In the early part of 2017, (which as I am writing to you, was over eighteen months ago now) I decided to create an Orchidarium: an enclosure complete with an automated misting unit, LED lights, and fans, to house some of my miniature and small sized orchids and provide them with automatic care. I chose to create this orchidarium as a functional terrarium, the planting and style of this Orchidarium is not designed, or intended, to be naturalistic or beautiful, instead this Orchidarium allows me the opportunity of growing a greater number of plants, all mounted individually, so the plants can easily be removed or rearranged as I wish. This set up allows me a greater flexibility, I can easily remove and compare plants of different orchid species alongside each other, I can take plants out of the Orchidarium to photograph, and I can easily remove any of the plants to a cooler terrarium for a winter rest, I can add any new plants with the same ease, without any of these being an onerous chore.
In this update you can see how the automated features that I installed have performed over the past four months, and you can see see for yourself just how the plants that reside inside this Orchidarium have grown and developed. In this instalment, I am excited to share with you the flowering of a number of my orchids, including: Aerangis lueto-alba var. rhodosticta, Dinema polybulbon, Chiloschista lunifera, Oncidium hians, Phalaenopsis appendiculata, Phalaenopsis lobbii, Phalaenopsis lobbii var, flavilabia, Phalaenopsis parishii, Phalaenopsis wilsonii, Schoenorchis fragrans, Schoenorchis tixieri, Stelis muscifera, Restrepia citrina, Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’, and Restrepia sanguinia.
I have written this update in August 2018, following on from an extended heatwave in the UK, and a summer different and more intense than any I remember passing before. This Orchidarium is housed inside my home, where it is sheltered from the scorching heat, as well as most of the light from the sun, but I must say that despite this protection, the temperatures have been warmer inside my home than ever before.
If you’re wondering how this Orchidarium was built, you can read my step by step guide, which details exactly how my Orchidarium was created. This guide also gives the details of all of the products I have installed inside my Orchidarium.
If you would rather start at the beginning and read the first update I wrote for this Orchidarium, here’s a link to the first instalment.
Automated Plant Care
My Orchidarium features an automatic LED lighting system, an automatic misting system, fans to circulate the air, and equipment that automatically maintains the humidity levels inside this enclosure.
Jungle Hobbies Advanced LED Lighting System problems
When I originally set up this Orchidarium, I wanted to ensure that the light that my plants received was of excellent quality. I wanted to install automatically controlled lighting, lights that would turn on in the morning and then turn off again at night, with adjustable intensity. I carried out some research into the lights that were available to purchase at the time, and based on this research, I opted for the Jungle Hobbies Advanced LED Lighting System. Initially this lighting system performed well, giving good quality light under which the plants thrived. The only downside was that the heat-sink required active air-flow to dissipate the heat from the light’s electronics, and to provide this, these Jungle Hobbies lights are cooled by a rather loud fan which, under normal circumstances, kicks in for a few minutes, two-three times an hour. The fan is noisier than I would like, it can be very distracting, as the fan’s noise is significantly louder than any of the other fans or electronics inside my other terrariums!
However, after a few months, the situation got worse, as the Jungle Hobbies lights’ fan became even noisier, it also became unreliable – sometimes the fan wouldn’t work at all – which caused the light to overheat. On at least two occasions, this overheating combined with warm weather resulted in the light shutting itself down (due to a temperature cut-out triggering) leaving my plants in darkness for a period of time until the light system had passively cooled down, or another light source was brought through.
I contacted Jungle Hobbies about this issue, and they agreed to send a replacement fan unit for me to fit to the light, which they duly posted via one of the slowest postal services I have ever experienced – it took over two months for the fan unit to arrive in the UK from their head office in Canada! Thankfully, this all happened during the wintertime, which helped to mitigate the over-heating effect. Had this problem occurred during this summer’s heatwave, my plants could have ended up experiencing long periods with no lighting, which would have had far greater repercussions. I’m now keeping my fingers crossed that the replacement fan has a better longevity, and that the problem does not re-occur. These lights may work more reliably if you’re going to use them in a very cool, or air-conditioned environment. My home is cooler than most other homes in this area, but the problems I experienced were frustrating to say the least, I just hope that these problems are behind me now.
Orchidarium automated plant care settings
This update for my Orchidarium follows on from my previous update for this Orchidarium, which was written at the time when I had the equipment inside this Orchidarium set up to deliver a fine mist of deionised water over all of the plants automatically, every morning, for one minute, five seconds, at 8.30am. On the 9th July 2018, this morning misting was increased, so as to mist the plants for one minute and thirty seconds, beginning at 8.30am each morning. I opted to increase the misting, as we were experiencing a heat wave at the time, and I felt that some of the plants, especially those in bud, would benefit from some additional moisture.
When I examined the Phalaenopsis malipoensis plant that resides inside this Orchidarium on the 26th July 2018, I felt that this orchid’s flower buds were aborting, so I took the step of adding in an additional automatic lunchtime misting, just for ten seconds, for all of the plants at 12.30pm each day, just to provide the plants with some extra moisture to prevent them from becoming too dry. I stopped this additional lunchtime misting on the 12th August 2018, as the heatwave had passed and temperatures had returned to normal.
Every week, the Restrepia and Masdevallia plants that reside inside this Orchidarium are hand misted every two-three days, to provide these moisture loving plants with the extra water they need, but most of the plants inside this Orchidarium receive most, if not all, of the water they require from the automatic misting system, which uses deionised water.
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 it only kicks in when humidity is high. This works effectively to maintain a constant humidity level between 80%-95% inside this Orchidarium. The other fan runs constantly, circulating the air and creating constant air movement inside this Orchidarium.
