Rainforest Terrarium Update
In this my first update, you can discover how the Aerangis, Amesiella, and Angraecum orchids that are housed inside my Rainforest Terrarium have grown and developed over the past eleven months – from April 2018 to March 2019. Discover which plants have died and which orchids have thrived during this time frame, in my first plant update for this custom built terrarium. Over the past eleven months, a few of the orchids that reside inside my Rainforest Terrarium have flowered; I am so looking forward to sharing these plants’ blooms with you, in this instalment!
Firstly, here’s a reminder of how my Rainforest Terrarium came to be…..
In March 2018, I commissioned Rich, from Rainforestvivs (now The Rich Rainforest), to build this fabulous, custom built Rainforest Terrarium for me. I designed my Rainforest Terrarium to fulfil my requirements: I needed to provide an enclosure that would house a number of orchids from my National Collection of Miniature Aerangis and Angraecum Species together with a proportion of the orchids that form my National Collection of Miniature Phalaenopsis Species. I wanted to create a home for as many orchids as was possible, within the limited space I had available. It was important to me to provide the plants growing inside my Rainforest Terrarium with automatic plant care; with the caveat that I also needed this custom built terrarium to be flexible enough to accommodate my future growing needs, along with any potential changes in the equipment I use to maintain the optimum environment, for the plants growing inside this terrarium.
Updates for my Rainforest Terrarium
If you’re interested, you can read all about the thinking behind my design for this terrarium, in my step-by-step guide to the set up of my Rainforest Terrarium.
My Rainforest Terrarium was delivered to me in April 2018, which as I am writing to you today, was eleven months ago. I want to share the progress of a large number of plants with you and tell you about the effectiveness of the equipment that operates inside my Rainforest Terrarium, so there’s a lot of information to provide you with. Consequently, I have divided my update up, to make each part more manageable.
Alternatively, read on to discover how well my Aerangis, Amesiella, and Angraecum plants have grown inside my Rainforest Terrarium, over the past eleven months, right here in this update below.
Directions for using this Trial Update:
You may not have time to read this article in full. To help you navigate around my articles and ensure that you can easily find the information you want, I’ve added a table of contents at the top of this page; these headings can guide you through the article. You’ll find the contents right at the top of this article, written in red text. I’ve included this feature to make it easier for you to find information about a particular topic – simply click on a heading, to head directly to a particular section. To save time scrolling back up to the top of the page, simply click on the arrow: you’ll find it low down, on the right hand side of the page. Click on this arrow, to be directed back to the beginning of this update.
Rainforest Terrarium Planting List:
As of March 2019, the following plants are currently growing inside this Rainforest Terrarium:
- Aerangis calantha
- Aerangis fastuosa
- Aerangis fuscata
- Aerangis hariotiana
- Aerangis luteoalba var rhodosticta
- Aerangis modesta
- Aerangis mystacidii
- Aerangis punctata
- Aerangis spiculata
- Amesiella minor
- Amesiella monticola
- Angraecum aloifolium
- Angraecum bancoense
- Angraecum compactum
- Angraecum didieri
- Angraecum dollii
- Angraecum elephantinum
- Angraecum equitans
- Angraecum pyriforme
- Paphiopedilum concolor
- Paphiopedilum esquirolei
- Paphiopedilum fairrieanum
- Paphiopedilum henryanum
- Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum
- Phalaenopsis appendiculata
- Phalaenopsis chibae
- Phalaenopsis cochlearis
- Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi ‘Green’
- Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi ‘Red’
- Phalaenopsis equestris
- Phalaenopsis equestris ‘Aparri’
- Phalaenopsis fasciata
- Phalaenopsis gibbosa
- Phalaenopsis honghenensis
- Phalaenopsis inscriptiosinensis
- Phalaenopsis lindenii
- Phalaenopsis lobbii
- Phalaenopsis lobbii f. flavilabia
- Phalaenopsis lowii
- Phalaenopsis lueddemanniana ‘Woodlawn’
- Phalaenopsis malipoensis
- Phalaenopsis pallens
- Phalaenopsis pantherina
- Phalaenopsis parishii alba
- Phalaenopsis pulcherrima
- Phalaenopsis pulchra
- Phalaenopsis stobartiana
- Phalaenopsis taenialis
- Phalaenopsis wilsonii
This update covers the Aerangis, Amesiella, and Angraecum plants inside my Rainforest Terrarium, while my continuing update will show the Paphiopedilum and Phalaenopsis plants that are growing inside this Rainforest Terrarium.
