Help Regarding Sourcing Orchids for Workshop/Sales

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kc6847

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2022
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Location
California, USA
Hello everyone,

This is a bit off topic from the usual slipper discussion found here but I'm part of the Orchid Society of Southern California and have been looking to expand the club by attracting younger people like me through plant workshops. I somehow managed to coincidentally meet a relatively well known plant collector who runs a shop and was happy to have us do workshops there as long as we provide the supplies. My plan is to do an orchid care 101 and repotting workshop along with some smaller sales to aid in this endeavor. So my two main questions are:

1. Where can I source cheap, beginner friendly orchids that might be able to give us discount pricing as an orchid society? (Can be just grocery store phals even)
2. Do y'all have any suggestion for orchids that are:
- easily propagatable/cheap
- less than 10" or so in height
- able to handle ambient SoCal conditions (warm-intermediate, 30-50% humidity)

The first question pertains to sourcing orchids for the repotting workshop. The second question pertains to the orchids to be used for sales. Epidendrum porpax fits #2 but I'm looking for more variety.
 
I might be a bit older then you here in SE Michigan, actually a big bit older, but I am trying to expand our membership here as well.
In all my years experience, it is NOT really cheap orchids that attract new members, it is member services. With internet purchases, orchids available at big box stores, Trader Joe's etcetera, orchids are real easy to find. The trick is to get people interested, in once purchased, they have to want to keep the orchids alive. That sounds like an easy task but it is not. But that is just my opinion.
At the three orchid societies I belong to, Lansing, Michigan and Ann Arbor, getting them to buy plants is a two parted problem Many people are happy growing 3 to 10 orchids and that is all that they can handle or want. Other people have 2 or three dozen and are just as happy. Rare are those people with a few hundred orchids. Regardless of collection size, they have to be convinced subliminally that they need to grow them better, repot them properly and have the distinct desire to see them do better. There in lies the real problem.
With many younger people, the attention span has become so short as to make it difficult for them to invest the time to learn. Too many things to do. How do you instill the desire to have them want to learn. How do you get them to spend $15 on a Phalaenopsis in bloom from Lowe's, enjoy the flowers, the media gets bad and the plant suffers for months and dies. When that happens, they simply buy another. They do not want to learn how to grow them. They do not have the desire or patience or time.
As far as growing the membership, I have found in my almost 50 year experience with orchid clubs, there can be a huge fluctuation in membership levels. Members come and they go. Often times you have very little control over that. For example, before our show on April 1st of 2023, our membership here stood at 34 people. Back 25-30 years ago, I understand it was around 200!! But over the years it has steadily declined. Far too many reasons to get into that here. But after our show, people joined, membership rose to 60 +/-!!! Prior to the show, 15-20 of the 34 attended meetings regularly. Now those 60 members total mean that 20-25 people make a meeting! The attending number did not go up nearly as much. That's the real problem. In my opinion, more cheap orchids will not make them come to a meeting. Instead you need to do something education wise to make them come to a meeting. You have to provide some sort of strong reason to get them there and to keep them coming back. And believe me when I say, it is not really about buying more orchids.

My goal as a club Board member is to offer my advice, my knowledge, my expertise if you will and try to get new people excited. If I can turn 5, or even 3 people from that new crowd that swelled our membership from 34 to 60 and make them excited, I would be very pleased. But that is easier said then done. Even in my 9 years in SW Florida, expanding membership was not about plants but about other things. Afterall in Florida, practically every street had an orchid outlet on it.
A good mix of speakers, a good mix of both beginner programs and more advanced programs will help. A raffle table, a show, a summer barbecue party, are other ideas perhaps? Bill
 
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Contact H&R for den and catt seedlings;I’m sure they’d offer a deal on bulk purchases for societies, as they do for resellers. Consider Lehua for paphs.
 