Orchidarium humidity and temperature
A number of readers had questions about how I monitor the growing conditions inside this Orchidarium and inside my other terrariums and what equipment I use to record this data, so I wrote this article about how I track temperature, humidity, and light conditions.
Orchidarium planting list
I currently have the following plants growing inside this Orchidarium:
- Aerangis lueto-alba var. rhodosticta
- Bulbophyllum ambrosia
- Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’
- Bulbophyllum sessile
- Ceratocentron fesselii
- Chiloschista lunifera
- Deinostigma tamiana
- Dendrobium moniliforme
- Dinema polybulbon
- Gastrochilus retrocallus
- 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 finleyi
- Phalaenopsis honghenensis
- Phalaenopsis lobbii
- Phalaenopsis lobbii f. flavilabia
- Phalaenopsis lowii
- Phalaenopsis malipoensis
- Phalaenopsis parishii
- Phalaenopsis parishii alba
- Phalaenopsis stobartiana
- Phalaenopsis taenialis
- Phalaenopsis thailandica
- Phalaenopsis wilsonii
- Pinguicula hybrid
- 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.
Orchidarium insects and pests
Plants give life. This Orchidarium has become home to an ever increasing number of tiny insects! I believe that at least some of these insects are Psocids, which are also known as barklice, but I may be mistaken, they may be Psyllids. Of course, I could have populations of both of these insects present, or they might be an entirely different insect altogether! Even if these insects won’t harm any of my plants, I really don’t want to house any insects inside any of my terrariums, but I also don’t wish to kill any creatures! So it’s an uncomfortable situation that has resulted in the number of insect colonies inside this Orchidarium increasing daily! These insects’ tiny, pin prick size black or dark brown droppings decorate the roots of the plants that are growing inside my Orchidarium in abundance! It’s not a look that I relish or have ever aspired to achieve. The plants that are growing inside this Orchidarium display a very fine webbing in places, which is also produced by these tiny insects. This is the clearest photograph I have taken of these insects, if you know what they are, do please let me know!
I continue to hope with all of my heart that these insects will not harm any of my plants! All of my plants are sprayed weekly with SB Plant Invigorator, which offers some protection from a range of different pests, including: aphids, whitefly, spider mites, mealybug, and scale. I certainly have only seen the insects that reside inside this terrarium increase in numbers. Even if these insects are not harmful to my plants, I do not wish to keep any creatures inside my terrariums, so I am looking for ways to solve this issue!
I have noticed that the number of snails living inside this Orchidarium is creeping up, as are the numbers of snails seen inside my other terrariums. I am unsure if the heatwave that the UK has been experiencing has been behind this increase in snail numbers, as this Orchidarium and my other terrariums provide a warm, damp, humid climate, which is ideal for slugs and snails.
I have found that the best method for controlling snails is to use slices of cucumbers as bait. In the evening, you can easily remove the cucumber slices (remove the cucumber slice complete with the attached snails) each day, replacing with a fresh slice of cucumber, and repeat until no more snails are found. Within a few days you can easily remove large number of snails using this method!
Update on the orchids, ferns, and other plants growing inside my Orchidarium
Since my last update, I have removed the Begonia that had self seeded itself was growing inside this Orchidarium. I was unable to see the Pyrrosia serpens specimen that was previously growing inside this Orchidarium, I am unsure if another plant has grown over the fern, or if it has just fizzled out in the warmer temperatures. This fern was never a strong grower in amongst the moss inside this Orchidarium. Here’s a look at the plants that have been growing inside this Orchidarium over the past few months:
This Aerangis biloba specimen was moved into this Orchidarium in January 2018 as a temporary move. This orchid fared far better than I expected inside this Orchidarium, this plant really surprised me, but I decided to stick with my original plan, so I moved this Aerangis biloba specimen back into one of my BiOrbAir Terrariums in April 2018. If you’re interested, you can see how this Aerangis biloba specimen grew during the following four months in this update.
Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta
In June 2018, I was thrilled to discover that this Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta specimen was producing a flower spike, although I am afraid to say that I noticed this orchid’s flower spike for the first time when it was already quite well developed. Consequently, as I discovered this orchid’s flower production so late in its development, I didn’t give the plant any extra care in the months leading up to flowering – I usually switch to a different fertiliser when my orchids are in bud and I provide the plants with additional water if they need it, particularly during hot weather. Sadly this Aerangis went without this additional care, and consequently this particular plant was a little dehydrated as it came to the later stages of its flower production. Sadly this dehydration resulted in a number of flower buds being aborted, and the plant’s floral display lasting for shorter period than is usual for this orchid species.
During this Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta specimen’s last flowering (which took place from the end of August to the beginning of October 2017 – which as I write was ten months ago), this plant also produced eight flower buds, the same number that this plant produced for this its second flowering. Sadly, two of these flower buds were aborted, due to the plant being a little more dehydrated than it would have wished for while the plant was in bud.
All of the plants that are growing inside this Orchidarium are watered automatically by this terrarium’s automated watering system (the full details of the plants’ automated care you can see at the top of this update). The plants growing inside this Orchidarium are hand misted to provide them with some extra water a couple of times a week, although not all of the plants are hand misted – it’s mainly the moisture loving plants (such as the Restrepias and Masdevallia) and sometimes I ensure that any orchids that are in bud receive some extra water. If I had misted this plant on one or two occasions, this Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta specimen would have bloomed more successfully. However, it’s still absolutely lovely to see this Aerangis in bloom!
Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta flowering
If you’re interested, you can see photographs of this same Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta specimen’s last flowering in 2017 and find out more information about this orchid species here.
This Angraecum distichum specimen was moved into this Orchidarium on a temporary basis, as the glass terrarium this this orchid was previously housed inside broke.
