Orchids and marketing

mensplaceJanuary 30, 2010

I unquestionably know far less about the intricacies or orhid culture than most anyone on this list, but I can't help but see corrolaries between orchid shows, orchid distribution and beauty contests or dog shows. Orchids have now been around for a LONG time. The mystique is largely gone, as orchids are raised in windows and back porches as well as by the general consumer. The steps to propagate, raise and produce orchids are little more complex than many other "agricultural" or horticultural plants. However, with a degree an over 35 years in marketing, I would compare my knowledge of marketing factors with anyone. Ironically, were there fewer artificial price controls, the general love of and interest in orchids would multiply geometrically. Therefore, I can only conclude that the pricing on orchids is, in fact, artificially controlled by those with in interest in controlling distribution. Like diamonds, they can be (and are)reproduced in vast numbers, but, like the diamond cartel's control over flow to the market, the prices are artificially inflated and controlled. Most here will not like or agree with this, but that doesn't change the truth. Many will refer to the complexity of propagation or the length of time in growing marketable plants. The same arguement could be used for any number of horticultural or agricultural species. In short, the general awareness of, pursuit of, and purchase of orchids is maintained where it is by those who are supporters of the show circuits and limited releases that support inflated pricing and limited distributed in favor of personal profit..NOT enhancing the love of orchids.

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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Really! The problems are time and the size of the market. I cannot think of anything worse than owning and running an orchid nursery.

I have just been given half a dozen Standard Cattleyas by a member to use as Orchid Society raffle plants. He has given up on them. The tags show deflask dates before 2000.

Some orchids are dead slow.

On the other hand i have some Tolumnia Hybrids where the seed was sown in 2005 and they have just begun to flower. The little problem here is who is going to buy them.

Some orchids are difficult.

If it wasn't for the cut flower and "flower in the pot" trade most orchid nurseries would close down.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 6:31PM
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Arthusm, I know someone who will buy your little Tolumnias. Email me directly.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 6:38PM
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highjack(z6 KY)

Are you saying you think orchids are over priced like diamonds?

We've been making some of our own crosses on several different orchids, doing the flasking, reflasking, unflasking and growing them out. The time for all of this amounts to months of work with the added problem of keeping everything sterile during the process until ready to come out of flask.

Next comes the process of growing them out in the real world, a g/h in zone 6. Most go into compots, some bigger things go into 2" pots. Now for the next several months you tend them, they grow, as they grow they have to be potted, repotted, etc.

Some of the time lines for things I currently have growing and when I took them out of flask -

Tolumnia - some bloomed in 6 mo. but all bloomed in 14 mo.

Phals - some bloomed in 18 mo., most bloomed in 24 mo. while I am still waiting on one flask for 2 1/2 years.

L. purpurata - unflasked in July '08 and my biggest ones are in 2" pots some are still in 2" compots. My goal at age 66 is to see them eventually bloom in a few more years.

Psychopsis - unflasked in fall '08, all are in 3" pots and I really expect them to bloom this coming year, maybe.

Lycaste - unflasked Dec. '08, most are in 3" pots, if lucky I might get a couple to bloom in '11, maybe.

Some of the others growing out include Brassavola cuculata, another one I hope to live long enough to see bloom, Bulb. plumatum, this might only take 2 or 3 years to bloom and two crosses my husband drug home one of his friends hybridize, a Mormodes x Cynoches and a Pleione x Bletilla and for those I don't have a clue how long before they bloom.

Figure out the man hours, supplies, etc through all of those steps to get an orchid to NBS or BS, and IMO, orchids are pretty darn cheap. If you purchase a mature plant as opposed to just being BS, particularly for a cattleya, you have a couple more years added to the mix.

I don't grow orchids out of flask to sell but to give away to friends and my orchid club after I keep a couple for my enjoyment.

Since I have been a gardener for years and purchased many other plants, compare the cost of an unusual Japanese Maple, a newly introduced daylily or hosta, orchids are pretty darn cheap.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 7:18AM
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For decades there has been a considerable amount of mystique surrounding orchids, orchid propagation, and orchid growing. In some ways, this begins with the sustained use of Latin names. That, in itself, must surely confuse many. How many other agricultural or horticultural plants use Latin other than in the scientific community. When I want a Gergia Belle Peach, do I go looking for a Prunus Persica? The almond is also in the peach family, but do most seek out Prunus Dulcis? Scientific nomenclatures are perfect for specifically indentifying varieties, but NOT for marketing or increasing interest and broadening awareness and marketing.
For years it was generally accepted that one HAD to have osmundine to grow orchids. Today it seems that virtually anything used to support orchids is marketed, including rock wool insulation and styrofoam peanuts. What is the consumer to think. From what I have seen already, most retailers still have little knowledge to advise customers either in terms of what to use for potting or how best to assure success. One place I read said that orchid potting mixes MUST be innoculated with microorganisms to assist in breaking down and utilizing nutrients and that any potting materials should first be soaked in such a solution. No indication of any such innoculation or presoaking on the bags I have read. If orchids are to be generally accepted and distributed, more standard blends and more thorough directions on the packaging would help. When repotting with such blends must all of the roots go into the pots like other plants or should they be left sprawling over the top? The consumer doesn't have a clear message.
SO, folks are urged to read books and attend orchid shows and associations. Probably not a bad idea, BUT most won't; they just want to grow a few orchids and clearer instructions on the packaging would help a lot.
Buying plants that then die doesn't help either. Of my first purchases, those from one source had leaves and roots that were bone dry and empty tubes where there should have been roots. The packaging, unless the plants were bought immediately, was NOT conducive to shelf life. Those from another source were soaking wet, many of the roots rotten, and the leaves of plants I passed on were covered with half inch diseased holes. Not conducive to success. If orchids are to gain public acceptance, the buyer should be able to expect healthy, well packaged plants with clear directions.
As regards availability and costs, many horticultural species require the same involved efforts to propagate and length of time to produce marketable plants in greenhouses and in the field. The key difference is mass production and systems that facilitate the propagation and distribution of massive numbers to control costs. There are few such mega-growers of orchids.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 8:48AM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

