Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium
Welcome to the twenty-first part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir! Since my last update, I’ve re-arranged the planting, introduced some new plants, and replaced the moss inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. In this update, I’ve got some gorgeous Ceratostylis philippinensis, Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’, Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’, and Restrepia seketii flowers to show you! But sadly, it’s not all good news. Since my last update, two plants from this terrarium have died and, as you’ll see in my photographs, a considerable amount of mould has spread inside this terrarium – eek! I’ve also just discovered a colony of aphids that have survived my regular spraying regime. But first of all, let me show you how this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium looks now, after these recent changes!
The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated terrarium, which was designed by Barry Reynolds from BiOrb. I first planted this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in August 2015, so at the time of writing – in January 2019, this BiOrbAir terrarium is three and a half years old! I love this BiOrbAir terrarium, it was the best gift I have received. This terrarium was purchased for me by my family and friends, a kindness that I will remember always.
BiOrbAir Terrarium Trials
If you would like to start at the very beginning, and read the first part of this Miniature Orchid Trial and BiOrbAir review, please click here. You’ll find all of my updates for this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium here. Or you can see updates from all of my BiOrbAir Trials here. Alternatively, visit my terrarium section here, to see more articles about terrariums.
In mid December 2018, as part of the re-arrangement of this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, I added some new moss – I replaced every piece of moss inside this terrarium at this time. This is the first time that I’ve replaced the moss inside this terrarium; the moss I took out had been inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium for over three years.
Since my last update, I have lost two of the plants from this terrarium. The Ceratochilus biglandulosus plant that seriously declined whilst growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, has now died. I would not recommend growing Ceratochilus biglandulosus inside the BiOrbAir. I can tell you that despite many attempts, with three different plants, this orchid species did not like growing inside the BiOrbAir terrarium! Instead I found that my Ceratochilus biglandulosus plants much preferred growing inside my Orchidarium. When my plant started to decline, I should have been quicker to move this Ceratochilus biglandulosus specimen into my Orchidarium, as this orchid species grew well inside this enclosure.
Sadly, I have also lost the Constantia cipoensis specimen that was growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium. This plant was showing signs that it wasn’t happy in my last update. Since then, things very quickly deteriorated, this Constantia cipoensis specimen turned brown and died. I am sure that this orchid found the hot temperatures this summer to be too much of an ordeal, as this orchid species grows in cooler conditions, in the wild.
I do still have one other Constantia cipoensis plant growing inside my White Orchid Trial Terrarium, although this plant isn’t in the best of shape either. I hope that this plant will have a better and healthier future. Whatever happens, either way, I’ll let you know in my future updates for my White Orchid Trial Terrarium.
I was very sorry to lose these two plants, as they’re two orchid species that I am particularly fond of.
Since my last update, I have introduced some new plants to this terrarium, namely, Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’, Restrepia seketii, Ornithocephalus manabina, and a sweet little Macroclinium chasei specimen.
If you’re interested in mounting orchids onto cork bark, here’s some helpful tips on how to do this.
I have listed the nurseries where I purchased my moss, cork, and all of the plants I have used inside this terrarium over the past three years, in the planting list for this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium.
Miniature Orchid Terrarium Planting List:
I currently have the following orchids growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium:
- Aerangis mystacidii
- Ceratostylis philippinensis
- Diplocaulobium abbreviatum
- Diplocaulobium chrysotropis
- Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’
- Macroclinium chasei
- Macroclinium manabinum
- Masdevallia rechingeriana
- Mediocalcar decoratum
- Ornithocephalus manabina
- Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’
- Restrepia seketii
- Trichoglottis pusilla
You can find more information on each of these plants, alongside information on all the other orchids I have trialled inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, in my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Planting List. Any plants that I trial inside this terrarium in future will also be added to this list.
When I was photographing the plants inside this terrarium, I noticed some webbing on my Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ specimen. The webbing could have been produced by bark lice, spider mites, or another insect, as a number of insects produce silken threads or webbing.