I have now moved this Angraecum distichum specimen into a BiOrbAir terrarium. If you’re interested, you can see how this orchid fared over the following few months after this orchid’s move to the BiOrbAir, in this update. To learn more about Angraecum distichum and see this orchid in flower, please click here.
This Bulbophyllum ambrosia specimen takes up quite a lot of room inside my Orchidarium, this small orchid species has formed a spreading, rambling plant, with a creeping growth habit. My plant looks as if it is escaping, toppling over and off its cork mount! Although my plant has increased in size and has produced plenty of new roots and leaves (this Bulbophyllum ambrosia specimen is now twice the size of the plant that was introduced to this Orchidarium in April 2017), this specimen has yet to flower inside my Orchidarium.
I had thought of moving this Bulbophyllum ambrosia specimen to a higher level inside this Orchidarium, where the plant would receive a greater intensity of light, to see if this would induce the plant to bloom, but as yet I have not made this change. This Bulbophyllum ambrosia plant is mounted onto a large piece of cork bark, with moss placed around the plant’s roots (see my Orchidarium planting list for stockists). As the plant has continued growing, some of the new sections of growth – some of this Bulbophyllum’s new roots are growing into the moss and some roots are growing over the top of the moss as the plant continues to increase its range.
Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’
I have not had a successful run with Bulbophyllums, the Bulbophyllum falcatum ‘Minor’ specimen that you see pictured above was first planted inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in April 2016. At this time the plant was very small in size, the plant had produced one or two flowers, which were just going over. This Bulbophyllum falctaum ‘Minor’ specimen was then grown inside this BiOrbAir terrarium from April 2016 until November 2017, when I then introduced this plant to my Orchidarium. During its time inside the BiOrbAir this Bulbophyllum did not flower again, so I hoped that when I introduced this plant to my Orchidarium, that the change in conditions would encourage the plant to flower, but no – still no flowers have been produced. I am clearly not providing the ideal conditions for this Bulbophyllum, so it has yet to flower after almost two and a half years in my care.
If you’re still reading, I doubt that it will surprise you to hear that this Bulbophyllum sessile specimen, which was first introduced to this Orchidarium in March 2017, has not bloomed during the plant’s year and a half of growing inside this Orchidarium! Yes, the plant is actively growing, it has grown larger in size and the plant looks well enough, but it’s not in bloom.
This Ceratocentron fesselii specmen was a kind and generous, but unexpected gift from a friend. I first introduced this Ceratocentron fesselii plant to my BiOrbAir terrarium, but soon after its introduction the plant declined, so I moved the plant into this Orchidarium. Sadly this plant’s fortunes have not improved and this Ceratocentron fesselii specimen is still clinging to life.
I feel so desperately sorry for the plight of this orchid, I would feel sorry for any plant that was in such a poor condition, but I feel most especially apologetic because Ceratocentron fesselii is a critically endangered orchid species. The reason that this orchid species has become so scarce, is as a direct result of over collection in the wild and destruction of the plant’s habitat by humans. I hope that I can manage to save this plant, I desperately want to reverse this plant’s fortunes!
Thankfully this Chiloschista lunifera specimen is a more successful orchid, it’s wonderful to be able to share this Chiloschista lunifera specimen’s flowering with you!
This Chiloschista lunifera specimen has produced an abundance of delicately scented, deep burgundy wine coloured flowers, which are outlined and highlighted in yellow. These elegant flowers have provided a beautiful floral interlude, that has been much admired and appreciated. This Chiloschista lunifera specimen produced an intense and floriferous display during the plant’s main flowering time, but even once the main event was over, sporadic flowers would appear along the plant’s flowering stems in the days and weeks that followed.
Chiloschista lunifera flowering
I have welcomed the sight of this Chiloschista lunifera specimen’s new roots just as much as I have appreciated seeing this orchid’s flowers.
This Deinostigma tamiana specimen is almost always in flower! There are times when I cut off a spent flowering stem and as I do so, I cannot see any new flower buds in development, when I wonder if this plant will have a break from being constantly in flower, but within a day or two, new buds grow up and new flowers open. This is such a super terrarium plant!
I have treated my plant unkindly, I have not treated this plant to any fertiliser, so the only nutrients this plant has received has been from those that were in the coir compost it was planted into in March 2017. My plant has been grown in coir compost, which was kept a little wetter than this plant would have chosen. There are a couple of leaves on my Deinostigma tamiana plant which have a slight yellow tinge to their colouration, but I have not removed them – I have not removed any leaves in the entire time that this plant has been growing inside this Orchidarium. The only care I have carried out is to cut off the spent flower spikes once the flowers have faded. If you’re growing this plant inside a bottle garden, you may want to invest in some terrarium tools – I have a great set of terrarium tools that I have been using for a few years now.
Deinostigma tamiana flowering
These two Dendrobium monilforme plants were once one plant, which I divided in half. This orchid species needs cooler winters to succeed, so I often end up moving these plants into various different containers and terrariums to provide the plant with the sufficiently low winter temperatures it needs to be happy.
I am so happy to be able to share this Dinema polybulbon‘s flowering with you! Dinema polybulbon produces caramel and ivory coloured flowers that have a very handsome appearance. This orchid produces a very glamorous, stylish looking bloom, which is not only attractive, it’s fragrant too – the flower has a light scent which is floral in the traditional sense, it’s like a mixed vase of freshly picked, delicately perfumed garden flowers. This is a light fragrance, not an over powering one, as the flower ages it becomes less fragrant.
I am really rather fond of this miniature orchid. This Dinema polybulbon specimen’s roots have grown to form an entangled, mat of new and old roots that covers the piece of cork bark that I mounted this orchid onto.
This Dinema polybulbon specimen was first introduced to this Orchidarium in July 2017, which as I write to you in August 2018, was just over a year ago.
