Earlier this year, I decided to create an Orchidarium with an automated misting unit, LED lights, and fans, to house some of my miniature orchids and provide them with automatic care. Here is an update as to how the automated features that I installed have performed and how the plants have grown and developed. If you’re interested, you can read my step by step guide as to how my Orchidarium was created here.
On the 12th November 2017, I reorganised my miniature orchids, moving many of my plants from one terrarium to another, in order to group the plants more interestingly. I was keen to group my miniature Phalaenopsis species together, so I have moved one plant of each species of Phalaenopsis into this Orchidarium, in order to grow and display the plants together. The Restrepias, Schoenorchis, and a few Bulbophyllums have been grouped together too, along with a few other plants. Most of the miniature orchids that I have so far trialled inside my BiOrbAir terrariums have flourished inside this terrarium, but the few plants that did not grow or flower well inside the BiOrbAir, I am now trialling growing inside this Orchidarium, to discover if the different conditions this Orchidarium provides will be more beneficial for these plants.
My Aerangis luteoalba var. rhodosticta specimen, which grew and flowered successfully inside this Orchidarium, has now been moved to another of my terrariums.
Plants that did not fare well inside this Orchidarium
Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ did not fare particularly well inside this Orchidarium, the conditions were simply too bright for this miniature orchid. This darling of a little miniature orchid grows so wonderfully inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, so after watching the plant struggle on for a few months, looking decidedly unhappy inside my Orchidarium, I decided to move this specimen back inside my BiOrbAir terrarium. Once returned inside the BiOrbAir terrarium, Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ picked up within a week or two, this dear little plant is now looking so much happier, which makes me feel happy too!
Orchidarium planting list
Following on from my re-organisation on the 12th November 2017, I now have the following plants growing inside this Orchidarium:
- Bulbophyllum ambrosia
- Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’
- Bulbophyllum sessile
- Chiloschista lunifera
- Deinostigma tamiana
- Dinema polybulbon
- Doryopteris cordata
- Humata heterophylla
- Humata repens
- Leptotes bicolor
- Masdevallia decumana
- Oncidium hians
- Ornithophora radicans
- Pellaea rotundifolia
- Phalaenopsis appendiculata
- Phalaenopsis celebensis
- Phalaenopsis deliciosa
- Phalaenopsis deliciosa var. alba
- Phalaenopsis honghenensis
- Phalaenopsis lobbii
- Phalaenopsis lobbii f. flavilabia
- Phalaenopsis lowii
- Phalaenopsis malipoensis
- Phalaenopsis micholitzii
- Phalaenopsis parishii
- Phalaenopsis parishii alba
- Phalaenopsis stobartiana
- Phalaenopsis taenialis
- Phalaenopsis thailandica
- Phalaenopsis wilsonii
- Pinguicula hybrid
- Platystele examen-culicum
- Pyrrosia serpens
- Restrepia antennifera
- Restrepia citrina
- Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’
- Restrepia sanguinea
- Restrepia seketii
- Restrepia trichoglossa
- Schoenorchis fragrans
- Schoenorchis scolopendria
- Schoenorchis seidenfadenii
- Schoenorchis tixieri
- Stelis muscifera
The Orchidarium Planting List includes information on each of the plants that have been grown inside this Orchidarium – you can click on a plant to see links to every article I have written about that particular plant species. I have also listed all of the nurseries and suppliers that I used to purchase all of my plants, mosses, and cork for this Orchidarium, at the bottom of this planting list. You can see the full planting list for this Orchidarium here.
When I set up a terrarium of any kind, I am always tempted to create a beautiful, very natural looking terrarium planting, that looks as if it is a snapshot of a tiny section of a rainforest or some other enchanting, awe inspiring natural scene. As I set up this Orchidarium, I initially mounted a number of plants onto the same large pieces of cork branch, but following my rearrangement of this terrarium on the 12th November 2017, all of the orchids that are growing inside this Orchidarium are now mounted on their own individual pieces of cork bark and hung on the back and side walls of this Orchidarium, or mounted on cork that is positioned onto the central floor of the Orchidarium. The overall effect is not as visually pleasing as it could be, but this arrangement allows me the opportunity of housing a greater number of plants inside this Orchidarium.
The plants inside this Orchidarium are all mounted on their own mounts, which makes the plants very easy to move. This allows me the opportunity to group different orchid species from the same genus together as I wish, to change that arrangement as often as I choose, to examine or to photograph any, or indeed all of the plants however best suits me, or to easily change a particular orchid’s growing conditions by giving the plant a winter rest inside another terrarium. It was this freedom and versatility, together with the greater capacity to house a larger number of plants and to provide these plants with automated care that was required on this occasion, hence the design of my Orchidarium and the style of this planting scheme.
