Welcome to the eighth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar inside the BiOrbAir terrarium! Since I published the last update for this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, the plants inside this Madagascan terrarium have been growing steadily.
There are many new Madagascan orchids which are now growing inside this terrarium, these plants were introduced during my November 2017 reshuffle, which saw me move many of my orchids from one terrarium to another, so that I could group the plants more interestingly. So, in this update, I will share with you the development of these miniature and small Madagascan orchids, as they acclimatise and adjust to their new environment inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Madagascar Orchid Trial
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. I wanted showcase the beauty of some of Madagascar’s plants, with the hope that by sharing these images I would encourage more love, protection, and support for Madagascar. Many of the orchids and plants that are found growing in Madagascar are not found anywhere else on Earth, so this really is a special and unique place.
The Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre
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’s (KMCC) blog, please click here.
I am a huge fan of the people that work at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. The team representing this amazing organisation, work tirelessly to discover more about plants and fungi wherever they originate, all across our planet, working to safeguard and protect species, conserve important areas for plants, and inform people with the useful and interesting knowledge they have learnt about plants and fungi through their work. We are so fortunate to have Kew. The work undertaken at Kew benefits the entire planet. If you’d like to support the important work that Kew carry out, you can donate much needed funds to contribute and support Kew’s vital plant science and conservation work, to visit Kew’s website, please click here.
The BiOrbAir terrarium that I have used to plant up these rare orchids from Madagascar, was designed by Barry Reynolds and is available from BiOrb. I have a number of BiOrbAir terrariums, which I use to trial a wide range of plants. I write about my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, and this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium. I just love this automated, specialised terrarium and love finding beautiful orchids to grow inside this terrarium!
The orchid plants that are featured inside this terrarium were all grown in cultivation and not taken from the wild. I would never wish to purchase plants that were taken from the wild. If you’re interested in seeing a planting list of suitable ferns, orchids, and plants that will thrive when grown inside a terrarium or bottle garden, please click here. Many of the plants on this planting list for terrariums and bottle gardens have been trialled inside my terrariums, for these plants, you can follow their progress, growth, and development over the years. In reading my regular terrarium updates, you can see how long these trialled terrarium plants flower for, and discover how frequently the plants have flowered inside my terrariums.
The Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Planting List
- Aerangis citrata
- Aerangis fastuosa
- Aerangis hyaloides
- Aerangis macrocentra
- Aerangis punctata
- Aerangis sp. (most likely to be Aerangis fuscata)
- Aeranthes arachnites
- Angraecum dollii
- Angraecum equitans
- Angraecum ochraceum
- Angraecum rutenbergianum
I conducted a large scale re-arrange of nearly all of my terrariums on the 12th November 2017. During this rearrange many of my orchids were moved from one terrarium to another, where I hoped the plants would be happier, or be better suited to the planting theme. I have tried to group plants from the same genus together where possible.
Consequently, I moved my Aerangis hyaloides and Angraecum equitans specimens from my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, into this terrarium, as both of these miniature orchid species are from Madagascar, so they’re perfectly suited to growing within this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Following on from my reorganisation, in November 2017, I have also introduced Angraecum dollii, Angraecum ochraceum, and Angraecum rutenbergianum into this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium. I am hoping with all of my heart that these miniature orchids will be happy inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.
You can see the full planting list for this terrarium here. In this planting list you’ll find more details about each of the orchids that are currently growing inside this terrarium, alongside the details of any orchids that were previously grown inside this terrarium. Any plants that I trial inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium in future will also be added to this planting list. At the bottom of the plant list you’ll find the details of all of the nurseries and suppliers where I purchased my orchids, mosses, and cork for this terrarium.
If you’re wondering how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark, you’ll find information on how to mount orchids here.
Miniature epiphytic orchids from Madagascar
Since I published the last update for this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, I have been busy conducting a strict control and protection programme, as sadly I recently had an outbreak of spider mite inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. I keep all of my terrariums as separate as is possible, so that if an outbreak of pest or disease occurs, it will not be able to easily spread throughout my orchid collection, or to my other plant collections.
Since I spotted the outbreak of spider mite inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir, all of my plants have been sprayed with SB Plant Invigorator. SB Plant Invigorator is an organic insecticide, a mildewcide, and a plant stimulant, which is said to control powdery mildew, as well as a variety of pests, including: spider mite, scale, mealy bug, aphids, and white fly. I hope that regular, thorough applications of SB Plant Invigorator, applied at the recommended dose and frequency, will protect these Madagascan plants from any pests. Fingers crossed I will now be able to control the spider mite population that has developed within my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
If you’re thinking of administering SB Plant Invigorator to your orchids, or indeed to any of your plants, do ensure that you spray the underside of your plant’s leaves and coat the entire plant, including the plant’s stems, as well as the top sides of the leaves and the plant’s roots. Never be tempted to mix a stronger dose of SB Plant Invigorator, or indeed to mix a more potent dose of any product, than is recommended on the instructions. Always follow the instructions on the packet or bottle for any product you’re using. Orchids are sensitive plants, so do please check that any product you use explicitly states that it is safe to use on orchids, and research the recommended application rate before attempting application yourself.