Rather frustratingly, I have a significant and ever increasing number of bark lice living inside my Orchidarium. The bark lice arrived with one of my orchid purchases and I’ve been unable to clear them from this terrarium. Sadly, I am sure that I have bark lice living inside my Rainforest Terrarium too. I really hope that I the bark lice have not established themselves inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium, as I feel very uncomfortable about trapping any creatures inside my terrariums.
I have also discovered a colony of aphids living on the Macroclinium manabinum specimen that’s growing inside this terrarium. The plants growing inside this terrarium are all regularly treated with SB Plant Invigorator, which is designed to control aphids, spider mites, and any other terrarium pests that might be lurking, undetected inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium. I hope that by the time I post my next update, I will have controlled the aphids and any other pests that are residing inside this terrarium. Whatever happens, I’ll write about it in my next update and let you know all the details!
My home is jam-packed full of Christmas decorations throughout December! The extra clutter makes my home more cramped over Christmas and restricts the space I have to move around, meaning that during this time I’m not able to access or see inside my terrariums as easily. Consequently, I have not been able to get close to study the plants inside this particular terrarium very closely, so I hadn’t spotted the mould on the orchids inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium until January 2019. The mould may have been visible inside this terrarium for up to six weeks. After I took the photographs for this article, all of the plants inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium were treated with a fungicide.
It is very easy indeed to acquire mould and cultivate a number of unwanted fungi inside a terrarium. Mould builds up quickly in damp, humid conditions. The chances of acquiring mould are greatly increased by over-watering the plants inside your terrarium, which I have done myself on more than one occasion! I bought a larger and more powerful hand-held mister in 2018. This time-saving mister delivered a greater amount of water than I would choose to use to water all of my orchids inside this terrarium, in a split second – a fraction of the time I would usually spend tending my plants. The consequences and after effects of using that misting unit and over-watering my orchids were felt for months after I reverted back to my smaller hand-held misting unit.
Mould is more prevalent inside terrariums that don’t have fans. My BiOrbAir terrarium has a fan, so mould is not something that I usually have to deal with inside this automated terrarium. However, my plants have been misted very heavily at times, which would have created the perfect conditions for mould to establish and spread. All of my plants inside this terrarium were treated with a fungicide on the 14th January 2019, after I photographed the orchids for this trial instalment. I’ll let you know how my plants get on, in my next update.
Conditions inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium
If you’re interested, I wrote this article explaining how I track the conditions inside my various terrariums, to monitor the growing conditions for a wide range of plants, including houseplants grown inside my home, a range of edible plants grown inside my glasshouse, and cut flowers, vegetables, fruit, and herbs grown in my outdoor trials area.
Miniature Orchid Trial
It’s wonderful to see this Aerangis mystacidii specimen growing inside my Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium! In the summer of 2018, this particular plant was in a bad way – I had expected this Aerangis to die, so I’m absolutely thrilled that this Aerangis mystacidii plant is surviving. I can see that this plant’s health and condition is improving all the time.
Aerangis mystacidii can be grown as a houseplant, as well as a terrarium plant. This is generally a very strong growing orchid that’s very easy to grow. This particular plant was the weakest seedling from a flask of Aerangis mystacidii seedlings I had. This plant is still in poor condition, but I am so glad that this Aerangis mystacidii plant’s health has improved, it’s wonderful to see such healthy growth!
This Ceratostylis philippinensis specimen is looking fantastic! Last year, this plant was in decline for sometime, after I over watered this Ceratostylis philippinensis specimen when I purchased a new, larger and more powerful, hand-held mister. I over watered many of my plants at this time!
I am delighted to see the difference in the health of this orchid! It’s wonderful to see so many new leaves being produced. As I write to you today, this Ceratostylis philippinensis specimen is in bud. I adore this orchid’s flower buds! Each dainty flower bud reminds me of a graceful ballet dancer’s pointed toes, wearing pretty, white ballet slippers, which softly shimmer with the finest glimmer of sheen in the morning light.