I totally agree. There's no reason for example why a Cattleya which can be micropropagated and literally thousands of plants produced should cost the same as a Paph which has to be grown from seed. The argument that orchids are slow and difficult just doesnt hold water. Just think of the amount of work that goes into breeding roses, grafting etc yet a rose is the fraction of an orchid in price. Orchids have an "exotic" mystique however, and many I'm sure exploit this. Incidentally orchids cost more or less the same here in Brazil as in USA or UK (allowing for cost of living differences).They used to be very cheap but the revaluation of the R$ has seen to that!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 9:58AM
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The time of micro-propagation being considered difficult has long gone. I am currently growing starters for plants as common as potatoes and sweet potatoes that were started in such test tubes.You don't get more basic than potatoes. Even apple rootstock is grown in the tens of thousands by Treco using such techniques. Many of our most basic vegetables and food crops are now replicated in such a manner. That is but one reason that I think that the time is rapidly approaching when the market supply coming from many other countries WILL drive even the orchid. It is the mystique and general image that orchids are some semi-mystical plant that is almost impossible for the homeowner to grow, that is partly responsible for limiting their popularity and demand. This is NOT to in any way to negate the efforts and beautiful new plants produced by those diligently working to create new varieties, but a simple observation that when the masters of mass reproduction recognize and drive the supply of plants and growing systems, especially as our borders become ever more open, the availability and interest will rise and the prices plummet.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 10:22AM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

I think there may some confusion here over different components of the orchid market here. I might preface this by mentioning that I'm a dirt poor student, who definitely would love to see a drop in prices for these plants. Nonetheless, I don't think I can agree with your points. I don't mean to be offensive by the way - simply stating things the way I see it.

Firstly, the reason we use latin names is because there are multiple genera of orchids being grown and cultivated. All peaches, regardless of cultivar, are the same genus. Whether you like it or not, being the largest group of flowering plants warrants the usage of names to describe different genera. It's senseless to use words like 'big dog' and 'small dog' to describe a labrador and a chihuaha, isn't it? Furthermore, all hybrids are now required (I believe) to NOT have latinized nomenclature. I don't see a problem with describing a species as what it is. Why re-invent names for thousands upon thousands of plants? (PS - there is a difference between hybrid and species!)

Secondly, I'll address your complaints regarding the abundance of misinformation and the poor quality of plants. Every market out there is filled with scammers, or people who don't know what they're talking about. The more intricate an activity is, the more controversy and sources of 'fringe' information there are. Orchids span every corner of the globe - I don't think it's reasonable to expect ONE set of easy to follow clear cut instructions that can be applied to all these plants. Similarly, whether I'm growing a cattleya in a greenhouse or a living room window in Texas changes the way I take care of it - this is an inevitable fact. There simply does NOT exist a universal media that works with everything.

In regards to poorly grown plants, that is an aspect of the market that exists in most goods, is it not? Every market contains higher quality and lower quality products. Whether you choose to buy a Japanese made Toyota and some crappy Chinese car is up to you, and whether it performs well for you is subsequently a result of your decision.

The mass production of plants is a controversial topic. On one hand, it lets corporations with huge factories to take over and mass pump out billions upon billions of copies of plants. People will purchase these 'pretty phals' at a cheap price, rather than buying from smaller vendors who sell more diverse stock. Because these are seen as just 'buy and throw away' plants, no one will take the time to actually learn how to grow them, and the small vendors will have their businesses run into the ground. The big companies love this because they can keep pumping out these plants, making a fortune while fueling an increasingly wasteful society. Isn't there a problem in the heirloom vegetable community now where supermarkets are interested in bulk buying tons and tons of generic tomatoes, and so we are losing variety in the types of tomatoes we have access to?

On the other hand of course, the availability of cheap plants can help make orchid growing more accessible (as you have zealously argued) to the masses, and perhaps a few of them will start growing more specialized plants.

There is no right answer, but I think you have over exaggerated your analysis. There are three exceptions: A) Incredibly pricey divisions of awarded plants, for which the division and selling is intentionally controlled (and we're talking thousands of dollars here), B) rarely cultivated or difficult to cultivate specimens, or C) big fancy over priced garden centers selling plants for exorbitant prices.

Situation A or B really isn't controllable. If you have a problem with that, don't grow awarded plants - it's the tag that comes with an award and is totally justified. And difficult or rare plants, most of which cannot be propagated easily (not all orchids can be grown easily from seed)...supply dictates the cost. And situation C is entirely under your control - don't buy from Lowes but instead buy from a well known vendor, and you will less likely be disapointed despite a higher price.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 10:35AM
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Calvin is 'right-on.' Growing media is determined by the environmental conditions you are growing in. Most Phals come planted in sphagnum moss which works well under controlled conditions such as climate controlled greenhouses. But once that plant is taken home and grown in a humid, warm climate the plant could rot. Buyers will repot into a dryer mix to allow more air to the roots. I fool with mixes all the time, changing them a bit depending on the air circulation and humidity. Winter indoors, I add sphag to my mixes to hold moisture around the roots.

You need to know your growing style. If you walk around with a watering can, use a dryer mix ( large bark, rock, osmunda. If an underwater (like I am) use a mix which will hold moisture, sphag, small bark, coconut husks. There are so many variables, you can't compare growing dirt plants to epiphytes. Years ago we had few choices for growing media.

Orchids require a different approach to growing and most people do not take the time to learn those differences. They buy a blooming plant in Home Depot and throw it out after if finishes blooming. I'm not sure how they could be marketed better to encourage people to learn and whether the consumer really wants to learn. Its certainly easy enough to buy an inexpensive book like 'Orchids' from Ortho and learn the basics, but they don't bother. The public still believes orchids grow in jungles and rain forests and keep them underlit and overwatered.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 11:48AM
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highjack(z6 KY)

What you are buying from the locations you are buying them came from the "masters of mass production". Regardless of where you buy them, the same cattleya is still reproduced in the same manner and it still takes the same amount of time to get them to bloom size.

Most of the mass produced orchids are coming from overseas where the climate is better for year round growing and the labor is much cheaper than here.

The prices have been reduced drastically by this mass production and the use of tissue culture. I doubt most of the people coming to the USA now will be in any position for the next several years to have a disposable income for a hobby. Most people grow orchids as a hobby, not a business.

I can grow a potato from a seed potato or a tomato seed to an edible product in one growing season. Or I can go to the supermarket and pay a much higher price for the same thing that someone else did the work to grow. Expensive for one person might be considered inexpensive to another.

For quick results, stick with your heirloom seed garden or if you have the patience, orchids are very rewarding.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 12:05PM
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Sheila(8b SW Texas)

Well said orchid lovers/growers, I've nothing to add.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 9:42PM
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Hmmm...you know I think I'm a little torn on this one. Please,everyone pardon me while I stick my foot in my mouth somewhere in this post.

