Welcome to the tenth part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir. The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated terrarium, designed by Barry Reynolds. I first planted this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in August 2015, so at the time of writing – in February 2017, this BiOrbAir terrarium is 18 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 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 this 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, orchidarium, vivarium, or other indoor 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.
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 18 months 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.
The moss inside this terrarium has been watered only with rainwater. This moss was part of my original planting of this terrarium. 18 months have 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.
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 hyaloides, Aerangis macrocentra, and Amesiella philippinensis.
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.
BiOrbAir Review and Miniature Orchid Trial
I am on the look out for snails and other pests that are residing inside this terrarium. I may have inadvertently introduced some unwanted pests to this terrarium when I purchased and then included a miniature orchid, namely a Schoenorchis fragrans specimen, that was harbouring a number of pests within its tightly held leaves, into to this terrarium. I have now disposed of this said Schoenorchis fragrans specimen. I hope that by doing so, I have avoided an outbreak of pests, but it’s highly likely that 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.
Let’s have a look at how my miniature orchids are growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium:
Masdevallia decumana flowers
As you can see in the photographs below, Masdevallia decumana flowers are still a delicacy to the tiny snails that still live inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Happily, this Masdevallia decumana specimen is a floriferous orchid, and although I have now removed these damaged flowers, this miniature orchid readily produces new blooms, so there shouldn’t be too long to wait until this plant is flowering again.
For a little while now, this Masdevallia decumana specimen has been rather too full of moss at the centre of the plant. As I was taking these photographs, I quickly removed the majority of the moss from the centre of this miniature orchid. When I have a little more time available, I will remove some more of the moss that’s growing around this plant.
Masdevallia rechingeriana flowers
It’s wonderful to see the triquetrous inflorescence of Masdevallia rechingeriana again. This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen has produced the open flower that you see in the photographs above and below, this plant has also produced two immature flower buds, which will open in succession over the coming weeks and months.
Sadly the tiny snails that reside in this terrarium have nibbled the Masdevallia rechingeriana flower that you see in the photographs below. I am actively searching for, and removing any snails that I see inside the terrarium. I have successfully removed a couple of these terrarium snails over the past week, these snails have been re-homed outside in the garden.
Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’
This Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ specimen last flowered in November 2016. This plant is already producing new flowers and flower buds, and is flowering again.
This Dryadella simula specimen is growing well. This plant is producing new leaves, most of which are without the yellow leaf tips which were previously very noticeable on the older leaves of this miniature orchid.
This Mediocalcar decoratum specimen is growing well inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, this plant has produced a number of new leaves and shoots.
This Angraecum equitans specimen has just recently lost one of its older leaves. It’s very natural with orchids to lose an older leaf every now and then, this is nothing to be concerned about. This miniature orchid is growing well, the plant has produced a number of new leaves and roots since it has been in my care, but this miniature orchid has yet to bloom.
This Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen has produced a lovely leaf and some new roots, which is great to see. This is another miniature orchid which has been growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium for 18 months, but has yet to flower.
Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’
This Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ specimen is in the process of producing a new flower spike. This miniature orchid last flowered in April 2016. I am looking forward to seeing this Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ specimen in bloom again.
Amesiella philippinensis is one of three recent additions to this terrarium, I am watching and waiting to see how well this plant, and my other new introductions to this terrarium, will fare as they grow and develop inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Currently this plant’s older leaf is in the process of dying. Happily I can see that a new leaf is also just emerging. I do hope this Amesiella philippinensis specimen will grow well inside this BiOrbAir, as I love this miniature orchid.
Aerangis macrocentra is the second of the new additions to this terrarium. I am happy to see that this orchid is putting on new growth and producing new roots. I hope this miniature orchid will grow well inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
This Aerangis hyaloides specimen has now finished flowering. This miniature orchid’s flowers were such a delight to see, I so enjoyed watching this Aerangis in bloom. Aerangis hyaloides is simply a magnificent miniature orchid to grow.
I do hope that this Aerangis hyaloides specimen will settle in well and grow happily inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. I have noticed that some of this miniature orchid’s roots don’t appear to be faring very well at all. I hope that this plant will produce new roots, and will be happy growing in this environment for many, many years, as I would hate to be without this beautiful and very special miniature orchid.
