|BEWARE OF BARGAIN ORCHIDS
When is a bargain not a bargain? When it comes to orchids, it pays to think carefully about prices and convenience that seem too good to be true. In the recent past, orchids could only be purchased from nurseries and other specified orchid growers. Today, you can find orchids blooming on the display racks of discount stores, home centers, even grocery stores, for prices that seem to belong to much more modest plants. But there could be a hidden cost to these amazing bargains. (See The WALL STREET JOURNAL Article on Orchids, February 2002.)
Orchids sold by professional growers or reputable nurseries are always clearly labeled, handled and shipped with care. Instructions on the care of each species or hybrid purchased are most always included with the sale. Growers can also answer your specific questions concerning your new plant. It is extremely important to know exactly what kind of orchid you’re purchasing. Why? Because each genera and, in some cases, each species within a genera may require very different environments, watering techniques, and localities in your home to thrive. How can you care for it properly if you have no idea what it is? You can't.
What’s more, shippers often repot orchids just before transporting them to these kinds of multipurpose stores. Repotting can be traumatizing to the plants, causing damage to their root systems. In addition, shippers often repot the plants in a water-retaining "shipping mix,” which prevents the plants from drying out en route. The inexperienced buyer may mistake this temporary medium for a proper growing environment. And the pretty paper wrapped around the pot can conceal a damaged plant, or else prevent an otherwise healthy plant from draining, causing its roots to become waterlogged. The repotting is also done at the very worst time of the plant’s life ... while it’s in bloom! This may make for an enticing store display, but soon the shock of repotting will cause the buds and flowers to start falling off the spikepossibly as soon as it reaches its new home. This can be a sorely disappointing experience for the budding orchid enthusiast.
Adding insult to injury, you may even pay more at your local home store than you would from a grower for an equivalent plant!
There are attractive and healthy plants available in the general marketplace, and if you are careful you can find both good prices and good plants. A little research and a little extra attention will go a long way toward selecting an orchid that will provide years of beauty and pleasure.
Beautiful Orchids' Tips in selecting healthy orchids:
1. Check and see how firm the plant is in the pot, if it is shaky and not firm then chances are it is either been recently repotted or it has a bad root system. If it has been recently repotted check the mix, you may want to replace it for something more suitable for orchids, even thou the plant is in bloom. Sphagnum moss is often used to pot the orchids in for shipping and if it it packed to tightly in the pot it can cause problems. Some times the mix can rot your roots very quickly since it does not dry out.
2. The pseudobulbs should be fat and plump. Beware of the shriveled pseudobulbs
3. The leaves should be firm. Leaves that are limp or crinkled like an according are indications that the plant may have been exposed to excessively cold temperatures or lack of water due to no root system or just not being watered correctly. Are the leaves brown or have spots? This is an indication of exposure to excessive sunlight or high temperatures. On many of the orchids make sure the center leaf is still growing and there is not damage to the crown of the orchid. This damage can result in crown rot and the orchid will die.
4. Is the foliage damaged? Look under the paper wrapper if it is covering any part of the plant.
5. Are the plants water logged or swimming in water inside of the paper wrapper? The pretty paper does not have drainage holes. REMOVE this immediately after you get your orchid home.
6. Is there a sticky substance on the leaves? THE PLANT HAS BUGS! Avoid bug-infested plants.
7. Are the flowers limp or the buds turning yellow? Are there buds missing? The plant has been stressed too much and will most likely drop all its flowers and buds within a few days no matter what you do for the plant.
8. Does the plant have a correct label? The label should say more than just "ORCHID PLANT."
9. Ask how long the plants have been at the store?
10. Does the sales person know anything about the orchids and can they give you some information about caring for it?
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