I really have to say both arguments have valid points. You know this whole thing is pretty much a double edged sword. I,too,would like to see the price come down on some of these plants,but it can't on others. And on some I would say it could be very feasible. But I think Mensplace might be underestimating the complexity of the propagation process on some. Paphs for instance are by all means cranked out but not in the ways that the phals and catts are.
And it is correct,one mix doesn't fit all.I think some of that is confusing for the average person slightly interested in orchids. But for some people logic is just confusing. The information is out there if one had the notion to look for it. I don't know, some people can't put the information to use even if it's sitting there staring them in the face.Hell,my sister-in-law(a retired English teacher) couldn't figure out how to give her dog medication until I asked her what she was hiding the pill in. Then it was like she had had a "Eureka moment".

You know you really can't change the fact that orchids are really different from dirt plants. And I for one am O.K. with that.I don't think that they are suited for everybody,I'd like to see more people involved with the societies again ,but I'd like to leave out the dumkopfs if possible. I don't think it would change anything if orchids pass poinsettias in popularity. I have never walked into someone's house and seen one of those sitting out;and it hasn't been Christmas. Lots of people chuck those as soon as it's New Years, I would rather that orchids not have that reputation too. But the mass marketers are working on that as we speak.

And to answer your first statement...Yes orchid stuff is alot like a dog show,except I think it's more fun. The differences= you don't have to bath and fluff dry the said dog 5-6 times in one weekend,and it's alot less painful on your hands then having to hand strip a Schnauzer (any size take your pick). And finally, take my advice cat show people are the real nutters!

I'm sure practically non of this made any sense,but that's o.k. too.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2010 at 11:36PM
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Seems most are closing ranks driven by ego, emotion, and erroneous conclusions rather than considering some fairly simple observations. Surely, there are, as in many pursuits, the dedicated hobbyist who spend years propagating and crossing in the pursuit of excellence. However, to imply that this is the totality of the world of those who might have an interest in orchids is to discount orchids as a viable pursuit by the many who might have an interest to a degree somewhat less all consuming than Mr Stout's famous character. Already, one can find orchids everywhere from WalMarts, to Lowes and Home Depot, and most nurseries.

Seems those who love orchids would support and welcome the rapidly growing public interest. Orchid reproduction is already a huge business in the U.S. and NOT just based upon cheap imports and this is not just a phenomenon of the referenced foreign immigration. You had better accept the changing demographics as very soon YOU will be the minority and with that change will come many others. Our borders ARE opening and that will impact businesses, standards, values, attitudes and many other aspects of the move towards internationalism from government to society. The American buyer of today is also changing greatly, as are interests.

That aside, there are already very large companies in the U.S. who DO unabashedly see orchid growing as a money making opportunity....and price accordingly. A simple search of the internet shows that these businesses have mega propagation and growing facilities. Hardly the hobbyist as some allege...and they profit handsomely. It is NOT the evil foreigners or even those who cross your borders that will drive the prices down, but those who use AMERICAN technologies to streamline and economize. However, when all those bad people from other lands do cross our ever opening borders with new products it will affect all, and it will happen. If we cannot compete, who do we have to blame?

As regards growing mediums, this was grossly distorted as it was never implied that ONE suits all, simply that the offerings and directions could be simplified and clarified. Nobody was referencing those super exotics or newest crosses of you hobbyists, but simply taking a few steps to facilitate success and reduce the obfuscation. (Personally, I despise those trashy styrofoam peanuts and rockwool. In fact, in a truly natural state you would never see an epiphyte growing in a tree packed inside a pot.)

As for naming....HOGWASH...Just for apples alone there are over 4000 varieties and apples are just one of many pomes and one of a HUGE and ever growing family of international fruits. The examples of horticultural products which use coming names for the public and the latin for the professional are endless.

To assume that the general public would be too ignorant to raise orchids, will try them and fail, or simply chuck them out were they made available, is more a commentary on attitudes here than any real love of the species...much less the intelligence and abilities of the general public to care for plants given some simple information and proper supplies. Orchids are pretty, but they are nothing more or less than any other plant ...ornamental or utilitarian...many equally challenging and every bit as challenging to propagate and culture. You cling to your mystique, your closed minds, your attitudes, but the reality of changing markets and demographics will continue. And, for the record.. even lowly lovers of vegetable growing DO spend huge sums for one single seed, their investment in the preparation of the soil, and in their investment of time in their studies in preparing for competitions. In fact, most other horticulturists and agrarians take great pride in sharing in inclusive and receptive communities.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 10:24AM
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How is it that they are "overpriced"??? Orchids, expecially those you are talking about, cost no more than other houseplants. Even my grocery store carries phals for $9.99.
Many of us don't even grow those types of phals but concentrate on species or other hybrids. I can tell you most of my species only ran about $12. I do, however, have a phal. bellina and phal. gigantea that I paid a small fortune for. That exeption to the rule.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 11:29AM
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highjack(z6 KY)

I don't understand your combativeness regarding orchids nor your personal goals regarding orchids.

I don't understand why you think there are immigration issues regarding orchid growers.

I don't understand where you get your information there are large companies who DO unabashedly see orchid growing as a money making opportunity and price accordingly. Please feel free to share such info here.

If you don't care for the naming process, explain to the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature just who you are and you want the names changed. I'm sure you will find them easy to work with.

As Calvin said, an apple is an apple but the ICNCP will rule on the appropriate name for a cultivar of apples.

There is no"attitude here" of anyone discouraging anyone from starting into the hobby of orchid growing. There is no "mystique" regarding orchids by the posters here. Information was offered to the best of everyone's ability but you take a combative attitude with the suggestions.

BTW, most of us "older" posters here successfully grew other plant material prior to growing orchids - and yes, even some from seed - expensive seed.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 12:18PM
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Those I am talking about? I love the large Cattleyas, Brassavolas, and similar large varieties. Also saw one that looked rather like a pitcher plant...and some of the other larger exotics with gorgeous foliage. Actually, prefer the pastels far more than the garish colors. Those that resemble the effect of the Bird of Paradise are incredible.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 12:23PM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

Wow we haven't had a good discussion here in a while! I hope this doesn't turn into a flame war - I'll try to remain civil.

