Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium
Welcome to the twenty-second part of my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir! This trial update is not all about success. Since my last update, two orchids have declined – one more so than the other. One plant looks like it’s probably in the process of dying; while another miniature orchid just isn’t looking as healthy as I would like.
A resilient colony of aphids are positively thriving inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir. These tiny creatures have been dining out, feasting on all of the miniature orchids that are growing inside this terrarium.
Thankfully, there are also lots of lovely moments to share with you. Since my last update, a number of the orchids inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium have been delighting me with their gorgeous flowers. Plus another of the orchids that’s growing inside this terrarium – a plant that I expected to die a while ago – is now alive and well – which is something that’s always worth celebrating!
This BiOrbAir terrarium was purchased for me by my family and friends, a kindness that I will remember always.
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 July 2019, this BiOrbAir terrarium is almost four years old!
BiOrbAir terrarium planting
My planting of this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium has changed over the past four years. I’ve trialled many plants and created many different planting schemes and designs. Despite the many changes over the past four years, there is one orchid that was included in my original planting of this terrarium, back in August 2015, that is still growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium today – Diplocaulobium abbreviatum. Here’s a look at this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, back in August 2015:
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 Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, here.
Alternatively, if you’re interested in the BiOrbAir, you might be interested to follow the development of the orchids growing inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium or my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium. You can see updates from all of my BiOrbAir Trials here.
You can visit my terrarium section here, where you’ll find more articles about terrariums.
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.
I have compiled a longer planting list, to help you, if you’re looking to plant a terrarium or bottle garden. Here’s a link to my planting list for terrariums and bottle gardens.
During February and March 2019, I noticed that I had sciarid flies hovering around my houseplants and inside many of my terrariums. These tiny flies were flitting around my houseplants and bugging me. So, on 9th March 2019, I treated the compost inside my Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium with a compost 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 the pest’s natural predator.
If you’re interested, 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.
I have a resilient species of tiny aphids that have colonised the orchids that are growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium. I use SB Plant Invigorator to control a number of pests, including aphids, on all of my orchids. Since my last update, I have continued with my usual plant care routine, in the hope that this would control the numbers of aphids inside this terrarium. However, this aphid appears to be particularly strong and resilient. The fact that this aphid is so tiny really works to its advantage, as I can rarely spot this minuscule aphid, so it’s more difficult to control this insect. A number of aphid colonies are affecting all of the plants that are growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium. My photographs don’t convey just how tiny this pest is; this aphid is often only visible in close up photographs, like these:
Aphids are the main pest that are troubling the plants inside this terrarium. Although I must say that I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few spider mites affecting some of the orchids inside this terrarium, most notably, the Trichoglottis pusilla specimen that’s growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
I use SB Plant Invigorator to control spider mites, aphids, and the other pests, that affect the orchids growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium.
If you’re interested, you can read more about spider mites inside terrariums, in this article I wrote about how to tackle spider mites, inside terrariums, vivariums, and orchidariums.
Following a previous outbreak of mould, all of the plants inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium were treated with a fungicide on the 14th January 2019. On the 15th April 2019, the Macroclinium manabinum plant (and its mount) were again treated with a fungicide.
In the photographs that accompany this update, you can see that there is some mould still on a number of the plants that reside inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium.
Conditions inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium
Terrarium humidity levels
If you look at the chart above, you can clearly spot the day when the lid of this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium was accidentally left open, after the plants were misted by hand!
If you’re interested in this topic, 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.
I was using Rain Mix from Akerne Orchids, as a fertiliser for all of my orchids. On the 22nd March 2019, I switched back to using my previous fertiliser, Orchid Focus Grow, for my orchids that are actively growing, and Orchid Focus Bloom, as a fertiliser for my orchids that are in bud or in flower.
If you’re interested, you can read about the general care I give my orchids here.
Miniature Orchid Trial
Aerangis mystacidii is a resilient orchid species. Currently, this Aerangis mystacidii specimen is not a very healthy looking plant, this plant has never looked particularly healthy or strong. Nevertheless, this particular plant has surprised me by its recovery after a bought of serious illness and decline, last year.
This is a young Aerangis mystacidii plant that I’ve been growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium since November 2017, when I removed this orchid seedling from its flask. I had intended to leave all of the orchids growing safely inside their flask for a while longer, as they were very small, young seedlings, but unfortunately I accidentally dropped the flask. So, this seedling and the other seedlings that were growing inside my flask, had to be released from their flask and they were all mounted much earlier than I had planned. I hope that this plant’s health will continue to improve. Hopefully, this Aerangis mystacidii plant will now go on to produce lots of strong, healthy new roots and leaves, as so far this plant has always displayed an unhealthy appearance.
This Ceratostylis philippinensis specimen delighted me by producing a fantastic flowering display during January and February 2019; when I got to enjoy seeing so many of this orchid’s delicate, pretty white flowers.
Here are some more recent photographs I’ve taken of this Ceratostylis philippinensis plant. As you can see, this orchid is in good health, this plant is growing well inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
This Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen is the only plant that’s currently growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium that was included in the original planting of this terrarium. Sadly, this orchid has never flowered during the four years that it has been growing inside this enclosure, but I hope that this plant will flower in future.
When I received this plant back in 2015, this Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen was a tiny plant that had been damaged in transit. This Diplocaulobium abbreviatum plant had been accidentally pulled apart from its roots – as the plants in my order had became tangled together with the packing tape they had been wrapped up with. Here’s a picture I took after I mounted this plant inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium, back in August 2015:
Diplocaulobium abbreviatum isn’t a snail magnet, like some plants can be, I’ve never noticed any significant snail damage on this orchid. But, you might be able to spot a tiny snail on this plant, in my photograph above.