If you’re interested, you can discover more details and see photographs of all of the plants that are growing inside my Rainforest Terrarium, in my Rainforest Terrarium Planting List. This planting list includes information about all of the plants that are currently growing inside my Rainforest Terrarium, it also includes details of any plants that have been grown inside my Rainforest Terrarium in the past. Rest assured that any plants that I introduce to this Rainforest Terrarium in the future, will also be added to this list.
I’ve listed all of the nurseries and suppliers where I have purchased my plants, cork, and moss, etc at the bottom of this planting list.
Paphiopedilum plant care
The Paphiopedilum plants you can see planted at the base of this Rainforest Terrarium have all been planted inside their pots. The Paphs are surrounded by peat free coir compost, which is topped with moss. These orchids are watered by the automated misting unit that operates inside the Rainforest Terrarium. You’ll be able to find out more about these plants in my Paphiopedilum and Phalaenopsis update for this Rainforest Terrarium, which is the next update to be published as part of this series.
On the 15th September 2018, I changed the fertiliser that I used for my orchids. I was happy with the fertiliser that I was using before September 2018 (Orchid Focus Grow and Orchid Focus Bloom), but I wanted to try the Akerne Orchids Rain Mix, as I wanted to find out more about this product. I’ll write a separate post about this fertiliser once I have spent a longer period of time trying out the product. I was in no way unhappy with Orchid Focus, I simply wanted to learn more about another product.
Rainforest Terrarium Insects and Pests
OK, so millipedes aren’t strictly an insect, but I am listing them here all the same!
Last autumn, I noticed that I had large millipedes living inside almost all of my terrariums! Spotting a millepede went from being an occasional to common occurrence. I saw large numbers of millipedes living inside many of my indoor gardens, including this Rainforest Terrarium.
I would never wish to keep or trap any creatures inside my terrariums, so I added large slices of cucumber to my enclosures, to attract the millipedes and allow these creatures to be carefully scooped up and moved out of the terrarium with the minimum amount of fuss or distress to either me or the millipedes. My cucumber method works well for gathering up millipedes, as well as slugs, and snails. If you’re looking to attract and gather up these creatures, I’d highly recommend my cucumber method!
In February and March 2019, I noticed that I had sciarid flies (also known as fungus gnats) inside many of my terrariums. I also noticed these tiny, irritating flies flitting around my houseplants. On the 9th March 2019, I treated the moss and the Paphiopedilum orchids inside my Rainforest Terrarium with a drench of Nemasys® Biological Fruit and Veg Protection. This biological control features a mixture of different nematode species to control a wide range of pests found both indoors and outside, including: sciarid fly, thrips, cutworms, codling moth, carrot root fly, cabbage root fly, onion fly, shore fly, caterpillars, and gooseberry sawfly.
Biological controls are a natural method of controlling pests. This treatment contains the natural predator of sciarid flies, a tiny nematode, which controls their numbers effectively. You can read all about Nemasys® Biological Fruit and Veg Protection in this article I wrote about this treatment, showing the step-by-step application process, here.
There are a large number of tiny snails residing in this Rainforest Terrarium. I feel that this update could also be known as, ‘spot the snail’, as there are so many of these mollusks dining out on my plants and making a wonderful home for themselves, inside this enclosure!
I use slices of cucumber very effectively for attracting and then removing snails from my terrariums, but I have not been as pro-active with my cucumber slices as usual of late, and the number of snails has grown accordingly. As I write, my Rainforest Terrarium is currently decorated with slices of cucumber, so I am all set and ready to entice this terrarium’s snails away from my orchids and out of this terrarium! If you struggle with snails or slugs inside your terrarium, I can heartily recommend my cucumber method!
Rainforest Terrarium Growing Conditions
You can find out more about the growing conditions inside this Rainforest Terrarium and the equipment I use inside this terrarium in this update, which covers the same eleven month period, from April 2018 to March 2019.
Here’s a look at how the Aerangis, Amesiella, and Angraecum orchids, inside my Rainforest Terrarium have been growing over the past eleven months:
Over the past eleven months, this Aerangis calantha specimen has simply flourished inside my Rainforest Terrarium. This particular orchid was first introduced to this Rainforest Terrarium in April 2018. At the end of July 2018, I was thrilled to find that this Aerangis calantha specimen was producing a flower spike! My Aerangis calantha specimen flowered for two weeks, when its flowers then began to fade quite rapidly.
It’s wonderful that this miniature orchid species from Africa has thrived inside my Rainforest Terrarium. This Aerangis calantha specimen is hung from a rubber suction cup, which is attached to the glass, on the side of this Rainforest Terrarium. This orchid has been positioned fairly low down within the tank, to allow this plant to be shaded by the orchids growing above. I have two Aerangis calantha specimens growing inside this enclosure, both of these plants have flourished inside my Rainforest Terrarium!
