Welcome to the ninth part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, which are endemic to Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium. This Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium was set up in April 2017, so as I write to you now, in April 2018, this terrarium was created exactly a year ago. In this update I am delighted to share with you the distinct lime green coloured flowers of Aeranthes arachnites, which I find simply mesmerising! As you’ll see in this update, the plants that are growing inside this terrarium have at last benefitted from being more reliably, and more frequently misted with rainwater over the past month.
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 other plants that are found growing in Madagascar are not found anywhere else on Earth, Madagascar really is a special and unique place!
Kew Conservation in Madagascar
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.
I am a huge fan of the people that work at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. The team representing this amazing organisation, work to discover more about plants and fungi wherever they originate, all across our planet: to safeguard and protect species, to protect important areas for plants animals, and people, and inform people with the knowledge they have discovered about plants and fungi. We are all so fortunate to have the resources of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. The work undertaken at Kew benefits the entire planet. 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 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, as well as the plants that are growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium. I just love this automated, specialised terrarium, I enjoy finding beautiful plants to grow inside this terrarium!
The orchid plants that are featured inside this terrarium were all grown in cultivation, they were 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 individual plants, you can follow their progress, growth, and development over the years. In reading my regular terrarium updates, you can see how long my trialled terrarium plants have flowered for, discover how frequently these plants have flowered, or how quickly these plants have grown inside my terrariums.
The Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Planting List
- Aerangis citrata
- Aerangis hyaloides
- Aerangis macrocentra
- Aerangis punctata
- Aerangis sp.
- Aeranthes arachnites
- Angraecum dollii
- Angraecum equitans
- Angraecum ochraceum
You can see the full planting list for this terrarium here, where you’ll find more information about each of the orchids that are currently growing inside this Madagascar Terrarium, together with the details of any plants that I have previously trialled inside this terrarium. Any plants that I trial in future inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium will also be added to this planting list. You’ll also find the contact details of all of the nurseries and suppliers where I purchased all of my orchids, mosses, and cork for this terrarium at the bottom of this planting list.
For information on how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark, please click here.
Miniature epiphytic orchids from Madagascar
Since I wrote my last two updates, where I showed you how my plants inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium were dehydrated after my misting routine slowed down over Christmas, much to the detriment of the plants inside this terrarium, I have since been ensuring that these Madagascan plants have all the water and moisture they need. The plants inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium have all benefitted from more frequent, regular misting with rainwater; these orchids have been misted every other day, or there abouts over the past month or two. I like to ensure that my plants are misted in the early morning.
These Madagascan orchids have also benefitted from the continuing use of SB Plant Invigorator and Orchid Focus Grow for the plants that are actively growing, and Orchid Focus Bloom for any plants that are flowering. If you’re interested, you can read more about the general care I give to the plants growing inside my BiOrbAir Terrariums here.
This Aerangis citrata specimen has continually suffered from various degrees and extremes of dehydration since I introduced this plant to this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium back in April 2017, which as I write to you today was exactly a year ago. This Aerangis citrata specimen occupies a somewhat elevated position within this terrarium, so as a consequence this plant is closer to this terrarium’s fan than this particular plant would prefer. This orchid’s roots have been drier than you might expect, as the majority of this Aerangis citrata specimen’s roots hang freely around the plant. There is a covering of moss over the top part of the cork mount that this Aerangis citrata specimen is mounted onto, but apart from this small area of moss, this orchid’s roots are for the most part not covered by any moss, indeed the majority of this plant’s roots are without even the backing of any cork to provide any reserve of moisture, or even to provide shelter for the plant’s roots from the drying effects of this terrarium’s fan, (which runs continually, 24 hours a day) to allow this plant’s roots a longer time period to take in any available moisture.
However, this Aerangis citrata specimen is now looking far less dehydrated than it was last month, which is great news! Although I would still describe this plant as being somewhat dehydrated and showing signs of earlier, more serious degrees of dehydration, this Aerangis citrata specimen’s leaves are visibly less wrinkled now, this plant’s leaves have a much plumper, more turgid appearance today than they did last month. I have my fingers crossed that this plant will be in even better health next month, and in the continuing months that follow.
Having good air circulation around plants is very beneficial for them, if I had provided this Aerangis citrata specimen with more frequent misting with rainwater, this plant would not have become so dehydrated. Having a fan inside a terrarium is a great advantage! A fan allows you to create a more beneficial environment for your plants with optimum air circulation, it just obviously goes without saying that you need to provide adequate water for your plants, whatever your environment, but with a fan running constantly and fresh air circulating you need to allow for evaporation as well as to provide enough water for your plant’s needs.
Since I wrote my last update for this terrarium, last month (in March 2018), I am very happy to show you how this Aerangis hyaloides specimen has been rejuvenated by the simple application of regular misting with rainwater, which has greatly benefitted all of the plants that reside inside this Madagascan terrarium.
I am delighted to see that this Aerangis hyaloides specimen is in the process of producing a lovely new leaf, this plant is also producing some healthy new roots.
This Aerangis hyaloides specimen’s leaves are now turgid, they have a smoother, less wrinkled appearance, as this plant has now continually received sufficient moisture to adequately hydrate the plant over the past month or so. It’s wonderful to see this orchid in better health, this plant is now happier, so now I am happier too!
