Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium
Welcome to the twenty-third update from my BiOrbAir Review – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir! Since my last instalment, the two plants that were really struggling – Diplocaulobium chrysotropis and Macroclinium chasei have both died. But it’s not all bad news, I’ve got a few orchid flowers to share with you and I’m also celebrating that for this week at least, the tiny aphid species that has colonised the plants inside this terrarium is temporarily under control.
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 December 2019, this BiOrbAir terrarium is four years and four months old!
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. If you’re interested, you can find all of the updates for my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium here.
Alternatively, visit my terrarium section here, to see 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
- Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’
- Macroclinium manabinum
- Masdevallia rechingeriana
- Mediocalcar decoratum
- Ornithocephalus manabina
- Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’
- Restrepia seketii
- Trichoglottis pusilla
You’ll find more information on each of these plants, alongside information on all of 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.
The Planting List also includes the details of the nurseries and suppliers where I’ve purchased all of the plants, cork, and moss, for this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium.
If you’re interested in finding plants for your terrarium, bottle garden or orchidarium, I’ve created this longer Planting List for Terrariums and Bottle Gardens, which is absolutely packed full of loads of ideas to help you create your own enclosure. This Terrarium Planting List also includes information on where I have purchased my plants, moss, and cork.
Terrarium pests and problems
For some time now, the smallest aphid species that I’ve ever encountered has colonised the plants inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, creating a recurring aphid problem that ebbs and flows in its severity.
I use SB Plant Invigorator to control this aphid. Sadly, I don’t have the time every single week to dismantle this set up, lift out and remove all of the orchids from this terrarium and then spray the plants with SB Plant Invigorator; before popping all the plants back inside this enclosure.
The minute size of this aphid greatly assists this aphid species in its survival, as even the largest aphid I’ve seen (of this aphid species) can evade detection because of how small it is. To further increase its chances of survival, these aphids are often found in crevices and hidden in the natural nooks of the plants, as well as sheltering under leaves, buds, and flowers. Even when this tiny aphid is right in front of me, due to this aphid species’ diminutive size, these aphids are able to hide in plain sight on a plant I’m examining. Unless there’s a large infestation all gathered together on one stem (something I’ve not experienced so far – I expect because I spray my plants with SB Plant Invigorator to control the aphids), I find this minute aphid is usually only visible in photographs.
Aphids don’t need to mate to reproduce. These fascinating insects can reproduce asexually, before giving birth to live young. Within a very short space of time, a new born aphid will give birth to their own young. Without needing to waste time in finding a mate or waiting for eggs to hatch or for their young to reach maturity, aphids reproduce rapidly. Even if just a couple of aphids evade the spray of SB Plant Invigorator when my orchids are treated, these insects are able to produce a large colony of aphids, in a very short period of time.
Currently this aphid is under control, but just a month ago, the numbers of this aphid had greatly increased inside this terrarium. Regular, thorough spraying is the most effective way to control this insect. When spraying your plants, take the time to turn your plants upside down and spray underneath and from side to side, as well as spraying your plants from above. Try to unsure that the undersides of your plant’s leaves and every aspect of your plant is coated with the spray. I only use SB Plant Invigorator indoors – I never wish to harm any of the aphids in my garden.
I replaced all of the moss inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium on the 16th December 2019. The old moss wasn’t in poor condition, but I decided to remove the moss and replace it in case there were any aphids or other pests within the layer of moss.
There are goodness knows how many millipedes living inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium! I’m really not comfortable housing so many of these creatures inside my terrariums. The millipedes’ droppings can be spotted on all of the miniature orchids that are growing inside this terrarium. This gives a rather unpleasant look to the plants and the droppings can mark the orchids’ leaves. This is a visual problem; although the droppings can damage the plant’s leaves it’s not a significant problem. The situation could be avoided, if I were to conduct more regular millipede hunts; I’m afraid I’m not very good at scooping millipedes up.
Millipedes are often concealed in moss – this is how millipedes often gain entry to terrariums and bottle gardens.
As you’ll see in the photographs that accompany this terrarium update, many tiny snails are still residing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium. I’ve been very busy of late and so regrettably, I’ve not been able to dedicate as much time as I would have liked to the practice of collecting and removing the snails from the plants inside this terrarium.