Aerangis calantha flowering
I’ve not been particularly successful at growing Aerangis fastuosa inside my any of my Trial Terrariums so far. So, I am thrilled to bring you this update for my Rainforest Terrarium, which features an Aerangis fastuosa plant that has lived for eleven months inside my Rainforest Terrarium! But it’s actually even better than that, as there are in fact three Aerangis fastuosa specimens that are currently alive and growing well inside this terrarium!
I don’t want to mislead you, these Aerangis fastuosa plants haven’t always thrived – they were rather dehydrated for quite a long time, so I’ve been giving all three of these Aerangis fastuosa plants some extra misting by hand, to allow the plants to receive sufficient moisture to establish themselves inside this terrarium. All three of these Aerangis fastuosa plants are now in good shape, but I will continue to provide them with additional hand misting, to ensure they receive all the moisture they need for healthy growth and development.
As you can see in the pictures I’ve taken to accompany this Rainforest Terrarium update, these Aerangis fastuosa plants were really rather dehydrated at one stage. Happily, all of these Aerangis fastuosa plants are now showing signs of a real recovery and rejuvenation.
These three Aerangis fastuosa specimens have received and required much more water than any of the other plants inside my Rainforest Terrarium. I have two Aerangis equitans specimens inside this Rainforest Terrarium, (you’ll see these plants further on in this update). I have found these Angraecum specimens to be irregular, one Angraecum equitans specimen has also received a larger quantity of water than the other plants (excluding these Aerangis fastuosa plants) inside this Rainforest Terrarium and still appears very dehydrated, but the second Angraecum equitans specimen inside this terrarium has not required any additional misting and appears in good health.
Both of these Aerangis fastuosa plants have been growing inside my Rainforest Terrarium since I set it up, in April 2018.
Aerangis fastuosa in bud
I am so excited to share this news with you; one of the three Aerangis fastuosa plants that are growing inside my Rainforest Terrarium is now in the early stages of producing a flower spike! I was so happy when I spotted this flowering stem poking out from under the plant’s leaves, it was a lovely surprise!
This lovely Aerangis fuscata specimen was introduced to this Rainforest Terrarium in April 2018. In looking at these photographs taken over the past four months, you can see that this plant has lost some of the lovely gloss from its leaves, which is a shame.
As orchid leaves get older they often lose some of their sheen, but a leaf’s gloss is also lost as a plant begins to become dehydrated. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on any plants with leaves that appear duller or have lost their shine and provide them with an additional misting, as necessary, to prevent dehydration.
Aerangis hariotiana is another miniature orchid that was introduced to this Rainforest Terrarium in April 2018. I have two Aerangis hariotiana specimens growing inside this terrarium. So, as I write to you, in March 2019, these plants have been growing inside this terrarium for the past eleven months.
I’ve been delighted with how well this Aerangis hariotiana specimen has grown inside my Rainforest terrarium. This plant has flourished, it has increased in size and has bloomed inside this enclosure – which is wonderful!
Aerangis hariotiana flowering
Aerangis luteoalba var. rhodosticta
This Aerangis luteoalba var. rhodosticta specimen was first introduced to this Rainforest terrarium in April 2018. This is another plant that has spent the past eleven months successfully adjusting to its new home inside my new terrarium. I am very happy to say that this young Aerangis luteoalba var. rhodosticta specimen flowered for the first time, in January 2019.
This plant produced its first flower spike this autumn, which grew and developed over the autumn and winter. The first Aerangis luteoalba var. rhodosticta bloom opened on the 9th January 2019.
Once this Aerangis luteoalba var. rhodosticta specimen’s flowers had opened, I noticed that this plant’s leaves had really yellowed, they looked to be a shadow of their former selves.
Aerangis luteoalba var. rhodosticta flowering
I have another Aerangis luteoalba var. rhodosticta specimen. To see this Aerangis luteoalba var. rhodosticta plant in every stage of its flowering – from beginning to end and discover more information about this lovely Aerangis species, please click here.
This Aerangis modesta specimen that you see here, pictured inside my Rainforest Terrarium, was the very same Aerangis modesta specimen that I first grew inside my Madagascar BiOrbAir terrarium, in March 2017.
This is quite a large sized orchid, especially when viewed in comparison to my other plants, many of which are truly miniature sized. I’d describe this orchid as a small sized orchid species, it’s a plant that would be too large for many terrariums. You can more accurately see the size of this orchid in my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium review.