I’ve noticed that some of this Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen’s leaf tips are yellowing a little, but otherwise this plant looks to be in reasonably good health.
In contrast to the healthy Diplocaulobium abbreviatum plant above, here’s a look at the remnants of the Diplocaulobium chrysotropis plant that resides inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. This is such a sad and sorry sight!
This plant was in poor condition when I purchased it. I really hoped that I could revive this plant and transform its fortunes, but I haven’t manage to do that. Sadly, this Diplocaulobium chrysotropis specimen’s decline has been unstoppable. I don’t know whether this plant needed a more pronounced drier season, or if this orchid craved a greater quality of light, or if it was something else entirely. Either way, this Diplocaulobium chrysotropis specimen has not flourished inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’
I just adore this cute little orchid – Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’. This is a fabulous orchid to grow inside a BiOrbAir terrarium. My Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ plant has flourished inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. This orchid almost always has at least one or two flowers open, with more prominent flowerings every six months, or so.
This is the newest introduction to this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium – Macroclinium chasei. Sadly, this plant is not looking anywhere near as happy or healthy, as I would like. This Macroclinium chasei specimen has declined over the past seven months that this orchid has been growing inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
I don’t think that I have provided this Macroclinium chasei specimen with enough misting, as my plant looks to be very dehydrated. The BiOrbAir provides a humid environment and LED lights, which help the plants inside this terrarium to grow (If you’re interested, you can read more about the features of the BiOrbAir via this link.), these orchids are still heavily reliant on hand misting for moisture and fertiliser. I don’t mist the plants inside this BiOrbAir every day. As this orchid is clearly craving more moisture, I am tempted to move this Macroclinium chasei plant to my Orchidarium, or to my Rainforest Terrarium, or another terrarium with automated misting. I will endeavour to try to mist this plant more frequently and provide this orchid with more favourable growing conditions.
Here’s another Macroclinium – Macroclinium manabinum, This plant was positively thriving inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, but over the past seven months this orchid has been seriously affected and knocked back by these persistent aphids and by a covering of mould that took hold of this Macroclinium manabinum specimen’s cork mount over the Christmas period, last year.
It has been a delight to see this Macroclinium manabinum specimen’s flowers, although these blooms have been rather liberally decorated with aphids!
With persistent pest outbreaks, like the problem I am experiencing with the aphids inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, it’s important to be thorough. If you’re experiencing a problem with expanding aphid colonies inside your terrariums, vivariums, or bottle gardens. I’d advise you to remove all of the plants from your terrarium and clean them up, removing any visible pests.
Next, spray your plants with SB Plant Invigorator. Give your plants a really thorough soaking, making sure that you turn your plants around in every direction as you spray, so you can be certain that every leaf underside, every plant stem is coated with SB Plant Invigorator. Ensure that you turn your plants upside down and spray all the underneath areas, where the spray wouldn’t naturally reach, if you were trying to treat the plants inside your terrarium.
This Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen, like the other orchids that are growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, has also been weakened by the aphids. Thankfully, these aphids didn’t stop this Masdevallia from delighting me with its gorgeous triquetrous flowers, which are a very rich maroon colour that’s outlined in gold.
This Masdevallia rechingeriana plant produced its first flowers of the season in early February. The plant continued blooming at regular intervals all through February, March, April, and May.
A few years ago, one of my lovely friends gave me this Mediocalcar decoratum specimen. This plant has been growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium since the 26th May 2016. My Mediocalcar decoratum specimen has not yet flowered inside this terrarium.
Many of the tips of this Mediocalcar decoratum specimen’s leaves are often touched with yellow, usually with a bronze tint. This is not a look I favour, I prefer my plants to have a healthier appearance. Often, yellowing leaves are a sign that an orchid is receiving too much, or not enough water.
I hand mist the orchids inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, so sometimes my plants can be a bit drier or wetter than they would like, as they are reliant on me having the time to mist them, rather than waiting for an automated misting system that delivers a precise amount of water, at a set time, like those I have installed inside my Orchidarium and my Rainforest Terrarium.
I love Ornithocephalus manabina. This is such a beautiful orchid species, the plants are so attractive when they’re in bud or in flower, but this plant is simply beautiful by itself, even without any blooms to decorate the plant.
Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’
Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’ is the only hybrid plant I have growing inside this terrarium. This Phalaenopsis hybrid has flourished inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. I don’t think there has been a single day this year, that this Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’ plant has not been in flower. It’s such a floriferous plant!
If you’re looking for plants to grow inside your BiOrbAir terrarium, miniature hybrid Phalaenopsis orchids are great plants to choose to grow inside the BiOrbAir. These plants will flourish inside this terrarium.
I find that Restrepia seketii doesn’t flower as prolifically as the other Restrepia species I grow, but nonetheless, this is my favourite Restrepia species. The flowers are so beautiful, they’re such a pretty colour. This is a graceful orchid species. I am thrilled to be growing this orchid inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
I’ve probably said it before, but Trichoglottis pusilla is not my favourite orchid. I simply bought this plant so I could try it out inside the BiOrbAir and to increase the range of plants that I’ve trialled and tested, so as to help my readers as much as possible.
This particular Trichoglottis pusilla specimen has been growing inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir terrarium since 2017. Sadly this orchid has not yet flowered inside this terrarium.
I’ve noticed that this Trichoglottis pusilla specimen’s leaves don’t look as dark a green as they used to. This drop in leaf colour may be due to the aphid colonies that have been busy feasting on the plants inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, or this plant’s leaf colour may have changed due to spider mites feasting on the plant.
To head straight over to the next update for this terrarium and see more of these orchid in bloom, 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.
For information on how to tackle spider mites on orchids and terrarium plants growing inside terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.
To see how my Rainforest Terrarium is set up, please click here.