White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial Update
Welcome to the fourteenth update from my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. In this update, it’s a pleasure to share the sparkle of this Aerangis hyaloides plant’s glistening flowers with you. Yes – that’s right – this miniature orchid’s blooms really do twinkle in the sunlight! I’ve also got a crystalline Ceratostylis pristina flower that you might be interested to see. Although, I must say, that sadly it’s not all good news. One of my Brachypeza semiteretifolia plants has died and I think that despite my best efforts, the one remaining Brachypeza semiteretifolia plant that survives inside this White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium is unlikely to be around for long! Since my last update, I’ve also lost the Hymenorchis javanica plant that was growing inside this enclosure and I’ve spotted a few of the tiny aphids that are always actively looking to colonise any of my orchids or terrarium plants. For quite sometime now, I’ve been struggling to eliminate the condensation that surrounds the inside of this BiOrbAir terrarium, so I’ll show you this as well.
I’ll take you on a tour of my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium in just a moment, but firstly here’s some information about this White Orchid Trial……
Reasons for this White Orchid Trial
I decided to plant up this White Orchid BiOrbAir Terrarium at the start of 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 the beauty of these white flowered, miniature epiphytic orchids.
Over the years, I have planted up a number of BiOrbAir Terrariums. You might have seen my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, and my Long-term Review BiOrbAir Terrarium.
The BiOrbAir is a specialised, automated, terrarium, which was designed by Barry Reynolds; it’s available from Oase. If you would like to see this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium from the very beginning, as I first planted up this terrarium, then please click here.
While, you can read about the latest features of this updated (2017) model of the BiOrbAir terrarium, here.
White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium condensation problems
The BiOrbAir terrarium that I use for this White Orchid Trial is the oldest BiOrbAir terrarium I have. I first planted this terrarium back in September 2014. For some reason, this BiOrbAir terrarium is prone to be covered in condensation around the entire inside of the globe. I’m not 100% sure why this happens; although it’s nothing new – the view inside this particular BiOrbAir terrarium is always obscured by condensation. This is very different from my other BiOrbAir terrariums, which don’t usually have any condensation inside. To take a nice photograph of this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, I have to first wipe away the water that has collected on the inside of the shell of this terrarium. Naturally, I’ve not done that here – these pictures were taken the day after drying the inside of this terrarium’s globe – so you can see this terrarium’s usual covering of condensation in all its glory!
I find that it’s harder to keep orchids inside this particular BiOrbAir, in comparison to the other BiOrbAir terrariums I have – just because the air tends to be more laden with moisture inside this enclosure. I find it more challenging to maintain optimum humidity levels around the plants that I’m growing inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium.
I expect that the height of my planting, inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, may be contributing to the condensation problem inside this BiOrbAir terrarium. This BiOrbAir terrarium’s fan will be able circulate the air at the top of this enclosure far better than the air and moisture that’s drawn around the sides of the terrarium, which is currently obstructed by my central planting on sections of cork.
I mist the orchids inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium less often than any of my other terrariums. I lightly mist the plants inside this terrarium no more than once to twice a week, at most.
White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium growing conditions
White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium humidity
White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium temperature
If you’re interested in discovering how I track the growing conditions inside my White Orchid trial BiOrbAir, my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium, my Miniature Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, my glass terrarium, my Rainforest Terrarium, my Orchidarium, and my other terrariums, please click here.
BiOrbAir terrarium filter cartridges
I must be honest and say that I’ve not replaced any of the carbon filter cartridges inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, or my other BiOrbAir terrariums, for quite sometime now. I used to change the filters as soon as the company recommended (every six months), but I’ve needed to be more economical with my spending, so for the time being, I’ve stopped replacing the cartridges.
For the past few months, I have been considering re-planting this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, due to the condensation problems. Glass terrariums or plastic terrariums, without fans, often have condensation on the inside of the enclosure. However, one of the features of the BiOrbAir terrarium is its fan that operates 24 hours a day, which usually keeps the inside of the globe perfectly clear, allowing an unobstructed view of the plants inside. I’m sure that this terrarium’s fan would be more effective if the planting inside this globe was lower and concentrated at the same level. It would be interesting to empty and replant this terrarium to find out if that solves the problems I’m experiencing with excess moisture. Certainly the idea of a new trial is tempting, but for the time being at least, my White Orchid Trial Terrarium remains unchanged.
Back to the plants; here’s a look at the white flowered, miniature epiphytic orchids that are currently growing inside this enclosure…….
