White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial (part five)

Welcome to the fifth part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial.

I decided to plant up this White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium in April 2017, after receiving many requests from readers asking about white flowered, miniature, epiphytic orchids to grow in terrariums.  I didn’t have a spare terrarium available to plant at the time, so I decided to empty, and then re-plant my long-term review BiOrbAir terrarium with a variety of species of white-flowering orchids, to showcase how beautiful a single colour planting scheme for terrariums, vivariums, orchidariums, or bottle gardens, can be.

The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated, terrarium, which was designed by Barry Reynolds, and is available from BiOrb.

White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium Planting List:

  • Aerangis biloba
  • Aerangis mystacidii
  • Amesiella monticola
  • Angraecum distichum
  • Brachypeza semiteretifolia
  • Holcoglossum flavescens
  • Humata repens
  • Masdevallia tovarensis
  • Neofinetia falcata
  • Phalaenopsis micholitzii
  • Podangis dactyloceras 

Since I set up this terrarium in April 2017, I have made a couple of new introductions to this terrarium: on the 28th May 2017, I added a young Aerangis mystacidii specimen, which had been previously growing inside a flask, and at the same time I added an attractive fern, Humata repens, which was previously growing inside another of my terrariums, to this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

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 more information on how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark, please click here.

My White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 19th September 2017, inside this terrarium, Brachypeza semiteretifolia is flowering.

White flowered miniature epiphytic orchids

My White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 19th September 2017, inside this terrarium, Brachypeza semiteretifolia is flowering.
My White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 19th September 2017, inside this terrarium, Brachypeza semiteretifolia is flowering.
My White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 19th September 2017, inside this terrarium, Brachypeza semiteretifolia is flowering.
My White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 19th September 2017, inside this terrarium, Brachypeza semiteretifolia is flowering.

Aerangis biloba

Aerangis biloba, as pictured on the 17th September 2017.

This Aerangis biloba specimen has quite entrancing roots!  The five leaves that this orchid has produced have a somewhat papery, rather thin texture.  Yet this same orchid’s roots have just powered down the tall piece of cork bark that I mounted this miniature orchid onto, driving themselves into the surface of the bark, to firmly secure this Aerangis biloba specimen to its mount.

An Aerangis biloba root, as pictured on the 19th September 2017.

This miniature orchid’s roots have a brown-orange coloured root cap.  The greyish-white outer covering of the orchid roots is called velamen.  Velamen serves to protect the orchid’s roots, and to help the root to absorb water and nutrients from the atmosphere around the plant.  The roots of many orchids, change colour when they are wet, usually to green.  The colour of an orchid’s root is one of the indicators that you can use to see how dry a plant is, which can help you to learn when to water your orchids.

When many orchids have been watered or misted, the velamen covering the plant’s roots will often turn green.  As the roots dry out and the orchid has used the water available, the velamen covering the roots will return to white, grey, silver, or whichever colour they appear in a drier state.  By observing your plants closely, from their roots to their leaves, and recognising the colour and appearance of overly dry roots, you can learn to care for your plants and provide the conditions they need to thrive.

Aerangis biloba, pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir, on the 22nd September 2017.

Aerangis mystacidii

Aerangis mystacidii, pictured on the 22nd September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

I have two young Aerangis mystacidii specimens growing inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir.  The plant that you can see pictured above is looking rather healthy and happy; something has had a nibble of this plant’s leaf, but this is insignificant, and the young plant is thriving.

Sadly the Aerangis mystacidii specimen that you can see pictured below, isn’t as happy.  The tips of this young orchid’s leaves have yellowed and the plant isn’t looking well.  I don’t know what has instigated this negative change since my last update four weeks ago.

Aerangis mystacidii, pictured on the 22nd September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Amesiella monticola

Amesiella monticola, as pictured on the 22nd September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

I have fallen in love with the Amesiella genus; a group of relatively newly discovered, very beautiful orchids, from the Philippines.  Sadly all three plants in the Amesiella genus, Amesiella minor, Amesiella philippinensis and Amesiella monticola are very endangered, due to over collection.  If you would like to grow this orchid yourself, look out for flasks of young seedlings, so as to ensure you grow plants raised in cultivation and avoid purchasing plants which have been taken from the wild.