This Aerangis modesta specimen has been grown inside this Rainforest Terrarium for the past eleven months, having been first introduced to this enclosure in April 2018. This plant has adjusted well to its new home, but this Aerangis modesta specimen looks more than a little dehydrated. Regrettably, I haven’t provided this orchid with much in the way of additional hand misting, but I will make the effort to mist this plant more often and see if the plant’s appearance improves.
This Aerangis mystacidii specimen was first introduced to this Rainforest Terrarium in April 2018, so this plant has also been growing inside this enclosure for the past eleven months. I’ve been so happy to see how quickly this plant has adjusted to its new home!
This Aerangis mystacidii specimen was purchased in March 2017, as one of a group of young seedlings, which were growing inside a sealed flask. This orchid species grows well inside a terrarium, but it can also be grown successfully as a houseplant.
I introduced this Aerangis punctata specimen to my Rainforest Terrarium in April 2018. I was thrilled when this Aerangis punctata specimen bloomed inside this terrarium; this miniature orchid was in flower, during August 2018.
This Aerangis punctata specimen has quite simply flourished inside my Rainforest Terrarium.
Aerangis punctata flowering
Aerangis x primulina
Not all of the plants that I have introduced to this Rainforest Terrarium have flourished. This Aerangis x primulina specimen is a plant that I purchased in the early spring of 2018. This orchid wasn’t in the best of health after its journey to me through the post, but the plant continued to decline once it was in my care. I introduced this Aerangis x primulina specimen into this Rainforest Terrarium in April 2018; sadly the plant died in October 2018.
Here’s another orchid that declined and has now died, after being moved into my Rainforest Terrarium. This Aerangis somalensis specimen was introduced to this Rainforest Terrarium in April 2018. At first, this plant produced new leaves and new roots following its introduction inside this enclosure.
This Aerangis somalensis specimen declined over the following months, after its introduction to my Rainforest Terrarium. Sadly, this Aerangis somalensis plant died a month ago.
This Aerangis spiculata specimen has always been a rather untidy, unkept looking plant, with matt leaves. It hasn’t ever looked particularly chipper. I hope that this Aerangis spiculata specimen will be happy growing inside this Rainforest Terrarium.
Here’s another orchid species that failed to thrive inside my Rainforest Terrarium. This Aerangis verdickii specimen has such terrible looking roots! Sadly, the one live root that you see pictured above, has now also died; consequently I am sorry to say that this plant is no more.
This is another orchid that was introduced to this Rainforest Terrarium when it was first set up, in April 2018. I love the colour of this orchid species’ leaves, they’re such a strong green colour. I am very sorry to have lost this plant.
In contrast to Aerangis verdickii, the leaves of this Amesiella minor specimen look rather washed out or yellow. This Amesiella minor specimen was introduced to this Rainforest Terrarium, in April 2018.
This autumn, I was so happy to see that this miniature orchid was in the first stages of producing an inflorescence. This Amesiella minor specimen’s first flower opened on the 29th January 2019.
Amesiella minor flowering
I love Amesiellas! I am fortunate to have both Amesiella minor and Amesiella monticola plants growing inside this Rainforest Terrarium. As you can see in my photographs, this Amesiella monticola plant has flourished inside this enclosure. This plant has produced some lovely new leaves and roots, over the past eleven months that it has been growing inside the Rainforest Terrarium.
This is Angraecum aloifolium, it’s such a beautiful orchid, a truly great plant! I’m fortunate enough to have two of these orchids. My plants were introduced to this Rainforest Terrarium when it was first set up, in April 2018.
I’ve positioned my Angraecum aloifolium specimens at the top of the glass, on the back wall of this Rainforest Terrarium. Of all of the orchids inside this terrarium, these plants are closest to the LED lights, as this orchid species thrives in bright light.
I introduced this Angraecum bancoense specimen to my Rainforest Terrarium, in April 2018. This is another plant that has been growing inside this terrarium for the past eleven months, since the Rainforest Terrarium was set up. At first, this Angraecum bancoense specimen looked to be growing well inside this terrarium. The plants were in good condition and looked healthy for the first eight months or so. Then one of this Angraecum bancoense specimen’s leaf covered stems declined; as you can see in my photographs below, the plant has dropped a number of leaves.
There’s no need to panic though, this orchid species is easy to propagate, so on the 5th March 2019, cuttings were taken, immediately after I took the pictures for this update.
Angraecum compactum is another miniature orchid species that was first introduced to this terrarium back in April 2018. This Angraecum compactum specimen has visibly grown in size, producing new roots and leaves over the past eleven months since it has been grown inside this enclosure.