Orchidarium automated settings
I have set this Orchidarium up to deliver a mist automatically every morning for one minute, five seconds at 8.30am. I have set up two fans within this Orchidarium, both are similar to the type of fans that operate inside computers. One fan has been set up to draw fresh air into the Orchidarium (which will have the effect of reducing humidity) this external fan is connected to a hygrometer, so only kicks in when humidity is high. This works effectively to maintain a constant humidity level between 85% and 95% inside this Orchidarium. The other fan runs constantly, circulating the air and creating constant air movement inside this Orchidarium.
Orchidarium humidity and temperature
As you can see in the chart above, as winter approaches and the central heating kicks in, the ambient humidity in my home drops significantly over time from 60-70% RH down to 40-50% RH. This Orchidarium, however maintains a consistent 85-90% RH. This demonstrates why enclosing your orchids inside a terrarium makes a huge difference – as keeping the plants inside the house with the central heating running can be the equivalent of trying to grow orchids, which favour humid conditions, in dry, desert-like conditions – which is the opposite of what these plants would wish for!
The maximum humidity over the past three months inside my Orchidarium has been 97% RH, the minimum humidity over the past three months was 63.5% RH. The average humidity inside this Orchidarium over the past three months was 86.5% RH.
You can see that due to the morning misting and then the fan running to circulate air, there’s a daily variation of 10-15% inside this Orchidarium.
The big drops in the minimum humidity that the chart above shows, indicate times when the orchidarium doors were open – either for rearranging the Orchidarium, for plant maintenance, or for longer periods spent examining or photographing the orchids! The maximum humidity increases slightly in November 2017, as I felt that a few of the plants required a little more moisture, so I increased the misting period slightly. At the same time I adjusted the mister to be active earlier in the morning, when the temperature is cooler, so increasing the max humidity.
The misting system kicks in at 8:30am, causing the humidity to rise from 80% to 95%. This triggers the external fan, which draws some of the humid air out of the orchidarium, and pulls in fresh air, dropping the humidity a little. The humidity gradually decreases through the day, until it levels off at 85% (this is governed by the hygrometer, which is set to introduce new fresh air, if the humidity inside the Orchidarium rises above 85%).
At around 10pm the central heating in my house turns off, and the temperature starts to drop, although the glass buffers this temperature drop slightly. You can see that the humidity level begins to rise very gradually (humidity almost always increases as temperature drops). Then the hygrometer/fan combination kicks in, and as the central heating comes on at around 4am, the humidity begins to drop off again – up until the misting system activates at 8:30am.
Over the past three months, the maximum temperature inside my Orchidarium was 23C (73.4F), while the minimum temperature was 16.5C (81.7F). Over the past three months, the average temperature inside this Orchidarium was 19.5C (67.1F).
A number of readers had questions about how I monitor the growing conditions inside my Orchidarium and other terrariums and what equipment I use, so I wrote this article about how I track temperature, humidity and light conditions.
Orchids and other plants
After growing Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium from April 2016, at a time when the plant’s flowers were fading, to November 2017, without any further flowers being produced in the intervening nineteen month period. I decided to trial growing Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’, Bulbophyllum sessile, and Bulbophyllum ambrosia inside my Orchidarium, to see whether the different growing conditions created inside this Orchidarium would be preferable for these orchids.
I was keen to discover whether the change in conditions would induce the plants to bloom. Although, I must stress that it is only Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ that I have trialled growing inside a BiOrbAir Terrarium, the other Bulbophyllum species have yet to feature in a BiOrbAir Trial.
This Bulbophyllum ambrosia specimen has been growing inside this Orchidarium since March 2017. The plant has grown well, it has increased in size, producing new growth, new roots and leaves, and adjusting very quickly to its new environment. I did not notice any ill effects during the plant’s adjustment period. After this Bulbophyllum ambrosia specimen’s initial introduction to this Orchidarium, there was no stalling in the plant’s growth, no dropping of leaves, or any signs of distress, so I am hoping that this Bulbophyllum ambrosia specimen will be happy indeed inside this Orchidarium.
Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’
As I just mentioned, after growing this Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ specimen inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium from April 2016, when the plant’s flowers were fading, to November 2017, without any further flowers being produced over the following nineteen months. I decided to move this orchid out of my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium and see if the change in conditions inside my Orchidarium would induce flowering. This Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ specimen grew well inside the BiOrbAir terrarium, it greatly increased in size over the nineteen months that it was grown inside the BiOrbAir, producing new roots and leaves in abundance, the plant just didn’t flower. I have only recently moved this orchid, so it’s too early to say whether this move is a successful one or not, as this Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ specimen has only been growing inside this Orchidarium since the 12th November 2017. As I write about this plant on the 25th December 2017 (merry Christmas by the way!) I have not as yet noticed any changes in this orchid’s demeanour, it’s too early to say whether this has been a successful move.
I introduced this Bulbophyllum sessile specimen to this Orchidarium in March 2017. This Bulbophyllum sessile specimen has adjusted to the conditions provided inside this Orchidarium. The plant has produced new leaves and roots, but has yet to flower.
