White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial
Welcome to the thirteenth part of this my White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial. I dedicated this terrarium to white flowered orchids back in April 2017 – which as I write to you today was exactly two years ago. In this update, I am delighted to share with you the glistening twinkle of Aerangis hyaloides flowers and the glamorous, snow white flowers of Amesiella philippinensis. On a less happy note, my Constantia cipoensis plant that was growing inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium has died. Sadly, I’ve discovered some scale insects on the Neofinetia falcata specimen that resides inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium…..I’ve also spotted some aphids…..and I’ve overwatered many of these white flowered orchids. Yes, that’s right, I’m not proud of it, but I’ve overwatered these plants again! More on this later. Firstly, a reminder………
Reasons for this White Orchid Trial
I decided to plant up this White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium in April 2017, after receiving many requests from readers asking about white flowered, miniature, epiphytic orchids to grow in terrariums. I didn’t have a spare terrarium available to plant at the time, so I decided to empty, and then re-plant my long-term review BiOrbAir terrarium with a variety of species of white-flowering orchids, to showcase how beautiful a single colour planting scheme for terrariums, vivariums, orchidariums, or bottle gardens, can be.
White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium
I have a few BiOrbAir Terrariums; I love this terrarium! The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated, terrarium, which was designed by Barry Reynolds, and is available from BiOrb. I got this BiOrbAir terrarium in September 2014. I first planted this terrarium with a range of different terrarium plants. Then in March 2017, I emptied this terrarium and replanted it with white flowered orchids. Here’s a photograph of my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, pictured after it was first planted, back in April 2017…….
Since I set up this terrarium in April 2017, I have made a number of changes. The planting has not remained the same, I have introduced new plants to this terrarium, but there are plants from four different orchid species growing in this White Orchid Trial Terrarium today, that were included in the very first planting of this terrarium and have been present at every stage over the past two years
I first added a new plant to this terrarium, on the 28th May 2017, when I added a young Aerangis mystacidii specimen, which had been previously growing inside a flask. At the same time, I added an attractive fern, Humata repens, which was previously growing inside another of my terrariums, to this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Then on the 12th November 2017, I rearranged this White Orchid Trial Terrarium, this re-arrangement was part of a large reorganisation of many of my terrariums. On the 12th November 2017, I removed some of the orchids that were growing inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium, I relocated these plants to other terrariums, so that I could grow more plants from the same genus together. At the same time, I introduced some new miniature orchids to this terrarium.
In May 2018, I re-arranged the plants inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir terrarium. During this reshuffle, I removed my Humata repens specimen and transferred this fern to another of my terrariums. Humata repens absolutely flourished inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir, this is a super fern for terrariums! The reason I moved this fern was because I had another terrarium which was planted more sparsely; I knew that this Humata repens specimen was just the fern that my minimal terrarium needed. I had already proven that Humata repens was ideally suited to growing inside a BiOrbAir terrarium, so I was happy to move this fern to another terrarium.
I also moved my Ceratochilus biglandulosus specimen into another of my terrariums. Ceratochilus biglandulosus is a beautiful miniature orchid, however I found that this orchid wasn’t the easiest plant to grow inside a BiOrbAir terrarium, this orchid was happier in the conditions provided by my Orchidarium.
In May 2018, I also moved the Masdevallia tovarensis specimen and the Aerangis mystacidii specimens that were residing inside this terrarium into other terrariums. These plants both grew very well inside the BiOrbAir, but as they were rapidly increasing in size, this closely planted terrarium became over crowded, hence the reason for their move.
At the end of January 2019, Oase sent me a new lid for my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. The old lid and all of the kit inside this lid still worked, but the equipment was quite noisy in comparison to my other, newer BiOrbAir terrariums, so I was keen to replace my lid for a quieter one.
In March 2019, I decided to add a small cutting of a Humata repens fern to this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. This decision came about as I was re-arranging the plants inside another of my terrariums, when I found I had a spare piece of this fern left over. Having grown this fern previously inside my White Orchid Trial Terrarium, I knew that Humata repens would perfectly compliment the planting inside this enclosure. This time, I haven’t planted Humata repens in the usual manner, instead just a small cutting has been dropped directly onto the pillow moss that surrounds the central focus of cork and orchids inside this terrarium. This small fern cutting is just resting on top of the moss, whereas the Humata repens specimen that was previously growing inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium was planted directly into the compost, inside this terrarium.
If you would like to see this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial and Review from the very beginning after this terrarium was first planted, please click here. While you can read about the latest features of the updated 2017 model of the BiOrbAir terrarium here.
I am rather ashamed to say that I have again overwatered the orchids inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium. I cannot tell you how sorry I feel about this sorry situation, which is entirely my fault.
I booked to stay with a friend during February 2019. So, I practically drowned all of my orchids before I went, as I sometimes do – just to make sure that the plants would be OK without any misting or watering for over a week, while I was away.
On my return, rushed with too many things to do, rather than checking my plants first, I gave everything another thorough soaking, just to ensure my plants had enough moisture. Then, during an impossibly busy week, I did something particularly stupid; I used my super sized, super powerful sprayer. Yes that’s right – the sprayer I used when I overwatered my orchids before, back in May 2018, the sprayer I swore I wouldn’t use again.
The plants inside this terrarium were all treated with a fungicide on the 15th March 2019. I just hope they recover.
Conditions inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium
The ginormous dip you can see on my humidity chart above occurred when I was taking my plants out of this terrarium so I could photograph them and I left the lid open, so the BiOrbAIr’s automated misting unit was unable to operate and the humid, moist air that was inside this terrarium escaped.
If you’re interested, you might like to read this article I wrote 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.
I was previously using Rain Mix from Akerne Orchids, as a fertiliser for all of my orchids. On the 22nd March 2019, I switched back to using Orchid Focus Grow, as a fertiliser for my orchids that are actively growing, and Orchid Focus Bloom, as a fertiliser for my orchids that are currently in bud or in flower.
White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium Planting List:
These plants are currently growing inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium:
You can see the full planting list for this terrarium here. This full planting list provides more information about each of the orchids that are currently growing inside this terrarium, alongside information about any orchids that have previously been trialled inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. My White Orchid Trial Terrarium planting list allows you to find links to every article on PumpkinBeth.com that features each individual orchid species. If I make any changes to this White Orchid Trial Terrarium in the future, I’ll add information about any new plants to this planting list. This planting list provides the details of all of the nurseries and suppliers where I purchased all of my orchids, the mosses, and cork, used inside this terrarium.
If you’re wondering how I mounted my orchids onto the cork wood, you’ll find more information on how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark here.
I have found a number of colonies of these tiny, black aphids on many of the plants that are growing inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. I found these aphids on my Holcoglossum flavescens, Neofinetia falcata, Aerangis hyaloides, and Brachypeza semiteretifolia plants. Although, I must say that these aphids are minuscule and they’re incredibly difficult to spot, so it’s highly likely that these aphids have spread to all of the plants inside this terrarium.
I use SB Plant Invigorator to control pests, including these aphids. This particular aphid is small, but it’s strong, robust, and resilient, and like other aphid species, this tiny aphid reproduces at an incredibly fast rate. It’s disappointing that my SB Plant Invigorator isn’t controlling this pest more efficiently, but I shall continue with my regular spraying.
In February and March 2019, I noticed that I had sciarid flies inside many of my terrariums and I also noticed these tiny, irritating little flies flitting around my houseplants. On 9th March 2019, I treated the compost inside my White Orchid Trial Terrarium with a drench of Nemasys® Biological Fruit and Veg Protection, a biological control – an organic natural method of controlling sciarid flies, also known as fungus gnats, using this pest’s natural predator to solve the problem.
There are a number of different scale insect species, the species vary in their size, shape, and colour. Fully grown adult scale insects tend to resemble small brown, often waxy looking or shiny, oval or circular raised areas. Adult scale insects remain firmly attached to their host plant, they lay eggs, which are usually protected underneath the scale insects’ hard, protective shell. When the eggs hatch they go on to grow and progress through a number of different stages, which vary, depending on the species.