I recently found a few aphids inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. I haven’t had seen any aphids on any of the plants that are growing inside any of my terrariums for some years now, so I was disappointed to find them. After finding the aphids inside my Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium, I examined and photographed all of my plants closely. I hope that the SB Plant Invigorator, which I am now using on all of my terrarium plants will control these aphids and prevent them spreading to my other terrariums including this one. I shall be inspecting all of my plants closely and photographing them at regular intervals to look out for any pests.
30th December 2017
This Aerangis citrata specimen’s cascade of fresh, white flowers began opening on the 22nd December 2017, but by the 30th December 2017 – which was just eight days later, the first flowers of this inflorescence to open, had begun to fade, and by the 2nd January 2018, eleven days after the first flowers opened, all of the blooms produced for this flowering period had withered.
Aerangis citrata is reported to produce fragrant flowers. I adore beautifully fragrant flowers, and I consider myself to have rather an acute and heightened sense of smell, but I am sorry to say that despite a number of close encounters, during both the daytime and in the evening, I have yet to detect any perfume from the blooms produced by my Aerangis citrata plant. I hope that as the plant matures it will produce fragrant flowers.
This Aerangis citrata specimen is still looking very dehydrated. I will continue to regularly mist this orchid’s roots, I will ensure that this plant has all the moisture it requires.
4th January 2018
This Aerangis hyaloides specimen was first introduced to this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium on the 12th November 2017. Prior to this move, the plant resided inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir. I set up my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium to offer wetter growing conditions, with more frequent misting than I offer to the plants that are growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, which maintains a much drier environment.
I care very much for this Aerangis hyaloides specimen, I had meant to regularly, and frequently check on this plant, to ensure that the plant had access to all the moisture it required to ensure a gradual transfer and acclimatisation to the drier environment inside this terrarium. Sadly my intentions were not successful, as over December 2017, my view of this terrarium was somewhat obscured by my extensive, and excessive array of Christmas decorations, which decorate my home from the beginning of December until twelfth night. My decorations have the effect of bathing the interior of my home in a shimmering golden hue, which obscured the view of my terrariums. My Christmas decorations are great fun, but they do make manoeuvring around my terrariums a rather more difficult and hazardous experience than one would hope for! The result of my blurred view of this terrarium, was to give this Aerangis hyaloides specimen an unfortunate, and extended, bout of severe dehydration, which naturally has very negatively impacted on this orchid. This plant is now a shadow of it’s former self, its shape and form has changed, as well as this the plant is displaying leaves, which are much duller in their appearance, with a distinctive wrinkled texture that accompanies dehydrated plants. The leaves are held with less turgidity on the plant, consequently this episode has naturally resulted in a much sorrier looking plant. I am of course the sorriest of them all.
Thankfully, plants are jolly clever! To help to secure this Aerangis hyaloides specimen’s survival, the plant has very sensibly decided to drop a leaf, which instantaneously made this plant smaller in size and therefore requiring of less moisture and nutrients to sustain itself. I am now working to ensure that this Aerangis hyaloides specimen has all the moisture it requires.
I have two Aerangis macrocentra specimens growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, both plants are flourishing, they have produced new leaves and new roots, and seem to have happily established themselves inside this terrarium.
16th January 2018
In my previous update I voiced my concern for this Aerangis punctata specimen, which had dropped two leaves, from the same side of the plant, in quick succession. This left the plant with just two leaves, one of which I expected to be dropped shortly afterwards, as the leaf was discoloured and in a poor condition. So I was absolutely thrilled and somewhat relieved to see the new leaf that this Aerangis punctata specimen began producing at the start of January 2018! I can see that this plant’s lower leaf is still in poor condition and is in the process of being discarded, but that’s OK and is to be expected – the fact that a new leaf is being produced fills me with both with relief and with joy in equal measure!
8th March 2018
This Aerangis punctata specimen has continued to thrill me by starting to produce another new leaf! Hooray for new leaves and new, healthy growth! I often think of Aerangis punctata as a slower growing orchid species than it is. Once the conditions are right for the plant, this orchid species can produce a new leaf that develops from being the tiniest fold of speckled green – just a hint of a leaf, to a full sized, speckled green-grey leaf within a month. So, as my photographs below show, an Aerangis puncata plant can transform itself from a sorry looking specimen with just two leaves, to a much happier plant with three leaves and another leaf in an earlier stage of production.
If your plants are not looking their best, see if there is a way that you can improve their growing conditions to make it easier for your plants to grow – provide your plants with their favoured light level, sufficient water, their favoured temperature range, and when they are actively growing provide specialist orchid fertiliser too. If you’re interested, you can see the fertiliser and products I use to maintain my orchids, here.
