Welcome to OrchidsForum.com. We are a friendly online community for Orchid Growers all over the world. If you haven't joined yet we invite you to register and join our community. Hope to see you on our forums!

Designing a Lepanthes orchidarium

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by mimstrel, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. mimstrel

    mimstrel New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    2
    With Seattle Orchid's Black Friday sale, I ordered two Lepanthes. Sold as Lepanthes adrianae and Lepanthes elegantula x ionoptera, though I'm aware that species sometimes get mis-labeled. Honestly, I don't care about the species or cross. I just love Lepanthes. Ecuagenera needs to come to Chicago so I can afford to order some and go pick them up.

    Anyway, I'm looking at converting an old fish tank to a cool-grower mini orchidarium, primarily for Lepanthes. Ventilation provided by a converted computer fan; no special lighting at this time. It will be similar conditions to those that I have grown Lepanthes ovalis and gargoyla under in the past, with pretty good success (until I moved to a place where I had no way to control temperature, ventilation, or humidity; then everything died).

    I'm waiting to see the size of the plants prior to selecting which of my old tanks will the the convert. I also haven't settled on an arrangement or substrates yet, either... just delved into the dangerous and overwhelming world of research. I'm going through the threads here, but I'd also like to ask my questions here.

    My goal is to create a fairly natural looking layout, with not too much moss, and also not spending too much $. If you have a small orchidarium, what do you use for structure (rock, wood, etc.)? Do you leave standing water in the bottom, or just mist/water regularly? Do you have critters in with your orchids, and if so, what kind?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    77
    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    I used a combination of Hygrolon and cork flats and a bit of tree fern for structure. I filled the bottom with LECA, covered that with a plastic screen made by Exo terra ( manufacturer of the terrarium, apparently weed barrier works well for the same thing) and put sphagnum on top of that which I grow things in. No critters
     
    jai likes this.
  3. wpinnix

    wpinnix William Pinnix

    Messages:
    1,071
    Likes Received:
    749
    Location:
    Eureka, CA
    The Lepanthes adrianae that Ecuagenera sells is actually Lepanthes sijmii. Both species were published in the same scientific article, but the captions on the drawings were switched, and Ecuagenera based their identification on the article. No big deal because it's an awesome plant no matter what you call it. The Lepanthes hybrid is the most free flowering and prolific lepanthes that I grow.
     
  4. jai

    jai Orchid addict

    Messages:
    915
    Likes Received:
    119
    Location:
    youngstown ohio
    Do you glue the tree fern on the Hygrolon or cork? If not how do you put them together?
     
  5. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    77
    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    I glued epiweb backed hygrolon to the glass and glued cork onto that. I put the tree fern directly to the glass on another part of the terrarium. I used aquarium sealant for glue.
     
    scruffy and jai like this.
  6. jai

    jai Orchid addict

    Messages:
    915
    Likes Received:
    119
    Location:
    youngstown ohio
    Was/is unmounting difficult with this design?
     
  7. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    77
    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    I haven't really tried to unmount anything once it's become established nor do I plan to. Everything that does well stay permanently. The mounts themselves are also permanently installed. It's not a utilitarian grow space but rather supposed to be naturalistic vivarium
     
  8. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    77
    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    If you look in my posts, you can find a thread for it
     
    jai likes this.
  9. jai

    jai Orchid addict

    Messages:
    915
    Likes Received:
    119
    Location:
    youngstown ohio
    I ment for when the tree fern or sphagnum moss decomposes and needs replaced. Or with vivarium build is this not a problem? Thank you for answering my questions :)
     
  10. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    77
    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    The sphagnum has been a problem and I have had to gingerly tease some out of the roots on the plants when its become degraded. Although as it is degraded, it comes out somewhat easily. The tree fern is a tree fern mount, not shredded tree fern and I expect it to last about as long as the cork mount.
     
    jai likes this.
  11. scruffy

    scruffy Active Member

    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    53
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    That is a great idea. I like the idea using aquarium materials.
    Aquarium glues are harmless to the fish and corals. It should be good to use to glue orchids to mounts.
     
  12. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    77
    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    I just used it to glue the mounts in place, not the plants themselves. I am sure its orchid safe once its dried, but I would exercise caution in using directly on plants. It has a very strong vinegar smell while drying and I worry it might hurt orchids. Maybe try it with one plant youre not too attached to.
     
  13. scruffy

    scruffy Active Member

    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    53
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    I do not smell mine. This is actually same thing as super glue ingredient; ethyl cyanoacrylate gel. It is made to glue corals direct to a rock but, I will test on some orchids before.
     
  14. Dave The Scientist

    Dave The Scientist Active Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    77
    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    Yeh, Scruffy, you're using basically super glue. That should fine on plants. They use super glue ( expensive medical grade super glue but it's basically the same thing) sometimes instead of stitches in people actually I would think it wouldn't hurt plants. I was using aquarium silicone sealant, which is different. I'm guessing acetic acid is one of the ingredients due to the vinegar smell.
     
  15. carl

    carl Active Member

    Messages:
    450
    Likes Received:
    160
    Location:
    Sooutheastern Pencilvania
    I believe that cyanoacrylate adhesives (super glues) were actually designed to be used for sealing battlefield wounds. Works great on cracks in the skin near nails. Also works great for sticking flowers back on phragmipediums, as they have a disturbing tendency to fall off the day a show opens, and then lay around in perfect shape until the end of the show...

    The vinegar smell is the result of the curing process of the silicone sealant - acetic acid is released in that process.
     
  16. scruffy

    scruffy Active Member

    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    53
    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Interesting. I never thought about gluing back a dropped flowers. But, I am going to try on to one of my plant to mount on.
    Hopefully it stays on until it rooting and does not damage my baby Lepanthes but, I won't be too disappointed even if it does not work for it.
     
  17. mimstrel

    mimstrel New Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thought I would share a picture of my orchidarium. I ended up building a new terrarium - glass sides and a tile base. I wanted kind of an "ancient ruins" look, so I went with terra cotta for the structure. My neighbors probably thought I was nuts the day I was out smashing terra cotta tiles to get all these bits. Currently three Lepanthes (and I have a L. saltatrix on the way, hopefully will arrive next week) plus four other orchids (one is out of frame) and a Neoregelia bromeliad down in the bottom corner there. Eventually will add some dart frogs.
    IMG_0258.jpg
     
    jai likes this.