BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir (part fourteen)

Welcome to the fourteenth part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir!  The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds from BiOrb.  I first planted this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in August 2015, so at the time of writing – in July 2017, this BiOrbAir terrarium is 23 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, which took place 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.

My Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, pictured on the 12th June 2017. Inside this terrarium, Phalaenopsis lobbii, Dryadella simula, Masdevallia decumana, and Masdevallia rechingeriana are all flowering.

Miniature Orchid Terrarium Planting List:

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 hyaloidesAerangis macrocentra, and Amesiella philippinensis.  Lastly, on the 21st April 2017, I added a Phalaenopsis lobbii specimen to this 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.

For more information on how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark, please click here.

My Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, pictured on the 12th June 2017. Inside this terrarium, Phalaenopsis lobbii, Dryadella simula, Masdevallia decumana, and Masdevallia rechingeriana are all flowering.

BiOrbAir Review and Miniature Orchid Trial

My Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, pictured on the 12th June 2017. Inside this terrarium, Phalaenopsis lobbii, Dryadella simula, Masdevallia decumana, and Masdevallia rechingeriana are all flowering.
My Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, pictured on the 12th June 2017. Inside this terrarium, Phalaenopsis lobbii, Dryadella simula, Masdevallia decumana, and Masdevallia rechingeriana are all flowering.
My Miniature Orchid Terrarium as pictured on the 30th June 2017. Inside this terrarium Masdevallia rechingeriana and Dryadella simula are flowering, and Phalaenopsis parishii is in bud.
My Miniature Orchid Terrarium as pictured on the 30th June 2017. Inside this terrarium Masdevallia rechingeriana and Dryadella simula are flowering, and Phalaenopsis parishii is in bud.
My Miniature Orchid Terrarium as pictured on the 30th June 2017. Inside this terrarium Masdevallia rechingeriana and Dryadella simula are flowering, and Phalaenopsis parishii is in bud.
My Miniature Orchid Terrarium as pictured on the 30th June 2017. Inside this terrarium Masdevallia rechingeriana and Dryadella simula are flowering, and Phalaenopsis parishii is in bud.
My Miniature Orchid Terrarium as pictured on the 30th June 2017. Inside this terrarium Masdevallia rechingeriana and Dryadella simula are flowering, and Phalaenopsis parishii is in bud.
My Miniature Orchid Terrarium as pictured on the 30th June 2017. Inside this terrarium Masdevallia rechingeriana and Dryadella simula are flowering, and Phalaenopsis parishii is in bud.
My Miniature Orchid Terrarium as pictured on the 30th June 2017. Inside this terrarium Masdevallia rechingeriana and Dryadella simula are flowering, and Phalaenopsis parishii is in bud.

Miniature Orchids

Since my last update, the UK has been experienced a heat wave.  Spring, and the start of summer in the UK have been rather dry this year.  My miniature orchids have consequently been drier than either they or I would have liked.  This dryness is reflected in the appearance of my miniature orchids – I am certain that the Masdevallia decumana specimen that resides inside this terrarium would have flowered more frequently had their been additional moisture available.  I am sure this is true of many of the other miniature orchids, which are growing inside this terrarium.

The drier period hasn’t slowed down the flowering of Masdevallia rechingeriana, this miniature orchid has been in bloom almost constantly since January 2017.

Aerangis hyaloides

Aerangis hyaloides, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

I am actually quite surprised at how well this Aerangis hyaloides specimen has settled into my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.  I don’t mean that this plant has executed any special growth this month, I simply refer to the whole growth and establishment of the plant, since its introduction to this terrarium back in October 2016.

This Aerangis hyaloides specimen sustained some damage to its roots, and the tip of one of the plant’s leaves is also still showing signs of damage or distress, I believe that both of these injuries were caused during their transit to me after purchase.  Despite this, this Aerangis hyaloides specimen has continued to grow, slowly but surely producing new leaves and sending out new roots.

I am looking forward to this Aerangis hyaloides specimen’s next flowering.  I feel grateful indeed to have this superb miniature, Madagascan orchid as part of my collection.