To be honest, I don't quite know where you're coming from - has someone given you a reason to feel shunned? Has someone suggested that growing vegetables is 'lowly'? As I recall, the first message you received in response to your questions were nothing but welcoming, and yet you've made these post filled with judgment. Quote: " You cling to your mystique, your closed minds, your attitudes, but the reality of changing markets and demographics will continue"

You yourself admit that you are new to these plants, and yet you speak with certainty that "Orchids are pretty, but they are nothing more or less than any other plant." How exactly do you justify making these kinds of generalizations?

I'm not sure how you formed your opinions about the orchid growing community - You accuse us of mystifying the hobby and yet you are posting these messages on a specialist board, where most of us hobbyists ARE devoted to our plants in a way that exceeds the normal casual grower. I'm not sure what information you expected.

I know a lady who grows magnificent phalaenopsis. She doesn't know/care to know anything about the complexity or intricacies about potting media, light or humidity. She blooms beautiful plants. That is fine and absolutely wonderful, and I sense you desire to follow a similar path. No one judges these growers. However, it is wrong for you to accuse us of over complicating the process simply because we have chosen to pursue this hobby at a different level.

You are upset that we use latin names. Would you prefer that we call phalaenopsis 'butterfly orchids' and phragmidediums 'slipper orchids'? If you desire that kind of environment, feel free to speak with the home depot/lowes 'orchid specialists.' Every single specialty hobby has jargon that you need to learn in order to participate in meaningful discussion. If you are not interested in learning about these plants at that level, that is 100% completely fine!

No one is assuming the general public is too ignorant to raise orchids - this is a skewed perception that you have. Where did you get this idea? Everyone here is happy to teach, but it requires someone who is willing to learn.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 12:30PM
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Orchids are no different than anything else. If you look for price only, you go to WalMart. You may get something good but probably get cheap junk. The trick is to know what a good quality plant is worth and then get it at WalMart price. My Dodge Caravan is in Tijuana right now getting an engine overhaul which would cost 3 to 4 times as much at a Dodge dealer in LA. We however know the mechanic and have used him for 6 years with excellent results.

I know which vendors sell quality plants and I research their price by seeing what Andy, SBOE or CAL Orchids sells them for. Then if I can get the plant for 1/2 of their price, including shipping, I bite. It becomes a game, the hunt as much fun as the actual plant. Hybrid catts should be no more than $10 for a plant which is a good size and either in bud or ready to bloom in a year. Shipping is very negotiable, one only needs to ask.

I can't comment on cheap Phals as I don't buy them but no doubt the same situation exists for them.

Considering the time it takes to grow orchids and bring them to market, I don't think they are over priced.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 12:34PM
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Calvin, I agree with you!

"... we haven't had a good discussion here in a while... "


    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 9:19PM
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Marketing is commonly based on trends, what's hot and what's not. Examples non orchid related are Beany Babies Cabbage Patch Dolls Talking Elmo dolls PS3 Super Duper Wii from Nintendo . They ( the marketers) simply aim for a target buyer and measure then control the supply VS demands the rest of it is just hype sometimes resulting in fights causing even higher demands. After the smoke is clear they aim with something new to repeat the same actions and get results.

I am no marketing expert by no means this are just my observations as seen from some real highend products and class act collectors. Please don't let the mentioned items mean highend products as there not realy that at all but at one time alot of people surly thought they where.

If they can do this marketing ploy to the simple items demostarted just imagine what other kind of things they can do this to as someone (usually in masses) knows none the better on care, concerns, read and other formal manners mentioned.

Yes some do know what to chase, but when to chase and how to chase is only upto those who can find it. Sometimes they who found it have no idea what they hold in there hands easily making the losser of the chase upset. This is certainly understood and ment as no offence.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 11:07PM
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Marketing is the combination of everything from demographic and cultural analysis to the many processes involved in the planning, manufacturer, distribution, and subsequent measures of success and need for improvement of getting a product to the public. Most of what raised America to its position as a manufacturing powerhouse was based upon marketing..not government or other intervention. Marketing in an of itself is neither good nor bad, nor is it one little piece of the equation any more than it is the misapplied skimming you described. The sixties were the pinnacle of American marketing and manufacturing, but now our laissez faire system is going to one of government intervention, creeping socialism and many other international factors of economics and politics. That said, my original theses here was that orchids COULD be both replicated and distributed in ways to make them more readily available, easily understood, and more easily cultivated with a few simple changes...positive changes. This need not threaten the hobbyists who would continue as before in their own efforts towards propagation and breeding. However, it would, in a very positive way, increase interest in growing orchids and probably foster new products that would assist everyone. Orchids, even fine orchids, could be, infact already are being, mass produced...and not just in foreign countries and NOT just with cheap labor. Many of the very distributors referenced here already have massive greenhouse and propagation facilities. There will be more. Many negated the distribution through Walmart, Lowes and the major nurseries, yet they DO serve a HUGE percentage of the American public and not just the great unwashed. In fact, many of the products they distribute are the very same ones found in the more socially accepable distributor's lines. However, the hobyyists continue to be served by those of their own preference. One need not exclude the other. It was my interest in making better orchids, better products, and simpler cultivation available to more people that originated all this. With today's American ingenuity more and better plants could be produced and distributed, products more suited to successful culture with clearer directions could be produced and distributed and the interest in orchids grown considerably. If anything, this could lead to more people becoming hobbyists and joining the societies referenced to learn more. As this evolves, prices WILL be affected, distribution and packaging improved, products increased, and the popularity of orchids will rise. If anything, I think this will be a good thing.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 10:01AM
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Mensplace, you have just begun to grow orchids. I suspect in a year from now, you may think differently.

As has been mentioned, culture of orchids varies as much with the plants as it does with where they are calling 'home'. For instance, I absolutely cannot grow Tolumnias the way Orchidnick does. I can't! But I grow Tolumnias. It's like planting an orange tree in a yard in Alaska and grousing because it doesn't do as well as the ones in yards in Florida. Same plant, in dirt, outside???

I started in orchids in 1970's. And believe me, the number of orchid breeders/business/etc in the US is but a fraction today of what it had been when I started. And those today in the US are struggling. If one has to protect the product 24/7 from natural elements it does begin to bring the price up. (try and remember too, we frown on human waste as fertilizer as opposed to some of the foreign growers who have been shown beside 'heaps' of human waste being distributed over plants - and don't even go to what is allowed in the way of pesticides and herbicides - all affects the cost.)

