful, miniature Phalaenopsis inside my BiOrbAir terrarium! Phalaenopsis parishii is a diminutive little plant, with elongated, flattened roots. I have secured this miniature Phalaenopsis to the cork bark using strips cut from stockings, these strips are more noticeable than I would like, but they are soft and elasticated and will hold the orchids in place gently, yet securely.
I am really excited to be growing this beautiful, miniature Phalaenopsis inside my BiOrbAir terrarium! Phalaenopsis parishii is a diminutive little plant, with elongated, flattened roots. I have secured this miniature Phalaenopsis to the cork bark using strips cut from stockings, these strips are more noticeable than I would like, but they are soft and elasticated and will hold the orchids in place gently, yet securely.

Updates on my original planting:

Nephrolepis exaltata 'Fluffy Ruffles', as pictured on the 9th April 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. I haven't needed moved this, or any of the three ferns that are growing inside this terrarium to accommodate my new plants. All of the ferns, including this Nephrolepis exaltata 'Fluffy Ruffles', were included in my original planting of this terrarium back in September 2014. Since then all three of the ferns have been moved around a number of times, despite this, they have always grown well inside this terrarium.
Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Fluffy Ruffles’, as pictured on the 9th April 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. I haven’t needed moved this, or any of the three ferns that are growing inside this terrarium to accommodate my new plants. All of the ferns, including this Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Fluffy Ruffles’, were included in my original planting of this terrarium back in September 2014. Since then all three of the ferns have been moved around a number of times, despite this, they have always grown well inside this terrarium.
Here is Lepanthopsis astrophora 'Stalky' as pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 9th April 2016. I have again used strips cut from stockings to secure this miniature orchid in place on the cork bark. I have another specimen of the same orchid growing inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, this Lepanthopsis is growing horizontally, and is just resting on the cork bark - I haven't tied it or secured it in place. It will be interesting to see how well the two plants grow in the coming months, currently they are both flowering.
Here is Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ as pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 9th April 2016. I have again used strips cut from stockings to secure this miniature orchid in place on the cork bark. I have another specimen of the same orchid growing inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, this Lepanthopsis is growing horizontally, and is just resting on the cork bark – I haven’t tied it or secured it in place. It will be interesting to see how well the two plants grow in the coming months, currently they are both flowering.
Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto', as pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 9th April 2016. I am delighted that this miniature orchid has produced two beautiful new leaves.
Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’, as pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 9th April 2016. I am delighted that this miniature orchid has produced two beautiful new leaves.
My Barbosella australis looks a bit of an eyesore with the very visible strips of stocking holding it in place on the cork bark. Pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 9th April 2016.
My Barbosella australis looks a bit of an eyesore with the very visible strips of stocking holding it in place on the cork bark. Pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 9th April 2016.
I removed the fishing line which was securing this Ornithophora radicans in place on the cork bark. I have now secured the Ornithophora in place using strips cut from stockings. Pictured on the 9th April 2016 inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
I removed the fishing line which was securing this Ornithophora radicans in place on the cork bark. I have now secured the Ornithophora in place using strips cut from stockings. Pictured on the 9th April 2016 inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
A close up of the planting inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 9th April 2016. I have added a new, miniature Phalaenopsis orchid and a new, miniature Restrepia to this terrarium.
A close up of the planting inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 9th April 2016. I have added a new, miniature Phalaenopsis orchid and a new, miniature Restrepia to this terrarium.
Another close up of the planting inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, as pictured on the 9th April 2016. I have three of the original plants that were included when I first planted this terrarium in September 2014, still growing inside this terrarium now - Polystichum tsussimense, Nephrolepis exaltata 'Fluffy Ruffles' and Asplenium nidus 'Crispy Wave'.
Another close up of the planting inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, as pictured on the 9th April 2016. I have three of the original plants that were included when I first planted this terrarium in September 2014, still growing inside this terrarium now – Polystichum tsussimense, Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Fluffy Ruffles’ and Asplenium nidus ‘Crispy Wave’.
My BiOrbAir terrarium pictured on the 9th April 2016, after the addition of two new miniature orchids - Restrepia seketii and Phalaenopsis parishii.
My BiOrbAir terrarium pictured on the 9th April 2016, after the addition of two new miniature orchids – Restrepia seketii and Phalaenopsis parishii.