This Dinema polybulbon specimen is currently in flower as I write to you today (August 2018), I’ll provide more information of the duration of this plant’s flowering and other details in my next update for this Orchidarium, but for now, here is this Dinema polybulbon‘s growth over the past few months:
Dinema polybulbon flowering
Gastrochilus retrocallus is such a floriferous orchid species! I find that my plants are almost always in flower, and when these plants aren’t in flower, they are usually in bud. This Gastrochilus retrocallus specimen is in bud at the moment, this orchid enjoys the conditions provided by my Orchidarium, this plant grows so well in this environment.
If you’re interested, you can read more about Gastrochilus retrocallus and see the plant in flower here.
I have two Humata heterophylla specimens growing inside this Orchidarium, one plant, the plant that you see pictured above is in a very poor state. However, I did not expect this fern to do well, its condition is just as I would expect. This Humata heterophylla specimen was wound around a spare piece of cork bark and then hung high up, near the LED lights, on the side of the glass of this Orchidarium, near the fan. Humata heterophylla is an epiphytic fern, so I know that this fern can easily grow mounted in this fashion, I have successfully grown Humata heterophylla in this manner many times, what prevented this fern from succeeding was that the fern dried out too rapidly – it was not misted enough and the air circulation from the fans dried the roots too quickly. This fern would have preferred to have received a much lower intensity of light – as I had placed this fern’s mount far higher than it would have liked within this Orchidarium – where the fern was close to this Orchidarium’s LED lights. A couple of days ago (on the 13th August 2018), I moved this fern and its mount onto the moss at the base of this Orchidarium, it will be interesting to see what happens to this frazzled looking piece of fern! Will this fern die? Have I left it too late, or can this fern revive itself? I’ll let you know in my next update!
The Humata heterophylla specimen that you can see pictured below was planted into the moss that’s growing at the base of this orchidarium. This fern is sheltered from the Orchidarium’s LED lights, as this specimen was planted in the compost at the lowest level inside this Orchidarium, but in addition this Humata heterophylla specimen is sheltered by the plants that are growing around it. Naturally this terrestrially grown Humata heterophylla specimen has not been short of water, having been planted into the compost at the base of this Orchidarium. This compost has its own watering system, but this ferns is also being misted by the Orchidarium’s misting system above, and surrounded by moss and other vegetation which helps to hold on to the moisture, creating a more humid pocket inside this enclosure, whilst being as far as is possible from the Orchidarium’s drying fans.
I have generally found that Humata heterophylla prefer to be grown as epiphytes, so it will be interesting to see if the frazzled, dried out and discoloured fragment of fern that you see pictured above can come back from such a poor condition. I’ll let you know in my next update!
This Humata repens specimen has grown well inside this Orchidarium, this fern can also be grown epiphytically mounted onto cork bark, but my plant is planted into the coir compost, at the base of this Orchidarium, where it has grown without a problem since March 2017. This is a great fern for terrariums or bottle gardens, being naturally miniature this fern won’t grow too tall for your enclosure.
This Leptotes bicolor specimen has flourished inside this Orchidarium, in my last update I showed you the flower that this plant produced.
This Leptotes bicolor specimen is quite a vigorous grower, I don’t mean that in the traditional sense, this plant has not doubled or tripled in size, this is still a miniature orchid, it’s not invasive in that sense, but this orchid is almost always actively sending out new roots, the plant’s roots grow into its neighbouring plants, drawing them near like an outstretched, encircling arm, strong and over friendly. Every week or two, the attached plants are gently freed, and two or three of the neighbouring plants are put back in their designated places, when the cycle begins again.
This Masdevallia decumana specimen was one of the first plants that I introduced to my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. Masdevallia decumana is a strong and resilient orchid species, but as well as being naturally strong, this orchid is naturally very floriferous. Having told you this, I need to say that this Masdevallia decumana specimen has flowered on fewer occasions than usual over the past four months since my last update!
This Masdevallia decumana specimen displays a distinctly yellow-ish tone to the plant’s leaves, as you can see in the photographs that accompany this update. This is not a new development – this plant has displayed this yellow-lime colour tone over its leaves since early 2017, at which time this plant was growing inside my BiOrbAIr terrarium.
Masdevallia decumana flowering
It has been such a delight to see this Oncidium hians specimen in bloom! This orchid has produced delicate, slender stemmed flower spikes, which at just over 20cm (8 inches) tall will be taller than many terrariums can accommodate, particularly when you factor in the extra depth and the room you need to provide for this orchid species’ roots and a little extra space to include the base of the plant.
However if you have a tall enough terrarium, I am sure that you’ll enjoy growing Oncidium hians, this orchid produces rather endearing, graceful, ballerina like blooms. The more I study this orchid’s flowers, the more I like them!
Oncidium hians flowering
I haven’t been able to detect any fragrance from this orchid’s flowers, but I can tell you that these are quite charming blooms, they seem rather understated at first glance, but as you make a closer inspection, you’ll find that the shape and form of each individual inflorescence is rather like a ballerina – it’s really rather sweet!
