Wondering how you folks who produce flasks, or purchase large numbers of seedlings, choose which to keep vs. those with which you choose to part? Is it simply a matter of choosing the most vigorous, “good looking” plantlets? Can one, in fact, become experienced enough simply to KNOW, reliably, what plants from a batch, flask of compot will produce extraordinary flowers? I bought a Paphiopedilum venustum a few years ago because I liked the particular snakeskin pattern of its leaves. It was sold as a compot, ostensibly meaning (to my understanding) that it consisted of plants from the same grex potted up together. The growth that attracted me was a monster; it’s the fastest-growing Paph in my collection and just LUSCIOUS. The compot turned out to have 3 plants, total; I separated them all and potted them up; one was a real runt and just went to heaven before you could say “Inococur” (this was long before I had that miracle potion, which may save my tiny eBay kovachii, but I digress); the second small growth has survived for three years and looks lively enough but the differences between the two purported siblings, under the same care and conditions, is striking as you can see. I am regularly seduced into irresistible eBay seedling bargains and I’m guessing I’m not alone in that...the allure of retail therapy will be my destruction, I’m sure. But I’ve begun to wonder, what are my chances of getting a plant like Big Brother here, vs. this tiny sucker? Wondering if what is being sold are seedlings that are predisposed to straggling? In removing the plants for these photos, I note that Big Brother has an obvious new bud, right on time; the plants have now been in my care for over 3 years. Little Brother actually has something poking from his fan as well, too tiny to tell but it appears a bit pointy like a bud as well, maybe? Possibly? Could a venustum this little actually bloom? That’d be frickin’ adorable. I’m sure some of you could tell as surely as time. Took the best photos I could.