A new keiki

Pictured on the 2nd April 2016, this Restrepia sanguinea is producing a new plant. Often known as a keiki, which is a Hawaiian word for a baby or young child, this new plant has been produced asexually, and will be a clone of the mother plant.
Pictured on the 2nd April 2016, this Restrepia sanguinea is producing a new plant. Often known as a keiki, which is a Hawaiian word for a baby or young child, this new plant has been produced asexually, and will be a clone of the mother plant.
Here's another photograph of the keiki produced by my Restrepia sanguinea. Phalaenopsis, Oncidiums and Dendrobiums are orchids better known for reproducing asexually in this way. This Restrepia sanguinea was pictured on the 3rd April 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Here’s another photograph of the keiki produced by my Restrepia sanguinea. Phalaenopsis, Oncidiums and Dendrobiums are orchids better known for reproducing asexually in this way. This Restrepia sanguinea was pictured on the 3rd April 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Pictured on the 9th April 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, this Restrepia sanguinea is producing a new plant. Often known as a keiki, which is a Hawaiian word for a baby or young child, this new plant has been produced asexually, and will be a clone of the mother plant. You can see the keiki on the right hand side of the picture.
Pictured on the 9th April 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, this Restrepia sanguinea is producing a new plant. Often known as a keiki, which is a Hawaiian word for a baby or young child, this new plant has been produced asexually, and will be a clone of the mother plant. You can see the keiki on the right hand side of the picture.
Here's another look at the Restrepia sanguinea keiki. Pictured on the 10th April 2016 inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Here’s another look at the Restrepia sanguinea keiki. Pictured on the 10th April 2016 inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.

Orchid Flowers

Restrepia seketii pictured in flower inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 10th April 2016. I am so excited to be growing this miniature Restrepia, which is a good degree smaller in size than the other two Restrepias that I have growing inside this terrarium. I am thrilled to be able to include this miniature orchid in my BiOrbAir Trial.
Restrepia seketii pictured in flower inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 10th April 2016. I am so excited to be growing this miniature Restrepia, which is a good degree smaller in size than the other two Restrepias that I have growing inside this terrarium. I am thrilled to be able to include this miniature orchid in my BiOrbAir Trial.
Phalaenopsis parishii is such a cute miniature orchid! I am thrilled to be able to include this tiny Phalaenopsis in my trial. Phalaenopsis parishii is pictured on the 10th April 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Phalaenopsis parishii is such a cute miniature orchid! I am thrilled to be able to include this tiny Phalaenopsis in my trial. Phalaenopsis parishii is pictured on the 10th April 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.

A second Phalaenopsis parishii flower opens!

It’s not unusual for Phalaenopsis parishii to produce two flowers!   Usually several flowers are produced by this cultivar, but it is always wonderful and rather magical to watch a new flower opening.

Pictured on the 11th April 2016 - the second of the Phalaenopsis parishii flowers began to open today. This miniature Phalaenopsis really is a beautiful plant, with stunning flowers. I am so happy to have been able to include it in my trial.
Pictured on the 11th April 2016 – the second of the Phalaenopsis parishii flowers began to open today. This miniature Phalaenopsis really is a beautiful plant, with stunning flowers. I am so happy to have been able to include it in my trial.
The new Phalaenopsis parishii flower had fully opened by the following day - 12th April 2016. Phalaenopsis parishii is a deciduous plant in its native environment, in cultivation however, without the distinct changes in the seasons, it is usually evergreen. Phalaenopsis parshii is usually found on moss covered branches overhanging streams - in humid environments. I hope this miniature orchid will grow well inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
The new Phalaenopsis parishii flower had fully opened by the following day – 12th April 2016. Phalaenopsis parishii is a deciduous plant in its native environment, in cultivation however, without the distinct changes in the seasons, it is usually evergreen. Phalaenopsis parshii is usually found on moss covered branches overhanging streams – in humid environments. I hope this miniature orchid will grow well inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Phalaenopsis parishii pictured in full flower, on the 12th April 2016. Phalaenopsis parishii is a very slow growing, miniature Phalaenopsis; it's a charming little plant and doesn't take up much room - making it easier to add to your collection.
Phalaenopsis parishii pictured in full flower, on the 12th April 2016. Phalaenopsis parishii is a very slow growing, miniature Phalaenopsis; it’s a charming little plant and doesn’t take up much room – making it easier to add to your collection.
Phalaenopsis parishii flowering on the 12th April 2016. This miniature Phalaenopsis has rather elongated, flattened roots. Phalaenopsis parishii is a charming little orchid, which I am delighted to include in this trial.
Phalaenopsis parishii flowering on the 12th April 2016. This miniature Phalaenopsis has rather elongated, flattened roots. Phalaenopsis parishii is a charming little orchid, which I am delighted to include in this trial.
This Phalaenopsis parishii has now produced two flowers. The flowers are often described as having a scent similar to the flowers of Convallaria majalis, more commonly known as Lily of the Valley. As yet I haven't detected any fragrance, either in the day or night times.
This Phalaenopsis parishii has now produced two flowers. The flowers are often described as having a scent similar to the flowers of Convallaria majalis, more commonly known as Lily of the Valley. As yet I haven’t detected any fragrance, either in the day or night times.