I have had no success whatsoever with this orchid species, the Ornithophora radicans plant that you see pictured above is a fragment of a plant that I first grew inside my BiOrbAir terrarium in August 2015. This plant was a little bigger than the plant that you see pictured above, it flowered a few weeks after its introduction to my BiOrbAir, in September 2015. This plant’s flowering not due to any skill on my part – I hasten to add – but because September and October is the flowering time for Ornithophora radicans, and this plant was previously grown in its optimum growing conditions at the nursery I purchased the plant from
This Ornithophora radicans plant remained growing inside my BiOrbAir, from August 2015 until November 2017, during this time the plant did not flower again, it alternated from growing OK, to a slight decline and back again. When I set up this Orchidarium in March 2017, I decided to mount a tiny piece of this Ornithophora radicans plant and see if it could reverse its fortunes, at first this fragment of a plant surprised me, it seemed to be growing well, increasing in size continually, from March 2017 until April 2018. Since April this plant has began to decline again. The UK has been enduring a heat wave, as the temperatures have risen this orchid has suffered, even the additional misting I have provided has not seemed to comfort this plant. I can see areas of new growth on the plant, but I had been secretly hoping that this autumn, this Ornithophora radicans specimen would flower this year. I don’t think that my wish will come true, but you never know – plants can be very surprising, we shall have to wait and see! Whatever happens, I will let you know in my next update.
I planted just one Pellaea roundifoliia specimen inside this Orchidarium, when I set this enclosure up in April 2017, but as this fern grew so well, growing larger in size, and establishing itself so successfully, that when I carried out the replanting of this Orchidarium, in November 2017, I decided to separate this fern into three. These three divisions were then planted directly into the compost in the most inhospitable areas of this Orchidarium, namely the corners, where just to test this fern’s vigour and durability, I compounded the situation by cramming other orchids in front of these ferns, thereby further restricting the light, the humidity, and the overall space that these ferns would be growing in.
In my last update I showed you two of the three of these Pellaea roundifolia specimens that had survived! The division that was placed in the worst position, with the least amount of light and most enclosed environment had died. The specimen that was planted in a position where it received the next level up of light quality, receiving a slightly better quality of light and slightly improved growing conditions, which was alive as I wrote my last update has now also died, while the specimen which received a greater quality of light and closer to optimum growing conditions has continued to thrive, but consequently there is only one Pellaea roundifolia specimen growing inside this Orchidarium now.
It’s so good to see this Phalaenopsis appendiculata specimen in flower! This is still a young Phalaenopsis appendiculata plant, this is the plant’s first ever flowering. Phalaenopsis appendiculata is an orchid species which is very quick to come into bloom, this plant was just a young seedling when I introduced it to this Orchidarium in April 2017, since then the plant has more than doubled in size. This is a miniature orchid, so it’s not going to grow to a great size or become invasive, it’s such a cute little plant!
If you’re considering purchasing a Phalaenopsis appendiculata plant yourself, there’s no need to spend more money to purchase a plant that is listed as being of flowering size, as young seedlings will flower within a year or two of being available for sale.
Phalaenopsis appendiculata flowering
Phalaenopsis appendiculata produces such beautiful flowers, they display such intricate markings, the petals sparkle and glisten in the light. The ‘appendiculata’ part of this orchid species’ name refers to the tooth like appendage that this orchid’s flowers display, it’s quite a distinctive feature!
This Phalaenopsis taenialis specimen looks quite different from the plant you saw in my previous update! I am so excited that this orchid is in bud! I am fervently hoping this this orchid will bloom successfully. This plant has dropped two of its leaves since my last update in April 2018, so this plant currently has just one leaf remaining, which is not unusual for this orchid species – it’s a deciduous orchid, that is very prone to dropping its leaves. I am thrilled that this plant is producing a flower spike, but I am also comforted by the number of new, healthy roots this plant is producing.
Phalaenopsis taenialis is a miniature orchid species that originates from Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and China.
I introduced this Phalaenopsis celebensis specimen to this Orchidarium in September 2017, this epiphytic orchid is mounted on a piece of cork, which is hung in the corner on the back panel of glass, near the moss, at base of the Orchidarium, this plant is growing in a very shaded position. This orchid species will not do well if it receives too bright an intensity of light, so if you’re growing Phalaenopsis celebensis and your plant is not doing well, if your plant is looking limp or lacklustre, try moving your plant to a more shaded location. If your plant’s leaves are looking floppy and a bit saggy, this can be a sign that your plant is growing in too bright a situation.
This Phalaenopsis celebensis specimen looks to be in good shape, but this plant has yet to flower.
It’s so good to see this Phalaenopsis deliciosa specimen growing well, this plant is in the early stages of producing a flower spike. As you can see, this plant has also produced a new leaf and some lovely new roots. This Phalaenopsis deliciosa specimen last flowered in August 2016, I introduced this plant to my Orchidarium just as the plant’s flowers were fading.
This is another plant that I would like to move to a lower position within this Orchidarium, as I do feel that this plant would prefer a slightly more shaded location, where it will receive a lower intensity of light. But as this Phalaenopsis deliciosa specimen is currently in bud, I will leave it where it is, as moving a plant when it’s in bud, or changing any of the plant’s growing conditions can result in a plant aborting its flowers. So, I will leave this plant where it is, I am looking forward to seeing this orchid’s pretty flowers again!
Phalaenopsis deliciosa var. alba
This Phalaenopsis deliciosa var. alba specimen was first introduced to this Orchidarium in September 2017, just as the plant’s flowers were fading. It’s so lovely to see this plant in bud again. I hope that the recent heatwave and the following fall in temperatures will not have negatively affected this plant, as this orchid prefers slightly cooler growing conditions. This orchid is the white form of Phalaenopsis deliciosa, the orchid I just showed you a moment ago. These orchids produce smaller flowers than you might expect, but they are very pretty orchids, mature specimens usually display a pleasing shape and form, and plants can be very floriferous. Both of these orchids are able to flower twice a year when they have reached maturity, provided they are given their favoured growing conditions of filtered, diffused light, daily misting, and high humidity.
I have everything crossed that both of my Phalaenopsis delcisiosa plants will flower successfully, but whatever happens I’ll let you know in my next update!
This Phalaenopsis finleyi specimen is such dear little fellow. This plant had no leaves at all when I introduced this specimen to the Orchidarium in January 2018, but since then the plant has produced three leaves and several strong, healthy roots, which is quite simply marvellous, it’s wonderful to see!
