I am so very lucky to have a beautiful, new BiOrbAir terrarium!
I decided to plant up this very special terrarium with orchids that are endemic to Madagascar, to highlight and raise awareness of the fragility of this very special place on Earth, and showcase the beauty of Madagascar’s plants. Many of the orchids that are found growing in Madagascar are not found anywhere else on Earth.
To learn more about Madagascar and the vital work in conservation and research that is being undertaken by the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre (KMCC), a non-profit, non governmental organisation (NGO), please click here. To read the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre (KMCC) blog, please click here.
The BiOrbAir terrarium that I have used to plant up these rare orchids, was designed by Barry Reynolds and is available from BiOrb. The orchid plants that are featured inside this terrarium were grown in cultivation and not taken from the wild.
Terrarium compost – peat free coir compost
I used the peat-free, coir compost, which was included in the package with my BiOrbAir terrarium, as the growing media for this terrarium. I followed the straight-forward instructions to pre-soak the compost before adding it to my terrarium. This was the only compost I used when planting this terrarium, I didn’t add any other growing media or fertiliser, I used only the coir compost provided with the BiOrbAir.
If you would like to try the same peat free coir compost in your terrarium, vivarium, bottle garden, orchidarium, or indoor garden, this compost is available to purchase separately from BiOrb.
Although it’s not an overly bright room, the Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium resides in the brightest room I have. The Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium is not near a window, but the plants growing inside this terrarium will receive some natural daylight in the mornings. The BiOrbAir terrarium has LED lights, so the orchids growing inside the Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium will receive sufficient light, as the light that BiOrbAir’s LED lights produce is the same colour temperature as daylight.
Epiphytic miniature orchids from Madagascar
All of the orchids that I have chosen for this Madagascan Miniature Orchid Trial are epiphytic. Rather than growing in the soil, epiphytic plants grow naturally on other plants, often trees, although epiphytic plants do grow on shrubs or other host plants too. These host plants provide support, and offer a better position or environment for the epiphytic orchid plant to grow in.
Epiphytic plants are not the same as parasitic plants like mistletoe, they don’t take any sustenance from their host plant – epiphytic orchids don’t usually cause any harm to the host plant they are growing on. Epiphytic plants simply use another plant as a support to raise them up, this enables the epiphytic plant to gain a better position, where it can receive more light, water, and better air circulation.
Epiphytic plants receive all their water and nutrients from the air, the rain, and any accumulated debris that has collected in the branches of their host tree.
The method I use to mount my epiphytic orchids onto cork bark
At the end of March 2016, during a visit to the The Botanic Gardens at Kew, I spoke to the orchid experts in the tropical nurseries, where I discovered that Kew use strips of material cut from stockings to secure all of their epiphytic orchids. From this moment onwards, I have adopted the same method, and I now secure all of my orchids using strips of material cut from stockings, so consequently this is how all of the Madagascan, miniature, epiphytic orchids in my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium have been mounted.
The stocking material does age and colour over time – making the material blend into the background somewhat. The mosses inside my other, older terrariums have also managed to grow over the stocking material, which has softened and disguised their appearance a little. If you’d like to find out more about how I have mounted my epiphytic orchids, please click here for more information and to see a step-by-step account of how I mount my epiphytic orchids.
The Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Planting List
- Aerangis citrata
- Aerangis fastuosa
- Aerangis macrocentra
- Aerangis modesta
- Aerangis punctata
- Aeranthes arachnites
- Angraecum didieri
You can see the full planting list for this terrarium here, where you’ll find more details about each of these orchids, together with the details of all of the nurseries and suppliers where I purchased my orchids, mosses, and cork for this terrarium.
Misting and feeding miniature orchids
I will regularly mist my miniature orchids. I don’t have set days to mist the orchids, but I will endeavour to mist the plants several times a week.
To feed my miniature orchids, I will 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 only sparingly, following the instructions on the pack. Epiphytic miniature orchids wouldn’t receive an abundance of nutrients in their natural environment, here the only nutrients they receive arrive on the moisture in the air, rainfall, and any debris that has accumulated over time where they are growing. Over feeding can be detrimental to your plants, causing further problems.
I decided to plant this new terrarium with miniature orchids, mounted onto cork bark, and surrounded by a bed of pillow moss. I will continue to review this BiOrbAir terrarium and update this trial and review with information of how the miniature orchids are growing inside my BiOrbAir. I will detail any maintenance or indoor gardening work I undertake to either my BiOrbAir terrarium, or any of the plants inside.
I hope this review will help you if you’re looking to plant up a bottle garden, terrarium, orchidarium, vivarium, or indoor garden of your own, or if you would like to learn more about growing miniature orchids. Through this trial and review I hope to identify beautiful, miniature orchids from Madagascar that will thrive inside the BiOrbAir .
Miniature epiphytic orchids from Madagascar
Aerangis citrata appreciates growing in shaded conditions, I will monitor this orchid’s progress to see whether I need to provide more shade for this orchid.
Aerangis citrata is a lovely orchid which produces lemon scented flowers. I hope this specimen will grow well inside my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Finally, here is Aerangis fastuosa! I originally ordered an Aerangis fastuosa specimen when I first set up my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium back in August 2015. When my parcel of orchids arrived, the Aerangis specimen that I was sent did not resemble Aerangis fastuosa. One of my readers suggested that I might have been sent an Aerangis fuscata, which also is endemic to Madagascar. This unknown Aerangis specimen is yet to flower, so I can not say with any clarity which Aerangis it is.
However, I now finally can celebrate this wonderful Aerangis fastuosa specimen and its beautiful flowers, which although they are fading now, still have the most wonderful, powerful perfume which is very evident, both in the daytime and evenings. Aerangis fastuosa‘s flowers produce a very intoxicating perfume, which has similarities with the scent of jasmine.
I hope this Aerangis macrocentra specimen will grow well inside my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.
I hope this Aerangis modesta specimen will grow well inside my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.
I am so happy to have a new Aerangis punctata specimen for this my new Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium. I have everything crossed that this miniature orchid will grow happily here.
This Aeranthes arachnites specimen is already in the process of producing a flower spike! This orchid grows to be a little larger than most of my other terrarium orchids, its inflorescence also takes up more room, as it is produced on a long, pendent, arching stem. I hope there’s room inside this terrarium for this Aeranthes arachnites specimen’s blooms!
Angraecum didieri is such a cute miniature orchid, I am so glad that I was able to include this specimen inside my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.
To go straight to the next update and find out how these Madagascan orchids grew and developed during May and June 2017, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you………….
To see the planting list for this, my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, and find out more about each of the orchids that are growing inside this terrarium, as well discovering the details of the nurseries where I purchased the orchids, mosses, and cork used inside this terrarium, please click here.
To read a longer planting list of miniature orchids that are suited to terrarium growing, please click here.
To read how my orchidarium was created, please click here.
To read about the general terrarium maintenance and plant care I give to my plants growing in my BiOrbair terrariums, please click here.
To read about the new features that the new 2017 BiOrbAir terrarium offers, please click here.
To find out how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark or other wood mounts, please click here.
To read about the great features of the BiOrbAir, please click here.
To read the first part of my White Flowered Miniature Orchid BiOrbAir Trial, please click here.
To read the first part of my Miniature Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read about using decorative features in your terrarium, please click here.
To read my 2016 Peat Free Compost Trial, please click here.
To read a planting list of suitable plants to grow in terrariums, vivariums and bottle gardens, please click here.
To read about growing indoor mushrooms, please click here.