I was thrilled to be able to include this Chiloschista lunifera specimen inside my Orchidarium! Chiloschista lunifera is a species of epiphytic leafless orchid, which originates from India, the Himalayas, Assam, and Myanmar, where this orchid grows on trees in forests and woodlands. In its native environment Chiloschista lunifera experiences drier winters and wet summers. It’s a good idea to include a drier, resting period over winter with less frequent misting, so as to replicate the plant’s natural growing conditions and to encourage your plant to flower. With this sentiment in mind, on the 28th December 2017, I transferred this Chiloschista lunifera specimen into a drier terrarium for a winter rest, the plant will receive regular misting, but not a daily mist as is given inside my Orchidarium. After its winter rest, this fascinating orchid will move back into my Orchidarium.
Plants are so amazing! This Chiloschista lunifera specimen is a leafless orchid species, whose remarkable roots conduct a number of functions and contain photosynthetic cells . For nearly all of the year, only the roots of the Chiloschista lunifera plants are visible covering the branches of the tree that the plant grows on. Most young Chiloschista lunifera plants produce inconspicuous, thin, bract like leaves, which are shed in springtime not long after they have formed, this is usually just before the flowers open. As these plants age and mature they often become entirely leafless, and stop producing any leaves at all in early spring.
This Chiloschista lunifera specimen was introduced to this Orchidarium on the 12th November 2017, at this time I believed this orchid to be Chiloschista parishii, which is what this plant was sold to me as, but I have since realised that this orchid is in fact Chiloschista lunifera. This Chiloschista lunifera specimen was moved to a terrarium with a drier atmosphere on the 28th December 2017. So far this plant looks to be growing well.
Deinostigma tamiana are delightful Gesneriads, they are related to Saintpaulias (African Violets) and make super terrarium plants. This Deinostigma tamiana specimen was planted directly into the compost in the base of this Orchidarium on the 12th November 2017. As you can see from my photographs, this plant is flourishing, it’s currently in flower, with further flower buds being produced as I write.
Deinostigma tamiana like to be grown in a peat free compost that dries out a little between waterings. This is not an aquatic or bog plant, it won’t grow well in very wet compost. My plant is planted in peat free coir compost from BiOrb, which fills the tray in the base of the orchidarium. The tray is constructed from ‘egg-crate’, and lined with capillary matting, which hangs down into the water reservoir below the tray, allowing the compost to remain constantly moist. I was concerned as to whether the compost inside my Orchidarium would be too full of moisture for this Deinostigma tamiana specimen to thrive, but so far this plant is growing well, it looks healthy and happy. However, this Deinostigma tamiana specimen was only planted inside this Orchidarium on the 12th November 2017, which was just over a month ago, so it’s early days yet!
This Dinema polybulbon specimen was introduced to this Orchidarium in July 2017. This miniature orchid species can be found growing as a lithophytic orchid, growing on rocks and large stones, and the plant can also be found growing as an epiphytic orchid, growing on branches of oak trees in humid forests or woodland. I have found that Dinema polybulbon thrives in a very humid environment; this orchid species is quite versatile, this species grows well in semi shaded conditions, or under bright, filtered light.
This Dinema polybulbon specimen has grown a little since it was introduced to this Orchidarium. It didn’t help this plant that the mount onto which it had thoroughly established itself on broke, and so this specimen has had a new piece of cork bark to grow on and a new growing environment to adjust to inside this Orchidarium.
Doryopteris cordata is an unusual, tender fern, that is ideally suited to terrarium growing.
In April 2017, this Doryopteris cordata specimen was planted directly into the peat free coir compost that fills the specially made tray in the base of this orchidarium. The tray is constructed from ‘egg-crate’, it’s lined with capillary matting, which hangs down into the water reservoir below the tray, the capillary matting absorbs the water below, allowing the compost to remain constantly moist. This Doryopteris cordata specimen is growing well inside this Orchidarium, this fern has produced new fronds and has established itself well inside its new environment. This Doryopteris cordata specimen has shown no sign of having frazzled fronds, which can sometimes happen when you grow ferns such as this species under lights that are too bright. This Doryopteris cordata specimen looks healthy and happy. Here is a closer look at this fern:
Humata heterophylla is one of my favourite ferns, I love this plant! I have two Humata heterophylla specimens growing inside this Orchidarium, both plants are the same age, one is mounted onto cork, which allows this specimen to grow as an epiphyte, while the other specimen is planted into the compost at the base of this Orchidarium, currently both plants are in a similar condition.
I am quite a fan of Humata repens! This mini fern is really rather charming. I have found Humata repens to be a very versatile fern, which is able to establish itself well inside terrariums that feature quite different growing conditions. I have one specimen of Humata repens growing inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, this pretty fern is flourishing inside this lovely terrarium. The fern provides a lovely back drop, it beautifully compliments the orchids.