Phalaenopsis honghenensis is such an interesting orchid species. I absolutely love this Phalaenopsis honghenensis plant, this is one of my favourite orchids! As you can see in the photograph above, which I took a few days ago, this plant has now finished flowering, its flowers faded in May 2018 – you can see photographs of this plant in flower just below. I so enjoy seeing Phalaenopsis honghenensis flowers, but I have a strong affection for the whole plant even when its not in bloom. This is a plant for a larger terrarium, as you need adequate space to accommodate the plant’s lengthy roots, as well as this Phalaenopsis’ leaves and flowers.
I had intended to move this Phalaenopsis honghenensis specimen to a slightly less bright location after it had flowered – I thought of moving the plant just a little lower down, a little further from this Orchidarium’s LED lights, but now that the plant’s flowers have faded, I have changed my mind. I’ve decided to keep the plant where it is – fairly high on the back wall of the Orchidarium, where this Phalaenopsis honghenensis specimen receives quite a bright intensity of light, a brighter light than I would have chosen for this orchid species, but a quality of light that is nonetheless benefitting the plant. As this plant has established itself and has now fully adjusted to the light it receives in this location, it would be silly to move this Phalaenopsis honghenensis specimen now.
Phalaenopsis honghenensis flowering
If you’re interested, you can read more about Phalaenopsis honghenensis here.
This Phalaenopsis lobbii specimen is quite the scruffiest looking plant I have ever successfully raised! This plant has leaves growing out at opposing tangents, with the underside of more than one leaf raised up toward the light, and that’s before I mention this plant’s tatty leaves, which bear all manner of life’s battle scars. One leaf has been damaged by a snail, which managed to make a series of tiny peep holes through the leaf, another leaf is torn, and the other leaves have all been nibbled and frayed around the edges! I really look forward to this plant producing some lovely new leaves, which I really hope will be spared by any snails that are living inside this Orchidarium at the time.
Despite this Phalaenopsis lobbii specimen’s shabby appearance, this plant is growing well, it has produced a number of strong, healthy roots, which are growing around the piece of cork bark that this orchid is mounted onto and this plant has flowered well this year, as you can see from the photographs that follow.
Phalaenopsis lobbii flowering
Phalaenopsis lobbii f. flavilabia
The photograph and above and below show this plant a few days ago, but if you scroll down a little further, you’ll see this Phalaenopsis lobbii f. flavilabia specimen in full bloom. Since this Phalaenopsis lobbii f. flavilabia specimen’s last flower faded, the plant’s flowering stem has persisted. However, I am certain that had the temperatures been a little cooler, then this plant would have produced another flower by now, as the warmer weather has sapped some of this plant’s energy, which has prevented this plant from flowering.
Phalaenopsis lobbii f. flavilabia flowering
I am quite enchanted by Phalaenopsis lobbii f. flavilabia, this orchid’s charming demeanour and the plant’s pastel yellow flowers are so cheery and so very pretty! Phalaenopsis lobbii f. flavilabia produces such sweet flowers, they are full of character and seem to have little faces. This form features flowers in a delightfully sunny shade of yellow and white. I am delighted to have this orchid in my collection, it’s so wonderful to be able to share the beauty of this orchid species’ flowers with you!
I love Phalaenopsis lowii, this is a beautiful orchid species that produces stunning leaves and really unusual, pale pink characterful flowers, complete with extended rostellums, which look like long noses or beaks!
This Phalaenopsis lowii plant has not been growing as strongly as I would like. In my last update, I showed you this plant, which at the time had only two leaves, now here we are four months later, and still this plant has only two leaves! In January 2018, eight months ago, in an attempt to reverse this plant’s fortunes I added extra moss to this plant’s cork mount, to see if this would benefit this plant, but I have not seen any improvement as yet, so I have decided that I will move this plant to a more shaded position within this Orchidarium and see if that changes this plant’s fortunes. I have my fingers crossed that I can find a position within this Orchidarium where this plant will flourish!
I am over the moon to see that this Phalaenopsis lowii specimen is producing a new leaf!
I was so excited at the thought of showing you this Phalaenopsis malipoensis plant in flower in this update! Sadly, I am instead showing you photographs of this plant in bud, followed by photographs of this same plant with aborted buds, it’s a shame!
This is the second time that this Phalaenopsis malipoensis specimen has tried and failed to bloom inside this Orchidarium. This Phalaenopsis malipoensis specimen began producing a flower spike in November 2017, but this flower spike was aborted a month later. This Phalaenopsis malipoensis specimen produced its next flower spike in May 2018, but the visible buds had aborted by July 2018, so this specimen still has yet to bloom successfully.
The temperatures fluctuated whilst this Phalaenopsis plant was in bud, which could have triggered the plant to abort its flowers. The heat also could have caused the plant to dry out rather too much, leaving this Phalaenopsis malipoensis specimen without the moisture it needed for flower production. I can only guess at the reasons and try to improve the growing conditions for this lovely orchid, in the hope that next time I can help this plant to flower successfully .
This Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen was previously grown inside this Orchidarium from the 12th November 2017 until the end of April 2017, when I moved this orchid back into one of my BiOrbAir terrariums. Initially this Phalaenopsis micholitzii specimen was growing inside my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium, where this plant thrived, being almost constantly in bloom from the end of March 2017, until November 2017. After not producing any flowers or new growth inside my Orchidarium from November 2017 until April 2018 (five months), I have now permanently moved this plant to a BiOrbAir terrarium. Happily, I can report that following its recent move, this orchid is already in flower, as you can see in the photographs above and below!
