General BiOrbAir terrarium maintenance and plant care
Apart from your plants, everything else you need to plant up your BiOrbAir terrarium is included when you buy your BiOrbAir – it all arrives together in one wonderful, ginormous box!
I find my BiOrbAir terrariums easy to look after and care for. I love growing miniature orchids, ferns, and other terrarium plants inside the BiOrbAir terrarium. Here is a guide to the regular, general terrarium maintenance, and plant care that I give to my BiOrbAir terrariums.
BiOrbAir Terrarium maintenance
I used the peat-free coir compost sold by Reef One for planting in all of my BiOrbAir terrariums. This compost was included as part of the package when I purchased my BiOrbAir terrarium. I didn’t add any additional compost, fertiliser, or any other growing media to the mix – I just used the BiOrbAir coir compost as it was, nothing extra was added.
If you wish to replace your compost at any time, new packs of compressed BiOrbAir terrarium compost are available online. The compost is dried and compressed, so this growing media needs to be soaked in water prior to use; this small block of compost will expand to six litres in volume, after being soaked in water.
BiOrbAir filter cartridges
I replace the activated carbon filters of my BiOrbAir terrariums every six months, following the recommendations on the BiOrbAir website. Update: I was regularly changing the carbon filters for each of my BiOrbAir terrariums, but more recently I’ve not been so active at changing the carbon filters, as I’ve been on an economy drive.
I regularly top up the base reservoir of my BiOrbAir terrariums with rain water as required. The rain water in the base reservoir is absorbed by the capillary matting. The capillary matting fits onto the support tray – the support tray sits above the base reservoir. The strips of capillary matting hang down into the base reservoir, where they make contact with the rain water in the base reservoir below. The rain water is absorbed by the capillary matting, which in turn moistens the coir compost above. The absorption of rain water through the capillary matting will keep the coir compost moist, and as a result, the ferns, and any terrarium plants planted into the coir compost, will be watered automatically.
I regularly top up the ultrasonic misting unit with Humidimist, a pure bottled water, low in electrolytes, available from Biorb, which is included as part of the package when you purchase a BiOrbAir. The Humidimist is the only type of water recommended for use in the ultrasonic misting unit of the BiOrbAir, so it is the only product I use.
The BiOrbAir terrarium’s ultrasonic misting unit automatically sends out a pretty swirl of mist, when the humidity within the terrarium drops below 75 RH (relative humidity).
Terrarium plants, ferns, and mosses can grow happily inside the BiOrbAir terrarium with no requirement for any additional misting, as the environment inside the BiOrbAir terrarium has been perfectly designed for plants that thrive in a humid environment.
I mist my miniature orchids using a separate hand held mister when I think they would benefit from some additional moisture, I’ve used deionised and reverse osmosis water to mist my orchids. I don’t have a set pattern, or set days to mist the orchids, though I try to mist most of my orchids a number of times a week. I have never misted any of my orchids inside my BiOrbAir terrariums more than once in a day, and I haven’t misted the orchids that are growing inside this terrarium, as often as seven times in a week.
I like to mist my orchids as early in the day as possible, ideally in the morning before 9am, but life is busy and this doesn’t always happen! I favour misting my plants as early in the morning as is possible between 4am and 9am, so as to emulate dew collecting on the plants’ roots or early morning rain. Whenever I am watering any plants, I always prefer to water in the morning.
When I am misting my plants I take care to try not to overly mist the crown, or centre of the orchid, as water can become trapped in the central boss of leaves, where it can create a damaging, harmful rot, which often kills the plant. I am also mindful of this risk when I am mounting my orchids, so I try to mount my plants in a manner to most easily allow any water to run off away from the centre of the plant.
I have never misted any of the terrarium plants or ferns that I have planted inside my BiOrbAir terrariums. The ferns and terrarium plants are planted directly into the compost and so are watered automatically by the capillary matting and the rain water from the base reservoir below. Terrarium plants and ferns require much less time and care than miniature epiphytic orchids. If you were to plant a BiOrbAir terrarium with ferns and other terrarium plants then you would only need to top up the base reservoir with rain water every month, and top up the humidimist every two to three weeks, these plants would not require any additional fertiliser. You can find out more about how often the humidimist needs to be topped up in the ultra sonic misting unit and how often to top up the base reservoir with rain water here.