This particular Humata repens specimen however, was planted inside this Orchidarium in April 2017. This fern is growing well inside this Orchidarium, it has grown in size and established itself well, very soon after planting.
This Leptotes bicolor specimen was introduced into my Orchidarium in April 2017. This Leptotes bicolor specimen has not displayed any ill effects for being moved into this Orchidarium; the orchid has established itself very nicely in its new home.
This Leptotes bicolor specimen is continually producing new and extended roots with great energy and vigour! The roots of Leptotes bicolor are regularly, and repeatedly removed from its neighbouring plants!
This Leptotes bicolor specimen has produced new roots and leaves, but as yet this orchid is yet to flower inside this Orchidarium.
This Masdevallia decumana specimen was growing inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium from August 2015 up until 12th November 2017, at which time, this plant was then moved into this Orchidarium.
This Masdevallia decumana specimen was the first plant to bloom inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, flowering in January 2016. This was also the first flowering of what was then a young plant, back in January 2016, inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. This Masdevallia decumana specimen simply thrived inside the BiOrbAir; the plant flourished and flowered prolifically.
During the spring and summer of 2017, this plant suffered due to a few periods of drought inside this terrarium, when I was unexpectedly away and unable to mist or tend to my orchids. I have found that Masdevallia decumana thrives when the plant is misted thoroughly every day, every other day, or every three days at most, but ideally every day or two, and no longer than three days without a heavy soaking. Earlier in 2017, I also had been a little lax at feeding my orchids, as the plants kept entirely drying out simply because I didn’t mist the plants often enough, due to my lax watering! So I then watered the plants rather than fed them, as the plants and their roots were so very dry to begin with – it was a vicious circle of poor plant care!
Consequently, this plant (and the other plants inside the same terrarium) didn’t receive the optimum amount of nutrients or moisture they required. This negatively impacted this Masdevallia decumana specimen: the plant’s leaves began to yellow as a result of the poor care the plant had received, and its flowers were not produced as frequently, and the blooms did not last as long when they were produced.
During my Miniature Orchid Trial, I have proven that Masdevallia decumana is an ideal plant to grow inside the BiOrbAir terrarium. I have now moved this Masdevallia decumana specimen into my Orchidarium. I assume that with the heavy misting provided every morning inside the Orchidarium, that this Masdevallia should thrive inside this Orchidarium. Happily this Masdevallia decumana specimen is already in flower inside this Orchidarium; as I write on the 27th December 2017, the plant’s first flower to be produced inside this Orchidarium opened this morning, which was wonderful to see!
Oncidium hians is a species of miniature epiphytic orchid that favours cool to warm growing conditions. This particular orchid species originates from Brazil.
I introduced this particular Oncidium hians specimen to this Orchidarium in April 2017. Over the past seven months, this miniature orchid has established itself well inside its new environment, producing new growth, new roots, and new leaves. This miniature orchid has yet to bloom inside this Orchidarium, but I am very happy with the overall health and vitality of this specimen.
This Ornithophora radicans specimen was purchased for my Miniature Orchid BiOrbAir Trials. This specimen was first introduced inside my BiOrbAir Terrarium in August 2015. This miniature orchid remained inside this terrarium until March 2017; the plant did not flower at all during the intervening eighteen months, in fact this plant declined gradually over the period that it was grown in the BiOrbAir. This Ornithophora radicans specimen naturally flowers in September, October, and November, although I don’t think that many plants would flower for as long as three months! I think of Ornithophora radicans as an orchid that flowers for a somewhat fleeting period once a year, this is just the range of time that the plants will flower in, with most plants blooming in October.
My Ornithophora radicans specimen was a good sized specimen, which was of flowering size and was in good health, and in bud when I purchased it. My plant flowered at the end of September 2015, shortly after it was introduced to my BiOrbAir Terrarium. Ornithophora radicans is not a plant that I would recommend to grow in a BiOrbAir terrarium, unless you have your terrarium housed in a room that receives very bright, natural daylight to supplement the BiOrbAir’s LED lighting, for I think that Ornithophora radicans may indeed flourish when grown inside a BiOrbAir terrarium that is housed inside a bright room; although I have not tested this theory myself. The room that this particular BiOrbAir terrarium and this Ornithophora radicans specimen were housed in did not receive much, if any natural daylight. Additional lighting was required to read a book, or to undertake any task, however simple.
This sorry looking Ornithophora radicans specimen was introduced to this Orchidarium in March 2017. It’s hard to believe, but it was a much smaller, weaker looking specimen that was included at the time of this plant’s introduction. The sorry looking orchid that you see pictured above, is a far stronger plant than the inferior specimen that was introduced nine months ago.
I planted this Pellaea rotundifolia specimen inside this Orchidarium in April 2017. This fern was planted directly into the peat free coir compost that’s held in the specially made tray that sits at the base of this Orchidarium. While it was growing in this position the fern received good quality light from the LED lights overhead, and it was able to establish itself quickly, growing in size and spreading out to occupy more room.