Amesiella monticola is a handsome orchid, it is endemic to the island of Luzon in the Philippines, where it grows on the outskirts of rainforests.

My Amesiella monticola plant has grown slowly over the six months since I introduced it to this White Orchid Trial Terrarium, producing a lovely new leaf and new roots.

Angraecum distichum

Angraecum distichum, pictured on the 22nd September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

I have been totally charmed by Angraecum distichum, I find this miniature orchid’s compressed leaves to be utterly fascinating and mesmerising!  I am so happy to have been able to include this delightful orchid inside this terrarium.

Angraecum distichum, pictured on the 22nd September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Angraecum distichum, pictured on the 22nd September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Brachypeza semiteretifolia

Brachypeza semiteretifolia, as pictured on the 10th September 2017, inside my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Last month I was so excited when I spotted that one of the two Brachypeza semiteretifolia specimens that are growing inside this terrarium was producing a flower spike!

Brachypeza semiteretifolia, as pictured on the 17th September 2017, inside my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia, as pictured on the 17th September 2017, inside my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia, as pictured on the 17th September 2017, inside my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia, pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir, just as its flowered opened on the 18th September 2017.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia, pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir, just as its flowered opened on the 18th September 2017.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia, pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir, just as its flowered opened on the 18th September 2017.

I am even more excited now that this Brachypeza semiteretifolia flower has started to open!  It is such a beautiful flower – it sparkles in the light.

I wish I could share Brachypeza semiteretifolia‘s fragrance with you!  This magnificent little orchid has a delightfully powerful, delicious fragrance; it’s highly perfumed, heady, sweet, but at times a bit spicy, with fragrance notes of coconut, jasmine, hyacinth, and clove.

As I opened the lid of this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, I was surprised at how powerful this orchid’s perfume is, I did not need to be up close to the flower to enjoy its beautiful aroma.

In some ways Brachypeza semiteretifolia‘s fragrance reminds me of Neofinetia falcata, its perfume also reminds me of old fashioned pinks.  It’s an absolutely wonderful fragrance!  I am so lucky to have encountered this orchid.

Brachypeza semiteretifolia with a British Five Pence Piece to show the size of the plant and flower, pictured on the 19th September 2017.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia with a British Five Pence Piece to show the size of the plant and flower, pictured on the 19th September 2017.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia pictured on the 19th September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium on the 19th September 2017.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia pictured on the 19th September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium on the 19th September 2017.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia with a British Five Pence Piece to show the size of the plant and flower, pictured on the 19th September 2017.

This Brachypeza semiteretifolia flower took a few days to full open all of its petals.

Brachypeza semiteretifolia, pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir on the 22nd September 2017.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia, pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir on the 22nd September 2017.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia, pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir on the 22nd September 2017.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia, pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir on the 22nd September 2017.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia, pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir on the 22nd September 2017.
Brachypeza semiteretifolia, pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir on the 22nd September 2017.

Holcoglossum flavescens

Holcoglossum flavescens, as pictured on the 22nd September 2017.

This Holcoglossum flavescens specimen is in the process of losing a couple of leaves, the leaves have turned yellow, but are still attached as I write.  I am happy to see that this plant is producing new leaves, and that it’s the older leaves that are being shed.  I hope this Holcoglossum flavescens specimen will grow happily, and will eventually flower inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium.

Humata repens

Humata repens, pictured on the 22nd September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Humata repens is a dear little fern, I am so glad that I was able to find a space for it inside this terrarium, as Humata repens looks good on its own, but it compliments the orchids nicely.

It can be jolly difficult to purchase truly miniature sized ferns, that are suited to terrarium growing.  Often garden centres sell tender, indoor ferns, but rarely are these the genuinely miniature ferns that terrarium enthusiasts like me are after.  Instead what you’ll often find is young, and still very small sized ferns in a little pots with no information other than an abbreviated name sticker, if you’re lucky.  These ferns masquerade as terrarium ferns, indeed they are often grouped together in a terrarium section with pretty glass terrariums offered for sale with other tiny young plants, which although they are growing in tiny pots now, will soon outgrow any terrarium they are planted in.  This can be frustrating!  If you’re looking for terrarium ferns or plants, I hope this planting list will help you.  I have added in details of all of the suppliers that I have purchased ferns, plants, cork, and orchids from.