Time is also a factor. You are desiring to purchase all youngsters to grow. Did you ever consider you may not see them flower for up to ten years? Did you ever consider that you may get them nice and big and green but never a blossom? Did you know that the more cloned cloned and cloned a plant gets the less it will be its original highly desired image? When it blooms is when you will discover its quality.

Ask yourself: Is the $4 plant worth the investment? Will a $4 plant that takes several changes of potting material, water, fertilizer, pesticide care, and anywhere from 18 months to ten years worth it? If it blooms out poorly was the investment worth it? If it never blooms in your life was it worth it? When it finally flowers and those flowers are distorted by virus - and they will be the remainder of however long they live - was it worth it?

Even culture of plants like Almonds and Peaches - and I love Georgia Belles (their life span in my garden is about ten years and then death) - has their idiocyncrasies. I know. But I'd love to indoor start my orchid seeds in March, put them in the garden first of June, harvest great blooms in fall and watch them turn to compost by winter. Doesn't happen - well, sometimes they do wind up compost before a year is gone.

NO, you are way too early in the orchid owner seat to really experience the true joy of orchid growing. Yep, give yourself a year. But in the meantime, try to learn as much as you can. And experiment. You've only begun. But for prices. That you must weigh for yourself. Not my job too. And everyone here has given some very fine points of thought - and quite a few with experiences. All good info. All meant to help you understand - hecks, I learned quite a bit!

whew..think I'm talked out for the day.....

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 10:27AM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

@Stitz - being argumentative fills me with joy. I really should be applying to law school, but it's not really my thing :) *shrug*

"In fact, many of the products they distribute are the very same ones found in the more socially accepable distributor's lines. "

Really? Says who? I'd like to see them mass produce healthy ready to bloom draculas and masdevalias! Did you know that some orchids are actually hard to grow! Yes! no matter how hard you argue, it is an UNCHANGEABLE fact that SOME orchids are hard to grow, flower and mass produce! Sorry!! Do some research before making these sorts of black and white statements, PLEASE!

Anyway, it seems like you're arguing something completely different every time you make a post. First, it's accusing us of mystifying the hobby, which we addressed and now you've ceased to pursue. Now you're going on about the free market with this strange illusion that these orchid specialists are evily controlling the market.

Have you considered that the groups of people being marketed to are completely different? There is a huge difference between the casual grower who has a few cattleyas and phals, and the hobyist. The specialty growers cater to the hobbyists and the mass producers cater to the masses, and I don't really give a damn about whether or not these mass produced plants are made locally, overseas, or made at all.

There is nothing wrong with what you've said, and no one is attacking your ideas conceptually as a whole. I agree completely that with increased availability to the masses there is a higher chance that more people get attracted to the hobby.

Please pause and read the following carefully.

Did you know that most of us started off by buying orchids from Lowes/Home Depot? Yes - without those mass produced plants, many of us would never have started growing these plants. If more than anything this should serve to vindicate the points you're making...and yet you need to realize that as we've moved deeper into the hobby, we've also moved beyond shopping at Home Depot - is it a crime that we advise new growers to buy from different sources than the big box stores, because in our EXPERIENCE, these are higher quality? Is it an offence to share experience that we wish we had when we made our first purchases? Isn't that what this place is for??

So what's the problem, exactly? I don't understand what you are arguing - instead of writing lengthy essays, why not address some of the points that have been made in response to your original comments?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 10:38AM
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With many a mis-attribution and totally erroneous surmisal of what I actually trying to explain, and many an emotional tangent that had absolutely no connection with my points, much less intent, I think further pursuit of this thread is futile. Fact is, I did find some very fine orchids add totally reasonable, conservative prices for plants in bloom with plenty of size, and in fine health yesterday. Peach State Orchids understands marketing and apparently loves their plants. Unlike many greenhouses, his prices were overwhelmingly reasonable and NOT at all inflated to the point of being prohibitory....and the plants were at once large and very healthy. Their staff was at once knowledgeable and very helpful. They are to be commended. THEY have my business gratefully. Ironically, after calling and emailing another much larger nursery, I received no reply and in checking back, saw that the referenced link I had forwarded was no longer working. peach State Orchids, where they have very fair prices, and large, well rooted, healthy plants that I can actually touch and examine, has my business!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 7:51AM
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You are right, pursuit of this thread is futile. (and my sympathies to Peach State!)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 9:23AM
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"I think further pursuit of this thread is futile"

too bad, I will have more time on my hands during the next few days

@calvin - maybe, we can find something to fill your heart with joy :)


    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 7:14AM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

@stitz - now what am I going to look forward to every morning?!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 9:21AM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Calvin, way up there, somewhere, you said something about the prices of divisions, way way high and controlled.

But, just say, you were lusting after a division of the orchid pictured above. The only person you can buy it is from me and how often am i going to divide it? Perhaps once every five years.

The other reason people pay high prices for quality divisions is that the mericloning process is not perfect. We see evidence of that every year in a famous Cymbidium here Cym. Valley Splash 'Awesome' . The flowers show much variation in quality, no doubt the poorer examples are mericlones of mericlones.

The orchid pictured above was a six dollar seedling, for every really nice one there are lots of duds.

Finally, i read the thread with much amusement. The marketing department were the bane of my working life. No planning, everything required tomorrow.

Mass marketing already exists and you can see one result where you find a nice orchid at a "box Store" or florist and the label says Phalaenopsis orchid.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 5:54PM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

Arthur - that is a good point; I suppose that in the case of awarded divisions / particularly nice clones, high prices are primarily due to the lack of availability rather than some malicious intentional restriction in price in order to maximize profit. (that is a gorgeous flower by the way!)

I am developing an interest in hybrids of small cattleyas after being primarily a species snob for a long time. I am starting to appreciate that whereas with species one usually grabs what one can get one's hands on, hybrids offer additional dimensions of selection such as shape, colour and form. It's something I'm getting used to still!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 2:39PM
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That really is BEuuutifullll Arthur

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 3:00PM
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Thank you arthurm and calvin, I am primarily a species snob however, there are a few *select* hybrids in my plant collection.

I do not choose to grab what one can get ones hands on any longer. Its much better to be selective. I have waited as long as 20+ years with some species and sometimes.... I wish that human life spans were much longer! I have been called "picky". Ok, I can live with that.

Further pursuit of this thread is NOT futile!