This orchid’s new growth is evident, this plant looks so much more vibrant! This Ceratostylis philippinensis specimen has visibly increased in size since my last update.
This Ceratostylis philippinensis specimen is actually currently in a higher position than is shown in the photographs of this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium that accompany this article. This orchid was taken out to show some of my visitors and then accidentally put back in too low a position. I moved the plant to its intended position a few days later – as soon as I noticed it was out of place.
Ceratostylis philippinensis plants produce such pretty flower buds, they remind me of pointed toes, wearing dainty ballet slippers – they’re quite charming! This plant has produced a number of flower buds. As I write this update, one of this plant’s flowers was opening. I look forward to showing you this Ceratostylis philippinensis specimen in flower, in my next update.
This Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen has produced a number of lovely new leaves since my last update. This is a slow growing orchid. I purchased this plant in August 2015, so I’ve had this plant for three and a half years now. Sadly, my plant still has yet to flower.
Of the two Diplocaulobium orchids I have inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium, this Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen is the plant that is in the better condition.
This Diplocaulobium chrysotropis plant is rather a scruffy looking specimen! I am sorry to say that it looks as if some of the new leaves this plant was producing in August 2018, have now shrivelled and died, which is a great shame. I must confess, I had hoped to have this orchid in better shape by now, but this plant has not altered much since my last update.
Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’
I love Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’! This miniature orchid flowers so often, that although I always enjoy seeing this charming little plant and admire its blooms, I don’t always make time to stop and take a photograph. Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ is a super plant to grow inside the BiOrbAir terrarium. I’ve tried growing this miniature orchid inside many different terrariums, I found that of all my various terrariums, my Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ plants achieved the best growth inside the BiOrbAir.
Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ is a marvellous orchid to grow inside a BiOrbAir terrarium. I once tried growing a Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ plant inside my Orchidarium, but this plant was not at all happy growing in that environment, whereas this same orchid simply thrives inside the BiOrbAir.
As you can see, there’s a coating of fine webbing clothing these Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ flowers. I haven’t seen any bark lice inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium – bark lice and spider mites both produce webbing, so either one (or something else) could be the culprit here. I will continue to be on the look out for pests. I use SB Plant Invigorator on a regular basis, on all of the plants that are growing inside my terrariums to control aphids, spider mites, scale, mealy bugs and other pests.
Macroclinium chasei is a new introduction to this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium! This is a mini-miniature orchid species, one that favours more humid, wetter conditions than the other Macroclinium species that I am also trialling inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium. I hope that this Macroclinium chasei plant will be very happy in its new environment.
Yikes! As you can see, this piece of cork and the roots of this Macroclinium manabinum specimen are enveloped with a white mould. I simply hadn’t spotted the mould inside this terrarium until January. I’ve only recently taken my Christmas decorations down. I have quite a number of decorations, their reflections glow inside my terrariums, meaning that I cannot see into my terrariums as clearly. The extra decorative items mean that it’s all rather cramped at home, so I cannot access my terrariums as easily during December and early January, so I do miss out on seeing what is happening with my plants at this busy time of year!
On the 14th January 2019, this Macroclinium manabinum specimen and all of the plants inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium were treated with a fungicide, to tackle the mould. I’ll show you how my plants get on following this treatment, in my next update.
This plant really is in the wars, as it is under attack from a colony of aphids. These aphids really are tiny, even for aphids! I tend to only be able to spot them in photographs. Aphids are a pest to almost every plant. They feed on plant sap, piercing leaves, stems, buds, and flowers, with their specially adapted mouthparts, taking sustenance and energy from their host plant. Aphids are virus vectors, they can transmit a virus from an infected plant to a previously healthy plant, as they feed.