Restrepia seketii flowers

By the looks of things, the Restrepia seketii that I purchased has been flowering for a while – I can see where the old flowers have finished.  As this miniature Restrepia has been flowering for a while, and has been moved to a new location, it may well cease flowering when this flower finishes – so I have been admiring the beauty of this Restrepia seketii and enjoying its elegant inflorescence while I can.

Restrepia seketii pictured in flower, on the 12th April 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. I very much admire the flowers that this miniature Restrepia produces.
Restrepia seketii pictured in flower, on the 12th April 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. I very much admire the flowers that this miniature Restrepia produces.
Restrepia seketii in flower, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, on the 12th April 2016. Restrepia seketii is a cool growing, epiphytic, miniature orchid that originates from cloud forests in Colombia.
Restrepia seketii in flower, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, on the 12th April 2016. Restrepia seketii is a cool growing, epiphytic, miniature orchid that originates from cloud forests in Colombia.

The consequences of not taking the time to mist my orchids…..

6th May 2016

Here's my BiOrbAir terrarium, as pictured on the 6th May 2016. I've been rather lax and I haven't misted my orchids as much as they, the Restrepias in particular, would have liked. As a consequence, the flower bud on my Restpreia sanguinea is looking limp and lifeless. My Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' also has a slightly limp bud. I will try to make amends and will endeavour to mist my orchids this week. Restrepias, I find, tend to be happiest when they are misted frequently, and receive a lot of moisture. If I had paid more attention to these Restrepias and had just spent a couple of minutes misting them a few times this week, I would have had two beautiful flowers to have photographed this evening.
Here’s my BiOrbAir terrarium, as pictured on the 6th May 2016. I’ve been rather lax and I haven’t misted my orchids as much as they, the Restrepias in particular, would have liked. As a consequence, the flower bud on my Restpreia sanguinea is looking limp and lifeless. My Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ also has a slightly limp bud. I will try to make amends and will endeavour to mist my orchids this week. Restrepias, I find, tend to be happiest when they are misted frequently, and receive a lot of moisture. If I had paid more attention to these Restrepias and had just spent a couple of minutes misting them a few times this week, I would have had two beautiful flowers to have photographed this evening.
This rather limp looking bud on my Restrepia sanguinea is a result of this orchid not receiving adequate moisture - as I have not misted the orchids inside this BiOrbAir this week. I find that Restrepias thrive in humid, moist conditions and this week, there wasn't sufficient water at the plant's roots. I hope to rectify things and mist my orchids, especially my Restrepias, more next week!
This rather limp looking bud on my Restrepia sanguinea is a result of this orchid not receiving adequate moisture – as I have not misted the orchids inside this BiOrbAir this week. I find that Restrepias thrive in humid, moist conditions and this week, there wasn’t sufficient water at the plant’s roots. I hope to rectify things and mist my orchids, especially my Restrepias, more next week!

Restrepia sanguinea keiki

Here's an update on the growth of the keiki, that my Restrepia sanguinea has produced. Keikis grow very rapidly while they are still attached to their mother plant, as they receive a ready supply of nutrients from their mother plant. At some point I will remove this keiki from its mother plant, but for the moment, it's fine where it is.
Here’s an update on the growth of the keiki, that my Restrepia sanguinea has produced. Keikis grow very rapidly while they are still attached to their mother plant, as they receive a ready supply of nutrients from their mother plant. At some point I will remove this keiki from its mother plant, but for the moment, it’s fine where it is.