    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 3:03PM
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    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 4:31PM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

gateway orchid.......I like it

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 5:21PM
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"Even if only one of every 1,000 people who buys a phalaenopsis gets interested in orchids and wants to buy more," he explained. "we have the potential to add one million new customers. That would make me very happy"

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 7:04PM
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just adding to the thread count to end the thread Don't tell me let me guess..... Marketing saw this comment coming.
Seeming as there so on top of things and all there proberly able to determin on what exact day and time Ill be back to add even more worthless information to this thread to help end it's worthless orchid growing information.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 6:21PM
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Thanks for gracing us with your presence. Should we be honored?


    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 9:22PM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

I'm so confused...stitz help me whats going on!!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 10:45PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Hello Calvin and Stitz, maybe your confusion is due to the fact that i published a picture of....horror upon horrors, a hybrid a few posts up and you liked it.

Way up there, among a mass of words. the marketing man used a great marketing word. Mystique!
Here is another orchid that began life at H & R Nurseries in Hawaii. No! I am not employed by them, they just seem to produce great orchids.

Anyway, i purchased four advanced seedlings of the following at a total cost of about $A80 and this is the best to flower.

Cattleya maxima x sib.an orchid that still has Mystique.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 11:58PM
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highjack(z6 KY)

Is it OK to put pics of our most Mystique-y orchids on this side instead of the gallery? Do we put pics of the orchids without Mystique-ness in the gallery? I have both types and I want to be sure I post in the correct place.

Love your maxima Arthur - it does have Mystique! I think I like your maxima better than mine - I think mine lacks Mystique. I have another maxima maybe it will have Mystique like yours.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 6:35AM
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I don't know the rules and regulations regarding the registration of orchids, but it is clear that with micro-propagation there is coming, maybe already here, when the public will have far easier access to a much broader range of orchids. Yesterday at LOWES I saw that all of the dried up orchids from one source that were packaged in a manner that made watering difficult had been relegated to a distant corner and there was a very large new section of healthy, properly potted, large new varieties in full flower at a very reasonable price. In combining varity, healthy specimens and a low price, I feel sure that LOWES will move these quickly and people will come back for more. The nurseries with the capital and resources to mass produce fine specimens WILL continue to do so in huge quantities using the science and distribution channels now available. Totally contrary to what many would assert, these will not all be the bottom of the rung cheap or unhealthy orchids. Will these replace the new innovations and introductions for which many are willing to reward the breeders work? NO. Will these stop the works of the hobbyists? NO? BUT, the honest and professional efforts of those who DO recognize a market and DO produce massive numbers of very fine plants will both drive the pricing and develop an ever growing market and interest. Small breeders WILL have to take this new presence into account in propagating and selling standard orchids and in establishing pricing. This happens in every industry. What this will ultimately mean is that the small breeder will have to make plans accordingly in selecting their market segment and market base. Those who have howled aboved may turn a blind eye to a changing industry, but it will not make the truth disappear. The smart breeders will act and plan accordingly to develop their own niche and to incorporate every possible new technology to review their own processes and future directions. Obviously, the huge growers may not always have the latest and greatest, BUT there is absolutely nothing that would prevent their own use of their technologies of scale and research to create and replicate their own hybrids and launch their own beautiful new introductions in massive numbers. As this happens, new growing sytems, tools, materials and far mor will also be launched and systems growing will become commonplace. Of course, there was once a concensus that the horseless carriage was a fad. Truth be told, the "mystique" of so much attitude has already been largely shattered in Houyhnhnm-land.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 10:03AM
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The real horror story is that right now nothing else of interest to me is being discussed on the forum. So much against better judgment I continue to follow this.

Along with the morning coffee, the cereal, the LA times and this forum I now have temporarily doubled my antacid intake.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 10:49AM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

"Mytiqueness" is in the eyes of the beholder. I have a current post over on the gallery of an orchid that i think has mystique but most Americans would think as humdrum.

The pics are here on this thread because they are vaguely related to the topic.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2010 at 3:09PM
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Nick you're right. Right now the forum is kind of moving a little slow. Everyone must be out shoveling their driveways and sidewalks or something.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 12:08AM
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jamcm(Ottawa Area, Canada)

No, but seriously what is the OP's goal here? I do admit I'm hooked to this thread, if only to figure it out. And the posters above are right that there's not tons else right now.

As for the claims mensplace makes in his last post... considering you're new to orchids, you may not have noticed that this has already happened. How and why do you think there are so many orchids popping up at Lowes? Sure, law of averages says some will be good, but you'll want to snap them up quickly since most employees in big box stores don't know how to care for orchids and they will kill them pretty quickly. Also, have you noticed how many of those orchids come in cache pots without holes? Experienced growers will know that you need to take it out to water it. Newbies may not, and will be disappointed when their new orchid dies shortly after purchase.

None of the posters above have said orchids at Lowes are a bad thing (quite the contrary actually), nor howled at the changing industry; they've simply said that there are better orchids available elsewhere. They're grown by people who know what theyre doing and for the hobbyists, not people who want a longish-lasting bouquet on a constantly unlit side table. This means the plants are not ultra-manipulated to bloom too quickly and may actually rebloom in your lifetime and in your home conditions, if that's what you're looking for.

And don't you sometimes want something new, something a little different? Clones are the complete opposite of this. Those "small breeders" you keep sneering about are the ones who try new things and take a chance. The big businesses will only do what has been proven... and when they see something the public seems to like, they'll copy it. And there has been some specialization very few small growers actually breed Phalaenopsis anymore, considering the oversaturation of the market and consumers price expectations. I looked at Peach States website if the list of plants available is anything to go by, the crosses they have are really quite old and readily available. Their prices are ok, but no more than that. You could find a better variety of plants at similar, if not better prices, at any good orchid show.

I loved Arthurs line about mystique being in the eye of the beholder. Orchids have a great history, filled with adventure. The flowers are unique, different, colourful, gorgeous, breath-taking Use the adjective youd like. Oh right, it seems you think theyre humdrum. Why would you want to bother then?

And finally, mensplace, you want something that is easy for absolutely everyone to grow, with one medium, one single temperature and watering regime, no matter where you are. It already exists - it's an orchid made out of silk. Guaranteed to never stop blooming or to die. Do whatever you want to it, and itll be ok.

I've read your posts and, like I said, I really can't figure out what you wanted to do with this post. The members of this forum have been great in answering the questions in your numerous other posts and offering advice. Maybe you don't agree with the advice you've been given, and that's ok, but to lambaste the hobby as a whole?