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 are some small specks and occasional areas of mould on a number of the plants that reside inside this Miniature Orchid Trial Terrarium, but I’ve not as yet carried out any further treatments. I imagine that I will reassess in January and apply a fungicide at the start of the year.
You can find out more about the general care I give to the plants inside my BiOrbAir terrariums via this link to an article I have written on this topic.
Conditions inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium
Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium Humidity Levels
Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium Temperatures
If you’re interested, I wrote this article explaining how I track the conditions inside my various terrariums. I monitor the growing conditions for a wide range of the plants I grow, 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
Let me take you on a tour of my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium – you’re all very welcome to join me as show you how the plants inside this terrarium are growing and developing!
This Aerangis mystacidii specimen is far from a picture of health, but slowly and surely this plant is increasing in size. Since my last update, this Aerangis mystacidii specimen has produced two new leaves. I hope that in time, this miniature orchid will display a healthier looking appearance, but for the moment, I’m just glad that this plant is alive and growing.
I’ve removed some of the moss that was surrounding this Aerangis mystacidii plant, to prevent the moss from swamping this tiny orchid specimen.
This Ceratostylis philippinensis specimen is growing nicely inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
The roots of this Ceratostylis philippinensis plant are surrounded by some rather handsome looking moss. Moss can be both a help and a hindrance to orchids and other plants – it all depends on the particular orchid in question, as to exactly how helpful moss is to the plant. As moss tends to be absorbent, if you’ve got moss growing around your orchid, it’s important to take care and to monitor your watering, to avoid your plant’s roots remaining too wet, for too long.
A number of pillowy, soft pockets of moss have grown around this Ceratostylis philippinensis specimen – these mosses hold far greater quantities of moisture than the thin layers of moss that often grow around orchid roots, on sticks and twigs. Consequently, I need to be careful not to over water this plant.
Unless I’m just giving my plants a very gentle spritz of mist inside my BiOrbAir terrarium, I tend to remove my BiOrbAir terrarium’s ultra sonic misting unit (If you’re interested, you’ll find more information on the BiOrbair terrarium’s features, via this link here) and then I hand mist the plants using a sprayer inside my terrarium.
After misting my plants, I often spill the Humidimist water while I’m placing the BiOrbAir terrarium’s automated misting unit back into the top of globe. Spilling this water repeatedly, before the plants have dried out sufficiently to be watered again, could be a cause of over-watering, which would be harmful to the plant’s health. Consequently, I do need to keep an eye on this plant and the other plants inside my BiOrbAir terrariums and check that I don’t accidentally over-water these plants.
Since my last update, this Ceratostylis philippinensis specimen has produced many new roots, which is wonderful!
This Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen has been growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium since August 2015. In this time, this miniature orchid has grown considerably in size, but this plant still is yet to flower.
For some time now, I have wanted to trial growing this Diplocaulobium abbreviatum plant in a brighter environment, but without moving this plant to another terrarium I have limited ways to do this. There aren’t any controls on the BiOrbAir terrarium’s LED lights – the BiOrbAir terrarium’s lights produce light of a pre-set quality, which was determined by the manufacturer. Unfortunately, I don’t have another windowsill or a brighter room where I can move this terrarium. So consequently, I’m considering moving this Diplocaulobium abbreviatum specimen out into one of my quarantine terrariums for a sufficient and extended period of time until I am satisfied that this orchid isn’t hosting any aphids or other pests. I am slightly loathe to do this, as the last thing I want to do is to take the risk of introducing this pesky aphid into another of my enclosures, so I would need to quarantine this plant for a considerable time. Anyway, as I write to you today I am considering this.
Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’
The Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ specimen that resides inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium has been in bloom consistently since my last update. This plant usually displays at least one flowering stem.
I am such a fan of Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’, this is an utterly charming orchid species. Almost everyone has room for this plant inside their terrarium!
It’s not always easy to convey just how miniature some of my orchids are – Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ really is tiny!
Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ positively thrives inside the BiOrbAir terrarium. I would absolutely recommend this orchid species, if you’ve got a BiOrbAir terrarium.
If you’ve not got a BiOrbAir terrarium, but you’re keen on growing Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’, then I would recommend growing this miniature orchid in a humid environment, under soft and gentle, filtered, diffused light. Avoid direct and harsh lighting.
It was whilst I was reviewing these photographs I took of this Lepanthopsis astrophora ‘Stalky’ specimen that alerted me to the increasing numbers of aphids, in the aphid colonies that persist inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Since taking this photograph, I’ve been doing everything I can to reduce the numbers of aphids inside this terrarium. I’ve emptied my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium; I’ve replaced the moss and I’ve removed all of the plants each week and sprayed them with SB Plant Invigorator.
Firstly, I must confess that since my last update, this Macroclinium manabinum specimen has flowered – but I unfortunately wasn’t around to capture the plant in bloom – sorry – the blooms don’t last very long.
Happily this Macroclinium manabinum specimen is growing well. This plant has been well and truly put upon over the past year or so, with an outbreak of mould covering much of this plant’s mount in one of my earlier updates, as well as the stress from repeated attacks from this terrarium’s dastardly miniature aphid.
As you can see, there are still a few patches of mould that have persisted on this Macroclinium manabinum specimen’s mount. I’ve not used a fungicide for some time, but I’m sure that after Christmas and new year, it will be one of the first things I do.
Since my last update, the Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen that’s growing inside this terrarium looks to be holding leaves with a more pronounced yellow tone. That’s not to say that this is the first time – this plant usually displays at least a couple of yellow tinged leaves. However, this Masdevallia rechingeriana specimen’s leaves appear a more definite shade of yellow this time.
Masdevallia rechingeriana is an orchid species that flourishes in a continually humid, moist environment. This is a floriferous orchid species that tends to bloom from January to July, inside this terrarium. The tall stem you can see in my photograph is an old Masdevallia rechingeriana flowering stem. I’ve left this old flowering stem in place intentionally, as old Masdevallia rechingeriana flower spikes re-bloom – isn’t that amazing? Once this flower spike turns brown I will remove it, as once the flower spike changes from green to brown, it won’t re-flower again.
This Mediocalcar decoratum specimen is also very prone to displaying yellow foliage, the leaves often have bronzed tips. This plant hasn’t changed very dramatically since my last update for this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Sadly, this miniature orchid has yet to flower inside my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
I am head-over-heels in love with Ornithocephalus manabina! This is such a handsome little orchid species! I feel so grateful to have this darling heart of a miniature orchid growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. I really value everything about this orchid species – I admire this Ornithocephalus manabina specimen’s architectural leaves, the plant’s fuzzy roots, and of course this orchid’s gorgeous blooms.
It feels quite magical to be able to share this plant’s flowering with you in this update!
Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’
Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’ has only recently stopped flowering, having been in bloom almost continuously for over a year. I cut this dried out, faded flower spike, removing the flowering stem right at its base – just after I took the photograph you can see above.
As I mentioned earlier, this Phalaenopsis ‘Purple Princess’ plant has one leaf which has been scorched by millipede droppings!
I’m glad that I introduced this hybrid Phalaenopsis to my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAIr Terrarium.
Restrepia seketii is considerably smaller than most of the other Restrepia species I grow. I find that this Restrepia species isn’t as floriferous as many Restrepia species, but despite this, I adore growing this gorgeous orchid. Restrepia seketii is a lovely terrarium plant.
It feels very special to be able to share the beauty of these Restrepia seketii blooms with you, in this update. Restrepia seketii blooms are a glorious shade of vivid rose pink and white. They’re really very pretty indeed.
I’ve grown Restrepia seketii inside a number of different terrariums, through my Trials, I’ve discovered that this plant favours soft and gentle lighting – this orchid species hasn’t grown well inside enclosures that feature too intense light. Thankfully, this Restrepia seketii specimen is very happy growing inside this BiOrbAir Terrarium.
Here’s a closer look at this Restrepia seketii specimen’s developing flower bud. It’s lovely to be able to look forward to the arrival of a new Restrepia flower!
This Trichoglottis pusilla specimen has been growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium since 2017. Like many of the orchids in my collection, this plant is an epiphyte – Trichoglottis pusilla grows upon trees in Indonesia, Java, and Sumatra.
This Trichoglottis pusilla specimen hasn’t flowered during the time that this plant has been growing inside this Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. But this particular plant has flowered once – prior to 2017, which was when I first introduced this Trichoglottis pusilla specimen into this particular enclosure.
To head straight over to the next update for my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, 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 ideas of houseplants you could grow indoors, please click here.
To see how my Rainforest Terrarium was set up, please click here.