A self-seeded fern has popped up on the moss that this Angraecum compactum specimen is mounted onto. At first I left the fern to grow and develop, but I removed the fern in March 2019. Ferns are often seen inside my terrariums, as the conditions are perfect for ferns to germinate, grow, and develop, these ferns freely self-seed themselves around.
This Angraecum compactum specimen has quite a lot of mould growing on the cork the plant is mounted onto. After I took these pictures, this plant was treated with a fungicide and the plant’s position was altered slightly, so as to ensure this plant wasn’t sitting in too wet a position, as the plant is situated near the base of the tank.
This Angraecum didieri specimen has had a hard life! I introduced this orchid to my Rainforest Terrarium in September 2018. Before that this plant spent a lot of time in my quarantine terrarium, as when I purchased the plant, back in October 2017, the plant was troubled with scale insect and mealy bug. Once I eventually got this plant free of pests for a prolonged period of time, I then introduced this Angraecum didieri specimen to my Rainforest Terrarium, last autumn.
I have two Angraecum didieri plants growing inside this terrarium, both plants are growing as well as can be expected.
This Angraecum dollii specimen was introduced to this Rainforest Terrarium in April 2018. I must confess that this Angraecum dollii specimen isn’t looking quite as well and happy as I had hoped. I hope that I can make adjustments to the plant’s position or do something to make this orchid more comfortable and happy to grow inside my Rainforest Terrarium.
A number of Angraecum orchid species are very similar. Angraecum elephantinum and Angraecum didieri are an example of two very similar looking orchid species. I have a hunch that the plant that I purchased as Angraecum elephantinum, may in fact be an Angraecum didieri orchid, these orchid species are very easily confused, as they are so alike in their appearance.
This Angraecum, the plant you see pictured above and below, has grown well inside this Rainforest terrarium. This Angraecum specimen has adjusted to the conditions found inside this enclosure, producing new roots, leaves, and even a flower!
Angraecum elephantinum flowering
It has been a joy to spend time with this Angraecum specimen. I have particularly enjoyed being near this Angraecum plant during the evening, whilst this specimen was in bloom. This Angraecum species produces a scent that is powerful and intoxicating, it’s a heady perfume that is musky and delicious. I detected fragrance notes of Jasmine, clove, Rhododendron, Azalea, citrus, and Regale lily, which combine to create an utterly divine perfume!
This single flower filled the room with its delightful fragrance. This orchid is highly perfumed. I found that this Angraecum specimen’s inflorescence released its perfume when darkness falls. There was no discernible fragrance detected during the daytime, whilst this plant was in bloom; it was only once the lights had turned off that this orchid generated its sweet and sensual perfume.
I have two Angraecum equitans specimens growing inside this Rainforest Terrarium. Both plants have perfomed very differently since their introduction to this enclosure. This Angraecum equitans specimen hasn’t adjusted as well to growing inside this Rainforest Terrarium as I had hoped. This plant’s leaves have always looked wrinkled and extremely dehydrated. This Angraecum equitans plant has been given extra hand misting over the past few months, but sadly the condition of this Angraecum equitans specimen doesn’t seem to have improved, despite the extra moisture the plant has received. On two occasions, I have submerged this plant in water for 30 minutes to try to rehydrate it. I will continue monitoring this orchid and providing the plant with extra moisture. I hope the condition of this plant will improve in time.
You can see my other Angraecum equitans specimen above, as you can see in this photograph, this second plant looks so much healthier and stronger than the first plant I showed you. I shall continue monitoring both plants.
I introduced this Angraecum pyriforme specimen to this Rainforest Terrarium in April 2018. I was delighted when this plant flowered in November 2018.
To see how the Aerangis, Amesiella, and Angraecum orchids inside this Rainforest Terrarium grew from March 2019 to March 2020, please click here.
Further Trials and Other Articles that may interest you…..
To see how the Paphiopedilum and Phalaenopsis orchids inside my Rainforest Terrarium grew over the same time frame as the update you’ve just read – from April 2018 to March 2019, please click here.
To see the corresponding update on how the equipment inside my Rainforest Terrarium has performed over the same eleven months that this update covers, please click here.
To see how my Rainforest Terrarium was set up, find out about the equipment I’ve installed and the thinking behind my design, please click here.
To see how my Orchidarium was created, please click here.
To see a planting list of a wide variety of plants, including orchids, ferns and other plants that are ideally suited to growing inside a terrarium or bottle garden, please click here.
To read about the Queen of Orchids, the largest orchid in the world, please click here.
To read about my White Orchid Trial Terrarium, please click here.
To read about my Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium, please click here.
To read about my Madagascar Terrarium, please click here.
To read about the features of the 2017 BiOrbAir Terrarium, please click here.