New growth

It's always a delight to see new growth! I just love fresh, new green leaves. Pictured here is a new Restrepia leaf emerging inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, on the 6th May 2016.
It’s always a delight to see new growth! I just love fresh, new green leaves. Pictured here is a new Restrepia leaf emerging inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, on the 6th May 2016.
Here's a close up of the roots of the Ornithophora radicans, as pictured on the 6th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Here’s a close up of the roots of the Ornithophora radicans, as pictured on the 6th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
My Barbosella australis looks a little strangled on its piece of cork bark! I hope that this miniature orchid will prove me wrong and will now thrive after its re-mounting using strips cut from stockings. This Barbosella australis is pictured on the 6th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
My Barbosella australis looks a little strangled on its piece of cork bark! I hope that this miniature orchid will prove me wrong and will now thrive after its re-mounting using strips cut from stockings. This Barbosella australis is pictured on the 6th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.

Phalaenopsis parishii flowers

Here's my Phalaenopsis parishii, as photographed inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 6th May 2016. I am head over heals in love with this miniature orchid! It's a real sweetie. I just adore this Phalaenopsis, I get so much pleasure from seeing the flowers that this Phalaenopsis has produced and watching this miniature orchid grow. I do hope this dear little orchid will be happy over the long term growing inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, as I get so much please each time I look at this little orchid.
Here’s my Phalaenopsis parishii, as photographed inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 6th May 2016. I am head over heals in love with this miniature orchid! It’s a real sweetie. I just adore this Phalaenopsis, I get so much pleasure from seeing the flowers that this Phalaenopsis has produced and watching this miniature orchid grow. I do hope this dear little orchid will be happy over the long term growing inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, as I get so much pleasure each time I look at this little orchid.
I am utterly in love with this miniature orchid! Phalaenopsis parishii has captured my heart! Phalaenopsis parishii is pictured here, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 6th May 2016.
I am utterly in love with this miniature orchid! Phalaenopsis parishii has captured my heart! Phalaenopsis parishii is pictured here, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 6th May 2016.

Misting the orchids

10th May 2016

I’ve given the plants inside this terrarium some additional misting and the Restrepias have immediately perked up.

I hadn't given the plants inside this terrarium the additional misting they required, and so I sadly lost two Restrepia flowers (Restrepia sanguinea and Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto') before they had even opened. Happily, thanks to the addition of some extra moisture, this Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' is now successfully flowering - this inflorescence opened on the 10th May 2016.
I hadn’t given the plants inside this terrarium the additional misting they required, and so I sadly lost two Restrepia flowers (Restrepia sanguinea and Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’) before they had even opened. Happily, thanks to the addition of some extra moisture, this Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ is now successfully flowering – this inflorescence opened on the 10th May 2016.
Here's another look at the latest Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' inflorescence, which opened inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 10th May 2016.
Here’s another look at the latest Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ inflorescence, which opened inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 10th May 2016.
Here's a newly opened Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' inflorescence, as pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 10th May 2016.
Here’s a newly opened Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ inflorescence, as pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 10th May 2016.
As was to be expected, this delightful miniature Restrepia - Restrepia seketii, has for the moment stopped flowering. Pictured on the 10th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
As was to be expected, this delightful miniature Restrepia – Restrepia seketii, has for the moment stopped flowering. Pictured on the 10th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.

