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

Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir (part seven)

Welcome to the seventh part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir.  The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated terrarium, which was designed by Barry Reynolds.  I first planted this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in August 2015, so at the time of writing – in November 2016, this BiOrbAir terrarium is over a year 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 the 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.

My Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 6th November 2016. Inside this terrarium, Masdevallia decumana, Dryadella simula, and Lepanthopsis astrophora 'Stalky', are all in flower.

My Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 6th November 2016. Inside this terrarium, Masdevallia decumana, Dryadella simula, and Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’, are all in flower.

Terrarium compost

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 over a year 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.

Terrarium moss

The moss inside this terrarium has been watered only with rainwater.  This moss was part of my original planting of this terrarium.  Over a year has 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.

Fertilisers

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 hyaloidesAerangis macrocentraAmesiella philippinensis, and Schoenorchis fragrans.  

The Schoenorchis fragrans specimen was disposed of at the start of November 2016, as the plant was 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 I disposed of the 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 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

Terrarium pests

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 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 the 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.

My Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 6th November 2016. Inside this terrarium, Masdevallis decumana, Dryadella simula, and Lepanthopsis astrophora 'Stalky', are all in flower.

My Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 6th November 2016. Inside this terrarium, Masdevallis decumana, Dryadella simula, and Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’, are all in flower.

Miniature Orchids

Diplocaulobium abbreviatum

I am sorry for this Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen that I have growing inside this terrarium.  I have been growing this miniature orchid inside this terrarium since August 2015, this miniature orchid was included in the original planting of this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.  During this time, the plant has increased in size, but it has yet to flower.

Of late, this miniature orchid can often be seen with a yellowing, older leaf.  The dead leaf that you see attached to the Diplocaulobium abbreviatum in the photographs below, came easily away from the plant, with just a gentle touch, and has now been discarded.

I have often thought about moving this Diplocaulobium abbreviatum to a brighter position within this terrarium, but I have yet to do so.

Diplocaulobium abbreviatum, as pictured on the 6th November 2016, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. As you can see, there's an old, dead leaf on the right hand side of the picture, the leaf came away from the plant as I touched it.

Diplocaulobium abbreviatum, as pictured on the 6th November 2016, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. As you can see, there’s an old, dead leaf on the right hand side of the picture, the leaf came away from the plant as I touched it.

Diplocaulobium abbreviatum, as pictured on the 6th November 2016, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. As you can see, there's an old, dead leaf on the right hand side of the picture, the leaf came away from the plant as I touched it. I have been growing this miniature orchid inside this terrarium since August 2015, the plant is yet to flower.

Diplocaulobium abbreviatum, as pictured on the 6th November 2016, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. As you can see, there’s an old, dead leaf on the right hand side of the picture, the leaf came away from the plant as I touched it. I have been growing this miniature orchid inside this terrarium since August 2015, the plant is yet to flower.

Phalaenopsis parishii

I am so very fond of this Phalaenopsis parishii specimen.  I so enjoy observing this miniature orchid, as it grows inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.  I do hope that this specimen will flower over the winter months, I should so enjoy seeing the Phalaenopsis parishii‘s pretty blooms again.  This Phalaenopsis parishii specimen last flowered from the start of April 2016, to May 2016.

Phalaenopsis parishii as pictured on the 6th November 2016, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Phalaenopsis parishii as pictured on the 6th November 2016, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Amesiella philippinensis

Amesiella philippinensis is one of three new additions to this terrarium.  I so hope that this miniature orchid, and my other new miniature orchid additions, will do well inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.  The three new orchids that I have now included in this Miniature Orchid Trial, are beautiful species of miniature orchids, that I have coveted for quite sometime.

Amesiella philippinensis and Phalaenopsis parishii, as pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbiAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

Amesiella philippinensis and Phalaenopsis parishii, as pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbiAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

Amesiella philippinensis and Phalaenopsis parishii, as pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbiAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

Amesiella philippinensis and Phalaenopsis parishii, as pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbiAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

Mediocalcar decoratum

This Mediocalcar decoratum specimen was given to me by a lovely friend.  A kind and thoughtful gift, so consequently this is a very special, sentimental, miniature orchid that I want to keep forever.

