The Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium (part fourteen)

The Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium

Welcome to the fourteenth and final instalment of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial – growing epiphytic orchids, from Madagascar, inside the BiOrbAir terrarium.

Since my last update, I’ve made the decision to empty my Madagascar BiOrbAir terrarium and re-plant this terrarium.  I found that the Madagascan orchids that I chose to grow together, inside this enclosure, required too strongly opposing growing conditions to make it possible to easily grow these orchids successfully in such close proximity to one another.  Some of the orchids inside this terrarium required more moisture than others.  Consequently, it was not easy to keep all of the plants happy inside the same small enclosure; as the plants that required more moisture were not wet enough, and the plants that required a drier atmosphere, weren’t dry enough.

I’ve now moved all of these Madagascan orchids to another enclosure – if you’re interested, you’ll be able to see these plants again in future updates for their new terrarium.  I’m also really looking forward to replanting this BiOrbAir terrarium – I can hardly wait to show you my new planting scheme – so do remember to look out for my future updates!  But first, here’s a final update, to show you how these Madagascan orchids have grown, over the past few months.

Since my Aeranthes arachnites orchid was divided in July 2019, I’m sorry to say that both of the divisions have died.  But thankfully, the other Madagascan plants from my Madagascar Terrarium are still living – I’ll show you these orchids in just a moment.  Firstly, here’s a re-cap with photographs I’ve taken of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, from April 2017 to 2019…………….

The Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, pictured on the 9th April 2017.

Madagascar Terrarium

I first planted up this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium in April 2017.  If you’re interested, you can see how this terrarium was first planted in my first instalment for this terrarium, here.

My reason for planting this very special terrarium with orchids that are endemic to Madagascar, was to highlight and raise awareness of the fragility of Madagascar.  I wanted showcase the beauty of some of Madagascar’s plants, with the hope that by sharing these images I would encourage more love, protection, and support for Madagascar, and in turn to help to protect other special environments around the world.  Many of the orchids that are found growing in Madagascar are not found anywhere else on Earth; it really is a special and unique place.

To learn more about Madagascar and the vital work in conservation and research that is being undertaken by the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre (KMCC), a non-profit, non governmental organisation (NGO), please click here.  To read the Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre (KMCC) blog, please click here.

I am a huge fan of the people that work at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.   The team representing this amazing organisation, work to discover more about plants and fungi, wherever they originate, all across our planet.  Kew safeguard and protect plant species and important areas for plants and fungi.

We are so fortunate to have Kew.  The work undertaken at Kew benefits the entire planet.  If you’d like to donate and contribute to Kew’s vital plant science and conservation work, please click here.

The BiOrbAir terrarium that I have used to plant up these rare orchids, was designed by Barry Reynolds and is available from BiOrb.  The orchid plants that are featured inside this terrarium were grown in cultivation and not taken from the wild.

My Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 27th June 2017. Inside this terrarium Aeranthes arachnites is in flower, and Aerangis citrata is in bud.

The Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Planting List

These plants were the last orchids to be grown inside my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium:

You can see the full planting list for this terrarium here, where you’ll find more details about each of these orchid species, links to every article on PumpkinBeth.com that mentions that particular orchid species.  The planting list also provides the details of all of the nurseries and suppliers, where I have purchased the orchids, mosses, and cork for this terrarium.

If you’d rather start at the beginning, you can see the first article I wrote about this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, here.

For information on how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark, please click here.

My Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 27th November 2017.

My Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 28th December 2017.

My Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium as pictured on the 16th April 2018, inside this terrarium Aeranthes arachnites is in flower.

My Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 2nd December 2018. Inside this terrarium, Aerangis citrata is in bloom.

This is my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, as pictured on the 25th July 2019. None of these orchids were in bloom when I took this photograph.

Pest control

To control pests inside my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, I used SB Plant Invigorator, an organic, biodegradable, non-toxic control for aphids, scale, mealybug, whitefly, and spider mite.

Fertiliser

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 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.