Humata repens, pictured on the 22nd September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Humata repens, pictured on the 22nd September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Masdevallia tovarensis

Masdevallia tovarensis, as pictured on the 17th September 2017.

This Masdevallia tovarensis specimen isn’t looking very spritely!  I removed the yellowing leaf that you can see in the photographs above and below, immediately after taking these photographs, which instantly makes the plant look a hundred times better!

I really like this particular orchid, I hope it will grow on, produce more leaves and roots, and establish itself inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAIr Terrarium.

Masdevallia tovarensis, as pictured on the 17th September 2017.
Masdevallia tovarensis, as pictured on the 17th September 2017.

Neofinetia falcata

Neofinetia falcata, pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium on the 22nd September 2017.

Neofinetia falcata is a very attractive orchid.  Even when it’s not flowering, the plant looks good.  Having the Brachypeza semiteretifolia that you saw near the start of this trial update, in flower inside this terrarium has brought back wonderful memories of this Neotinetia’s flowering – as the plants both produce fragrances with a coconutty and jasmine scent notes.

Neofinetia falcata, pictured inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium on the 22nd September 2017.

Phalaenopsis micholitzii

Phalaenopsis micholitzii, pictured on the 10th September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

This Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen is one of the larger orchid species that I have growing inside my BiOrbAir terrariums.  When you’re thinking about selecting orchids, or any plants for that matter, to plant inside a terrarium, it’s important to consider the size of the plant, but don’t forget to also consider the size of the plant’s flowering stem and inflorescences.

This particular orchid species, Phalaenopsis micholitzii, holds its flowers close to the plant, so you don’t need to allocate any more room to accommodate the plant’s blooms.  Whereas Aeranthes arachnites, which is growing inside my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, produces lengthy flower spikes, a raceme in this case, which only just fits inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.  This orchid’s raceme is very accommodating and supple, it can be placed inside the terrarium, and moved around if necessary.

I enjoy seeing this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen’s glossy leaves; the plant adds a real sparkle to this terrarium.  I appreciate the attractive contrast, inside the terrarium of this larger orchid surrounded by the fern, mosses, and smaller sized orchids.

Phalaenopsis micholitzii, pictured on the 10th September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Phalaenopsis micholitzii, pictured on the 10th September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

Phalaenopsis micholitzii is a floriferous orchid.  Over the six months that this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen has been growing inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, it has always featured an open flower or other flower buds in earlier stages of production.

Phalaenopsis micholitzii, pictured on the 17th September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Phalaenopsis micholitzii, pictured on the 17th September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
One of the Phalaenopsis micholitzii roots, pictured on the 17th September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Phalaenopsis micholitzii, pictured on the 17th September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Phalaenopsis micholitzii, pictured on the 17th September 2017, inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.

On the 18th September 2017, I accidentally knocked into this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen, as I was misting the orchids inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium.  Unfortunately I knocked this lovely and newly opened flower off the plant!  Not to worry, it won’t be long until another orchid flower opens inside this terrarium!

Podangis dactyloceras

Podangis dactyloceras, as pictured on the 22nd September 2017.

I am so glad that this Podangis dactyloceras specimen is growing so nicely inside this terrarium.  I appreciate the elegant fan shaped leaves that this orchid produces, they have a wonderfully graceful habit.

I have found that Podangis dactyloceras, like most orchids, likes to dry out between waterings and thrives in the humid environment that this BiOrbAir terrarium provides.

To continue reading the continuing instalment of this White Orchid Trial and BiOrbAir Review, please click here.

Other articles that may interest you…………

To read about 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 about the great new features of the 2017 BiOrbAir terrarium, please click here.

For information on how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark, 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, the largest known orchid species, and this plant’s flowering at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in September 2015, please click here.

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