I use SB Plant Invigorator to control aphids and other pests on my indoor plants. All of my terrarium plants are sprayed regularly, to keep pests under control. I hope that this aphid colony have not caused too much damage to this plant. Hopefully this Macroclinium manabinum specimen will be aphid and mould free by the time I publish my next update for this terrarium; whatever happens, I’ll let you know in my next instalment.
It’s lovely to see this Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen sending up some brand new flowering stems, I am looking forward to seeing this orchid in bloom again! This plant has a tendency to display a few yellowing leaves, but currently this Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen’s leaves are displaying a lovely, fresh leaf green colour.
Mediocalcar decoratum is a mat forming epiphyte. This orchid species forms a low growing plant that grows well in shady, humid conditions. My Mediocalcar decoratum specimen’s leaves are a fresher, greener colour than they were in my previous update.
It’s so good to see my plant producing new growth. I hope that this Mediocalcar decoratum specimen will flower at some point, as this plant has yet to bloom.
Ornithocephalus manabina is a delightful little plant, it’s just so pretty! I simply adore this orchid species! I am so excited and so grateful to be able to trial this orchid inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium! If you’re interested, you can find out more about Ornithocephalus manabina here.
Since this Ornithocephalus manabina specimen has been residing inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, this plant has been sending out a number of strong growing roots, each one coated in a a vast number of fine, downy root hairs.
I have also spotted a few tiny areas of mould on the piece of cork that this Ornithocephalus manabina specimen is mounted onto. I hope that this mould will be effectively treated by the fungicide and won’t cause this lovely plant any further problems.
Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’
This Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’ plant was a lovely gift from two of my closest friends. So, as you can imagine, this is a treasured plant, which I am hoping I don’t now go on to kill! I’ve had this Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’ specimen for a few months now. This plant made it through my quarantine period without any problems, before I introduced this specimen to this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium.
Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’ can be grown very successfully as a beautiful houseplant – you don’t need a terrarium to grow this particular orchid. I’ve chosen to grow my plant inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, as the rooms inside my home are naturally quite dark. I thought that this Phalaenopsis would be happier growing in a brighter environment, inside this terrarium. It’s possible that this BiOrbAir terrarium may be too damp for this Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’, but I really hope that this plant will flourish inside this terrarium. Fingers crossed!
I have found that Restrepias thrive inside the BiOrbAir terrarium. I must say that I previously grew a young Restrepia seketii plant inside my Long Term Review BiOrbAir Terrarium from April 2016 to March 2017, when this plant was then moved to my Orchidarium. That same Restrepia seketii specimen is still growing inside my Orchidarium, it’s now a mature plant that has reached a very substantial size, but this plant has only flowered once in the period from March 2017 to January 2019, whilst this plant has been growing inside my Orchidarium. The Restrepia seketii plant that’s growing inside my Orchidarium took 22 months to produce one flower!
As well as my larger Restrepia seketii plant, I also have this much younger, smaller Restrepia seketii specimen – the plant you see pictured here – the plant which is now growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium. I decided to move this small Restrepia seketii plant into this BiOrbAir, as it had only flowered once before. I wanted to see how often Restrepia seketii would flower inside the BiOrbAir. As you can see, within a few weeks of growing inside the BiOrbAir terrarium, this Restrepia seketii plant has already produced a flower! Fabulous! I’ve not seen a Restrepia seketii inflorescence for quite some time, so it’s lovely to see this orchid’s blooms again.
There isn’t a great difference in the size or condition of the Trichoglottis pusilla specimen that’s growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium since my last update.
I must be honest, Trichoglottis pusilla is not one of my favourite orchids. I felt that it was important to trial as many different orchids as I could inside this Miniature Orchid Trial, to hopefully help as many of my readers as is possible, which was why I bought this plant.
To head straight to the next update for this Miniature Orchid Terrarium and find out which of these orchids have flowered and which ones have declined, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you………………
To see a planting list of orchids, ferns, and other plants that are suited to growing inside terrariums, please click here.
To see how my Rainforest Terrarium is set up, please click here.