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May 2014 Fall 2013 Orchid Newsletter
May 04, 2014

Tips For Buying Orchids For Mother's Day

May 2014 Orchidaceae Newsletter

Hi Everyone.

Happy Spring to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

I always have great aspirations to get a newsletter out monthly. But somehow life gets in the way. Ah well. Better late than never. I am still committed to doing so, but I guess it just has to be when the spirit moves me.

This next weekend here in the United States is "Mother's Day". My site always gets more active around this holiday as many decide to honor their "Mother" or a female relative on this day by purchasing an orchid as a gift.

Many of my visitors and subscribers are "newbies" to orchids. Many are frightened by how "difficult" orchids are considered to be to grow and re-bloom. So I am going to give some tips here on purchasing an orchid, particularly those that might be readily available from a large store like Costco.

For those of you who have spent time on my site, you probably know I do not always speak so favorably about purchasing orchids at the "big box" stores like Costco and Trader Joes (here in California). I generally prefer to purchase orchids from several of the reputable orchid growers that I know. That said what I want to address here is what to look for when you are purchasing an orchid from a big store that is not in the nursery business.

Picture of the Month

A Beautiful, Pink, Multi-branched Phalaenopsis Orchid in a Decorative Pot

Phalaenopsis are my number one recommended orchid for beginners. Beautiful, elegant, they come in many colors and bloom for a long time with a little proper care. And they make wonderful gifts.

OK, Quick Tips for Purchasing An Orchid

Here is my quick and dirty advice for purchasing an inexpensive orchid for the woman (women?) in your life for Mother's Day and their continued contribution to Your life.

• Just do it. They are not very expensive. They are beautiful and make lovely gifts.

• Look for an orchid that is easy to grow. My primary recommendation is a Phalaenopsis or a Doritaenopsis (Dtps.) (a relative of Phalaenopsis). They are sometimes called moth orchids. They are beautiful, elegant, go with any decor and relatively easy to re-bloom. I have a whole page devoted to them on my site. (

Oncidiums would be a good choice. Also Miltonia. Stay away from Odontoglossums if you are a beginner.

• Look for a plant that has many of its blossoms still in bud. That way your gift will last longer in bloom for the happy recipient.

• Once you have decided what plant you like or want to give, if there are several of the same kind then take a look at each one. What you are looking for is which plant is the healthiest. Which one has healthy looking roots? Which one had the healthiest leaves? If it is an orchid that has pseudobulbs, which one has healthy, plump pseudobulbs? Which has the least opened buds? If most of the buds have not opened yet, the orchid will generally bloom longer.

You get the idea. The healthier the plant the better chance it has of thriving. Or of surviving if the growing conditions are not right.

Pay particular attention to this one. Often the nurserymen who supply the big box stores will put the plant in a decorative pot to make it more attractive to the purchaser. Displayed nicely it is a better gift. That is fine. But before you give your lovely orchid to your mom (or wife) or sister or whomever make sure you look to see if there is a pot in a pot. Orchids are usually grown in plastic pots. Sometimes there will be a pot within a decorative pot. Check to make sure that the pot that the orchid is in has drain holes. If it does, and the decorative pot does not then it is important to tell the person who you are giving the orchid to that the orchid will need to be watered and the water drain out of the pot before putting it back in the decorative pot. This is important. Orchids that sit in water will eventually rot. This is particularly true of Phalaenopsis orchids.

So that is my advice this time around. Buy your special someone an orchid for Mother's Day (or a birthday or an anniversary), you get the idea.

Look for a beautiful healthy orchid, and buy the healthiest one that you can.

Check and make sure it drains when watered before you give it away.

And if your special someone needs help with their new friend, have them contact me through the contact page on the site. I am happy to help.

Till next time. Happy Growing!


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Orchids Plus and Bayview Botanicals

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