Keiki growth

Here's an update on the keiki, or baby plant, that my Restrepia sanguinea has produced. Pictured here on the 10th May 2016, this new plant is an exact clone of its mother plant. I will remove the new plant in time, but at the moment, it's very happy where it is, the mother plant provides all the nutrients it requires.
Here’s an update on the keiki, or baby plant, that my Restrepia sanguinea has produced. Pictured here on the 10th May 2016, this new plant is an exact clone of its mother plant. I will remove the new plant in time, but at the moment, it’s very happy where it is, the mother plant provides all the nutrients it requires.
Here's my Lepanthopsis astrophora 'Stalky', as pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, on the 10th May 2016. I have two of these miniature orchids - the other plant resides inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. This is a super orchid to include if you're planting a BiOrbAir terrarium, both of my plants have thrived in the conditions provided by my automated terrarium. As you can see in this photograph, this Lepanthopsis astrophora 'Stalky' has produced a great many flowers, on a number of different flower spikes. Most of the flowers are over now, but it's not unusual for an old flower spike to produce new flowers, so avoid removing the old flowering stems.
Here’s my Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’, as pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, on the 10th May 2016. I have two of these miniature orchids – the other plant resides inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. This is a super orchid to include if you’re planting a BiOrbAir terrarium, both of my plants have thrived in the conditions provided by my automated terrarium. As you can see in this photograph, this Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ has produced a great many flowers, on a number of different flower spikes. Most of the flowers are over now, but it’s not unusual for an old flower spike to produce new flowers, so avoid removing the old flowering stems.
I am in love with this Phalaenopsis parishii, it's such a dear little plant. I get so much pleasure from looking at this Phalaenopsis's flowers. I am thrilled to have this beautiful miniature orchid as part of my collection.
I am in love with this Phalaenopsis parishii, it’s such a dear little plant. I get so much pleasure from looking at this Phalaenopsis’s flowers. I am thrilled to have this beautiful miniature orchid as part of my collection.

Terrarium Ferns

Here's my Nephrolepis exaltata 'Fluffy Ruffles', as pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, on the 10th May 2016. This is such a super fern, I wish it was more widely available, it's ideal for planting in terrariums and bottle gardens, where is delightful green colour and the intricate tracery of its fronds will delight all that encounter it.
Here’s my Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Fluffy Ruffles’, as pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, on the 10th May 2016. This is such a super fern, I wish it was more widely available, it’s ideal for planting in terrariums and bottle gardens, where is delightful green colour and the intricate tracery of its fronds will delight all that encounter it.
Here's my Polystichum tsussimense, as pictured on the 10th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. This is another fern that was included in my original planting of this terrarium in September 2014, since then this Polystichum tsussimense has been moved, divided, and then moved a number of times more. This fern has been a super addition to this terrarium.
Here’s my Polystichum tsussimense, as pictured on the 10th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. This is another fern that was included in my original planting of this terrarium in September 2014, since then this Polystichum tsussimense has been moved, divided, and then moved a number of times more. This fern has been a super addition to this terrarium.
Here's an update on my Asplenium nidus 'Crispy Wave', as pictured on the 10th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. As you can see, a number of new fronds have been produced by this Asplenium. The newer fronds currently have a straighter, smoother appearance, but as they age, they will develop the crinkled, waved appearance and manner that is associated with this fern.
Here’s an update on my Asplenium nidus ‘Crispy Wave’, as pictured on the 10th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. As you can see, a number of new fronds have been produced by this Asplenium. The newer fronds currently have a straighter, smoother appearance, but as they age, they will develop the crinkled, waved appearance and manner that is associated with this fern.

Fading Flowers

Here's my Phalaenopsis parishii, as pictured on the 12th May 2016 inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. As you can see, the older of this Phalaenopsis's flowers is now fading. This flower was open and in bloom when I purchased this miniature orchid from Akerne Orchids at The RHS London Orchid Show on the 1st April 2016.
Here’s my Phalaenopsis parishii, as pictured on the 12th May 2016 inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. As you can see, the older of this Phalaenopsis’s flowers is now fading. This flower was open and in bloom when I purchased this miniature orchid from Akerne Orchids at The RHS London Orchid Show on the 1st April 2016.
Here's another look at my Phalaenopsis parishii, as pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 12th May 2016. The older flower, on the right hand side of the picture, is fading, but thankfully we still have the younger flower, on the left hand side, to enjoy.
Here’s another look at my Phalaenopsis parishii, as pictured inside my BiOrbAir terrarium on the 12th May 2016. The older flower, on the right hand side of the picture, is fading, but thankfully we still have the younger flower, on the left hand side, to enjoy.
My BiOrbAir terrarium, as pictured on the 12th May 2016. Inside this terrarium, Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' and Phalaenopsis parishii are in full flower, and the flowers of Lepanthopsis astrophora 'Stalky' are just finishing.
My BiOrbAir terrarium, as pictured on the 12th May 2016. Inside this terrarium, Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ and Phalaenopsis parishii are in full flower, and the flowers of Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ are just finishing.
Here's a closer look at my Phalaenopsis parishii flower. I removed the faded, older flower today. I am concerned as to whether this orchid is happy. I am in love with this dear little Phalaenopsis, and so I desperately want it to thrive and be happy. As pictured on the 14th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Here’s a closer look at my Phalaenopsis parishii flower. I removed the faded, older flower today. I am concerned as to whether this orchid is happy. I am in love with this dear little Phalaenopsis, and so I desperately want it to thrive and be happy. As pictured on the 14th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.