White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium Planting List:
Currently, (as of the 17th January 2020) these white flowered, miniature epiphytic orchids are growing inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium:
- Aerangis hyaloides
- Amesiella philippinensis
- Brachypeza semiteretifolia
- Ceratostylis pristina
- Holcoglossum flavescens
- Humata repens
- Neofinetia falcata
- Podangis dactyloceras
Since I set up this terrarium in April 2017, I have made a number of changes. Some of the plants I’ve grown for this White Orchid Trial have died, while a few plants have moved to other terrariums. I have continued to introduce new plants to this terrarium, so as to trial as many white flowered miniature epiphytic orchids as possible!
You can see the full planting list for this terrarium here. This planting list provides additional photographs and details about each of the orchids that are currently growing inside this terrarium, alongside the details of any other orchids that I have previously trialled inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. If I make any changes in future, the details of any new plants that I trial inside this terrarium, will also be added to the same planting list. This planting list provides the details of all of the nurseries and suppliers where I purchased all of my orchids, the ferns, mosses, and cork, I 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. While you’ll find a longer planting list of orchids, ferns, and other terrarium plants, here.
Since my last update in April 2019, I’ve made one discovery of a few of the minuscule aphids that reappear every now and then on the plants inside my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium. I was only able to spot these aphids while I was reviewing the photographs I took of the Aerangis hyaloides specimen that I’m growing inside this BiOrbAir. It really helps to enlarge a photograph and take a closer look at a plant. You can see a zoomed in photograph of this Aerangis hyaloides plant, complete with an aphid – above – I took this picture on Christmas Eve 2019.
After making this discovery, I removed all of the plants from this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium and sprayed the plants with SB Plant Invigorator. I regularly use this product as a control for aphids and other pests. I will continue with my usual pest control routine.
White flowered miniature epiphytic orchids and terrarium ferns
My Aerangis hyaloides plants flower like clockwork in December and January. However, the Aerangis hyaloides specimen that’s growing inside my White Orchid Trial Terrarium has been incredibly floriferous over the past twelve months, so I wasn’t quite sure when this particular plant would bloom next.
This plant flowered towards the end of December 2018; these blooms continued to delight me through the remainder of December 2018 and January 2019. In April 2019, this same Aerangis hyaloides specimen bloomed again, when the flowers on a new flower spike began to open. As always, I’ve dated all of the photographs I’ve listed in this update – so you can see how long my Aerangis hyaloides plant blooms for.
After an extended time of flower power production, it’s not surprising that this Aerangis hyaloides plant had yet to produce any flower buds for this season’s floral display, when I took these photographs, back in November 2019.
When I saw these photographs I took of this Aerangis hyaloides plant, I spotted something on the flower buds. I zoomed in to look at an enlarged section of my photograph, when I realised that this plant was harbouring a few of the miniature aphids that I’ve been so working to try to control inside a number of my terrariums.
Here are the first flowers that this particular Aerangis hyaloides plant has produced in 2020! Aren’t they wonderful? Aerangis hyaloides plants look incredibly beautiful while they’re in bloom; they really are stunning!
This miniature orchid species’ flowers don’t produce any scent – as far as I can tell – I’ve checked numerous plants – both during the day and at night. I often wonder whether flowers that aren’t fragrant (in so far as we can tell), produce blooms that have a perfume that insects or other creatures can detect.
Every time I see an Aerangis hyaloides flower open, my heart feels so uplifted! This is a truly beautiful orchid that produces these glorious flowers that really do shimmer in the light. Aerangis hyaloides flowers look as if they have been lovingly knitted from frost by a flower fairy, or perhaps the blooms have been sprinkled with magical pixie dust?
This Aerangis hyaloides plant has an older leaf that’s yellowing; soon this leaf will be dropped by the plant. This is perfectly normal, nothing is wrong. Orchids drop their older leaves from time to time.
If you’re interested in crystalline flowers, you might enjoy this link to some of my photographs of my plants that produce crystalline flowers.
Amesiella philippinensis is wonderful little orchid. This particular plant last bloomed in February 2019 – which was almost a year ago (as I write to you in January 2020). As you can see, this Amesiella is not about to come into bloom any time soon.
Since I wrote my last update for this terrarium, this Amesiella philippinensis specimen hasn’t changed very much; although this plant has produced a new leaf, which is always lovely to see.