Due to how well this Pellaea rotundifolia specimen had established itself inside this Orchidarium, and how large the fern had grown in size, in November 2017, when I rearranged many of my orchids and ferns, I decided to lift this fern, to divide and separate it into three parts and then re-plant these division in three of the corners of the terrarium. Nearly all plants would struggle to grow in these crowded quarters, the ferns will receive shading from both the cork and the orchids placed around and above them, but if the fern grows successfully, it will soften the edges of the Orchidarium planting, and allow me to accommodate more ferns within this Orchidarium. It’s too early to say whether this move has been successful: so far some of this fern’s fronds have died back, while others appear to be in good health.
Phalaenopsis appendiculata is a miniature orchid species, which originates from Malaysia. This mini orchid species’ name was chosen in reference to this orchid species’ flowers, which feature a structural appendage, that to me resembles a tooth that has been pulled out and is displayed on the front of the flower, complete with its root!
I introduced this Phalaenopsis appendiculata specimen into this Orchidarium in April 2017. I am delighted at how well this miniature orchid has established itself inside this Orchidarium. This Phalaenopsis appendiculata specimen has produced new leaves and roots.
I introduced this particular Phalaenopsis taenialis specimen into this Orchidarium in September 2017.
Phalaenopsis taenialis requires rather more shaded growing conditions than many of the Phalaenopsis hybrids that are available in shops and garden centres, many of which favour growing in brighter conditions. However this Phalaenopsis species favours lower light levels and filtered, diffused light, so I have positioned this lovely Phalaenopsis in a lower position within this Orchidarium, I have used a suction cup to place this Phalaenopsis below other plants, on the back wall of this Orchidarium. This Phalaenopsis taenialis specimen is still adjusting and acclimatising to the conditions inside this Orchidarium.
Phalaenopsis celebensis is another orchid species which favours shaded conditions, this particular species requires a very humid environment in order to flourish. This Phalaenopsis species produces leaves with rather striking, mottled dark green and silvery grey markings.
I introduced this Phalaenopsis celebensis specimen into this Orchidarium in October 2017, I am thrilled at how well this plant has established itself into its new environment.
Phalaenopsis deliciosa is an epiphytic orchid species, which originates from many areas, including: Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines, where it can be found growing on the branches of trees in forests, often near rivers.
This Phalaenopsis deliciosa specimen was first introduced to this Orchidarium in October 2017. I am pleased at how well this miniature orchid has established itself inside this Orchidarium. This miniature orchid favours somewhat shaded conditions, with diffused light, high humidity, but good air movement and a steady flow of air circulation around the plant.
Phalaenopsis deliciosa var. alba
Phalaenopsis deliciosa var. alba is the white form of Phalaenopsis deliciosa.
This Phalaenopsis deliciosa var. alba specimen was introduced to this Orchidarium in September 2017. I have been pleased to see how well this plant has established itself inside this Orchidarium, the plant has produced new leaves and roots.
This Phalaenopsis thailandica specimen was produced as a keiki, a baby orchid. It’s an exact clone of its mother plant, which was grown inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium from April 2017 until August 2017, when this plant was moved to this Orchidarium. This young plant is growing well and has produced a number of strong, healthy roots since it has been growing inside this Orchidarium.
This Phalaenopsis honghenensis specimen was first introduced to this Orchidarium in September 2017. This orchid is growing well inside its new environment.
This Phalaenopsis honghenensis specimen has produced two flower buds, which are currently in an early stage of development.
I am excited that this Phalaenopsis honghenensis specimen is producing flower buds, but I am also thrilled to see every new root that the plant produces. Healthy roots are obviously so important to enable healthy plant growth. This Phalaenopsis species produces marvellous roots in a gleaming, polished silver colour when young. The roots glisten in the light, they are utterly charming!
This Phalaenopsis lobbii specimen was originally growing inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, where it grew happily from April 2017, until the 12th November 2017, when it was then moved into this Orchidarium.
As I moved this Phalaenopsis lobbii specimen into my Orchidarium, I noticed that the plant was in the earliest stages of producing a flower bud. You might be able to spot the new flower bud in the large photograph below. The two roots on the left hand side of the picture have lovely lime green coloured root caps, whereas the new flower bud that’s just emerging is dark green in colour.
Phalaenopsis lobbii f. flavilabia
This Phalaenopsis lobbii f. flavilabia specimen was first introduced into this Orchidarium during May 2017. Happily this dear little Phalaenopsis has flourished inside this Orchidarium; the plant is producing a flower bud, which will open in the approaching days. I am such a fan of Phalaenopsis! I was thrilled to be able to include this particular specimen inside this Orchidarium.
This Phalaenopsis lowii specimen was introduced to this Orchidarium in April 2017. I was absolutely thrilled to be able to include this special orchid species inside this Orchidarium.