If you’re thinking of including a Mediocalcar decoratum in your orchid collection, it’s important to remember to mist this miniature orchid frequently.  I have found that Mediocalcar decoratum would be very happy being misted every morning, on every day of the week.  Sadly I don’t manage to mist my orchids every single day, but despite this, my Mediocalcar decoratum specimen seems fairly happy, growing on a piece of cork bark, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Mediocalcar decoratum, as pictured on the 6th November 2016, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Mediocalcar decoratum, as pictured on the 6th November 2016, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Angraecum equitans

This Angraecum equitans specimen was included in the original planting of this terrarium, back in August 2015.  I am particularly fond of this miniature orchid, and of Angraecum orchids as a genus, so I have my fingers crossed that at some point this Angraecum equitans specimen will bloom inside this terrarium.  I would just love to see this miniature orchid in flower.

Angraecum equitans as pictured on the 6th November 2016, inside the Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. I have been growing this miniature orchid inside this terrarium since August 2015, this plant is yet to flower.

Angraecum equitans as pictured on the 6th November 2016, inside the Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. I have been growing this miniature orchid inside this terrarium since August 2015, this plant is yet to flower.

Aerangis macrocentra

Aerangis macrocentra is the second of the three newest additions to this terrarium.  I do hope that this miniature orchid will grow well inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Aerangis macrocentra, as pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

Aerangis macrocentra, as pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

Masdevallia rechingeriana

This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen is growing well.  This specimen has increased in size since it was included in this terrarium.  This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen last flowered from April 2016, to the start of July 2016.

I am so happy to have included this miniature orchid in this trial, this Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen has thrived since it has been grown inside the Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir terrarium.

Masdevallia rechingeriana on the left hand side of the photograph, and Masdevallia decumana on the right hand side of the photograph. Pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

Masdevallia rechingeriana on the left hand side of the photograph, and Masdevallia decumana on the right hand side of the photograph. Pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

Masdevallia decumana

This Masdevallia decumana specimen was included in the original planting of this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, back in August 2016.

Masdevallia decumana thrives inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  This miniature orchid has flowered prolifically, producing large, showy blooms that you cannot fail to notice.

Masdevallia decumana pictured flowering inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 7th November 2016.

Masdevallia decumana pictured flowering inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 7th November 2016.

A closer look at a Masdevallia decumana inflorescence, as pictured on the 7th November 2016.

A closer look at a Masdevallia decumana inflorescence, as pictured on the 7th November 2016.

Masdevallia deumana, as pictured on the 7th November 2016.

Masdevallia deumana, as pictured on the 7th November 2016.

Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’

This Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ specimen is thriving inside the Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.  This orchid last flowered in April 2016.  I am so looking forward to this Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ specimen’s next flowering

Bulbophyllum falcatum 'Minor', as pictured on the 6th November 2016, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’, as pictured on the 6th November 2016, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Aerangis hyaloides

This Aerangis hyaloides specimen is the third of the newest miniature orchid additions to this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.  I love this miniature orchid so much!  I hope this Aerangis hyaloides specimen will grow well inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.

Aerangis hyaloides pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

Aerangis hyaloides pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

A closer look at Aerangis hyaloides pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

A closer look at Aerangis hyaloides pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

Dryadella simula

This Dryadella simula specimen has had noticeably yellow tips to its leaves for some time now.  I suspect that this is due to the orchid receiving too much or too little water, probably too little water.

Despite its yellowing leaves, this Dryadella simula specimen has flowered prolifically since I included this miniature orchid inside the Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.  Indeed the Dryadella simula specimen is flowering as I write this review and report.

The tiny flowers of Dryadella simula, pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

The tiny flowers of Dryadella simula, pictured inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

Dryadella simula, pictured in flower, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

Dryadella simula, pictured in flower, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, on the 6th November 2016.

BiOrbAir terrarium

My Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 6th November 2016. Inside this terrarium, Masdevallis decumana, Dryadella simula, and Lepanthopsis astrophora 'Stalky', are all in flower.

My Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 6th November 2016. Inside this terrarium, Masdevallis decumana, Dryadella simula, and Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’, are all in flower.

My Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 6th November 2016. Inside this terrarium, Masdevallia decumana, Dryadella simula, and Lepanthopsis astrophora 'Stalky', are all in flower.

My Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 6th November 2016. Inside this terrarium, Masdevallia decumana, Dryadella simula, and Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’, are all in flower.

To continue reading the next instalment of this review and see how these miniature orchids are growing, please click here.

Other articles that may interest you……….

To read the first part of this trial – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir, 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 Writhlington Orchid Project, please click here.

To read about the RHS London Orchid Show 2015, please click here.

For gardening advice, tips, and lovely ideas of what you could do in your garden, or at your allotment, in November, please click here.

To read about growing indoor mushrooms and other edible winter crops indoors, please click here.

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