Conditions inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium

This chart shows the minimum, average, and maximum temperatures recorded inside my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, from the 1st August 2019 to the 17th November 2019.

This chart shows the minimum, average, and maximum humidity levels recorded inside my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, from the 1st August 2019 to the 17th November 2019.

If you’re interested in this topic, you might be interested in reading this article I wrote, where I explain how I track the conditions inside my various terrariums, to monitor the growing conditions for a wide range of plants.  I also use these techniques to track the conditions for my 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 epiphytic orchids from Madagascar

Aerangis citrata

Aerangis citrata, as pictured on the 19th September 2019.

This Aerangis citrata specimen was included in the original planting of this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, back in April 2017.  Providing this plant was hand misted every day (or liberally sprayed with water at least five times a week), this Aerangis citrata specimen flourished inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.

You might be able to see, in my photographs below, that this Aerangis citrata specimen’s leaves are displaying some slight wrinkling – signs that this plant was a little dehydrated and the plant would have preferred to have received more moisture.  It has been a challenge to provide this miniature orchid with the moisture it needs, without over watering the other orchids that reside inside this enclosure – this is why I have now made the decision to empty and replant this BiOrbAir terrarium.

Aerangis citrata requires more moisture than the other orchids that are growing inside this Madagascar Terrarium.  This miniature orchid’s roots are for the most part hanging around the plant; this Aerangis citrata specimen’s roots are open to the elements, where they’re prone to becoming decimated by evaporation.  When I mist this miniature orchid every day, this plant thrives, but the other orchids that are growing inside this enclosure end up suffering and declining, as they don’t want to be surrounded by as much moisture.  I could have taken this Aerangis citrata specimen out of my BiOrbAir to hand mist the plant every day, but I don’t trust myself to do this without damaging the plant – either as I lift the plant out – or as I pop the orchid back inside this terrarium.  I prefer to keep my plants inside their terrariums – I only take my terrarium plants out on rare occasions.

I also could have made the decision to move this Aerangis citrata specimen into another terrarium and to continue to grow the other plants inside this Madagascar Terrarium.  However, I felt that it was time for a change.

A closer look at this Aerangis citrata specimen’s developing flowering spikes, as pictured on the 19th September 2019.

By the 19th September 2019, this Aerangis citrata plant was in the process of producing four flowering stems.  The oldest, longest flowering stem measured 25cm (10 inches), the second eldest flowering stem measured 14cm (5.5 inches), the third flowering stem measured 5cm (2 inches), and the fourth flowering stem measured 3.5cm (1.4 inches).

A closer look at this Aerangis citrata specimen’s developing flowering spikes, as pictured on the 19th September 2019.

In the photograph I took above, you can see that this Aerangis citrata specimen’s leaves were a little dehydrated at the time when I took that picture.  Five weeks later, and after hand misting this plant more frequently (never more than once a day) my Aerangis citrata specimen had recovered its previous good form and displayed turgid, wrinkle free foliage.

Aerangis citrata, as pictured on the 28th October 2019.

It’s amazing to watch this Aerangis citrata specimen as it produces these flowering stems!  On the 28th October 2019, I measured this Aerangis citrata specimen’s four flower spikes. The longest flower spike measured 35cm (13.8inches), the second longest flowering stem measured 17cm (6.7inches).  The third longest flowering stem measured 15cm (6inches); while the shortest flowering stem measured 14cm (5.5inches).

A closer look at one of this Aerangis citrata specimen’s developing flower spikes, as pictured on the 28th October 2019.

Aerangis citrata, as pictured on the 3rd November 2019.

Aerangis citrata, as pictured on the 3rd November 2019.

Aerangis citrata, as pictured on the 3rd November 2019.

I expect that this Aerangis citrata specimen will be coming into bloom sometime next month.

Aerangis citrata, as pictured on the 3rd November 2019.

Aerangis hyaloides

Aerangis hyaloides, as pictured on the 7th November 2019.