I just love this Phalaenopsis lowii specimen’s leaves! They have a fascinating, iridescent sheen, which is just so attractive; the leaves have a great and rare beauty, which really endears this plant to me: I just love it!
This Phalaenopsis malipoensis specimen was introduced to this Orchidarium in April 2017. Since I introduced this plant to my Orchidarium, this specimen has grown very well in that it has produced a number of new healthy roots, and the plant’s leaves are also growing well.
In November 2017 this Phalaenopsis malipoensis specimen produced a flower bud, which sadly aborted in December 2017. I hope that this plant will flower more successfully in future. I have slightly increased the length of the daily misting that operates each morning inside this Orchidarium, in the hope that it will help this Phalaenopsis malipoensis specimen to flower successfully.
One of the reasons that I did not conduct my rearrangement of my miniature orchids sooner was because of my reluctance to move this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen from my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. I just loved how this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen looked inside this terrarium, I was so happy with the planting, and with the whole look, feel, and style of this terrarium, and I was reluctant to change it. This glamorous terrarium was exactly how I wished it to be. However I felt an increasing desire to group plants from the same genus together where possible, and I felt that it would be very exciting to create an Orchidarium to house all of my miniature Phalaenopsis species, just the excitement of how this Orchidarium will look in springtime brings a big smile to my face, so I took a deep breath and made the move. I moved this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen into my Orchidarium on the 12th November 2017, so this plant has only been growing inside this new environment for a month and a half. I haven’t been aware of any real changes in the plant’s demeanour. This small orchid is yet to flower, or to produce any new leaves, or new growth inside this Orchidarium.
This Phalaenopsis parishii specimen was first introduced to my BiOrbAir Terrarium in April 2016, this specimen was then moved to my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium on the 26th May 2016. This Phalaenopsis parishii specimen grew happily inside this terrarium, until the 12th November 2017, when the plant was then moved into this Orchidarium.
When I grew this Phalaenopsis parishii specimen inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, I grew this plant mounted on cork, as the plant is now, but the difference was that I kept the plant horizontal, whereas inside my Orchidarium, the plant is hung up on the side back wall of the orchidarium, so the plant hangs vertically.
This Phalaenopsis parishii specimen was in the early stages of producing its first flower bud of this season as it was moved into this Orchidarium.
Phalaenopsis parishii alba
Phalaenopsis parishii alba is the white form of Phalaenopsis parishii. This orchid species produces white flowers in springtime, which are pure white, without any markings or other colours.
I introduced this particular Phalaenopsis parishii alba specimen into this Orchidarium in April 2017. This Phalaenopsis parishii alba specimen has adjusted to its new environment and is growing well inside this Orchidarium.
I hope that this orchid will produce some lovely new leaves next springtime. In its native environment, Phalaenopsis parishii is a deciduous orchid, Phalaenopsis parishii will drop its leaves over winter and produce new leaves each year. However in cultivation, plants usually retain their leaves; the leaves just become somewhat duller in appearance as they age.
Phalaenopsis stobartiana is an epiphytic orchid species that is endemic to the Yunnan in China, where this miniature orchid can be found growing on the branches of trees.
I introduced this particular Phalaenopsis stobartiana specimen into this Orchidarium in April 2017. I love this charming Phalaenopsis species’ shining, silvery roots, the newest roots display the most polish, they positively gleam in the sunlight. Phalaenopsis stobartiana roots are a joy to see, I admire them each time I examine this Phalaenopsis.
This Phalaenopsis stobartiana specimen has established itself inside this Orchidarium. This miniature orchid is in the earliest stages of producing a flower bud. You might just be able to make out the emerging flower bud in the large photograph below.
Phalaenopsis thailandica is a really cute miniature, epiphytic orchid species, which produces very pretty little white flowers with cheerful yellow-orange markings.
I introduced this particular Phalaenopsis thailandica specimen into this Orchidarium in April 2017. This miniature orchid has established itself successfully inside this Orchidarium, producing a number of new healthy roots and leaves, which is so wonderful to see!
Phalaenopsis wilsonii is an epiphytic and lithophytic orchid species that was named after Ernest Henry Wilson, who discovered this Phalaenopsis species in Asia.
I introduced this particular Phalaenopsis wilsonii specimen into this Orchidarium in April 2017; I have been very happy to see how this plant has established itself in its new environment, the plant has produced new leaves and roots and new flower buds too!
I had planned to transfer this Phalaenopsis wilsonii specimen into a temporary home, in order to give the plant a drier, winter rest, but the plant produced a flower bud far sooner that I expected, so consequently I have left this plant in place inside this Orchidarium.
I introduced two plants of the same Pinguicula hybrid to this Orchidarium in November 2017. Pinguicula is more commonly referred to as butterwort; this is a carnivorous plant, which will help to control any sciarid flies (more commonly known as fungus gnats) that may try to establish themselves inside my Orchidarium. These hybrid Pinguicula plants produce rosettes of rather shiny, almost pearlescent leaves, which are quite dewy, sticky, and slimy, thus allowing this carnivorous plant to capture flies and other small insects.