Moving orchids

I have been thinking a lot about two of my miniature orchids – the Phalaenopsis parishii that has been growing inside this terrarium, and an unidentified Aerangis, to which I refer to as Aerangis fastuosa – as this was the orchid I ordered when I purchased the plant.

I have concerns that my home, which is rather chilly, provides cooler conditions that the Phalaenopsis parishii prefers.  I have also been concerned, since remounting my Aerangis onto a new piece of cork bark and changing its position and orientation, that perhaps this miniature orchid has been in a brighter position, receiving more direct light than it would wish to.

With these concerns in mind, I made the decision on the 14th May 2016, to move the Phalaenopsis parishii from this terrarium into my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium which I hope will be a little warmer, and to move my Aerangis into a shadier position within this BiOrbAir terrarium.

Here is my Aerangis. I refer to this miniature orchid as Aerangis fastuosa, as that was the variety that I ordered when I purchased this plant, but I am uncertain as to which variety of Aerangis it actually is. It could be Aerangis fuscata, which is the name that one of my readers suggested. The only way for me to identify with any real certainty which orchid I have, would be if this miniature orchid flowered, when it would be far easier for me to identify. For most of the time I have had this Aerangis it has looked at least a little unhappy - I have been concerned that I would lose this plant. With this in mind, I recently re-mounted this orchid, moving it into in a horizontal position, mounted on a fresh piece of cork. I am now moving this Aerangis to a shadier place, in my other BiorbAir terrarium, as I am concerned that since I moved this plant to its new mount, that it may have been in a far brighter position, receiving more light that it would have preferred.
Here is my Aerangis. I refer to this miniature orchid as Aerangis fastuosa, as that was the variety that I ordered when I purchased this plant, but I am uncertain as to which variety of Aerangis it actually is. It could be Aerangis fuscata, which is the name that one of my readers suggested. The only way for me to identify with any real certainty which orchid I have, would be if this miniature orchid flowered, when it would be far easier for me to identify. For most of the time I have had this Aerangis it has looked at least a little unhappy – I have been concerned that I would lose this plant. With this in mind, I recently re-mounted this orchid, moving it into in a horizontal position, mounted on a fresh piece of cork. I am now moving this Aerangis to a shadier place, in my other BiorbAir terrarium, as I am concerned that since I moved this plant to its new mount, that it may have been in a far brighter position, receiving more light that it would have preferred.
Here's my Aerangis fastuosa, as pictured on the 15th May 2016, inside its new home - my other BiOrbAIr terrarium.
Here’s my Aerangis fastuosa, as pictured on the 15th May 2016, inside its new home – my other BiOrbAIr terrarium.

Restrepia sanguinea keiki

The keiki, or baby plant, that my Restrepia sanguinea has produced, is growing well. This is to be expected as the keiki receives nutrition from its established mother plant, which enables the new keiki to grow at a far greater pace than it would be able to, if it has to rely on its own roots and resources. Pictured here on the 15th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
The keiki, or baby plant, that my Restrepia sanguinea has produced, is growing well. This is to be expected as the keiki receives nutrition from its established mother plant, which enables the new keiki to grow at a far greater pace than it would be able to, if it has to rely on its own roots and resources. Pictured here on the 15th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.

Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ inflorescences

Here's a look at the Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' inflorescence, as pictured on the 15th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. I have looked at the flowers of Restrepia purpurea and the flowers of Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto', and I can see no distinguishable difference between these varieties of Restrepia.
Here’s a look at the Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ inflorescence, as pictured on the 15th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. I have looked at the flowers of Restrepia purpurea and the flowers of Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’, and I can see no distinguishable difference between these varieties of Restrepia.
Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' has produced two new flower buds, which will open in a day or so. Pictured on the 15th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ has produced two new flower buds, which will open in a day or so. Pictured on the 15th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Here's another Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' flower bud. This miniature orchid has proven to be very floriferous, especially in very humid conditions. This miniature orchid thrives with regular misting and continuous moisture. Pictured on the 15th May 2016.
Here’s another Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ flower bud. This miniature orchid has proven to be very floriferous, especially in very humid conditions. This miniature orchid thrives with regular misting and continuous moisture. Pictured on the 15th May 2016.
A Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' inflorescence, as pictured on the 15th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
A Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ inflorescence, as pictured on the 15th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.

A look at the whole BiOrbAir terrarium

Here's my BiOrbAir terrarium, as pictured on the 15th May 2016. Inside this terrarium, Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' is in full flower. Phalaenopsis parishii has moved into my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium and Aerangis fastuosa has moved into this terrarium.
Here’s my BiOrbAir terrarium, as pictured on the 15th May 2016. Inside this terrarium, Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ is in full flower. Phalaenopsis parishii has moved into my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium and Aerangis fastuosa has moved into this terrarium.

Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ flowers

17th May 2016

The Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' that's growing inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, currently has three flowers out - you might be able to spot them if you look carefully at this photo! Pictured on the 17th May 2016.
The Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ that’s growing inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, currently has three flowers out – you might be able to spot them if you look carefully at this photo! Pictured on the 17th May 2016.
A beautiful new Restrepia sanguinea leaf can be seen on the right hand side of this photograph, whilst on the left hand side of this image you can see Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto', complete with two, of its three, currently open flowers. Pictured on the 17th May 2016 inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
A beautiful new Restrepia sanguinea leaf can be seen on the right hand side of this photograph, whilst on the left hand side of this image you can see Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’, complete with two, of its three, currently open flowers. Pictured on the 17th May 2016 inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' produces flowers that are beautiful whichever angle they are viewed from. Pictured on the 17th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ produces flowers that are beautiful whichever angle they are viewed from. Pictured on the 17th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto', in flower inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, as pictured on the 17th May 2016.
Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’, in flower inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, as pictured on the 17th May 2016.
Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' with its striped flowers, pictured on the 17th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ with its striped flowers, pictured on the 17th May 2016, inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.
Here's my BiOrbAir terrarium, as pictured on the 17th May 2016. Inside this terrarium, Restrepia purpurea 'Rayas Vino Tinto' is in flower, with three blooms open as this photograph was taken.
Here’s my BiOrbAir terrarium, as pictured on the 17th May 2016. Inside this terrarium, Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ is in flower, with three blooms open as this photograph was taken.

To continue reading this review and to go straight to the next instalment, please click here.

Other articles and links that may interest you……….

To see the full planting list for this BiOrbAir, together with the details of the nurseries and garden centres I used to purchase the plants, ferns, orchids, mosses and cork for this terrarium, please click here.

To read the first part of my Miniature Orchid Trial – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir, please click here.

To read the second part of my Miniature Orchid Trial – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir (part two), please click here.

To read the third part of my Miniature Orchid Trial – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir (part three), please click here.

To read the full planting list of miniature orchids that I have trialled growing in terrariums, please click here.

To view a longer list of plants, ferns, and miniature orchids suitable for growing in terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.

To read about The RHS London Orchid Show 2016, please click here.

To read the first part of my long-term BiOrbAir review, please click here.

To read the second part of my long-term BiOrbAir review, please click here.

To read the third part of my long-term BiOrbAir review, please click here.

If you’d like to read more about my long- handled terrarium gardening tools, please click here.

For information on using decorative features in your terrarium or bottle garden, please click here.

To read my review of the special features and design of the BiOrbAir, please click here.

To read about the largest orchid in the world, Grammatophyllum speciosum, which started flowering for the first time at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in August 2015, please click here.

If you’d like to see all of the Gold Medal winning Show Gardens, from the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, please click here.

To read my review of Richard Mabey’s latest book, ‘The Cabaret of Plants Botany and The Imagination’, please click here.

To visit the BiOrbAir website, please click here.

To visit Burnham Nurseries website, please click here.

To visit Akerne Orchids website, please click here.

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