Welcome to the twelfth 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 April 2017, this BiOrbAir terrarium is 20 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. 20 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 lobbii
- 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. Lastly, on the 21st April 2017, I added a Phalaenopsis lobbii specimen to this Miniature Orchid Trial 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.
On the 1st April 2017 I had a re-arrange of my terrariums. During this re-arrange, I decided to move this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium to a different position within the same room. This Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbair Terrarium is now in a more shaded position with the room, and consequently now receives less natural daylight than it did previously.
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.
More tiny snails were removed from the slices of cucumber which were placed inside this terrarium during March 2017.
Recently, I have been unable to dedicate as much time to this terrarium as I would have liked to, and so I have not included any cucumber slices inside this terrarium. As soon as I am able to add new cucumber slices, I will do so, as this is a very fast and effective method of snail removal.
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:
Masdevallia decumana’s yellowing leaves
During March 2017, I noticed that the leaves of this Masdevallia decumana specimen were yellowing. The yellowing of this miniature orchid’s leaves could be due to fluctuating temperatures within this room (heating problems!) affecting the plant, or this Masdevallia decumana specimen may have received insufficient fertiliser for its requirements. I will attempt to address these issues and see if this rectifies the problem.
Currently this Masdevallia decumana specimen is in bloom.
This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen is in bloom.
Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’
This Dryadella simula specimen is looking in better health and is in bloom, which is great to see – though this miniature orchid’s small flowers show up better in close up photographs!
Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’
This Phalaenopsis parishii specimen continues to delight me with its flowers. Currently, this specimen has four blooms which are open.
16th April 2017
Masdevallia decumana is flowering again.
I’ve not been as proactive as I should have been with my cucumber slices, which I use to remove any tiny snails that are residing inside my terrariums, consequently these Masdevallia decumana flowers have suffered snail damage.
I have now placed cucumber slices back inside each of my terrariums!
This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen has produced two flowers simultaneously from the same flower stem. Usually Masdevallia rechingeriana produces flowers in succession, but this flower stem has produced two flowers at once.
21st April 2017
Today I decided to add another miniature orchid to this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. Admittedly this terrarium is rather full of miniature orchids, but I was able to find room for one more orchid – Phalaenopsis lobbii, which is now growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
To see how this Phalaenopsis lobbii specimen was mounted onto cork bark, please click here.
Inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, Dryadella simula, Masdevallia decumana, Masdevallia rechingeriana, Phalaenopsis lobbii, and Phalaenopsis parishii are all currently in flower.
It’s a delight to have this dear little miniature orchid in flower.
This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen has produced two flowers from one flowering stem.
These Dryadella simula flowers might look big in these photographs I have taken, but these flowers are tiny!
Other articles that may interest you…………………..
To read the first part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read the first part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read about using decorative features inside your terrarium or bottle garden, please click here.
To see a planting list for terrariums and bottle gardens with a variety of different, beautiful, terrarium plants, please click here.
To see a planting list of miniature orchids to grow in terrariums, please click here.
To read about the Writhlington Orchid Project, please click here.
To read about the 2017 Orchid Extravaganza at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, please click here.
To read about using long handled terrarium tools, please click here.