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Friday, November 2, 2012

Mini orchidarium, a glass case to set up

Phalaenopsis orchid species, seedlings just bought.
Phalaenopsis species and primary hybrids, seedlings:
Violacea coerulea , Bellina Ponkan, Equetris Apari,
Mariae, Pulchra, Hieroglyphica x Mariae,
Equestris aurea x Cornu-cervi flava,
Lueddemanniana x Fasciata
When I started growing orchids I didn't have a clear idea of the variety of species in this family of plants, only after reading everything I could find on the net, I started realizing it. The earliest species that I dared approach were phalaenopsis, I found on Ebay very interesting auctions and I attended. I won! I managed to have some young specimens of phal I studied for a while: violacea var. coerulea (Krulls Smith x Dark red Norton), bellina Ponkan, equetris Apari, mariae, pulchra, I also got interesting primary hybrids  : hieroglyphica x mariae, equestris aurea x cornu-cervi flava and lueddemanniana x fasciata.

Mini orchidarium, glass case setup

Mini orchidarium neoprene carpet
Mini Orchidarium, neoprene carpet
Since the relative humidity in the house is around 35 - 40% I was sure that these plants, much more susceptible of commercial hybrids, would be not so happy on the window sill, so I decided, orchidarium! Luckily here in Munich the prices of glass terrariums are very accessible, for mine, measuring 60cm long by 40 cm wide and 50 cm high, I paid € 49. To protect both the glass and the kitchen counter on which the terrarium rests I added a neoprene pad for aquariums bought in the same store, it also ensures a better temperature seal. To coat the interior walls and hang mounted orchids (!), I opted for "agglomerated" cork panels ,very cheap but aesthetically passable. On the wall by the side of the window I wanted to allow at least a little light comes in and, at the same time, avoid direct sunlight, so I cut the cork panel following an interesting curve, I like the result!

Mini orchidarium, cork coating
Mini Orchidarium,
coating in contoured cork 
For the floor the initial idea was to create a true paludarium filling the base with 4 cm of peat and perlite very wet, as you do for carnivorous plants, but due to the temporary difficulty in finding some peat I gave up (for the moment! )
and I used some easy to find expanded clay, hydroponic kind. Before putting it in the tank I boiled for about 15 minutes and then rinsed well, when it dries I wet it again pouring water directly on the tank, this allows me to keep the relative humidity inside the orchidarium to acceptable values ​​(min 65%, max 85%). The lighting was the most difficult part, the natural light is not the best since the window is about 3 meters far and at the direct sunlight is to be avoided not to burn the plants and not to overheat the environment. I read a lot on the net to get an idea of the light requirements of the plants that I have more interest in, phalaenopsis need low to medium light, but through the thumbnails orchids there is a variety of needs of light that can also be a "bright light" until a few hours of direct sun... At the end I decided to build up an energy saving lamp by my self.

Mini Orchidarium, glass case built up and ready to riceive orchids.
Mini Orchidarium, glass case built up and ready to riceive orchids!

The artificial light is on from 9AM to 9PM.
Unfortunately I had a number of drawbacks with the  first plants in my mini orchidarium...

Links to information sheets about orchids species:

Go to sheets on IOSPE:

Phalaenopsis bellina - sheet on IOSPE
Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi - sheet on IOSPE
Phalaenopsis equestris - sheet on IOSPE
Phalaenopsis fasciata - sheet on IOSPE
Phalaenopsis hieroglyphica - sheet on IOSPE
Phalaenopsis lueddemanniana - sheet on IOSPE
Phalaenopsis mariae - sheet on IOSPE
Phalaenopsis pulchra - sheet on IOSPE
Phalaenopsis violacea - sheet on IOSPE

Go to sheets on Lagrelle:
Phalaenopsis bellina - sheet on Lagrelle
Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi - sheet on Lagrelle
Phalaenopsis equestris - sheet on Lagrelle
Phalaenopsis fasciata - sheet on Lagrelle
Phalaenopsis hieroglyphica - sheet on Lagrelle
Phalaenopsis lueddemanniana - sheet on Lagrelle
Phalaenopsis mariae - sheet on Lagrelle
Phalaenopsis pulchra - sheet on Lagrelle
Phalaenopsis violacea - sheet on Lagrelle

Go to photographic collection on Phals.net:
Phalaenopsis bellina - sheet on Phals.net
Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi - sheet on Phals.net
Phalaenopsis equestris - sheet on Phals.net
Phalaenopsis fasciata - sheet on Phals.net
Phalaenopsis hieroglyphica - sheet on Phals.net
Phalaenopsis lueddemanniana - sheet on Phals.net
Phalaenopsis mariae - sheet on Phals.net
Phalaenopsis pulchra - sheet on Phals.net
Phalaenopsis violacea - sheet on Phals.net

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