How to Buy Orchids Like a Pro
Author: Melanie DearringerNo Comments
One of the biggest mistakes associated with orchid buying is choosing a plant based solely on flower color, blooming frequency, and size. If you want your orchid plant to thrive, it is crucial to consider more than just personal taste. Every orchid has unique environmental and care needs. With thousands of different types to choose from, you are sure to find an orchid that will not only look beautiful with your interiorscape design, but will also work well with the environment and level of support you can provide. By applying the following tips to your orchid buying routine, you can greatly increase the likelihood of growing healthy plants and maintaining happy customers.
No different than any other plant, an orchid does best in conditions similar to that of its natural environment. Light requirement, temperature preference, and humidity level should all be taken into careful consideration before making your final decision. You need to be honest with yourself about the conditions available. Even if that means opting for your second, third, or even fourth choice. It’s no surprise that if you choose an orchid that requires 70% humidity, it will be unhappy in a hotel lobby where humidity levels average from 20-40%. It is important to note that recreating an orchid’s natural conditions can be extremely difficult. That is why it is recommended that you choose a plant that will be happy in the existing environment you have to work with.
Level of Care
Determine how much time you can allot to maintaining an orchid. Let’s say you do install an orchid that requires a higher level of humidity than the environment provides. It may need to be misted several times a day. If you are providing weekly maintenance to that particular account, your client is going to be very disappointed with the plant you chose.
Where to Buy
Garden Centers: These resellers are a good resource to utilize when buying common species of orchids. At a local nursery, you can hand pick your plant allowing you to personally examine its health. While nurseries have some knowledge when it comes to orchid plants, they are not experts in the field. Growing orchids is relatively specialized and most garden centers are acting only as a retailer.
Growers: Your best bet is to purchase from a reputable grower. These plants are clearly labeled, handled, and shipped with care. Growers also have the ability to answer very specific questions regarding their plants. They did grow them after all. They can provide you with your plant’s history. Was it grown in a greenhouse or under lights?
Note: You can find numerous online orchid growers willing to ship their product to you. Unfortunately, many of these “growers” are actually resellers attempting to pull a fast one on you. Do a little research before placing orders online. With any new orchid supplier, I recommend starting with a smaller purchase to evaluate the quality of their plants.
If you want to maintain a healthy orchid, you need to buy a healthy orchid to begin with. If possible, inspect your plants before you make your purchase. In general, orchid leaves should be thick, lightly colored, and firm. Be sure the center leaf is still growing and the crown is damage free. Damage to the crown of an orchid can result in crown rot and will most likely lead to death. Is the plant swimming in water? Is it bone dry? If so, choose another plant. Are the flower buds missing or turning yellow? The plant will likely loose all its flowers and buds soon due to stress. Don’t forget to check for pests!
Mature vs Seedling
Ask how old your orchid plant is. If you are new to growing orchids, you will want to start with a mature plant. They are stronger than seedlings and can be more forgiving of “rookie” mistakes. While seedlings tend to be less expensive, you might find yourself replacing them more often due to improper care. Like anything, growing orchids takes practice. Resist the urge to buy a plant in full bloom. While the instant gratification that comes with a blooming orchid may be hard to ignore, flowering takes an extraordinary amount of energy. And if you want to increase your plant’s ability to survive the stress of moving to a new environment, you will find it is best to steer clear of blooming orchids.
A little research will go a long way when selecting an orchid. If you focus your attention to the general guidelines above, you have a much better chance of choosing an orchid that will provide years of beauty and enjoyment.
What other factors do you consider when purchasing orchids?