A catch up with Phalaenopsis micholitzii, Aerangis biloba, Angraecum distichum, and Humata repens!
In November 2017, I conducted a large scale reorganisation of my orchids, moving plants from one terrarium into another. My intention, and the end result of all of this disruption, was to group my orchid plants more interestingly: placing plants from different orchid species that originate from the same genus together wherever possible. I felt it was important to make the most of this opportunity to move some plants to new environments, so as to fully trial each plant in a variety of growing conditions, which will enable me to learn more about the optimum conditions required for each orchid species on trial, and to eventually establish which of my terrariums would be the most suitable forever home for each plant.
As part of this reorganisation, I moved my Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen from my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium into my Orchidarium, and in doing so I took apart my planting arrangement inside my White Orchid Trial Terrarium. I was very fond of my White Orchid Trial Terrarium and its planting, taking this set up apart was the one aspect of this particular rearrangement process that saddened me. I was loathe to move my Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen – a plant that was so healthy and so happy in its environment, and to change a display that pleased me, but I felt that it was important to trial my orchids in a range of environments, so I set about making the necessary changes.
My Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen was grown inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium from March 2017 until November 2018, when I moved this plant into my Orchidarium, so that I could grow this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen alongside many other Phalaenopsis species. I hold a National Collection of Miniature Phalaenopsis Species, so I have quite a few plants from this genus. This Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen had flourished while it was growing inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir. The growing conditions the BiOrbAir provided suited this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen and this super orchid looked healthy and strong, this plant seemed to be almost always be in flower or in bud.
Once I moved this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen into my Orchidarium, this plant’s demeanour changed instantaneously! This specimen stopped producing new flowers, buds, and leaves – the plant stopped growing – this orchid appeared as if it was frozen in time! While this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen was growing inside my Orchidarium this plant did not produce a single flower or a single new leaf. Just over five months after I moved this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen into my Orchidarium, I conceded defeat, and in April 2017, I moved this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen into a BiOrbAir Terrarium. Less than a month after being moved back into a BiOrbAir terrarium, in May 2018, this same Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen was in flower again, as well as flowering this plant was also beginning the process of producing a new leaf. This orchid was already looking so much happier!
This Aerangis biloba specimen was grown inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium from March 2017 until November 2017. I had thought that the conditions inside the Orchidarium would be entirely unsuited to this particular orchid species, so although there was a space available inside my Orchidarium at the time of this rearrangement I chose to move this plant from my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium into one of my glass terrariums. Sadly, the glass terrarium that this orchid was growing inside broke in January 2018, leaving this plant in need of a new home. I moved this plant into my Orchidarium as a temporary measure, for a day or two – at most. As this Aerangis biloba specimen did not instantly keel over and die, I decided to keep this plant inside the Orchidarium, to monitor the specimen closely, keeping a close watch for any signs of distress, when I would immediately move the plant. Happily, I can report that this Aerangis biloba specimen thrived inside my Orchidarium, this young plant produced new strong roots and healthy leaves whilst it was growing inside the Orchidarium.
In April 2018, when I was able to move the Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen – the plant you saw pictured at the start of this update, into a BiOrbAir terrarium, I decided to create a less crowded terrarium, using some of the same plants that had originally been included inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, so I moved this Aerangis biloba plant into the BiOrbAir terrarium.
This Angraecum distichum specimen is mounted onto the same piece of cork that the Aerangis biloba specimen – the plant that I just showed you, is growing upon. So, consequently these plants are joined at the hip, as it were, and they follow each other around, whether they like it or not!
I think that only a cold hearted person could glance at an Angraecum distichum specimen and not instantly fall head over heals in love with this orchid species! This orchid species’ leaves are quite simply mesmerising! I would grow this plant for its foliage alone, but this orchid species really does look a picture when it’s in flower, when it’s decorated with tiny, white blooms, which only heighten the contrast between the leaf green, dinosaur like foliage and the pure white of this orchid species’ inflorescences. Having said all this – this particular plant has yet to bloom – this plant did not bloom while it was growing inside the Orchidarium, and prior to this move, this specimen did not flower inside the BiOrbAir. Will this orchid ever flower? I will let you know….
Angraecum distichum is a miniature orchid species that’s suited to growing in a shaded location, away from the midday sunshine, in a very humid, moist environment. This is an extremely slow growing orchid species that tends to form specimens with a clump like growth habit. Individual stems are often adorned with small growths – keikis – new plants, which then grow on to further extend the size of the clump.
Angraecum distichium dislikes disturbance. If you move your plant, particularly if you uproot or re-pot your plant, your plant may resent your interference for quite sometime and will accordingly take time to adjust. If you need to re-pot or mount your plants, the best time to carry out this work is in the springtime.
This particular Angraecum distichum specimen is grown epiphytically – this plant is mounted onto a piece of cork bark, this is the same piece of cork that I mounted this plant onto at the end of March 2017, which as I write to you today, is 16 months ago. You can find out more about Angraecum distichum in this article I wrote about this orchid, which also shows Angraecum distichum in flower.
Humata repens is a dear little fern, which is rather special: it’s beautiful, naturally small in size, and easy to grow inside a terrarium! The ferns that you can see pictured above and below, are all divisions from the same fern specimen – a small Humata repens fern that was planted inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium on the 28th May 2017. This Humata repens specimen flourished inside the BiOrbAir terrarium! The fern was planted into the coir compost that came with this terrarium, where it remained until May 2018, as having grown this fern for a year inside the BiOrbAir, I had proven that Humata repens was ideally suited to growing inside a BiOrbAir terrarium, so I moved this fern out of my trial to make room for some new plants. However, the purpose of this particular BiOrbAir terrarium – the terrarium you see these orchids and ferns growing inside, is to provide the ideal home for my Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen and any other orchids that are suited to growing alongside it. These plants are beautifully enhanced by Humata repens, the original single fern that I grew inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium has now been divided to form two ferns.
Other articles that may interest you…………….
To read about the Queen of the orchids, the largest known orchid species, and see photographs of this orchid species in flower at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, please click here.
To see a planting list of a variety of orchids, ferns, and plants suited to terrarium growing, please click here.
To see the first part of my Miniature Orchid Trial, please click here.
To see the first part of my White Orchid Trial, please click here.
To see the first part of my Madagascan Orchid Trial, please click here.