There were two Aerangis hyaloides specimens growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.  Both plants have grown somewhat larger in size since my previous update, but there is nothing that is of particular interesting to report.  The plants are just starting to think about producing flower spikes.

Aerangis hyaloides, as pictured on the 7th November 2019.

Aerangis hyaloides, as pictured on the 7th November 2019.

Aerangis hyaloides, as pictured on the 7th November 2019.

I’m thankful that these two Aerangis hyaloides plants are growing well and producing new roots and leaves.  It won’t be long until these plants begin to produce flowering stems.

Aerangis hyaloides, as pictured on the 7th November 2019.

Aerangis macrocentra

Aerangis macrocentra, as pictured on the 28th October 2019.

There are three Aerangis macrocentra plants growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.  One of these young plants was included in the original planting of this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, back in April 2017; this plant was a very young seedling at the time.

You can see these three Aerangis macrocentra plants in the photograph above.  I purchased all of these plants as tiny seedlings, they’re all around the same age.

These plants have produced a few flowering stems, over the past year or so, but none of their flowering stems have bloomed successfully, so far.  I accidentally snapped one flowering stem, when I went to photograph one of these Aerangis macrocentra plants.  So far, these Aerangis macrocentra plants have aborted every other flowering stems that these plants have produced, so fingers crossed that this new flowering stem will be more successful.

A closer look at this Aerangis macrocentra specimen’s developing flower spike, as pictured on the 28th October 2019.

As this Aerangis macrocentra specimen’s earlier flowering stems have been aborted; consequently, I am not getting too excited about this Aerangis macrocentra specimen’s flowering stem, but I am trying to ensure that this miniature orchid has all the moisture it requires to bloom.

Aerangis punctata

Aerangis punctata, as pictured on the 7th November 2019.

There’s just one Aerangis punctata plant growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium; this plant was included in the original planting of this terrarium, back in April 2017.

Rather annoyingly, this Aerangis punctata specimen has been continually exposed to its new leaves being trimmed by the tiny snails that reside inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.  Consequently, this miniature orchid has looked a little unkept, to put it politely.  These snails have created a scruffy, ragged appearance for this Aerangis punctata specimen.  Any time a new leaf begins to grow – the snails are there, ready and waiting to cut the orchid’s new growth back and to devour any succulent new leaves.

Aerangis punctata, as pictured on the 7th November 2019.

Angraecum equitans

Angraecum equitans, as pictured on the 7th November 2019.

I’ve been growing this particular Angraecum equitans specimen for quite sometime.  In August 2015, this Angraecum equitans specimen was introduced into my Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium.  In July 2018, this same Angraecum equitans specimen was moved into my Madagascar Terrarium, where this plant has stayed until now.

This is a mini miniature orchid – this Angraecum equitans specimen has not grown any larger in size, over the four and a bit years, that this particular plant has been in my care.  Sadly this plant has not yet to come into bloom – so I’m unable to check or confirm my plant’s true identity.

I’m thrilled to see that this Angraecum equitans specimen is currently in the process of producing a new leaf!

Angraecum equitans, as pictured on the 7th November 2019.

Angraecum ochraceum

Angraecum ochraceum, as pictured on the 7th November 2019.

I have just one Angraecum ochraceum specimen growing inside this Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium.  This plant has grown well inside my BiOrbAir terrarium.

I’ve occasionally had to remove some of the moss from this orchid’s mount, to enable the plant’s roots to dry out by nightfall.  Since my last update, I’ve removed some of the moss that’s growing around this miniature orchid’s mount.

This Angraecum ochraceum specimen has grown well inside the Madagascar BiOrbAIr Terrarium; I don’t need to tend to this plant every day, yet it remains happy and healthy.

Angraecum ochraceum, as pictured on the 7th November 2019.

Other articles that may interest you…………

To read the first part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, 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 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.

For information on how to mount epiphytic orchids onto cork bark, please click here.

To read about the great new features of the 2017 BiOrbAir terrarium, 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.

To read about the Queen of Orchids, and this special plant’s flowering at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, please click here

Other articles you might like:

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