Welcome to the ninth part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir. The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds from Reef One. I first planted this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in August 2015, so at the time of writing – in January 2017, this BiOrbAir terrarium is 17 months old. Some, though not all, of the miniature orchids that are currently growing inside this terrarium were featured in the original planting of this terrarium in August 2015.
If you would like to start at the very beginning, and read the first part of this trial and BiOrbAir review, please click here.
Miniature orchids from different countries and climates
For this trial and BiOrbAir review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir, I have chosen a variety of different miniature orchids, originating from a diverse range of environments, climates, and countries, to trial growing inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. Throughout this trial I will identify varieties of miniature orchids that will thrive in the constant conditions provided by the BiOrbAir terrarium. I hope this trial will help you if you’re interested in growing miniature orchids, or creating your own indoor terrarium garden.
You can see the full planting list of all the plants that I have trialled growing inside the Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, featured in this review here. Where you’ll also find the details of all of the nurseries and companies I used to purchase the miniature orchids, moss, and cork for this terrarium.
I used the peat-free, coir compost that was included with my BiOrbAir as the growing media for this terrarium. I followed the straight-forward instructions to pre-soak the compost, before adding it to the terrarium, when I planted this terrarium 17 months ago. I didn’t add any other growing media or fertiliser, I used only the coir compost provided with the BiOrbAir.
I haven’t used any fertilisers on either the moss or the coir compost inside this terrarium, and I haven’t as yet replaced any of the coir compost. The compost used inside this terrarium is the same coir compost that was included in the package, when I purchased my BiOrbAir terrarium, back in August 2015.
The moss inside this terrarium has been watered only with rainwater. This moss was part of my original planting of this terrarium. 17 months have passed since I planted this terrarium, and the moss is still looking in optimum condition – it’s a beautiful verdant green, and provides the perfect backdrop for the miniature orchids. So far, in the time since planting, I haven’t replaced any of the moss from this terrarium or any of the compost, nor have I added any additional compost to this terrarium.
Any fertilisers I use, and any care or maintenance I undertake, of both the plants, and the BiOrbAir terrarium itself, I will detail here in my BiOrbAir review. I hope this review will help you if you’re looking to start up your own terrarium, or if you require advice on maintaining your terrarium, or if you’re interested in growing miniature orchids.
To feed my miniature orchids, I use Orchid Focus Grow and Orchid Focus Bloom. I purchased both of these fertilisers from the shop at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. I feed my orchids sparingly, following the instructions on the pack. These miniature epiphytic 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 ever used inside this terrarium.
Miniature Orchid Terrarium Planting List:
Following the addition of some new orchids and a re-organisation of this terrarium on the 16th October 2016, I now have the following orchids growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium:
- Aerangis hyaloides
- Aerangis macrocentra
- Amesiella philippinensis
- Angraecum equitans
- Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’
- Diplocaulobium abbreviatum
- Dryadella simula
- Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’
- Masdevallia decumana
- Masdevallia rechingeriana
- Mediocalcar decoratum
- Phalaenopsis parishii
Three of these miniature orchids – Angraecum equitans, Diplocaulobium abbreviatum, and Masdevallia decumana, were included in my original planting of this terrarium in August 2015.
Over time I have added to the planting inside this BiOrbAir terrarium – the Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ specimen was added in January 2016. On the 9th April 2016, I added Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’, Dryadella simula, and Masdevallia rechingeriana. Then in May 2016, I added a Phalaenopsis parishii specimen – which had been previously been growing in another of my terrariums. On the 26th May 2016, I added Mediocalcar decoratum to this terrarium. Then on the 16th October 2016, I added Aerangis hyaloides, Aerangis macrocentra, Amesiella philippinensis, and Schoenorchis fragrans.
The Schoenorchis fragrans specimen was disposed of at the start of November 2016, as this plant had been harbouring a number of different pests and was declining each day. At this time I did not have a quarantine terrarium available to segregate the plant, so instead, to protect my other orchids, I disposed of this miniature orchid. I then went on to purchase another Schoenorchis fragrans specimen, from a different nursery, which I have included in my other BiOrbAir terrarium.
You can see the full planting list for this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium here, where you’ll also find the full details of where I have purchased all of my miniature orchids, the moss, and the cork I have used inside this terrarium.
BiOrbAir Review and Miniature Orchid Trial
I am on the look out for snails and other pests that may be residing inside this terrarium. I may have inadvertently introduced some unwanted pests to this terrarium when I purchased and then included a miniature orchid, a Schoenorchis fragrans specimen, that was harbouring a number of pests within its tightly held leaves, to this terrarium. I have now disposed of this Schoenorchis fragrans specimen. I hope that by doing so, I have avoided an outbreak of pests, but it’s very possible I was too late in disposing of the plant, and as a consequence, a number of pests could now be active inside this Miniature Orchid Terrarium. If I discover any pests I will update you in this review.
