Welcome to the fourth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.
I planted this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium in April 2017. My reason for planting this very special terrarium with orchids that are endemic to Madagascar, was to highlight and raise awareness of the fragility of Madagascar, and showcase the beauty of Madagascar’s plants. Many of the orchids that are found growing in Madagascar are not found anywhere else on Earth. Madagascar is a unique, exquisite location which needs our help and protection.
To learn more about Madagascar and the vital work in conservation and research that is being undertaken by the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre (KMCC), a non-profit, non governmental organisation (NGO), please click here. To read the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre (KMCC) blog, please click here. If you’d like to donate and contribute to Kew’s vital plant science and conservation work, please click here.
The BiOrbAir terrarium that I have used to showcase these rare orchids, was designed by Barry Reynolds and is available from BiOrb. The orchid plants that are featured inside this terrarium were grown in cultivation and not taken from the wild.
The Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Planting List
- Aerangis citrata
- Aerangis fastuosa
- Aerangis macrocentra
- Aerangis modesta
- Aerangis punctata
- Aerangis sp.
- Aeranthes arachnites
- Angraecum didieri
You can see the full planting list for this terrarium here, where you’ll find more details about each of these orchids, together with the details of all of the nurseries and suppliers where I purchased my orchids, mosses, and cork for this terrarium.
For information on how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark, please click here.
Miniature epiphytic orchids from Madagascar
In this update, I am so happy to share with you the new leaves, roots, flower spikes, and flowers that these fascinating Madagascan orchids have produced!
Hooray for this Aerangis citrata specimen, which opened its first flower on the 11th July 2017! You can see the beautiful Aerangis citrata flowers as they open, in the photographs I have taken and listed below. I just love the crystalline quality that this Aerangis citrata specimen’s flowers have, for me this is such a special orchid.
When I was selecting the orchids to include in this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, I did have a concern as to whether the BiOrbAir, with its LED lights, would create too bright an environment for Aerangis citrata, an orchid which is thought to favour at least a degree or two of shade, to thrive. My concern intensified as I considered the necessary position of this orchid within my terrarium – in order to accommodate this small orchid and allow room for its pendent flowers, this Aerangis citrata specimen requires mounting in an elevated position within the terrarium, meaning the only possible position that this orchid can be placed in, is directly under the BiOrbAir’s LED lights. So, I am happy indeed to have enjoyed this Aerangis citrata specimen’s first flowering in this terrarium, just three months after the plant’s introduction.
This Aerangis citrata specimen was first introduced to my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium in April 2017 – just four months ago. In this short period of time, this Aerangis citrata specimen has entirely produced a new flower spike, which you can see in flower below; the plant is also in the early stages of producing a second flower spike! This particular Aerangis species is known for being floriferous, it can flower a few times over the course of a year.
Aerangis citrata flowering
Here’s a closer look at the second Aerangis citrata flower spike, which you can see in the photograph below.
I love Aerangis fastuosa! I am so happy to have added this beautiful orchid to my collection.
In the photograph below, you can see this Aerangis fastuosa specimen’s newest leaf. This picture offers a good image of this orchid leaf’s surface, as it changes from the smooth, polished, shiny surface that all new leaves of this species display, to the rougher texture that older leaves acquire. This rougher leaf texture allows the orchid a better protection for its older leaves – the tougher leaf surface is harder for pests, such as mollusks, and other creatures to bite through or damage, offering the orchid a degree of protection. In addition to being more difficult to eat, the older orchid leaves may also be less palatable and therefore less desirable to consume. New leaves are somewhat softer and more succulent, and are probably more appetising, as well as being easier to consume.
I am so happy to see that this orchid is in the earliest stages of producing another new leaf.
I have two Aerangis macrocentra specimens growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium. Both of these plants have black markings on their leaf margins and tips, as do many of the other orchids inside this terrarium. I would love all of these orchids to be free of any undesirable markings, so much so, that I have for a moment considered removing the marked leaves, but to do this would leave the Aerangis macrocentra specimen, that you see pictured above, with only one leaf – this would hardly be helpful to the plant! So instead I will keep a close eye on, and monitor the plants, they all seem to growing OK at the moment.
This Aerangis modesta specimen is another orchid that has a number of undesirable black markings on its leaves.
The plants’ leaves could also benefit from a wipe over! To avoid contamination when cleaning leaves, use a tiny piece of tissue for each leaf, dispose of the tissue after use, and use a fresh piece for each leaf.
I am over the moon – this Aerangis punctata specimen is producing a flower spike!
I don’t know if you can see in the photographs above and below, one of this Aerangis punctata specimen’s leaf margins is partially embedded in its own root! This has happened since I purchased this miniature orchid, as this is a new root produced by the plant.
I am so happy that this Aerangis punctata specimen has produced a flower spike!
This Aerangis sp. is producing a new leaf and new roots, which is just wonderful to see! I do hope that one day this Aerangis sp. will be strong enough to flower, so that I can confirm its identity.
This Aeranthes arachnites specimen has been flowering since the 27th June 2017. The plant has produced two flowering racemes, one raceme is older and was in an earlier stage of production when I first introduced this plant to the terrarium in April 2017. This older raceme is unsurprisingly the longer of the two racemes, it has produced two flowers, one flower at the raceme’s end, the other flower is further up the raceme, closer to the centre of the plant. The second, smaller raceme has produced one flower . Both of this orchid’s racemes have produced flowers which have faded, the plant has continued to produce new buds and flowers.
I love Angraecum didieri, this really is a charming orchid. I am so lucky to be able to watch these special Madagascan orchids as they grow.
To head straight to the next review instalment, and see how these Madagascan orchids continue to grow, develop, and flower, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you…………
To read the first part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, 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 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.
For information on how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark, please click here.
To read about the great new features of the 2017 BiOrbAir terrarium, please click here.
To read a Planting List of a wide range and variety of beautiful plants which are suitable for growing in terrariums, vivariums, bottle gardens, and indoor gardens, please click here.
To see a Planting List of beautiful, miniature orchids, suitable for growing in terrariums, vivariums, bottle gardens, and indoor gardens, please click here.
To read about the Writhlington Orchid Project, please click here.
To read about the Queen of Orchids and this plant’s flowering at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in September 2015, please click here.