Immature scale insects are known as crawlers. Unlike mature scale insects, which are stationary, these young scale insect nymphs move around, which is how scale insects spread from one plant to another.
Outdoors, scale insects are more easily discovered by predators, here they have a slower rate of reproduction, having been set back by the colder weather and the changing temperatures of the seasons. Inside however, it’s entirely different matter, as the indoor scale insect is protected from predators. Indoor scale insects also benefit from a warm, cosy environment where they can breed and increase at an alarming rate.
Controlling scale insects
Scale insects can be controlled in a number of ways. One option is to use Biological controls, this method in effect harnesses the natural predators of scale insects to control this plant pest. Encarsia citrina and Metaphycus helvolus are two species of tiny, parasitic wasps, and Chilocorus nigritus is a species of ladybird, which can be used to control some scale insect species in glasshouses and conservatories, but these biological controls do not work well in terrariums, as they are prone to quickly escape from the small enclosure they’re introduced to.
You could also use neem oil or alcohol to treat isolated individuals. If you’re using this method, carefully dab a small amount directly onto the area where the scale insect is, to help you to remove any scale insects.
When I removed this scale insect, I used SB Plant Invigorator sprayed onto a piece of kitchen paper, followed by a lot of scratching to scratch the scale insect away from the Neofinetia falcata specimen’s stem. I then sprayed all of the plants inside my White Orchid Trial Terrarium, as usual, with SB Plant Invigorator. I have been regularly using this organic pesticide on the plants growing inside my terrariums; I’ve used SB Plant Invigorator for over a year now. I’ve never used this treatment outside – I don’t want to kill any insects in my garden.
So what’s the problem with scale insects? Scale insects are sap sucking creatures that find a host plant and then attach themselves to it. These insects insert their piercing mouthparts into the plant to feast on their host plants’ sugars. Scale insects weaken their host plant by feeding on their host plant’s sap, leaving infested plants weakened and exhausted.
I spotted some scale insect on this Neofinetia falcata specimen in October 2018. After taking these photographs, I removed the scale insect and cleaned over the plant and its stem, using lots of small pieces of kitchen paper one after the other, which were sprayed with SB Plant Invigorator. When I had finished, I sprayed the plant with SB Plant Invigorator, again.
All of the plants that are growing inside this terrarium are regularly sprayed with SB Plant Invigorator, which controls a number of pests, including scale insect. Although, usually I just spray my plants with SB Plant Invigorator, I don’t usually wipe over the plants first, but this seemed like the best course of action after discovering scale insect, as wiping over the leaves like this, with a damp piece of kitchen roll is an opportunity to remove any pests. I use lots of tiny, torn pieces of kitchen paper, disposing of the frequently, to minimise the risk of moving any pests for one area to another.
The immature, young stage of scale insects lives are known as crawlers. These crawlers, or scale insect nymphs, are mobile, they’re quite unlike the mature, stationary, scale insects, that are sedentary, remaining in exactly the same place on a plant. Young crawlers are able to move from one plant to another, which is how these insects cause infestations, as one mature scale insect lays many eggs, these eggs hatch and the immature crawlers move to plants in the near vicinity.
White flowered miniature epiphytic orchids
I am more than a little in love with Aerangis hyaloides. This dear little orchid is utterly charming at every stage of growth. It forms a cute as a button seedling, which then develops into a handsome young plant, that grows into a staggeringly beautiful mature, fully formed plant. Once plants of this orchid species reach maturity and begin to bloom, they simply dazzle with their sparkling white inflorescences!
This particular orchid species does not flower for as long a time period as many of the other orchids in my various BiOrbAir Terrarium Trials, my Orchidarium Trials, Rainforest Terrarium Trials, or my other Indoor Trials, but Aerangis hyaloides flowers are spectacular! While it is in bloom, this little orchid species really makes quite an impact. The time that Aerangis hyaloides flowers last for varies – if the plant is dehydrated or if the flowers are too wet, for too long, then the blooms won’t last as long as they would in optimum conditions. I guess the longest flowering time for an Aerangis hyaloides plant would be around five weeks.
