Welcome to the eleventh 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 March 2017, this BiOrbAir terrarium is 19 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 Miniature Orchid 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, orchidarium, vivarium, or other indoor 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.
The moss inside this terrarium has been watered only with rainwater. This moss was part of my original planting of this terrarium. 19 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, orchidarium, vivarium, or other indoor garden, 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 currently 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, and Amesiella philippinensis.
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.
On the 14th February 2017, I placed a number of large slices of cucumber inside this terrarium, to use as a bait to attract any snails that were residing inside this terrarium, this made it easier for me to find and remove the snails from this terrarium. Over the next week or so, twenty-nine tiny snails were removed from the slices of cucumber that were placed inside this terrarium.
I am continuing to use cucumber as a bait to attract any remaining snails that are residing inside this terrarium. Using cucumber as a bait to attract and remove the snails has proved to be a very easy and effective method.
Terrarium snail update
Seven tiny snails were removed from the slices of cucumber placed inside this terrarium, on the 13th March 2017. On the 20th March 2017, one tiny snail was removed from the slices of cucumber that had been placed inside this terrarium.
Other terrarium pests
As previously mentioned in an earlier installment of this Miniature Orchid Trial and BiOrbAir review, which was written back in October 2016, when I purchased a miniature orchid, which I didn’t examine or quarantine prior to introducing the plant into this terrarium. The miniature orchid, a Schoenorchis fragrans, was infested with a number of pests. Although I have now disposed of this miniature orchid (and I have now happily purchased a replacement plant from another nursery, which is growing inside my other terrarium), I didn’t do so as quickly as I would have hoped to, and so it’s likely that I inadvertently introduced pests into this terrarium at this time.
In February 2017, I decided to purchase some biological controls – this is a term used when you purchase a natural predator of a pest, the introduced predator then hopefully either controls or eradicates the pest.
I purchased both Phytoseiulus persimilis, a mite that is a natural predator of red spider mite, and Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, a ladybird from Australia, that’s a natural predator of mealybug, from Defenders. I introduced these biological controls into this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium on the 14th February 2017.
Phytoseiulus persimilis is a tiny mite that’s difficult to spot, whereas the Cryptolaemus montrouzieri is a larger, far easier to spot ladybird. I haven’t seen any ladybirds inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium since a day or two after I introduced these insects to this terrarium. I believe that the majority of the ladybirds escaped from the Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium during the first day that I introduced them to this terrarium, and any remaining ladybirds (one or two at most) died soon after.
The aforementioned infested miniature orchid that I introduced to this terrarium also had some scale insect. As yet I have not introduced a specific biological control to counteract this pest.
BiOrbAir Review and Miniature Orchid Trial
Let’s have a look at how the miniature orchids are growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium:
Last month, I removed some of the moss that was growing around this Masdevallia decumana specimen. This Masdevallia decumana plant is growing well, this is certainly a miniature orchid that I would recommend for terrariums, orchidariums, or vivariums. Currently this Masdevallia decumana specimen is producing a couple of new flower buds.
Masdevallia rechingeriana flowers
This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen produced its first flower of this current flowering period in February 2017. When this flower faded there was a brief pause while this same flowering stem produced a second flower bud. This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen has also produced a further flowering stem, which will flower in succession over the coming weeks and months.
Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’
This Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ specimen started flowering again in February 2017, this miniature orchid has recently finished flowering.
This Dryadella simula specimen is growing well. For some weeks now this Dryadella simula specimen had not produced a flower, which is unlike this miniature orchid, which has proved itself to be very floriferous, but the plant’s overall health and appearance has improved greatly during this time.
On the 12th March 2017, the Dryadella simula specimen started flowering again.
This Mediocalcar decoratum specimen is growing well inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, this plant has produced a number of new leaves and shoots.
This Angraecum equitans specimen is in the process of producing a new leaf, which is wonderful to see. This miniature orchid is growing well, the plant has produced a number of new leaves and roots during the 19 months that this plant has been in my care, but this miniature orchid has yet to bloom.
This Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen has recently produced a lovely new leaf and some new roots, which is great to see. This is another miniature orchid which has been growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium for 19 months, but has yet to flower.
Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’
In my last update I showed what I hoped would become a new Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ flower spike, sadly it seems as if this flower spike has now failed. This miniature orchid last flowered in April 2016.
Currently this plant’s oldest leaf is in the process of dying. Happily I can see that a new leaf is being produced by the plant and the roots are also developing. I do hope this Amesiella philippinensis specimen will grow well inside this BiOrbAir, as I love this miniature orchid.
On the 12th March 2017, the oldest Amesiella philippinensis leaf fell away from the plant.
I am happy to see that this Aerangis macrocentra specimen is putting on new growth – the plant is in the process of producing a new leaf, and has produced some very healthy, strong, new roots. I am happy to see that this miniature orchid has settled in well inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, this plant is making good progress and is developing well.
I do hope that this Aerangis hyaloides specimen will settle in well and grow happily inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. For some time now, I have noticed that some of this miniature orchid’s roots don’t appear to be faring very well at all. I hope that this plant will produce new roots, and will be happy growing in this environment for many, many years, as I would hate to be without this beautiful and very special miniature orchid.
Happily this Aerangis hyaloides specimen is producing a new leaf.
Phalaenopsis parishii is one of my favourite miniature orchids. I am so happy that this Phalaenopsis parishii specimen is in the process of producing three flower spikes! I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of the flowers of this Phalaenopsis parishii specimen, I am so excited!
This Amesiella philippinensis specimen is producing a lovely new root.
This Mediocalcar decoratum specimen is growing well.
I have noticed that a number of this Masdevallia decumana specimen’s leaves are yellowing.
This Masdevallia decumana specimen is also in the process of producing two flower buds.
This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen’s flower buds are developing well.
One of this Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen’s leaves has been in the process of turning yellow for some time now. It’s not unusual for an established orchid plant to lose an old leaf, but I am concerned about the yellowing of the Masdevallia decumana specimen’s leaves – I will keep a close eye on these plants.
It’s lovely to see Dryadella simula in flower.
20th March 2017
Phalaenopsis parishii flowering
The first of this Phalaenopsis parishii specimen’s flowers opened today!
This Dryadella simula specimen has produced a new flower bud.
This Masdevallia rechingeriana flower bud will be opening soon.
Phalaenopsis parishii continues to delight me with its fabulous flowers. Currently this Phalaenopsis parishii specimen has two flower spikes, each with one flower open, and another flower bud in a slightly early stage of development. The third Phalaenopsis parishii flower spike has no visible buds showing at the present time.
To go straight to the next installment of this Miniature Orchid Trial and BiOrbAir Review, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you…………………..
To see a list of miniature orchids suitable for growing inside terrariums, please click here.
To read about the Orchid Extravaganza 2017 held at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, please click here.
To read about the general care and maintenance I undertake for my BiOrbAir terrariums, please click here.
To see a planting list of a wide variety of terrarium plants suitable for growing inside terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.
To read about the largest orchid in the world, Grammatophyllum speciosum, also known as the Queen of Orchids, please click here.
To read about the features of the BiOrbAir terrarium, please click here.
To read about using long handled terrarium tools, please click here.
To read about using decorative features in your terrarium, please click here.
To read about the Writhlington Orchid Project, please click here