As this Pinguicula plant was growing happily inside a small plastic pot that was filled with a specially formulated peat compost, I simply planted this Pinguicula specimen, including its plastic pot into the peat free coir compost inside the tray at the base of this Orchidarium. If you’re growing carnivorous plants and wish to include your pest controlling plants inside your terrarium, you can always do as I have done, and plant your carnivorous plant, complete with its pot, into your peat free compost. This growing method helps to prevent wasting peat based compost unnecessarily. The other terrarium plants do not require peat compost in order to flourish, in fact they are happier grown without peat.
It’s wise to regularly inspect your carnivorous plants, just to check that their compost is kept very moist with rainwater, and that the plants are growing happily. I have two Pinguicula hybrid specimens growing inside this Orchidarium. Both plants are currently growing well, as I write this update at the end of December 2017.
This Platystele examen-culicum specimen was first introduced to this Orchidarium in April 2017. This miniature orchid has established itself very nicely inside this Orchidarium. The plant has been producing new leaves and roots, and has probably been flowering far more often that I realise, as the plant’s flowers are so tiny, I need to take a photograph with my macro camera to have any chance of trying to see them! As I write on the 29th December 2017, I can see that this plant has produced numerous flower buds that will open in the coming days.
I have a special place in my heart for a dear little miniature orchid that produces tiny flowers, namely Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’. Stalky’s flowers are not comparable to the minuscule blooms produced by this challenging orchid species – you have some kind of chance to capture a photograph of Stalky in flower, whereas I feel like I stand next to no chance of getting a photograph of Platystele examen-culicum in flower, even with my macro lenses!
Pyrrosia serpens was first introduced into this Orchidarium in April 2017. This fern grows as both an epiphytic fern and as a terrestrial fern. I have this fern growing as a terrestrial fern inside this terrarium, but I am keen to see how this species fares when grown as an epiphyte.
I first grew the many of the Restrepia plants that now reside inside this Orchidarium inside my BiOrbAir terrariums, where these magnificent orchids flowered profusely, most notably Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ (click here to see the terrarium update that was written as this Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ specimen came into flower) and Restrepia sanguinea, (click here to see the terrarium update that was written as Restrepia sanguinea came into flower) which both flowered prolifically and were almost always in bloom. Restrepia seketii (click here to see the terrarium update that was written as this Restrepia seketii specimen came into flower) and Restrepia antennifera (click here to see the terrarium update that was written as this Restrepia antennifera specimen came into flower) also flowered inside my BiOrbAir terrariums, while Restrepia trichoglossa had yet to flower inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, before I whisked this plant away to this Orchidarium!
The Restrepias were the first orchids to be introduced to this Orchidarium in March 2017 and so these plants have had the longest time of all of the plants (nine months) to adjust to the new conditions inside this Orchidarium. I must say that only one of the three Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ specimens that are growing inside this Orchidarium has flowered on one occasion (one plant with one flower, which bloomed on the 8th September 2017), although these plants have recently started flowering now in late December 2017. The brighter lights of the Orchidarium have been too bright for these Restrepias, but these resilient plants have now produced many new leaves. These new Restrepia leaves were produced inside this Orchidarium and so are adapted to the greater intensity of light, allowing the plants to grow more strongly, and hopefully flower more often – the Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ plants are now flowering well (as I write on the 28th December 2017, one Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ plant is displaying three open flowers and two flower buds in an earlier stage of production), and Restrepia sanguinea is also producing its first flower bud.
I have yet to grow Restrepia citrina inside a BiOrbAir terrarium, so I am unable to compare this Restrepia species’ performance in the two different environments, but this plant has flowered sporadically inside my Orchidarium and has coped well with the brighter intensity of light.
Sadly Restrepia sanguinea, Restrepia seketii, Restrepia antennifera, and Restrepia trichoglossa have not flowered once during the nine months that they have resided inside this Orchidarium. When these Restrepias were introduced to my BiOrbAir terrariums they were single specimens and young plants, they grew on and reached flowering size in my BiOrbAir terrarium and would have flowered more prolifically if I had left them inside this terrarium. Having said this, Restrepias have a greater tolerance of various light intensities than many orchids, I have found that Restrepias are happiest growing in a humid environment when given a daily misting, these orchid’s favour humid conditions and need sufficient water to thrive and flower well. The plants favour more shaded conditions growing very happily with a more diffused light, but despite this these Restrepias have grown well inside this Orchidarium, even though for the most part these Restrepias have not flowered! These Restrepia plants have been readjusting themselves to the new conditions they find themselves growing in, inside this Orchidarium. You can see some photographs of the flowers that were produced by the Restrepias grown inside the Orchidarium below.
Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’
If you’re interested in Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ you can read more about this orchid species, here.