Since I planted my first BiOrbAir terrarium in September 2014, apart from the specially designed orchid feed which I have given to the miniature orchids, (the orchids also receive additional misting, but the terrarium plants don’t require any additional misting – they require much less care) I haven’t added any other plant feed or fertiliser to the plants inside this terrarium.
Orchid Focus Grow and Orchid Focus Bloom
To feed my miniature orchids, I used to use Orchid Focus Grow and Orchid Focus Bloom. If my orchids were in bud or in flower they received Orchid Focus Bloom, and if the orchids weren’t flowering they will received Orchid Focus Grow. Although having said this, many orchids need a winter rest, any orchids that are not actively growing do not receive any fertiliser at all, they just get misted with rainwater or deionised water. Every fourth week, I skip feeding my orchids altogether, and the plants receive only water – this helps to prevent a build up of fertiliser.
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 were the only fertilisers I ever used inside this terrarium up until the 15th September 2018.
Akerne Orchids Rain Mix
On the 15th September 2018, I changed the fertiliser that I used for my orchids. I was happy with the fertiliser that I was using before September 2018, but I wanted to try the Akerne Orchids Rain Mix, as I wanted to find out more about this product. I’ll write a separate post about this fertiliser once I have spent a longer period of time trying out this fertiliser. I was in no way unhappy with Orchid Focus, I simply wanted to learn more about another product.
Back to Orchid Focus
Since January 2018, I have been using SB Plant Invigorator – an organic pesticide and mildewcide, as a control for the aphids, mealybug, scale insects, and whitefly, inside my terrariums. I have continued to use the aforementioned Orchid Focus fertilisers alongside SB Plant Invigorator and I’m still using reverse osmosis water to water and mist my plants, as well as to mix my fertilisers and the previously mentioned SB Plant Invigorator. Please note, I only use SB Plant Invigorator indoors, I have never applied this treatment outside – I do not wish to kill any of the insects in my garden or outdoors.
If you’re interested in finding out methods of controlling spider mites inside your terrariums and bottle gardens, I’ve written this article to help you.
Mounting epiphytic orchids
I use sections of material, cut from stockings to secure my epiphytic orchids and other epiphytes onto their cork mounts, you can see how I do this here.
You may be interested in some of the trials I have conducted.
Terrarium, Vivarium, and Orchidarium Trials
To see a list of mini miniature orchids suitable to grow inside terrariums, vivariums, and bottle gardens, please click here.
To see a longer list of terrarium, vivarium, and bottle garden plants, which includes miniature orchids, with some larger sized orchids, miniature ferns, and terrarium plants, please click here.
To see how my Orchidarium was created, please click here.
To see how I have set up my Rainforest Terrarium, please click here.
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 the first part of my Miniature Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, 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 new features that the new 2017 BiOrbAir terrarium offers, please click here.
To read a planting list of a wide variety of suitable terrarium plants, including ferns and orchids, please click here.
To read about the special features of the BiOrbAir terrarium, please click here.
To read about using decorative features in your terrarium or bottle garden, please click here.
To read a planting list of miniature orchids suitable for growing inside terrariums, please click here.
To read about the general care I give to my orchids and terrarium plants, and the general maintenance I give to my BiOrbAir terrariums, please click here.
To read how I track the temperature, humidity, and light conditions inside my terrariums, please click here.
Compost Trial Reports
To see all of my Compost Trials, please click here.
To read advice on planting up containers, please click here.
Sweet Pea Trial Reports
To read the results of my third Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my second Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my first Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
Scented Daffodil Trial Reports
To read the results of my third Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my Scented Daffodil Container Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my first Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you……………
To read about the Orchid Extravaganza 2017 at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, please click here.
To read about the Writhlington Orchid Project, please click here.