Well, theres my rant and my addition to a truly sterling post.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 9:32AM
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"Along with the morning coffee, the cereal, the LA times and this forum I now have temporarily doubled my antacid intake."

Nick, I understand. Eliminate the LA Times, cereal and the coffee. Try Prevacid. Call me in the morning :)


    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 1:41PM
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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

A valiant effort, Julie! But alas, it is on deaf ears.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 11:36PM
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Such ranting about marketing. Guess what, many people reach the point in thier orchid growing lives that they don't care about the price hybrid phals and dends at Lowe's as they don't have a place in or collections. Many of us are at the point where were grow primarily species and a few unusual hybrids. Guess what? Those generally go for less than $20 for a very nice plants.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 1:23PM
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stitzelweller.... Isn't it great to live in America ? you can do what you want and almost say whatever you want *

It's no big deal for orchids become part of a soap opera this happens to many things of intrest. Regarding consumers be they mass numbers or small. At the end of the day people are going to find deals and people are going to buy what they want at any price regardless of its sometimes un needed seemily curpted exposure.

* be you graced or not I don't care if that's your opinion then fine do and think what ever you want. I'm glad you can share it too, but realy on the lighter side of things how does that relate to marketing ?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 10:53AM
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Welcome to the Orchids Forum, Linda! Please, tell us a little about your orchid interests.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 1:05PM
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Of all things, I really hadn't expected orchids to become the interest in "The Great Debate 2010."

This whole conversation takes me back seven years. In February 2003, I was attending University majoring in none other than Horticulture with an emphasis in Business and Marketing! Wow!

Ironically, I stumbled upon this discussion in hopes I'd find some help for an ailing Tolumnia I intercepted via raffle (free ticket) at our local Orchid Society meeting last evening.

Anyhow, back in 2/03, I was shopping at a local Target store and a beautiful bloom caught my eye. Being from a 'lowly' farm, raising 'only' heirloom vegetables in our seven-acre family garden that nearly completely supported us and paid off the section of land and all our buildings on it, I had never even seen an orchid in person. Nor could I specifically remember ever "hearing" about one. I bought this orchid for $15.00 and it came in an ugly pot to boot. I cared for this orchid not knowing a thing of what I was doing and, quite frankly, didn't even bother to buy a book or do research about it. I was too busy and I was only thinking about the bloom in winter when there weren't any other flowers to be found through the snow and bitter cold. I didn't know why there was not tradition soil in the pot and I didn't know what to do to repot so I left it alone for three years! It rebloomed every year and I didn't know why, but I was greatly pleased. I am sure that, by now, you're all wondering why a Horticulture student (with a burning passion for plants) hadn't done any research. It's simply because I didn't have the time. I was going to school at least full time, had a part time job and a work-study job as well. I barely found time to eat and catch my coffee buzz. I must have, at some point, purchased a book about orchids because I have one and can't remember for the life of me where it came from. It's rather great! "Orchid Growing Basics" by Dr. Gustav Schoser. It helped me a great deal with repotting and making sure I was giving it the right conditions. It was all dumb luck. I put it by my bedside over a marble tray because it was pretty. Whoopie! No science, nothing fancy.

Last year, when I joined our local orchid society, I realized the fact that it has a tag means SOMETHING. I only kept it because it's my "thing." I even did that with my ever-famous blue lake 274 bush beans (green beans) I grew for our garden and sold them at farmers' market every year. He's a Phalaenopsis "Brother x Lancer" by the way. He's beautiful and has taken lots of abuse from being neglected due to having babies. I have since never seen a tagged orchid in a big box store. I have purchased other orchids in big box stores, but lose my interest and throw them out. I've been soured out by the big box orchids due to finding them with viruses. My poor husband, who knows the way to my heart is through a houseplant (preferably Calatheas, Hoyas and Orchids) rather than a dying cut dozen of roses, bought a Dendrobium for me at Wal-Mart (when we were destitute and poor btw) and it had a serious virus so I had to throw it away. Can't have my blessed Phal. get sick by accident! The poor guy has no idea about orchids. I feel he was let down by the mass producer (from where, I do not know, it was all in Asian lettering) and Wal-Mart. The Dend. was unnamed and came in a nice, pretty pot.

When the mass producers don't take care to name the orchid and ensure sterile conditions for the health of the orchid, does the money put into the prettier pot (a marketing scheme for sure) and instructions for care matter anymore? I'm sure he paid more than I would have for the Dend. Not to mention, it ended up a virused one anyhow.

Unfortunately, I get the feeling from mensplace, that an orchid is an orchid is an orchid. One size fits all and, if it doesn't, the "orchid specialists" are of superior being than those who aren't "in the know." I've never felt this way. I have had orchids die, I've had to throw them out due to virus and I still have my first one (beginners luck). Why so many options for media, lighting and other care for orchids? It's not really an "aha moment" when you realize that orchids are found in nature all over the world. There are also different climates all over the world. Each orchid has its climate which is most conducive for the species to survive in. If you can't come close to duplicating that climate in your home (or any other chosen growing place) then the orchid fails to thrive and/or survive.

As for marketing, the big box stores and the mass-producers *do* open the door for the love of orchids for the most part. Since my first experience in 2003 there have been strides made. The pots are prettier. This year, Wal-Mart is even selling them in beautiful glazed pots for $9.99. Yes, they are the Phalaenopsis (as always). I don't know about instructions for care as I do not purchase (doesn't mean I don't pay attention to what's going on), but at just $9.99 that's probably a free orchid with a pretty pot. The orchids roots will for sure rot if not taken out of the glazed pot as soon as it's purchased (luckily, the Phals. don't drop all the flowers/buds when repotted). I don't know about you, but I'd rather have a nice orchid than a nice pot.

Feeling ill informed? Well, maybe someday "Big Brother" will mandate GPS units be put into the pots of the orchids so you can automatically receive culture sheets for your orchids in your mail box as well as advertisements for more orchids, pots, fertilizer, media etc. Until then, we've all learned about places such as the public library. You can utilize modern technology such as the WWW (specifically GardenWeb forums - many newbies to orchids meander this way) or search for an orchid book on Amazon.com. All these are common places for the everyday joe. I think I may have purchased my book at Barnes and Noble as I was partial to B&N in college for the coffee and quiet study time.

