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A jungle for a living room

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Matthew Speights, May 30, 2020.

  1. Matthew Speights

    Matthew Speights New Member

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    After moving to northern Kentucky in September 2015, I found that our winters were long and cold compared to South Carolina (not bad compared to, say, Minnesota, but I felt that SC was cold enough already, and the Ohio river valley seems frequently gray and overcast). So, I decided that we needed some plants and bright lights in our living room to cheer us up during our long, dismal winters. Instead of just growing orchids in pots, I decided to build a paludarium (like an aquarium/terrarium combination, with both water and land portions). The project mushroomed into a riverbank paludarium (you could also call it a riparium, although there are some differences between the two) with a waterfall, two sub-irrigated planters, and a small aquarium, complete with metal halide lights, a humidifier, a reverse osmosis filter, and an automated rain system. I visited Papua New Guinea years ago, and thought it was one of the most fascinating places on Earth anthropologically, linguistically, botanically, zoologically, tectonically, and in many other ways. So, all the plants and animals I got for our exhibit are from mainland New Guinea (the second-largest island on earth) or the surrounding islands (e.g. Solomon Islands).
    Nisanisa and Raven like this.
  2. Raven

    Raven Well-Known Member

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    This is so cool! What orchids do you grow in that environment?
    Matthew Speights likes this.
  3. J E

    J E Jaime Escobedo

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    Wow very nice project please update and can you drop a plant list?
    Matthew Speights likes this.
  4. Arne

    Arne Active Member

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    Baltimore, Maryland
    What a nice introduction!

    Welcome to the forum.
    Matthew Speights likes this.
  5. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Santa Rosa, CA
    I would say you have made quite a splash. That is great!!!
    Matthew Speights likes this.
  6. Matthew Speights

    Matthew Speights New Member

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    Raven (and JE) I primarily grow intermediate/warm species, exclusively from New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Temperatures are 65° low, 75° in the winter, and 75° low, 85° high in the summer. My wife has a similar setup in a thirty gallon aquarium in her office.

    I also just finished building a refrigerated New Guinea highlands paludarium to grow species like Dendrobium cuthbertsonii and Dendrobium hellwigianum. I'm currently stocking it. If anyone has good sources to recommend for some of the harder to find New Guinea highlands orchids, I would appreciate the advice.

    Here's a (possibly incomplete?) list of species in the main, warm paludarium and connected planters:

    Aerides quinquevulnera
    Bulbophyllum arfakianum
    Bulbophyllum fritillariiflorum
    Bulbophyllum gracillimum
    Bulbophyllum grandiflorum
    Bulbophyllum macranthum
    Coelogyne asperata
    Dendrobium aberrans
    Dendrobium anosmum
    Dendrobium antennatum
    Dendrobium atroviolaceum
    Dendrobium chalmersii
    Dendrobium chrysopterum
    Dendrobium convolutum
    Dendrobium discolor
    var. broomfieldii
    Dendrobium lasianthera
    Dendrobium lawesii
    Dendrobium macrophyllum
    Dendrobium mirbelianum
    Dendrobium nindii
    Dendrobium pseudoglomeratum
    Dendrobium purpureum
    Dendrobium rhodostictum
    Dendrobium smilliae
    Dendrobium spectabile
    Dendrobium tangerinum
    Dendrobium trilamellatum semifuscum
    Dendrochilum longifolium
    Diplocaulobium aratriferum
    Grammatophyllum scriptum
    Grammatophyllum scriptum var. citrinum

    Liparis condylobulbon
    Phaius tankervilleae
    Phalaenopsis amabilis

    Other Plants
    Asplenium nidus
    Ceratopteris thalictroides
    (water sprite)
    Davallia trichomanoides
    Hydnophytum formicarum
    Microsorum pteropus
    (Java fern)
    Nephrolepis cordifolia
    Nephrolepis obliterata
    Platycerium bifurcatum
    Cordyline fruticosa
    Epipremnum pinnatum
    Hoya subcalva
    Jasminum nitidum
    Nepenthes maxima
    Nepenthes treubiana
    Vesicularia dubyana
    Vesicularia reticulata
    paphlover17 and J E like this.
  7. pcolman

    pcolman Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    That is an extremely impressive setup. Bravo!
    Matthew Speights likes this.
  8. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Oak Island NC
    Impressive, indeed!

    When I was in college, I volunteered at what is now the Atlanta Botanical Garden, working in a long greenhouse that was a rainforest at one end, transitioning to a desert at the other. As part of my duties included pruning, I took home a lot of cuttings.

    By the time I was working on my thesis and getting ready to get out into the real world, I had in excess of 500 tropical plants, mostly under lights, in a small rental home. Not nearly as well managed as yours, Matthew.

    Two yard sales and a LOT of giveaways - including donations of plants I had acquired elsewhere to the ABG - I moved for my first real job with a half- dozen orchids, a couple of bromeliads and a handful of tropical plants I figured were irreplaceable.
    J E and Matthew Speights like this.
  9. Matthew Speights

    Matthew Speights New Member

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    Here's a link to my Flickr account with paludarium photos: Chesedwemeth