Aerangis hyaloides, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Aerangis hyaloides, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Aerangis macrocentra

Aerangis macrocentra, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

This Aerangis macrocentra specimen has proved to be another very successful purchase.  This young Aerangis specimen has thrived since I introduced this plant to my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

This Aerangis macrocentra specimen has produced a number of shiny new leaves and roots since it has been in my care.  It has been a real joy to see how strongly this Aerangis species grows inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.

Aerangis macrocentra, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Amesiella philippinensis

Amesiella philippinensis, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Over the past few months, this Amesiella philippinensis specimen has received less water than it would have liked.  We are now at the beginning of summer here in the UK, and the weather has been hot.  I haven’t been able to mist or to tend my orchids as often as I would have chosen, so I have been so grateful that the plants grown inside my BiOrbAir terrariums have an automatic misting system, which keeps the humidity inside the globe at a constant level.  This prevents the plants drying out as quickly as they would if they were grown outside of the terrarium.

This Amesiella philippinensis sports a rather wrinkled older leaf, indicating that the plant suffered a period of drought.  I have found that this lovely miniature orchid requires more frequent misting than might be expected – I am certain that this specimen would prefer to be misted five times a week for optimum plant growth.  Sadly I don’t manage to mist this terrarium as often as this Amesiella philippinensis specimen would like.

Amesiella philippinensis, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Angraecum equitans

Angraecum equitans, as pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 30th June 2017.

Last month I noticed that this Angraecum equitans specimen had lost a couple of its leaves.  Thankfully, I haven’t noticed any negative changes in this miniature orchid’s appearance over the past month.  It’s not unusual for an orchid to lose a leaf, plants naturally lose leaves as they grow, but as this miniature sized plant lost three leaves at the same time, I was concerned, and I have kept a closer eye on this Angraecum equitans specimen during the past month.  Happily I can report that this Angraecum equitans specimen is growing well and has firmly anchored itself into the new moss that I added around the plant’s roots.

This Angraecum equitans specimen was included in the original planting of this terrarium in August 2015.  This miniature orchid is yet to flower.

Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’

Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’, pictured on the 12th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium.

In my previous updates for this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium, I had mistaken the production of new leaves of Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ as flower spikes!  What a mistake to make!  Wishful thinking indeed!

So you might not be surprised to hear that this Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ specimen has produced a number of new leaves.  Lovely leaves they are, but flowers they are not!

A self-seeded fern is growing in amongst the moss that surrounds this miniature orchid.  I will continue to remove the fern seedlings as they appear around this orchid, and the other orchids that are growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium.

Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’, pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Diplocaulobium abbreviatum

Diplocaulobium abbreviatum, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

This Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen was included in the original planting of this terrarium in August 2015.  One of this miniature orchid’s rhizomes has recently swollen in size.

I hope one day that this Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen will flower inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium, but I feel that this miniature orchid would prefer to receive a greater intensity of light than the plant is currently receiving in its shaded location within the terrarium.  I must consider a terrarium re-shuffle!

Dryadella simula

Dryadella simula, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

All of the miniature orchids that are growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium originate from different countries and climates, and grow in differing conditions.

I began this Miniature Orchid Trial to find miniature orchids which can be grown successfully in the BiOrbAir terrarium.  When I began this trial I had only two BiOrbAir terrariums which were planted with orchids, I am so fortunate now to have three BiOrbAir terrariums, each of which are planted with orchids.

My driest BiOrbAir terrarium, is my Madagascan Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, this terrarium is usually misted about twice a week.

In the middle is my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, which is planted with white flowered orchids, and is misted a bit more often.  Then this terrarium, my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium is misted more frequently.  This terrarium is usually misted between three and four times a week, I don’t have set days to mist the orchids, I just mist the plants when I can.

This Dryadella simula specimen would prefer to receive more frequent watering than I provide, yet this miniature orchid flowers readily inside this terrarium.  This Dryadella simula specimen has produced a flurry of flowers over the past few months.

A closer look at Dryadella simula, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’

Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ as pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium on the 12th June 2017.

I love Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’!  This miniature orchid is a joy!  I would highly recommend this dear little miniature orchid for terrariums, Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ has grown strongly inside the BiOrbAir.

This Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ specimen hasn’t flowered since February 2017, but I am sure it won’t be long until the plant is flowering again, as this is a floriferous miniature orchid.

I have found Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ to be a tolerant orchid.  This specimen has been far drier than it would have liked, yet it has continued to flourish and has produced additional growth.

Over the past year or more, I have noticed that this Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ specimen has produced a number of keikis.  As these young plants were within close reach of their mother plant, I decided to leave the keikis in place, as I want to grow a larger clump of this charming miniature orchid, so that I had a specimen plant.

Today however I noticed that one keiki was almost throwing itself away from its mother plant, I expect this was a direct consequence of the drier conditions that have prevailed inside this terrarium over the past few months – and the young plant was separating itself from its mother in order to give both plants a higher chance of survival during growing conditions that were far from ideal.

I have popped the Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ keiki into another of my terrariums.

Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
A Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ keiki, as pictured on the 30th June 2017.

Masdevallia decumana

A closer look inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 12th June 2017. Inside this terrarium, Phalaenopsis lobbii, Dryadella simula, Masdevallia decumana, and Masdevallia rechingeriana are all flowering. Pictured is a Masdevallia decumana flower bud.

As I have mentioned throughout this review, the conditions inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium have been drier of late.  This has not suited this Masdevallia decumana specimen, which prefers to receive more water, more often.

Despite the conditions being far from ideal, this Masdevallia decumana specimen has still been flowering!   Needless to say, if I had misted the orchids inside this terrarium more frequently, then this miniature orchid would have produced more flowers, which would have been longer-lasting.

Masdevallia decumana, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Masdevallia decumana, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Masdevallia rechingeriana

Masdevallia rechingeriana in flower, as pictured on the 12th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen has been flowering since January 2017, so at the time of writing in July 2017, this plant has been in bloom, almost continually, for six months.

Each Masdevallia rechingeriana flowering stem produces a number of flowers in succession.  If you’re growing this particular miniature orchid, do take care to only remove the spent flower spikes when they have fully faded and turned brown so that you don’t miss out on Masdevallia rechingeriana‘s striking blooms.

Masdevallia rechingeriana, as pictured in bloom, on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Masdevallia rechingeriana, as pictured in bloom, on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Masdevallia rechingeriana, as pictured in bloom, on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Mediocalcar decoratum

Mediocalcar decoratum, as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

This Mediocalcar decoratum orchid specimen is of great significance to me, as I was given this plant by a special friend.

I am surprised and delighted that this Mediocalcar decoratum specimen is growing so well.  I have been concerned about this plant, as I felt that the conditions inside this terrarium of late, had been far too dry for this orchid species.  I am relieved and slightly amazed that this Mediocalcar decoratum specimen is still growing strongly.

Phalaenopsis lobbii

Phalaenopsis lobbii as pictured on the 28th May 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

This Phalaenopsis lobbii specimen has been flowering for some months now, since February or March 2017, if I recall correctly.

This Phalaenopsis lobbii specimen is looking rather scrappy and neglected!  As you’ll see in the photographs below, this plant’s flowers have been nibbled around the edges!  This is not a look that I favour for my orchid’s blooms!

Phalaenopsis lobbii, pictured on the 12th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Phalaenopsis lobbii as pictured on the 30th June 2017, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Phalaenopsis parishii

Phalaenopsis parishii, pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 30th June 2017.

This Phalaenopsis parishii specimen flowered from March 2017 through until the beginning of June 2017.  What a joy this miniature orchid’s flowers have been!

In 2016 this Phalaenopsis parishii specimen produced two flowers, so I was delighted to be lucky enough to enjoy the four flowers that this plant’s first flowering stem produced.  Sadly the second flowering stem has aborted its flowers, as it has been drier inside this terrarium over the past few months, and so consequently, there wasn’t sufficient water to sustain this second flowering.

This Phalaenopsis parishii specimen has recently produced another flower bud.

Phalaenopsis parishii, pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 30th June 2017.
Phalaenopsis parishii, pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 30th June 2017.

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 the great new features of the updated 2017 BiOrbAir terrarium, please click here.

To read about the general maintenance of the BiOrbAir terrarium, and the general care I give to my terrarium plants, please click here.

For information on how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark, 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 featuring a variety of 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.

Other articles you might like:

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