This Phalaenopsis parishii specimen looks so very different from the images of this same plant that I showed you in my last update. This Phalaenopsis parishii specimen has doubled in size, the plant has grown many new leaves, some of which are rather jaunty in their positioning! I am glad to see that this Phalaenopsis has produced a new main top leaf, which is concealing the rather ragged, older top leaf which had been in place for a year or two. I am also thrilled to see that this plant has produced a great many new roots to support its leaves.
I am a little in love with Phalaenopsis parishii, so I was thrilled to see this plant’s flowering this springtime, when this plant was flowering from March 2018 until June 2018. I have added my photographs of this little orchid in bloom below, so you can see them for yourself. I hope that this Phalaenopsis parishii plant will produce a magnificent floral display that I can share with you next springtime!
Phalaenopsis parishii flowering
Phalaenopsis parishii alba
Back in the spring of 2017, when I ordered this Phalaenopsis parishii alba plant, the parcel containing this plant and a number of other Phalaenopsis plants that I had ordered was severely delayed in the post, meaning that my plants were in darkness with no light or moisture for an extended period of time – more than a month. Quite understandably, the plants arrived in a poor condition and they declined further during the following months, before gradually picking up again. During this low period in 2017, this plant dropped all of its leaves and many people thought it would die. Thankfully this Phalaenopsis parishii alba plant has survived and the plant has managed to produce some new leaves.
I am relieved that this Phalaenopsis parishii alba specimen has survived, I hope that by next spring this plant will have grown on sufficiently to be strong enough to flower. I am so happy to see the new roots and leaves that this plant has produced. It’s so wonderful to see this plant looking stronger and healthier.
This Phalaenopsis stobartiana specimen looked to be in an improved condition in my last update for the plants inside this Orchidarium, but since then, this plant has developed some unsightly blotches on one of its oldest leaves. I hope that these markings are just the result of the age of the leaf, which will soon be shed, I hope that the discolouration is not a sign that the plant has endured a period without sufficient water, or a length of time when the plant suffered from having too much moisture, has suffered with pests, or any other negative factors.
This Phalaenopsis stobartiana specimen has produced a number of magnificent, silver roots, which look as if they have been polished to perfection, these roots gleam in the light and always make me smile each time I see this plant.
This Phalaenopsis thailandica specimen was first introduced to this Orchidarium in April 2017. Since then, this plant has doubled in size, producing new roots and leaves, I am excited to show you this plant, which is now in bud and in the process of preparing for this plant’s first flowering!
This Phalaenopsis thailandica specimen has produced a number of new leaves and roots, I am so looking forward to seeing this orchid’s first flowering!
You might just be able to make out the Phalaenopsis thailandica specimen that’s hidden in amongst the moss, on the piece of cork bark that’s pictured above. This small plant was obtained as a keiki, a baby plant, it was produced by another Phalaenopsis thailandica plant which I had, which I had purchased as being a different Phalaenopsis species altogether, after the plant flowered, I realised that this plant was actually Phalaenopsis thailandica, and not the plant I had ordered. Anyway, this plant is making slow, steady progress, producing new roots and developing an extensive root system to support the plant.
This Phalaenopsis thailandica specimen has only ever had one leaf, I’d love for this plant to grow into a strong, healthy specimen, which produces more leaves, and will eventually be strong enough to flower!
This Phalaenopsis wilsonii specimen has formed a lovely tangle of long roots that hang rather casually from the piece of cork tile that this plant is mounted onto. This orchid has produced a number of flowers since my last update, but this plant has recently aborted a flower and flowering stem, I think the hot weather proved to be too much for this plant and so it aborted this flowering stem to protect itself. This Phalaenopsis wilsonii specimen has flowered successfully on other occasions since my last update, as you can see in my photographs below.
This Phalaenopsis wilsonii specimen is currently producing a number of new leaves, which is always so good to see!
I am so happy to see that this Phalaenopsis wilsonii specimen is producing some lovely new leaves!
Phalaenopsis wilsonii flowering
This Pinguicula plant has been planted into the compost, at the base of this Orchidarium, in its pot. I chose to plant this Pinguicula plant in this manner, as this carnivorous plant grows in peat based composts, to use peat to fill the base of this terrarium would be extremely wasteful and unnecessary, as the other plants and mosses that are growing in this area do not require peat to grow successfully, so I have planted the plant’s pot into the compost. That said this Pinguicula is not in great shape, as you can see!
This Restrepia citrina specimen has been flowering on a number of occasions since my last update for this Orchidarium. This plant has ended up growing out at a tangent, stretching out horizontally.
This Restrepia citrina specimen has produced this keiki, a keiki is just another name for a baby plant, this new plant is a genetic clone of its mother. On the 12th August 2018, I removed this keiki from my Restrepia citrina plant and mounted it up separately, this baby plant will grow on inside this Orchidarium.
Restrepia citrina flowering
If you’re interested you can discover more information about Restrepia citrina here.
Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’
Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ is the strongest and most resilient of all of the Restrepia species that I am growing inside this Orchidarium. This plant would rather be growing in a location that was damper and a little more shaded, but this Restrepia has adapted and the plant has now produced leaves which are fully adjusted to the intensity of light this Orchidarium’s LED lights produce.
Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ is a very floriferous orchid, this plant is almost always in bloom.
Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ flowering
This Restrepia sanguinea specimen is looking rather tired and dehydrated in this photograph that I took a few days ago, which you can see above. This Orchidarium creates a slightly drier atmosphere than this Restrepia would choose, hand misting helps to alleviate this Restrepia sanguinea specimen’s distress and avoids the plant becoming too dry, but in the heatwave even this extra misting and the additional, automated lunchtime misting is at times insufficient for this orchid species.
This Restrepia sanguinea specimen has flowered well inside this Orchidarium. This plant is not as floriferous as Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’ but this plant still regularly brightens the Orchidarium with its elegant, raspberry pink coloured flowers.