After this Aerangis hyaloides specimen had finished blooming, which was very recently indeed, I cut back each flower spike counting to three nodes from the base of the spike and then making my cut with clean, sterilised plant scissors.
Phalaenopsis parishii is one of my favourite miniature orchids. I am so happy that this miniature orchid has produced two flower spikes, I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of the flowers of this Phalaenopsis parishii specimen, I am so excited!
15th February 2017
As previously mentioned in an earlier instalment of this Miniature Orchid Trial and BiOrbAir review, which was written back in October 2016, when I purchased a miniature orchid which I didn’t examine or quarantine prior to introducing the plant into this terrarium. The miniature orchid, a Schoenorchis fragrans was infested with a number of pests. Although I have now disposed of this miniature orchid (and I have now happily purchased a replacement plant from another nursery, which is growing inside my other terrarium), I didn’t do so as quickly as I would have hoped to, and so it’s likely that I have introduced pests into this terrarium.
I had been leaving things as they were inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, so that any pests that I had inadvertently introduced would make themselves visible, as I closely observed my plants inside this terrarium. I hoped to use any introduced pests as an example, and write about the said pests in this review, before controlling and eradicating the pests. I hoped this incident would in turn help my readers to deal with any pests that they encounter with their own orchids, but the reality has been that I have been far busier than I would have liked to have been over the past few months, and I haven’t been able to spend anywhere near as much time with my plants as I would have wished to. Consequently, I decided to purchase some biological controls – this is a term used when you purchase a natural predator of a pest, the introduced predator then hopefully either controls or eradicates the pest.
I purchased both Phytoseiulus persimilis, a mite that is a natural predator of red spider mite, and Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, a ladybird from Australia, that is a natural predator of mealybug, from Defenders. I introduced these biological controls into this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium on the 14th February 2017.
Below you can see a video of the predator of red spider mites, Phytoseiulus persimilis, a fast moving mite, being introduced to this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
The aforementioned infested miniature orchid that I introduced to this terrarium also had some scale insect. As yet I have not introduced a specific biological control to counteract this pest.
With pest control on my mind, on the 14th February 2017, I placed a number of slices of cucumber inside this terrarium, to use as a bait to attract any snails that were residing inside this terrarium, and to make it easier for me to find and remove the snails. On the morning of the 15th February 2017, six snails were removed from the cucumber slices that had been placed inside this terrarium. The cucumber slices were then reinstalled back inside this terrarium to attract any further snails.
On the 16th February 2017, three more snails were removed from the slices of cucumber inside this terrarium. Then on the 22nd February 2017, four tiny snails were removed from the slices of cucumber that had been placed inside this terrarium. On the 23rd February 2017, ten tiny snails were removed from the slices of cucumber that had been placed inside this terrarium. On the morning of the 24th February 2017, one tiny snail was removed from the cucumber that had been placed inside this terrarium. Five tiny snails were removed from the cucumber slices on the 25th February 2017. One tiny snail was removed from the cucumber slices on the 1st March 2017.
25th February 2017
Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’
Sadly the flower spike that this Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ specimen was producing has failed.
This Angraecum equitans specimen is producing a new leaf.
I am still concerned for this Amesiella philippinensis specimen. I do hope this orchid will grow well inside this terrarium. I love this miniature orchid!
This Aerangis macrocentra specimen seems to have settled in well, and is growing well inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. This miniature orchid has produced some wonderfully healthy roots and new leaves.
The first flower produced by this Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen during this current flowering period has now faded. I have left the flowering stem intact, as I hope this flowering stem will go on and produce more flowers over the coming weeks.
To continue reading the next part of this Miniature Orchid Trial, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you…………………..
To see a list of miniature orchids suitable for growing inside terrariums, please click here.
To read how my Orchidarium was created, please click here.
To read about the Orchid Extravaganza 2017 held at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, please click here.
To see a planting list of a wide variety of terrarium plants suitable for growing inside terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.
To read about the features of the BiOrbAir terrarium, please click here.
To read about using long handled terrarium tools, 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.