How to Grow Miniature Orchids in Simple Indoor Setups 🎍🎋

Tomas Bajza at Queensland Orchid International (1)

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It is always amazing to look at all the superb orchid vivariums, terrarium, Wardian cases and paludaria. In many instances, they have all the bells and whistles that one can dream of, such as built-in fans, proper lighting, misters, foggers, timers and so on. But there is one “tiny” issue — they need to be custom-built, and so they are both costly and complicated. As a person who is not really the best with DIY projects, especially those requiring knowledge in electricity, wiring and so on, I was stacked for some time putting my dream of growing orchids inside my apartment on hold. And of course, you must have space to spare!

Working on the Budget with Limited Space

Few years ago, I finally decided to give it a try. Having a very limited corner space in our living room with a small glass table right by the balcony glass doors, I had to be very creative. We had dozens of different old vases, unused small aquariums, some tiny wood glass terrarium, and a couple of the glass orbs we were given by friends. It seemed to be a great idea to utilize all of these items that were so far collecting only dust.

Hygrolon Cylinder

My very first project was hygrolon cylinder hanging inside a tall glass vase. I did some Google search and saw similar projects built by other people. After talking to some members from online forums and getting information on hygrolon material, I purchased PVC pipes, hygrolon cloth and four hygrolon slabs from I was ready.

I sealed the pipe on the bottom but left the pipe open on the top. Using two of the half-round hygrolon slabs against each other, I glued them to the pipe creating one long hygrolon tube. Hygrolon material wicks the water approximately to some 12 inches, so I needed to create wick effect also on the top of the cylinder. I cut some long strips of hygrolon cloth and placed them inside the top opening of the pipe with the other ends hanging over the top part of the hygrolon cylinder. Not even two hours of work and my hygrolon cylinder was done. After attaching some top hooks, I hang it inside the tall round vase.

Within next weeks, I applied dry moss mixture and slowly started to mount miniature and micro orchids. It took a couple of months for the moss to grow, but the majority of mounted orchids responded very well to the hygrolon.

Since I felt that there is not enough light coming from the balcony door, I purchased from a couple of the aquarium LED lights and hang them on the wall around the vase to provide extra lighting. I also obtained one aquarium clip-on fan and placed it on the top of the tall vase since the vase needed some air movement.

Simple Orchid Setups

Since the hygrolon cylinder looked very lonely on the table, and since my hunger for more miniature orchids grown indoor in simple setups became bigger, I started to purchase different orchids prolifically. I took unused vases, aquariums and glass orbs, placed some gravel on the bottom and live mosses on the gravel. Then I placed orchid mounts and pots on the top of the moss or hang them on the inside rim of the aquariums. For the taller vases, I just cut pieces of the chains that I hanged inside the vase and placed mounts on them.

These very simple inexpensive orchid setups proved to be extremely sufficient in the past two or more years, and 99% of my orchids that grow and bloom extremely well are grown in the same way!

One mistake that many growers make when trying to grow in glass orbs or small vases is placing the orchid directly on the moss — except a few species like Bulbophyllum and Trichosalpinx, miniature orchids cannot tolerate direct contact with mosses! I always use mounts or pots, and place potted or mounted orchids on the top of the moss, sometimes using even some foam ring underneath the mount to create space between the moss and the mount. In my experience, no orchid loves being soggily wet (except bog orchid species). Having orchids sitting directly on the wet moss does not allow them to ever dry out, thus leading to rot!

How It Works

One can use any glass vase, aquarium, glass orb or even old glass jar from your candle — whatever fits your needs and your mini orchid. It is important to start with either some gravel or charcoal on the bottom to create the first level. Then place live sphagnum moss or other live moss on the top. Keep water level on the bottom of the setup just under the moss level.

This extremely simple setup can create enough humidity for the majority of miniature orchids even in the dry air of an air-conditioned apartment. I never cover the top of the setups or the holes in the glass orbs, since all orchids need air movement. There is really no need for extra fans for these small setups, as the air-conditioning provides enough air movement for the plants to dry out and thrive.

Depending on the light levels at the spot you grow, it may be necessary to add more lights. I purchased more of the aquarium LED lights and hang them on the walls around the table and on the top of some aquariums.

Temperatures, Lights, Water and Fertilizer

Of course, temperature is a very individual factor. So, you have to know what your indoor temperature is during the day and night. Our air-conditioning is setup year round for the same temperatures: 76F (24.4C) during daytime and 69F (20.5C) at night.

All the lights are turned on in the morning and turned off around midnight.

I use only reverse osmosis water (since I can’t get rain water) for all plants grown indoors.

For the past year, I fertilize with nearly every watering using only 1/8 strength of fertilizer. All my orchids also receive Magical, Seaweed and Sugar Daddy supplements.

What You Can Grow

Depending on your indoor temperatures, you can grow pretty much everything you like. I know that my indoor temperatures do not seem sufficient for anything except intermediate- and warm-growing species. However, I do grow many cold-growing species in the same conditions for my intermediate- and warm-growing species. They do just fine, many of them blooming constantly throughout the year.

On my table, you’ll find many Telipogons, Fernandezias, Masdevallias, Lepanthes, Pleurothallis and Dendrobium species. I can’t say that I can bloom them all. On the one hand, I got Telipogons to nearly open their buds, but they never open fully. On the other hand, cold-growing species like Lepanthes tsubotae, Lepanthes martinae, Lepanthes ribes, Dendrobium subacaule, Dendrobium cuthbertsonii, Masdevallia anachaeta, Trisetella hoeijeri or Pleurothallis fulgens are blooming many times a year alongside intermediate- and warm-growing species like Lepanthes telipogoniflora, Trisetella triglochin, Pleurothallis dressleri, Dendrobium parvulum blue, Masdevallia herradurae or Sigmatostalix graminea.

So, don’t be afraid and try! You can create a little orchid paradise inside your house or apartment with little or no cost at all. It will not only look amazing, but also bring you the joy of seeing your miniature orchids thriving and blooming. Wishing you all the best of luck!

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Yes, it is possible to grow cold growing PNG Dendrobiums in hot Miami – here are a few of the new buds starting in our hot summer – first pic Dendrobium subacaule with 2 new buds, second picture Dendrobium Flower Baby ‘White Tips (Victoria reginae x cuthbertsonii cross) first bud in my care, last two pics Dendrobium cuthbertsonii red with two buds (third blooming in past 12 months).

One of my favorite! Took just a few months break from spiking. This micro baby can bloom nonstop for some 10 months! Cold growing species that does grows perfectly in Miami inside & in the glass orb together with Lepanthes telipogoniflora 😉

One of the easy growing Masdies, blooms year round in the small glass orb. Mosses are thriving on the hygrolon mount too.

6 thoughts on “How to Grow Miniature Orchids in Simple Indoor Setups 🎍🎋

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  3. .¸*•.¸*•.¸*•. ¸*•.¸ ¸.•*¸.•*¸.•*¸.•*¸.
    Hi Tomas! SoundEagle hopes that you will be able to continue to look after your precious and beautiful orchids, which never cease to amaze and delight some of us as much as your passion and dedication towards those orchids have inspired us. Bravo to you, Tomas!
    .¸*•.¸*•.¸*•. ¸*•.¸ ¸.•*¸.•*¸.•*¸.•*¸.


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