I have two Aerangis macrocentra specimens that are growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, these young plants have both grown strongly since I introduced them to this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium. Currently, both of these Aerangis macrocentra plants are actively growing, they are producing new leaves and roots. Only a month has passed since I wrote my last update for this Madagascar BiOrbAir, yet I can see a visible difference in the appearance and growth of these two orchids.
It’s amazing to think that during the middle of January 2018, (which at the present time, as I am writing to you was three months ago now) that this very Aerangis punctata specimen had only two leaves, one of which I had expected to be discarded at any moment! Three months on and this Aerangis punctata specimen now has four leaves, hooray!
This Aerangis punctata specimen has been producing some lovely new roots and some strong new growth since I wrote my previous update last month. I am over the moon to say that this plant seems to be flourishing again, which is so wonderful to see!
In my photographs of this Aerangis punctata specimen, you can see, just poking its head out on the left hand side of the photograph, is this plant’s oldest leaf, this is the leaf that I had expected the plant to drop at any moment but happily this leaf has been retained over the past few months. This oldest leaf has a slight peach coloured tonal quality when viewed in comparison to this plant’s newer, more vibrant looking leaves. Shielding the oldest, peach coloured leaf, is this plant’s next oldest leaf, this second oldest leaf displays a bluish-grey colour tone. Both of these older leaves have become somewhat duller in their appearance, as Aerangis punctata‘s leaves age they naturally lose their shine. Next, working in a clockwise direction now, this Aerangis punctata specimen’s youngest leaf is also the plant’s smallest leaf, whose countenance is as you’d expect, more youthful. This leaf is visibly smoother and glossier, displaying tones from a greener colour palette across its leaf. I would describe this newest leaf’s colouration as more of a traditional leaf green. Lastly, but again continuing in a clockwise direction, this plant’s second youngest leaf features a glossy, smooth texture, this leaf’s smoother leaf coating is wrinkled on either side of the base of the leaf. This plant’s second youngest leaf is also the plant’s largest leaf, this leaf is darker green in colour, I would describe this leaf as being a deep sea green.
This Aerangis species, which is most probably Aerangis fuscata, has continued its period of positive new growth, producing an additional two or three new leaves since my last update, which was just a month ago now. This Aerangis sp. produces beautiful leaves, they display a reddish-brown coloured picotee edging, which enhances this miniature orchid’s beauty. This Aerangis is just such an attractive plant!
Before I took these photographs of this Aerangis species on the 28th March 2018, I removed some of the moss that had grown over and hidden this plant’s new leaves. I am quite a fan of moss! I like to have moss growing with many of my orchids, but I wanted to control this fast growing moss’s advancement over the plant, as this moss had encompassed much of this plant’s areas of new growth. You can see in the last two photographs, which were taken just 19 days after the top two photographs, just how quickly this particular moss species grows and how invasive it can become. These two pairs of two photographs, both taken taken just 19 days apart, show the active growth of this Aerangis species, these photographs highlight the new leaves that this plant is producing.
This Aeranthes arachnites specimen is growing rampantly! This fabulous orchid, with its lime green coloured flowers captivates me each time I glance in its direction, this is such a special orchid! This Aeranthes arachnites specimen currently has produced at least four flowering stems! One of these flowering stems has produced a flower, which had already been open for twelve days when I photographed it for this update. While, this Aeranthes arachnites specimen has produced further flower buds, which are in a number of earlier stages of production. Here’s a look at this orchid’s latest flower buds and flowers!
I love Angraecum dollii! This miniature orchid is just so beautiful! This Angraecum dollii specimen has not grown considerably larger since my last update last month, but this plant is currently producing new leaves, which is always marvellous to see!
This Angraecum equitans specimen is growing slowly, but somewhat surely inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium. This plant is in the process of producing a new leaf, and hopefully some new roots too.
This Angraecum equitans specimen was one of the first orchid species that I trialed inside the BiOrbAir, I am still waiting for this plant to flower. Over the past couple of years I have endured a few periods where I have worried for the health of this tiny plant, thankfully so far each time this little orchid has recovered. I do still have some concern for this Angraecum equitans specimen, I hope that this plant will be growing more strongly and healthily soon.
This Angraecum ochraceum specimen was introduced to this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium in June 2017, so as I write to you today, this orchid has been growing inside this terrarium for ten months. This Angraecum orchraceum is OK, but this plant is not thriving. I do not like the look of one of this plant’s leaves – the leaf that is yellowing and has some rust coloured markings, so I will be relieved when this plant has dropped this leaf, I say that of so long as no further leaves then go on to display the same colourings. Happily, other, newer Angraecum ochraceum leaves are displaying a more favourable, pleasing green colour tone, with a vibrancy and shine that I do appreciate. Looking at these younger leaves makes me feel more positively about this plant’s countenance, but I will continue to monitor this plant closely to see how this plant progresses.
After being in a slow decline since its introduction, sadly the Angraecum rutenbergianum specimen that was growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir has died. This plant has now been removed from this terrarium. It’s always a sad time when a plant dies, I always feel intensely sorry, and somewhat guilty, but each mistake teaches us something new.
To head straight to the next update for this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, 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 special plant’s flowering at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, please click here.