Restrepia sanguinea flowering
This photograph above shows the flowers produced by two of the Restrepia species that are growing inside this Orchidarium, Restrepia sanguinea and Restrepia purpurea ‘Rayas Vino Tinto’.
This Restrepia seketii specimen has been growing inside this Orchidarium since March 2017, which as I write to you in August 2018, was seventeen months ago. During these seventeen months, this Restrepia seketii specimen has not flowered once. This plant looks healthy, it has continued to grow in size, producing new leaves and roots, but the conditions inside this Orchidarium have not induced this Restrepia seketii specimen to flower.
This plant is of flowering size, this same plant flowered regularly while it was grown inside the BiOrbAir terrarium from April 2016 until March 2017, so it is tempting to move this plant back into a BiOrbAir, or into a different terrarium. However, as this plant looks in good shape, I will leave this Restrepia seketii specimen growing inside this Orchidarium and see if this plant’s fortunes change.
This Restrepia trichoglossa specimen is a sorry looking plant! This plant is not as strong as the plants of the other Restrepia species that are growing inside this Orchidarium. This Restrepia trichoglossa specimen would prefer a damper, shadier environment. Needless to say, that this Restrepia trichoglossa specimen has not flowered from March 2017, to the present day – in August 2018 – the time that this plant has been growing inside this Orchidarium.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, the bedraggled appearance of this Restrepia trichoglossa‘s moss is down to the application of SB Plant Invigorator that is being used to help to control pests inside this Orchidarium, it can sometimes leave this particular moss species with a slightly oily look.
Schoenorchis fragrans is a very attractive, handsome plant, even when it isn’t flowering this plant looks good! When I see Schoenorchis fragrans and Schoenorchis tixieri in flower I am always struck by the thought that they would be the perfect flowers for flower fairies!
Schoenorchis fragrans flowering
In this update it’s lovely to be able to share every stage of this Schoenorchis fragrans specimen’s flowering with you, from bud, to bloom, and over!
The zoomed in photograph below doesn’t depict the minute size of Schoenorchis fragrans‘s inflorescences, these really are titchy tiny little flowers! As well as being the perfect size for a flower fairy to have their own flower, Schoenorchis fragrans flowers are delicately scented, although I wouldn’t describe this orchid’s fragrance as anything other than gentle and very light, you would require a close encounter with a flowering plant to have any chance to experience this orchid’s fragrance for yourself.
These Schoenorchis scolopendia specimens have been growing inside this Orchidarium since the 12th November 2018. These plants seem to have adjusted and have settled in well, growing new shoots and producing strong new roots. These plants have yet to flower.
There are some areas of dead leaf and plant material on this Schoenorchis scolopendria specimen, I have just left these as they are for now, I haven’t made any attempts to clean or tidy the plant up.
This sweet little Schoenorchis seidenfadenii specimen seems to be quite happy growing inside this Orchidarium, this plant has yet to flower, but it has produced a long, protruding root, which is huge in comparison to the diminutive size of this plant!
Schoenorchis tixieri is such a delightful little orchid, it really is a sweetie! This is another of my plants that has a very handsome appearance, even when it is not in bloom. I must confess that I am hopelessly in love with this little plant. It’s so wonderful to be able to share this Schoenorchis tixieri specimen’s flowering with you!
Schoenorchis tixieri flowering
I was so excited to see this charming little orchid in bloom! This plant and its flowers really are just so tiny! It’s also great news to see the fabulously strong and healthy new roots that this Schoenorchis tixieri specimen is producing.
Stelis muscifera is a dear little orchid, this species is just so very pretty – I fell in love with Stelis muscifera the first time that I saw this plant in flower. Stelis muscifera is simply such a floriferous orchid, my plant is almost always in bloom.
Stelis muscifera flowering
I find the flowers of Stelis muscifera to be both beautiful and curious in equal measure. Almost every time I view this plant the flower buds all remain tightly closed, but every now and then there is an odd occasion when one of this plant’s flower buds will be open for a short time, and very occasionally two or three flower buds will be open. I’d love to know what triggers the flower to open. I guess it is likely to be the time of day, the weather, the temperature, and the age of the flower, but whatever the triggers, the Stelis muscifera flower buds do not open very often. But even when the Stelis muscifera flowers remain tightly closed, this orchid species’ flowers are just so very pretty. I am so lucky to have this Stelis muscifera specimen and all of these orchids growing inside my Orchidarium. It’s so lovely to be able to share these special plants with you!
Orchidarium Planting list
The Orchidarium Planting List displays every plant that has been grown inside this Orchidarium, 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, my feeding regime reflects this.
Next Orchidarium Update
To head to the next update for this Orchidarium and discover how the equipment inside this Orchidarium performed over the next year – from 2018 to 2019, please click here.
To see how the Phalaenopsis species inside this Orchidarium grew and developed over the next year – from August 2018 to September 2019, please click here.
To see how the ferns, terrarium plants, and the other orchids inside this Orchidarium grew and developed over the same year – from August 2018 to September 2019, please click here.
You may be interested in some of the other trials I have conducted.
Terrarium, Vivarium, and Orchidarium Trials
To see how my Orchidarium was created, please click here.
To read the first part of my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read the first part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read the first part of my Miniature Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read about the general care I give to my orchids and terrarium plants, and the general maintenance I give to my BiOrbAir terrariums, please click here.
To read how I track the temperature, humidity, and light conditions inside my terrariums, please click here.
Compost Trial Reports
To see all of my 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 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 Phalaenopsis honghenensis, please click here.
To read about Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta, please click here.
To read about Restrepia citrina, please click here.
To read about Gastrochilus retrocallus, 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.