Following my miniature orchid reshuffle, I now have plants of every one of the Schoenorchis species that I have, growing together inside this Orchidarium.
There is some ambiguity and uncertainty concerning these miniature orchid species official names, it’s possible that one or more of these orchids will be classified as being the same species, but for now, to avoid any confusion I have listed the plants by the names that I purchased them as.
This Schoenorchis fragrans specimen was introduced into this Orchidarium in April 2017. You can see this plant in this accompanying photograph – I would not describe this as the best or most healthy Schoenorchis fragrans specimen that I have seen! When I first introduced this miniature orchid to this Orchidarium, the orchid seemed to be almost instantly at home. This Schoenorchis fragrans specimen surprised me by going from having almost no visible roots, to growing new roots at a rather a rapid rate. This plant also produced some lovely, leathery new leaves. It was a pleasure to look at this specimen during this period of healthy growth. Then just as I expected this plant to think about flowering, the plant seemed to go into a negative decline in its overall health and demeanour.
I am assuming that the conditions inside this Orchidarium are too rich in moisture for this Schoenorchis specimen. I will try moving this plant into another position within this Orchidarium and see if this benefits or revives the plant’s health.
These Schoenorchis scolopendria specimens were introduced into this Orchidarium on the 12th November 2017.
Both of these plants feature some dieback around the centre of the plants. It will be interesting to see how well these specimens grow inside this Orchidarium.
This Shoenorchis seidenfadenii specimen was introduced to this Orchidarium on the 12th November 2017.
So far I have not noticed any significant change in this plant’s growth and development since I moved it into this Orchidarium.
This Schoenorchis tixieri specimen was introduced into this Orchidarium in August 2017.
This Stelis muscifera specimen was introduced into my BiOrbAir Terrarium in July 2016. This miniature orchid had not quite yet reached flowering size when I purchased it as a young plant from the Writhlington Orchid Project. Consequently this orchid was only just becoming large enough to flower as I moved it from this BiOrbAIr terrarium to the Orchidarium. I moved this Stelis muscifera specimen from my BiOrbAir terrarium into this Orchidarium in March 2017. This Stelis muscifera specimen has coped very well indeed with the move, the plant seems to cope remarkably well with the brighter intensity of light; although my instincts tell me that this particular miniature orchid would have been happier if I had kept it inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, or if the intensity of light that the plant received was not quite as bright. That said, this Stelis muscifera specimen has proved itself to be very floriferous, this miniature orchid is almost always in bloom.
I am unsure what triggers the individual Stelis muscifera blooms themselves to open fully, allowing access to the plant’s pollen. On the odd occasion this Stelis muscifera plant displays one, two, or very rarely, a greater number of open blooms, but certainly this is not a frequent occurrence, for the vast majority of the time, the Stelis muscifera blooms are firmly closed and they appear as buds, they still look very pretty indeed at this stage.
If you’re interested in growing Stelis muscifera, I have found that this miniature orchid species favours humid conditions with frequent misting.
Next Orchidarium Update
To head straight to the next update for this Orchidarium, and see how these plants grew and developed from December 2017 until April 2018, please click here.
Orchidarium Planting list
The Orchidarium Planting List displays every plant that has been grown inside this terrarium so far, even plants that are no longer growing inside this Orchidarium and have now been moved to other terrariums are shown on this list. Any plants that I decide to grow inside this Orchidarium in future will be added to this planting list. The Orchidarium Planting List includes information on each of the plants – you can click on a plant to see links to every article I have written about that particular plant species. I have also listed all of the nurseries and suppliers that I used to purchase all of my plants, mosses, and cork for this Orchidarium, at the bottom of this planting list. You can see the full planting list for this Orchidarium here.
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.
You may be interested in some of the other trials I have conducted.
Terrarium, Vivarium, and Orchidarium Trials
To see how this Orchidarium was created, please click here.
To see my Tall Orchidarium being set up, please click here.
To see how my Rainforest Terrarium was set up and to discover the thinking behind my design, 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.
To see a list of mini miniature orchids to grow inside terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.
To see a longer list of terrarium plants that includes miniature and small sized orchids, ferns and other terrarium and bottle garden plants, please click here.
Compost Trial Reports
To see all of my various 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 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 2018 Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my 2018 Scented Daffodil Container Trial, please click here.
To read the results of my 2017 Scented Daffodil Trial, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you………….
To see how this Orchidarium was built, please click here.
To read a planting list of plants ideally suited to growing in a terrarium, vivarium, or bottle garden, please click here.
To read about Aerangis luteoalba var. rhodosticta, please click here.
To read about Restrepia citrina, please click here.
To read about Gastrochilus retrocallus, please click here.
To read about Phalaenopsis honghenensis, please click here.
To read about the new features of the 2017 BiOrbAir Terrarium, please click here.
To read about using decorative features inside your terrarium, please click here.
To read about long handled terrarium tools, please click here.