Otherwise known as an Orchidarium (but I think that name might be trademarked or something)
I have had this setup like this for about 10 months I guess. The basic setup is as follows:
- Large CFL from hydroponics shop. These are like those energy saving bulbs that we are kind of forced to use now in Australia, only much larger, I think they are an 80 Watt bulb.
- Lamp with a 40 Watt halogen bulb, mainly for heat purposes
- Air movement
- Old computer power supply and computer fan. The fan is dodgily mounted inside tank (orchidarium)
- Old 2 foot aquarium/fish tank with sheet of glass for lid
- metal mesh to raise pots from base of aquarium (these are raised at different heights to for 2 levels, using take away containers, and small plant pots
- Sphagnum moss underneath mesh to catch excess water and provide humidity
- Timer for:
- fan (15 mins every hour)
That is about it as far as components. The room that it is located in seems to keep a fairly consistent temperature throughout the day and night, which is why I chose it. It also happens to be a reasonably spare room which we have never quite cleared out after dumping all of our moving boxes in it 3 years ago.
I experimented with heating methods over winter, as, I think, the overnight temps in the tank were just a little too cold… the main issue being the dampness. Some of the plants are in moss, and, I feel compelled to keep it moist most of the time, also, being that the plants are grown under artificial light, they probably do not experience the same semi-dormancy that the their outside cousins experience in Hobart. I note that the orchids in the tank are still actively growing in the winter months.
The only real problems that I have experienced with fungus etc. has been a few patches of a brown type rot, isolated to individual plants over winter (hence my heating experiments). I tend to treat by cutting the infected leaf and sealing with sulpher powder, and moving the plant out of the orchidarium. This issue has been minimal, and has not occurred for 6 months or so. I think, purely due to being cold and damp in winter.
Of course, out of sight, out of mind, I will probably return to fussing over heating during the upcoming winter.
Growth on plants (which are mostly Phalaenopsis) has been great in the orchid terrarium, in fact, I do see die back of older leaves, which I expect is due to lack of fertilising. I am sure if I kept up on that, growth would be even better.
I have had the lighting on for 18 hours a day over summer, and, just recently, with the shortening of the days, dropped it back to 14-15. This has coincided with a few spikes (flower stems) forming, I assume mostly due the the change in daylight hours, but perhaps partly due to a slightly lower temperature. As an indication though, I have previously only spiked a single spike in the Orchid terrarium.
I monitor the temp and humidity in the orchidarium. Current temps within the orchidarium range from 19-25 (Night and Day temps), and humidity between 65-70%. Humidity can get a fair bit higher at times, depending on watering etc.
What I do intend to do, on top of working out some sort of heating system, is try to automate it a bit more, or at the very least, simplify watering. The monitoring system that I have set up, has the ability to be configured to automate processes such as watering based on sensor feedback, eg. soil moisture meter. I am not quite at that stage yet, although, that is what I am slowly working towards overall in the garden.
For now, I would like to get a bigger tank to house more orchids, and I could perhaps setup a similar system to the hydroponics setup, with water lines into the pots, and drill an outlet low on the side wall of the terrarium. This would allow me even to somewhat manually, water on demand, and even, easily fertilise on demand, using an aquarium powerhead/pump.
Anyway, enough rabbiting on, here are some pics and please feel free to ask any questions about the set up.
And, the spikes…
Please follow and like us: