- 1 BiOrbAir Terrarium maintenance
- 2 Trials
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 compost needs to be soaked in water prior to use, the 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.
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 Reef One, 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, and it is the only product I use.
The BiOrbAir terrarium’s ultrasonic misting unit automatically sends out a pretty swirl of mist should the humidity within the terrarium drop 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 these plants, which 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 use rain water or deionised 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 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.
To feed my miniature orchids, I use Orchid Focus Grow and Orchid Focus Bloom. If the orchids are in bud or in flower they receive Orchid Focus Bloom, and if the orchids are not in flower they will receive 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. Every fourth week I skip feeding the 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 are the only fertilisers I have ever used inside this terrarium.
Since January 2018, I have been using SB Plant Invigorator as a pest control. I have continued to use the aforementioned Orchid Focus fertilisers alongside SB Plant Invigorator and plain rain water or deionised water.
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 how my Orchidarium was created, 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 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 read the results of my 217 Compost Trial Report: Growing Carrots, please click here.
To read the results of my 2017 Compost Trial Report: Growing Calendula, please click here.
To read the results of my 2017 Compost Trial Report: Growing Broad Beans, please click here.
To read the results of my 2016 Compost Trial Report: Growing French Beans , please click here.
To read advice on planting up containers, please click here.
Sweet Pea Trial Reports
To read the results of my 2017 Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my 2016 Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my 2015 Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
Scented Daffodil Trial Reports
To read the results of my 2017 Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you……………
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 Orchid Extravaganza 2017 at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, please click here.
To read about the Writhlington Orchid Project, please click here.