16th January 2018
This Aerangis species, which was purchased a few years ago now as Aerangis fastuosa, but is much more likely to be Aerangis fuscata, has produced some beautiful glossy, new leaves since I wrote my last update, which is quite simply marvellous to see! This plant seems to go through a period of positive, healthy growth, but usually as soon as I begin to think, ‘Oh hooray, you’re happy!’ The plant then descends into a period of decline. I hope that this specimen will continue with its healthy growth, and the plant will continue to produce new leaves and roots.
This Aerangis species has a very attractive red picotee edging to its leaves. This really is quite a charming plant, when it’s happy!
This Aeranthes arachnites specimen is rather large, the plant takes up a lot of room inside my Madagascar BiOrbAir terrarium. Although this orchid species maybe bigger than you might wish for if you’re planting up a BiOrbAir terrarium, and so you may not want to include this orchid inside your own BiOrbAir, or a similarly sized terrarium, I must say that this Aeranthes arachnites specimen has absolutely flourished inside this BiOrbAir terrarium! This orchid would be a great addition to a larger terrarium that offered similar conditions to the BiOrbAir.
I have left the old flowering stems, which were produced last year, on my plant, as Aeranthes arachnites flowering stems can go on producing flowers for several years. Happily, this plant has produced two new flowering stems that will flower this year, which is a very exciting thought!
In terms of growth, I have been so impressed with this Aeranthes arachnites specimen’s growth, the plant’s resilience has also fascinated me. This plant has grown steadfastly and determinedly; this Aeranthes arachnites specimen has sent out a number of roots into the pillow moss that surrounds the cork inside this terrarium, thereby accessing more moisture. With its various roots, this plant has anchored itself in place securely. Having seen how this Aeranthes arachnites specimen has grown inside this terrarium, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this orchid species grew terrestrially as well as epiphytically in the plant’s native environment.
When I planted up this terrarium, I was so excited to be able to include this Aeranthes arachnites specimen inside my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, as this orchid species’ green, star-shaped flowers display such an ‘out of this world’ appearance that I felt that they would convey the message of the magical array of unusual orchids and other plants that are endemic to Madagascar, that I was trying to help publicise and celebrate in planting this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium. I am so glad to have this Aeranthes arachnites specimen growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium; I love to share this fascinating plant’s growth and development with you!
I was so excited to be able to introduce this Angraecum dollii specimen into this Madagascar BiOrBAir Terrarium! This is one of my favourite Angraecum species, I seriously hope that this miniature orchid will be happy inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium!
This dear little Angraecum equitans specimen is a wee little plant, measuring only 4.8cm (1.8 inches) in width and 3cm (1.1 inches) in height. This Angraecum equitans specimen has not changed much since I introduced this plant to my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in August 2015.
As I examined this Angraecum equitans specimen I felt concerned for this plant, as there was just something in the plant’s demeanour and the way it was holding its leaves that alarmed me. When I examined this Angraecum’s roots they were not as I had hoped for – as I am certain that previously this plant’s roots had grown more extensively through the moss. So I removed all of the moss surrounding this Angraecum equitans specimen’s roots, and replaced it with fresh moss, and remounted the plant onto a new piece of cork and placed it back inside the Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.
It’s marvellous to see the lovely new leaves and the delightful new roots that this Angraecum ochraceum specimen has produced over the past few months. Knowing that this particular orchid species favours bright light, I was a little unsure as to how well this plant would fare inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir, yet so far the results look very promising. Indeed this plant seems to be readily adjusting and acclimatising to its new environment inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.
The BiOrbAir’s LED lights produce a light which is the same colour temperature as daylight, they provide a soft light, which is more flattering and appealing than any lamp light that I have seen. The BiOrbAir makes a truly wonderful lamp, which can be individually planted to match the style or theme of a room – which is such a wonderful thought!
I have two Angraecum rutenbergianum plants that are now growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium. These plants were a very special and wonderful gift from my dear friends John and Maureen, so naturally I am especially keen to keep these two plants alive! More than ever I wish to grow these Angraecum plants especially well. I talk to these two Angraecums with my motivational voice, always firm, but very encouraging, every time I see the plants! I really hope that I can improve the condition of these two Angraecum rutenbergianum plants, I want to provide them with the optimum care and their ideal conditions. Currently these plants look rather wrinkled and in poor condition, I hope to improve their condition and provide the plants with everything they require for successful growth.
The debris that you see attached to the leaves of these Angraecum rutenbergianum specimens is the remnants of the moss that the plants were growing in and packaged in when they were posted to me this autumn. It has been more annoying and harder to remove than I would like, hence its prolonged attachment, as you see here in the photographs below.
Inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, I am currently dealing with an outbreak of spider mite. I had mites on my mind, even though I haven’t spotted any spider mite in this terrarium, as I was photographing this Angraecum, to show you the plant’s development in this update, I spotted this Oribatid mite. This Oribatid mite is a tiny little mite, just noticeable as a dark coloured dot, that you might spot on your plants, the giveaway is that it stands out with its very dark, shiny armoured covering and you may see it moving when you click from one photograph to another!
Other articles that may interest you…………
To read how I track the temperature, humidity, and light levels inside my terrariums to monitor my plant’s growing conditions, please click here.
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, please click here.