Real plants are one of the best things you can put in a terrarium. They not only help to create a good climate, but also look good. In addition, they also provide the occupants with privacy and a place to retreat. Especially for mantids, flowering plants are their natural habitat, there they linger and wait for nectar-loving insects. The only thing to watch out for is that the plant and also the soil has not been treated with pesticides.
To be on the safe side, I additionally wash the plant and renew the soil and wait a few weeks before adding an animal. In the case of an orchid, I don’t need the soil anyway, as I tie it up and hang it in the terrarium.
I bought 5 small-bodied orchids because I want to hang them in BraPlast tins (18,5×18,5×19,0cm) and keep them there permanently.
They are the following species:
It is a small orchid which grows exclusively in Madagascar. It is an epiphytic (perching) growing species and is therefore very suitable for hanging. Temperatures of 20 to 28°C and a humidity of 60-80% are ideal. Thus it is in harmony with the orchid mantids.
Mediocalcar decoratum is also a small orchid that grows beautifully in the terrarium and blooms several times a year. It comes from Australia and should get a bright location in the terrarium. Its bell-shaped yellow-orange flowers are beautiful.
This orchid comes from tropical Central and South America. It is an epiphyte (perching plant) with thick fleshy small leaves. It should be kept moist and warm in the terrarium.
Dryadella simula has a flower size of 1cm and a leaf length of about 10cm. It is a miniature orchid. Temperatures of 18-25°C and high humidity are ideal. It blooms all year round. Its countries of origin are Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
Pleurothallis (Specklinia) corniculata
Small orchid that grows very well in the terrarium. It blooms several times a year with small orange flowers and is easy to care for. It needs temperatures of 23-26°C and high humidity. It is found in Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Cuba and Jamaica.
I would like to briefly discuss the parameters of humidity and temperature. The values of the orchids and also of all described insects are guideline values. It is not necessary to put the terrarium under water four times a day at a value of 70% humidity. I usually spray the terrarium in the evening, half an hour before the heating goes off. This already evaporates a part and the humidity goes up to about 90%. The next morning the water evaporates relatively quickly and the humidity goes down to 50-60%. This is also pretty much in line with the natural habitats of insects and plants.
In the next blog post, I’ll show how I’m going to tie up the orchids and integrate them into the insectarium.