After some serious set backs – namely my overwatering of the plants inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium – the two Brachypeza semiteretifolia plants that reside inside this terrarium have suffered considerably. One plant is almost entirely dead – certainly this plant cannot ever be revived. While the other Brachypeza semiteretifolia plant is limping on; ironically it is the weaker and smaller of the two plants that I still have with me, in spirit, at least. Both of these Brachypeza plants suffered after enduring my calamitous overwatering; these miniature orchids rapidly dropped their leaves and roots, hastily unburdening themselves as if they couldn’t bear to be seen together. My overzealous misting left these two Brachypeza semiteretifolia plants weak, with no discernible roots.
I’m grateful that one of my Brachypeza semiteretifolia plants is still alive, for the time being at least.
Here’s my Ceratostylis pristina specimen. This plant has been growing inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium for over two years; the plant declined, due to my overwatering but this miniature orchids has been showing signs of a strong and healthy recovery over the past year or so. It has been a pleasure to see this Ceratostylis pristina specimen produce so many lovely healthy new leaves, as well as a recent flower.
After a closer inspection of this Ceratostylis pristina plant today, I can happily tell you that this plant has lots of Ceratostylis pristina flower buds in early stages of production, so they’ll be flowers to look forward to over the next month or so!
This little Ceratostylis pristina plant below is a part that I broke off my accident!
Well, here’s a shocker! This Holcoglossum flavescens specimen is now half the size that it was when I wrote my last update. Unfortunately, this Holcoglossum flavescens plant has declined considerably; it’s now a mere shadow of its former self. After I took each of these photographs, I removed the majority of the moss that was growing around the plant. This miniature orchid species doesn’t enjoy being too wet, for too long.
I have found that Holcoglossum flavescens plants grow better on bare cork, without the addition of any moss, but unfortunately the moss just keeps growing back.
I love having this Humata repens fern growing inside this terrarium. This fern compliments the orchids and creates a lovely ambiance.
I don’t give this miniature fern any special care or attention. I don’t ever mist this fern intentionally, as this is a humid enclosure. Although, I must say that as I’m so clumsy, I’ll usually accidentally mist this fern whilst I’m attempting to mist the other miniature orchids that are growing inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium!
As this Humata repens fern is planted directly in the coir compost, at the base of this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, this fern is watered automatically – thanks to the BiOrbAir’s base reservoir. (If you’re interested, you’ll find more information about the BiOrbAir’s features, via this link, here).
I also have a self-seeded fern that’s growing alongside my Humata repens fern. I’ve left this self-seeded fern in place, for the time being, at least. The humidity inside this White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium has undoubtedly benefitted these ferns.
This Neofinetia falcata specimen has been in the wars over the past year or so. It has a battle scar from an old scale insect – in the pictures it looks as if the scale insect is still there – it’s not – it’s just a mark, showing where it once was.
The photographs I took in in November 2019, make it look as if this Neofinetia falcata plant is covered in white mould – but this is not true at all – there isn’t any mould – it’s just a reflection of the water on the plant – where I had just hand misted my plants before taking these pictures. So things aren’t as bad as they might seem at first glance, but this is certainly not a fantastic looking Neofinetia falcata specimen.
I’d love for this Neofinetia falcata plant to improve its health and regain its strength and flower sometime. It’s absolutely ages since this Neofinetia falcata specimen last bloomed. This plant last flowered in June 2017, which was over two years ago (if you’re interested, you can see this Neofinetia falcata specimen in bloom, via this link here) as I write to you today, in January 2020.
This Podangis dactyloceras specimen has never flowered, but the plant has more than doubled its original size in the time I’ve been caring for it.
A friend of mine gave me this Podangis dactyloceras plant, as they felt that they were away from home too often to be able to provide the care needed to maintain a good growing environment for this miniature orchid. I’ve had this plant for quite a while; this Podangis dactyloceras specimen has been growing inside this White Orchid Trial Terrarium since I began this trial, in April 2017.
About a year ago, this Podangis dactyloceras specimen produced a new fan of leaves, that you see sprouting out of the top of the plant. Previously, this plant had just one fan of leaves.
Although this fairly young plant has yet to bloom; I think that Podangis dactyloceras is such a handsome addition to any terrarium. The plant has a strong structure that adds interest and compliments any style of terrarium planting.
The picture below is the most recent photograph I’ve taken of this Podangis dactyloseras specimen; as you can see, this plant has continued growing and looks larger, stronger, and healthier. I’ve probably just given it the kiss of death…..but I’ll let you know for sure in my next update!
To head straight to the next update for my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, 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.