On to scientific nomenclature: just so you know, *all* plants have Latin names. Latin, as I am sure you know, is the "dead language." It can never be misinterpreted and/or changed. When referring to any plant by genus and species (in some cases subspecies also), you can only be speaking of plant "A" whereas if you use a common name you could be speaking of plant "A" or plant "B" or even plant "C" depending upon where you live. For instance, if you start talking to me about "Swiss Cheese Plant" I'm going to assume you're talking about Monstera deliciosa, but you could be talking about Monstera obliqua. In any given situation, the care for plant "A" could be (and usually is) different than the care for plant "B." Latin names describe the features of a plant.

Nearly four years ago, I made the choice to be a stay-at-home mom because I could not stand to be away from my baby and didn't want him to be raised by a stranger. We live off one income and it's very modest. We micromanage our money so we can provide for our children and still have family fun. Unfortunately, this also means I can't really afford to go out and buy orchids at my leisure; especially not the good ones. That's what I thought until last year when I joined our local orchid society! I got TWO NAMED orchids last night for $10.00. I also got a free orchid with my membership last year. It's a seedling and won't bloom for another few years, but who cares? I love plants and I love orchids. I only want ones with names because I am serious about them. What if I want to show them someday? I'll be able to with the name tags.

Are we orchid growers, hobbyists and/or specialists snobs? In some way, yes. We all have our preferences for our own reasons. I have strong preferences for Calatheas and other rare tropicals, Hoyas (which you can also pay a pretty penny for - just head on over to the Hoya forum and find out) and Orchids (mixed preferences within genera).

What I find lacking in the posts by mensplace is factual information pertaining specifically to orchids. The reason "we" only go for certain orchids are for personal preference, whether or not we want to show (for which there ARE standards to win ribbons and awards for each) and what kind of growing conditions we have to offer. Before you judge "us" and make further attacks, I urge you to learn more about the processes of growing and showing orchids. Don't be afraid to ask "Why? What? When? How?" when you don't understand. We don't judge here. We each offer our own personal experiences, preferences and growing conditions. Take what you will, leave what you won't. No one is going to hand-feed you instructions to match your situation perfectly. No one gave me a manual for these boys that I have! I have to find the best information to fit my situation and it's all trial and error. It's the same with orchids, but much easier.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 12:02AM
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Thanks for sharing!


    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 8:55AM
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I don't share the same distaste for Big Box Store practices as has been expressed by some. If you want the cheapest pair of socks money can buy, you go to WalMart and buy a package of 6 or so and don't complain about quality or durability of the items. If you want any kind of quality, certain style etc go elsewhere and pay more.

Orchids are no different. The stuff at HD is massproduced the cheapest, quickest way, if it makes it into peoples homes alive, success has been achieved. This has very little in common with the hobby or the art of growing orchids.

Never the less it has an invaluable benefit as it exposes millions of people to these plants. A small percentage will look into care of them, some of them will join orchid societies and some will become addicted. The majority bloom their plants then toss them either before or after they kill them. Thus the less than sterling practice at HD is a source of new blood to the local orchid society and feeds the hobby from the bottom up.

I have not had the patience to read all the froth in this thread so if I duplicated previous opinions, my apology.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 10:32AM
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After communications with Lowes Corporate, the local store, and Sun Bulb CO., I am very pleased to see that the local Lowes has quadrupled the number of orchids of many varieties, in much better pots, and a wider variety of sizes. A very impressive display. Meanwhile, my own collection from Lowes and other Orchid nurseries has grown substantially.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 12:24PM
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zzyzzyx(Lower MI)

It does indeed appear that mensplace is a bit behind the times, considering that what he describes as the future of orchid-growing has already come to pass.

I must add this, as a current botany major:

Plants cultivated en masse, especially via the meristem propagation method, are not only more susceptible to disease, but if the original plant has a virus, any and all offspring will carry it. Box stores and other mass-producers have no legal obligation to test plants for virus. I have personally had experiences with orchids from such places that have brought such pestilence into my collection.

Such "bargain priced" and well-marketed plants come with their own risks. Box stores do not care if the plants they sell live beyond the purchase date, and in general, do not offer any guarantee on purchases, in contrast to private growers.

Additionally, I would like to add that I have no great desire for orchid growing as a hobby to become some widespread trend. I do NOT intend that this hobby be for but a privileged few, but like any niche interest that gains sudden popularity, explosive growth too often becomes a cancer. For instance, Toyota was a carefully cultivated company which made reliable vehicles and grew slowly, in a manner that allowed it to maintain its principles. When sudden acceleration in its growth came, the result was a series of grand errors which we are now watching unravel.

mensplace sounds like he has a case of sour grapes, and seems to have some great desire to see a corporate takeover of the hobby. It is no hope of mine for big box stores and mass producers to push small growers out of business. I prefer to deal with individual growers, who offer variety, discounts if you're a regular, and are personally accountable for the quality of the plants they sell. Furthermore, I enjoy going to the shows, and I find that I can get personal advice from small growers.

As for this business of making a standard pamphlet of how-to-grow-your-orchid, well, that is the fun of having a hobby. Part of enjoying orchids is the learning experience in finding what each one wants.

I'm in no hurry for the "bigger, better, faster, more" to hit the orchid-growing circuit.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 5:16PM
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i couldnt really get around to read all of the posts so i apologize if i repeat something or make a fool of myself. orchids can be pricey, but you really have to know where to look. 10 to 15 dollar orchids at walmart target lowes and such store are typically a lower quality and nopt taken care of as well as a specialty nursery. you must also consider that orchid habitats are in need of rescue from environmental destruction. people who care for orchids are caring for a delicate and beautiful piece of mother earth. its like an adoption fee. if you have somone who will pay good money for an orchid, you have somone who will probably take good care of it. and in doing so, keeping orchids alive on this earth. also, i dont mean to sound rude, but it kinda bothers me that people are debating pricing and marketing of orchids... isnt it only an opinion if an orchid is too expensive or not? if you have a passion for orchids thats strong enough to ignore the cha-ching then thats good. if not thats good too i guess. but it seems to me(and again i didnt read the whole novel length discussion) that, tou are debating somthing thats no more than a set of opinions.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2010 at 9:20PM
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Even you can develop orchid with convenience when you have precise orchid details. A lot of individuals are under the supposition or think that orchid are costly and need a lot of perform to develop. But this is not right, people should be grow this I think.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 3:38AM
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I think this is very helpful information that you provide about orchids and marketing.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 5:29AM
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