Once they reach maturity, Aerangis hyaloides plants flower reliably; these orchids bloom once every year. Occasionally, I have grown Aerangis hyaloides plants that flower twice a year. Once I had an Aerangis hyaloides specimen that bloomed three times in one particular year, but that was an exception.
I have two Aerangis hyaloides plants that are currently growing inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium. As I write to you today, on the 11th April 2019, one of these Aerangis hyaloides plants is currently in bud. This is much later than usual, as this orchid species usually blooms in December. However, this young Aerangis hyaloides plant has already produced one small flowering stem with just a few flowers on; these blooms opened in December. So, I am looking forward to an out of season treat, when these Aerangis hyaloides flowers open, later this spring!
I am afraid I am quite hopelessly in love with Amesiella philippinensis. This orchid species is quite charming, even when it’s not in bloom. The leaves have a particular beauty, being as they are, a delightful shade of fresh leaf green.
I am so excited to share with you this Amesiella philippinensis orchid’s journey, right from the very first signs that a new bud was appearing, to the moment when this plant’s first flower of the year opened, going right through to this plant being in full bloom and then eventually fading.
This is, this particular Amesiella philippinensis specimen’s second flowering. This plant bloomed for the first time in the middle of January 2018, so the plant is flowering for the second time, one year later. If you’re interested, you can see this Amesiella philippinensis specimen in bloom for the first time, here in this update from January 2018. Last year, this Amesiella philippinensis specimen produced two flowers. This year, this same plant has produced three flowers, but I have also spotted what I think are the the first signs for a new flower spike appearing!
I am sorry to say that my two Brachypeza semiteretifolia specimens were both over watered a couple of months ago. The plants are in a terrible state, both plants have a long way to go to recover. These Brachypeza semiteretifolia plants have lost the majority of their roots, with the worst affected plant having lost almost all of its roots.
The Brachypeza semiteretifolia plant that you see pictured above and below, was the plant that was the most severely affected by my overwatering. This plant is currently in the worst condition of the two Brachypeza semiteretifolia plants, and indeed of all of the plants inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium. Brachypeza semiteretifolia is an orchid that prefers to receive fewer mistings and less moisture than the other miniature orchids that reside inside this terrarium.
You can see in my photographs, that before I treated this Brachypeza semiteretifolia plant with a fungicide, there were visible signs of mould coating this plant’s roots.
Since these photographs were taken, these miniature orchids have been cleaned up and treated with a fungicide. Many words of apology have been uttered. The air inside this terrarium is laced with fungal spores and regret.
I am really rather fond of this Ceratostylis pristina specimen. I must say that this plant looks so much worse than it is in these photographs. The kind of mouldy looking foam, that you can see in my photographs of this Ceratostylis pristina plant, is nothing to worry about, it’s just the residue left over from where I have sprayed SB Plant Invigorator, which has amalgamated with the moss that’s growing around this miniature orchid..
I don’t clean my plants up before I take my pictures for my terrarium updates. It’s more useful, I think, to show accurate photographs of what these orchids look like without the plants being polished up, perfected, or glamorised. My photographs tend to show my plants at their very worst; I won’t rehydrate a dehydrated plant or dry out an overwatered plant for a photograph. If I clean any of my plants’ leaves, it tends to be after I have taken a photograph. So, you get to see my plants at their most pitiful. I hope that my pictures will help anyone experiencing similar problems with their orchids.
This Ceratostylis pristina specimen is growing well. As you can see in my photographs, this miniature orchid has produced lots of lovely fresh healthy green leaves and this plant is increasing in size. I first introduced this Ceratostylis pristina specimen to this White Orchid Trial Terrarium on the 12th November 2017. This orchid has flowered a number of times over the past year and a half, since this Ceratostylis pristina has been residing inside this enclosure.
