Buying from orchid growers can go one of two ways: you might end up with a healthy plant with tons of blooms, or you might simply end up with a dud that wilts right away.
You see, there are good and bad orchid growers, but if you know what to look for and what to ask, you can always be sure that the plant you’re buying is top quality. So here are 3 key questions to always keep in mind.
Question #1 – What Exact Type of Orchid are you Buying?
It can be difficult to know where to begin in orchid growing, because there are so many different varieties available. That’s exactly why you need to be sure to clarify with your orchid grower what type of plant it is that you’re buying. Each one of those 35,000 types requires drastically different care to get the best results. Some orchids need more light than others, while some orchids require less watering.
If you jump in without knowing what type of orchid you’re buying, how will you know how to properly care for it? This is especially important because you may be limited in the type of care that you can provide for an orchid.
For example, if you don’t have a lot of full sunlight available in your home, and you don’t have the means to build a greenhouse, you wouldn’t be able to give the right care to an orchid that requires a lot of direct sun exposure. Likewise, if you do live in an area with a lot of intense sunshine and heat, you probably don’t want to try to grow an orchid that prefers a cool and brisk climate.
If you’re just beginning, the best advice for a beginner is to try growing Phalaenopsis. This is a very sturdy type that is inexpensive and easy to care for, but still produces the same colorful flowers as its more “exotic” sisters. Read this article for more information on how to care for a Phalaenopsis orchid.
Question #2 – What is the Blooming Status?
When you’re looking at buying an orchid, you may find that they’re labeled with signs reading “BS” or “NBS”. These labels simply refer to the “blooming status” of the orchid, and this is something you should be sure to clear with the orchid grower before you buy.
The “BS” stands for “blooming size”, and means that an orchid, if properly cared for, will produce blooms within the next year. This is a healthy and mature plant that has already been brought through the most delicate stages of development, which makes it a good bet for beginners.
“NBS” stands for “near blooming size”, which means that the orchid is a year or two away from blooming. Plants like this are less fully developed than “BS” plants, and so you’ll have to pay a lot more attention to them.
The trade-off is that they tend to be more moldable, and once you have some experience under your belt, you might enjoy experimenting with “NBS” plants to see what you can get them to do under different circumstances and conditions.
Question #3 – What Kind of Pot was Used?
Not only do you want to be sure that you can provide optimal conditions for your orchid, but you also want to be sure that the orchid growers did the same before you came along and bought it. That’s why you must be sure to ask what kind of pot your plant was reared in. Different orchids have roots that behave in different ways, and it is important to understand the difference.
The cymbidium orchid has roots that can grow straight down for more than a three fee, so you would need a very tall pot! A cymbidium that was reared in a short pot will be stunted, and you should avoid buying one. Likewise, something like an anoecetochilus should be grown over a broad and shallow surface, so one that’s been constrained to a narrow pot will probably be unhealthy. Still others like draculas and ladies-of-the-night do best in hanging baskets, where their roots can get plenty of air.
When you buy from an orchid grower, it pays to learn as much as you can about what type of orchid and what kind of care it needs to live up to its full potential. By asking these three key questions, and doing some investigating on your own, you can avoid the potential pitfalls of buying from orchid growers.
Mary Ann Berdak is the publisher of OrchidCareZone.com – a top online destination for orchid growing tips and advice. For more information on caring for your newly purchased plants including a free download of her report, “The 5 Biggest Orchid Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them!)” visit OrchidSecretsRevealed.com.