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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wanted to give a few recommendations for small flowering plants and a couple of miniature orchids that I find do well in vivarium conditions and are great for adding a splash of colour.

First of all, Primulinia tamiana is the plant with the white flowers that have just a splash of pink/purple. It's fairly adaptable and can grow in really quite dry conditions as an epiphyte, or even rooted in fairly wet substrate. I mostly grow it mounted as an epiphyte but it readily produces seed and tiny plants will appear all over the place in any tank you add it to. Fortunately it doesn't grow quickly enough that I would really consider it a weed and any unwanted seedlings are easily removed. This plant stays small, comparable to miniature african violets, and within a matter of months it will be in bloom almost constantly. In one of the pictures you can see fresh blooms alongside older ones that are forming seed pods.

The second non orchid plant I want to recommend is Begonia bogneri which is the spindly looking bright green grass like plant you can see growing alongside my Pleurothallis alleni. It's not in bloom right now and I can't find any of my old pictures but it produces many small pink flowers on long stems. I simulate a wet and dry season in this tank and if it gets too dry the B. bogneri sometimes, but not always, dies back only to grow back from tubers once things get wetter again. It seems that humidity is more important for it than direct watering of the root system. In the wild it grows as a lithophyte on moss covered rocks in a very small locality of Madagascar but It grows just fine mounted on moss covered wood in my tanks and I feel that grass like plants help make a vivarium look really pleasingly natural - the nice flowers are a bonus.

A final non orchid that you can see is Anubias congensis with the broad flat green leaves. The flowers are white and a little boring but the plant is very hardy. It's rhizome sits ontop of the substrate and has an extremely extensive root system all throughout the drainage layer. I trim the leaves fairly regularly and they are quickly replaced by fresh ones growing up from the rhizome. It flowers often and I've been trying to get it to produce seeds but without any luck so far.

The orchids you can see here are Dendrobium laevifolium with the bright pink flowers and Pleurothallis alleni with the many narrow leaves on stalks. In my experience both of these miniature orchids do just fine without fans for active air circulation and produce nice blooms.
The P. alleni flowers don't tend to last very long but the blooms of D. laevifolium last a long time. D. laevoflium doesn't seem to like to dry out entirely between watering and misting but P. alleni seems able to handle drying out a little better. I grow both of them on decaying hardwood.
Both of them are extremely vulnerable to slugs and while only the flowers of P. alleni are eaten, slugs will absolutely decimate all parts of D laevifolium if given the opportunity. It's a very hardy orchid though and this one has bounced back just fine from several slug attacks.

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Cool post. I have Primulinia tamiana growing rooted in my paludarium. Needless to say, the soil is pretty moist. It contractually blooms and looks great.

How are you growing it as an epiphyte? Did you surround its roots in sphagnum then mount it? I’d love to see some pics of how you mounted it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cool post. I have Primulinia tamiana growing rooted in my paludarium. Needless to say, the soil is pretty moist. It contractually blooms and looks great.

How are you growing it as an epiphyte? Did you surround its roots in sphagnum then mount it? I’d love to see some pics of how you mounted it.
Maybe It's slightly misleading for me to use the term 'mounted' as I'm not sure how well it would do pinned to something like cork bark in the way we might mount an orchid or bromeliad but it's growing epiphytically on oak wood in all the photos you can see here next to the tillandsias.
I don't even go so far as to make sure it has roots before I put it in place, you can literally just cut a growth tip with a few leaves off an established plant and place it on moss covered wood and it will root itself no problem. The oak wood I use is just dead oak wood, it's not the naturally preserved bog oak pieces that are more resistant to decay and so as it breaks down the P. tamiana and other epiphytes are able to penetrate under the bark with their roots and then into the wood itself as it breaks down further.
It's not obvious because of how overgrown things are but literally the only plant with roots in the substrate in these pictures is the Anubias congensis, everything else is growing on oak, hawthorne or beech wood that is so decayed by now that it's more or less only held together by roots. I'm sure I could crumble it in my hands.
 

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So, you took an old piece of oak from outside? I’m guessing that you treated “sterilized” it someone, tossed it in your viv and allowed moss to cover it? After established, you “mounted” the cutting in the moss?

I’m just trying to fully understand how you did it. Your viv looks absolutely amazing. I’m about to start a new large build and I’m searching for new ideas.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So, you took an old piece of oak from outside? I’m guessing that you treated “sterilized” it someone, tossed it in your viv and allowed moss to cover it? After established, you “mounted” the cutting in the moss?

I’m just trying to fully understand how you did it. Your viv looks absolutely amazing. I’m about to start a new large build and I’m searching for new ideas.

Thanks!
I don't tend to take old pieces of wood that are already decayed. There was an oak tree that came down in the garden and I collected a lot of branches that had attractive shapes from that. I also get a lot of good pieces of very gnarled beech and hawthorne wood from trimming hedges. Before use I freeze it, totally dry it out until you can see it start to crack, then rinse it with a lot of water.
Depending on how wet it gets/stays once it's in situ it can take a long time for moss to cover it. I accelerate this process by positioning it how I like it within the tank and then looking at where the last parts to dry out after misting are and placing a little finely chopped dead sphagnum in cracks and natural imperfections in the wood and bark. This helps to retain more moisture and then you can transplant some tiny pieces of pleurocarpous moss onto the wetter areas and as these spread they help to create an environment favourable for themselves by trapping even more moisture in contact with the bark. Eventually the bark will also begin holding more water as it decays and gets darker, at which point moss will begin to colonize mutch faster.
Once there is moss actually covering the surface of the bark you can literally just pin a cutting of P. tamiana in contact with the moss and it sends roots down through the moss and under the bark.
Here's a picture that gives you some sense of what I'm trying to describe. This wood is relatively new but you can already get a sense here for where some sections retain more water. I've circled where I added some tiny patches of moss in spots where it only JUST dried out between mistings. Even these tiny pieces will retain enough extra water at these spots that the moss will take hold. I could also sprinkle some seeds from the P. tamiana on the circled patches right away and they would germinate and grow no problem. In the past when I've allowed biofilm and algae to accumulate on glass sides without scraping it away I've seen P. tamiana germinating on the glass itself and sending roots sprawling across a glass panel underneath the layer of algae.
You can also see some burst seed pods and a new flower stalk getting ready to emerge in this picture. Hope this answers your question.

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Thanks for the thorough explanation. I’m sure others will benefit from it as well. You’ve done an amazing job on your viv and certainly know how to cultivate some beautiful specimens. I’ll be using some of your techniques on my next build.

If you keep posting pictures, I’ll certainly keep following!

Thanks again!
 

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Wow just did a goggle search of those first 2 plants and they are not easy to get especially the 2nd one. They are beautiful and i would definitely like to have those. One question do you have frogs in that or is it all plants?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow just did a goggle search of those first 2 plants and they are not easy to get especially the 2nd one. They are beautiful and i would definitely like to have those. One question do you have frogs in that or is it all plants?
If you want Primulinia tamiana but can't find it locally just DM me and I can send you some seeds.
 
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