This Holcoglossum flavescens specimen has been growing inside this White Orchid Terrarium for two years, I included this plant in my original planting scheme when I first set this terrarium up, back in April 2017. This orchid has definitely looked in much better shape than it does today, having enjoyed periods of good health inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, but this orchid is a young plant that has never flowered.
There’s no hope of this Holcoglossum flavescens specimen coming into flower any time soon, as the plant is not in good enough condition to come into bloom. I will do my best to restore this plant to good health.
I spotted a large colony of aphids feasting on this Holcoglossum flavescens specimen. These cunning aphids were in the hardest to spot and almost impossible to reach location, having ensconced themselves underneath one of this plant’s roots, where they are no doubt enjoying receiving a lighter dose of SB Plant Invigorator. These tiny aphids are so difficult to control! They are the most persistent and resistant aphid species that I’ve ever come across.
I am quite certain that this fern isn’t Humata repens, but this was the plant I received when I ordered this plant. I’ve grown Humata repens successfully inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium before. However, this time, I haven’t planted this small Humata repens specimen in the usual manner. Instead I’ve just dropped a small cutting directly onto the pillow moss that surrounds the central focus of cork and orchids inside this terrarium. This small fern cutting is just resting on top of the moss, whereas the Humata repens specimen that was previously growing inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium was planted directly into the compost, inside this terrarium.
I introduced this fern cutting to this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in March 2019.
As you’ll see in my photographs, there are a number of self-seeded ferns that are growing inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium, and indeed inside all of my terrariums. I let these ferns grow for a while and then I weed them out when they become too large or problematic.
This Hymenorchis javanica specimen has suffered terribly from being overwatered a couple of months ago. Although, every cloud has a silver lining, and this sad affair was no exception. There was one good thing to come out of my overwatering incident, namely that this Hymenorchis javanica plant’s roots rotted, so this plant was easy to remove from its mount! This Hymenorchis javanica plant is now growing on a fresh piece of regular cork bark.
When I took these first photos of this Neofinetia falcata specimen, back in September 2018, I was so concerned about this Neofinetia falcata specimen. Happily I can tell you that this plant is now recovering from some of its ailments. This Neofinetia falcata specimen has been in the wars, this plant has scale insect, aphids, but that’s not all, this plant has been over and under watered, as well!
I am happy to say that over the past few months this Neofinetia falcata specimen has been producing some new growth, a new baby Neofinetia falcata plant, which you can see at the base of this plant. Over the past month, this Neofinetia falcata specimen has also produced two new roots, which is wonderful to see!
I could barely see the scale insect that you can see on my Neofinetia falcata plant in the picture above. This pest is much easier to see in this photograph than in real life, as it really is an incredibly tiny insect, it’s much smaller than most of the mature scale insects I have come across.
Here’s a closer look at this scale insect. Happily, this photograph also shows the new growth from my Neofinetia falcata plant – something to be celebrated.
This Podangis dactyloceras specimen has changed quite a bit since I published my last update for this White Orchid Trial Terrarium. As you can see in my photographs, this plant has produced some exciting new growth! Consequently, this plant’s form has changed considerably since I last published an update for this terrarium. I am really excited to see this orchid growing so well.
This Podangis dactyloceras specimen was given to me by a friend in 2016, which as I write to you today was over two years ago. I included this Podangis dactyloceras specimen in my original planting of this White Orchid Trial Terrarium, back in April 2017. This is a relatively young plant that has yet to flower.
To head straight over to the next update for this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium and see how these orchids grow and develop, please click here.
Other articles that may interest you…………
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 about the great new features of the 2017 BiOrbAir terrarium, please click here.
For information on how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark, please click here.
To read a Planting List of a wide range and variety of beautiful plants which are suitable for growing in terrariums, vivariums, bottle gardens, and indoor gardens, please click here.
To see a Planting List of beautiful, miniature orchids, suitable for growing in terrariums, vivariums, bottle gardens, and indoor gardens, please click here.
To read about the Writhlington Orchid Project, please click here.