Let’s have a look at how my miniature orchids are growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium:
Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’
This Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ specimen last flowered in November 2016. I expect this Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ specimen to produce a more floriferous display, and longer period in bloom during the coming year.
Phalaenopsis parishii is one of my favourite miniature orchids. I am hoping that this miniature orchid is in the earliest stages of producing a flower spike.
Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’
This Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ specimen has been growing well. The plant has increased in size, and has produced a vast amount of lovely roots. This miniature orchid last flowered in April 2016, I am looking forward to seeing this Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ bloom again in 2017.
This Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen was included in the original planting of this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, back in August 2015. During this time, the plant has increased in size somewhat, but the plant has yet to flower.
I have so often thought about moving this Diplocaulobium abbreviatum to a brighter position within this terrarium, but sadly I still have yet to do so.
Amesiella philippinensis is one of three recent additions to this terrarium. I do hope that this miniature orchid, and my other two new miniature orchid additions, will grow well inside this BiOrbAir Terrarium.
This Mediocalcar decoratum specimen is growing well inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. This miniature orchid has yet to bloom under my care.
Aerangis macrocentra is the second of the new additions to this terrarium. I am happy to see that this orchid is in the process of producing a new leaf.
Over the past few months, this Dryadella simula specimen’s leaves’ have had a yellow tinge, especially so on the tips of the leaves, which were quite a vivid shade of yellow for a period of a few months at least. I’ve noticed that this yellow colouring has diminished considerably and the leaves now look a healthier shade of green, albeit with distinctive yellow tinges.
Angraecum equitans is a dear little miniature orchid, this specimen was introduced to this terrarium back in August 2015 when this BiOrbAir terrarium was set up. Although this Angraecum equitans looks happy, I am still waiting for this miniature orchid to bloom.
This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen is producing a flower bud. I am looking forward to seeing this orchid bloom again.
This Masdevallia decumana specimen has thrived since it has been grown inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. I included this specimen in my original planting of this terrarium, back in August 2015. Since then this Masdevallia decumana has fought off disease, has developed and increased in size, and has flowered prolifically.
Aerangis hyaloides flowering
Aerangis hyaloides is the third of the recent new additions to this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. Aerangis hyaloides has been utterly charming me with its beautiful, white, crystalline flowers that sparkle in the light. Aerangis hyaloides blooms are tiny, but they’re exquisite. I am so happy to have included this very special miniature orchid in my collection.
Other Miniature Orchids in flower
It won’t be long before I can share with you photographs of this Masdevallia rechingeriana‘s flowers, currently this miniature orchid is in bud.
22nd January 2017
Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’
This Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ specimen is also producing a flower spike.
I am absolutely thrilled that this Phalaenopsis parishii specimen is producing two flower spikes!
Aerangis hyaloides flowers
Some of this Aerangis hyaloides specimen’s flowers have now faded, happily this miniature orchid is still in flower. I am so enjoying seeing this miniature orchid’s sparkling, crystalline flowers, they are so beautiful.
25th January 2017
Masdevallia rechingeriana flower buds
Today I spotted a second, new Masdevallia rechingeriana flower bud.
Masdevallia decumana flowers
Masdevallia decumana continues to flower, and to delight me with its large flowers.
Aerangis hyaloides flowers
Aerangis hyaloides continues to captivate my heart with its crystalline flowers.
30th January 2017
Masdevallia rechingeriana flowering
The oldest of the two Masdevallia rechingeriana flower buds is now starting to open.
Masdevallia decumana flowers and snail damage
Today I spotted this tiny snail feasting happily on one of the Masdevallia decumana blooms. I was able to remove this snail from the terrarium. One down. But goodness knows how many snails I have still to re-home!
Phalaenopsis parishii flower spikes
I am super excited every time I look at this Phalaenopsis parishii specimen! I am so excited that this miniature orchid is producing two flower spikes!
31st January 2017
Masdevallia rechingeriana blooming
The Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen that’s growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, opened its flower bud today. This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen is currently in the process of producing two flower buds, the flowering stem pictured below is the older, more advanced flower bud which opened this afternoon.
To continue reading this review, please click here to go straight to the next instalment.
Other articles that may interest you……….
To read the first part of this trial – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir, please click here.
To read about the 2017 Orchid Extravaganza at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, please click here.
For information about special snowdrop gardens, talks, events and open days for 2017, please click here.
To see a planting list of miniature orchids that grow well inside terrariums, please click here.
If you’re looking for some special gardening gift ideas, please click here.
To see a longer planting list which includes a wide variety of terrarium plants, please click here.
To read about the features and design of the BiOrbAir terrarium, please click here.
To read about using decorative features in your terrarium, please click here.
To read about the Queen of Orchids and this orchid’s flowering at Kew in 2015, please click here.
To read about the Writhlington Orchid Project, please click here.
To read about the RHS London Orchid Show 2015, please click here.
To read about growing indoor mushrooms and other edible winter crops indoors, please click here.