I might be a bit older then you here in SE Michigan, actually a big bit older, but I am trying to expand our membership here as well.
In all my years experience, it is NOT really cheap orchids that attract new members, it is member services. With internet purchases, orchids available at big box stores, Trader Joe's etcetera, orchids are real easy to find. The trick is to get people interested, in once purchased, they have to want to keep the orchids alive. That sounds like an easy task but it is not. But that is just my opinion.
At the three orchid societies I belong to, Lansing, Michigan and Ann Arbor, getting them to buy plants is a two parted problem Many people are happy growing 3 to 10 orchids and that is all that they can handle or want. Other people have 2 or three dozen and are just as happy. Rare are those people with a few hundred orchids. Regardless of collection size, they have to be convinced subliminally that they need to grow them better, repot them properly and have the distinct desire to see them do better. There in lies the real problem.
With many younger people, the attention span has become so short as to make it difficult for them to invest the time to learn. Too many things to do. How do you instill the desire to have them want to learn. How do you get them to spend $15 on a Phalaenopsis in bloom from Lowe's, enjoy the flowers, the media gets bad and the plant suffers for months and dies. When that happens, they simply buy another. They do not want to learn how to grow them. They do not have the desire or patience or time.
As far as growing the membership, I have found in my almost 50 year experience with orchid clubs, there can be a huge fluctuation in membership levels. Members come and they go. Often times you have very little control over that. For example, before our show on April 1st of 2023, our membership here stood at 34 people. Back 25-30 years ago, I understand it was around 200!! But over the years it has steadily declined. Far too many reasons to get into that here. But after our show, people joined, membership rose to 60 +/-!!! Prior to the show, 15-20 of the 34 attended meetings regularly. Now those 60 members total mean that 20-25 people make a meeting! The attending number did not go up nearly as much. That's the real problem. In my opinion, more cheap orchids will not make them come to a meeting. Instead you need to do something education wise to make them come to a meeting. You have to provide some sort of strong reason to get them there and to keep them coming back. And believe me when I say, it is not really about buying more orchids.

My goal as a club Board member is to offer my advice, my knowledge, my expertise if you will and try to get new people excited. If I can turn 5, or even 3 people from that new crowd that swelled our membership from 34 to 60 and make them excited, I would be very pleased. But that is easier said then done. Even in my 9 years in SW Florida, expanding membership was not about plants but about other things. Afterall in Florida, practically every street had an orchid outlet on it.
A good mix of speakers, a good mix of both beginner programs and more advanced programs will help. A raffle table, a show, a summer barbecue party, are other ideas perhaps? Bill
The idea for the workshop is mostly to get people into orchids because we don't want to fall by the wayside like the local chrysanthemum and african violet growers here. Most younger people who got into the plant world via aroids and terrariums have little to no idea how to care for orchids (the most common thing I hear is that "I'm scared that its hard to care for or takes too long to bloom") or are not interested because they're unaware of the diversity in these plants (because their aesthetic preferences for these plants are very different than what most orchid growers are interested in). The goal is to get them an idea of their care and to expose them to different varieties so they have some grasp on where to start and making it more likely that they would venture into orchids and potentially join the society. We already have the lectures and speakers needed so that's not an issue.
 
If course, that is certainly a plan.
But like I said, growing interest in orchids is not easy. I think that they still carry that mystique of being difficult to grow.
 
Hello everyone,

This is a bit off topic from the usual slipper discussion found here but I'm part of the Orchid Society of Southern California and have been looking to expand the club by attracting younger people like me through plant workshops. I somehow managed to coincidentally meet a relatively well known plant collector who runs a shop and was happy to have us do workshops there as long as we provide the supplies. My plan is to do an orchid care 101 and repotting workshop along with some smaller sales to aid in this endeavor. So my two main questions are:

1. Where can I source cheap, beginner friendly orchids that might be able to give us discount pricing as an orchid society? (Can be just grocery store phals even)
2. Do y'all have any suggestion for orchids that are:
- easily propagatable/cheap
- less than 10" or so in height
- able to handle ambient SoCal conditions (warm-intermediate, 30-50% humidity)

The first question pertains to sourcing orchids for the repotting workshop. The second question pertains to the orchids to be used for sales. Epidendrum porpax fits #2 but I'm looking for more variety.

We have done repotting clinics with a demonstration during our May meeting every year. Members can bring their own plants and media to get help repotting. We preorder seedlings paid for by the society (about $2-3 each from somewhere like Carter & Holmes), along some media donations, and everyone gets to pot and take one home. It is a fun, interactive activity, and not too expensive for the society.
 
I think that one of the biggest “hooks” to get people interested is when they have actually succeeded in blooming or reblooming an orchid. Maybe stack the deck a bit with cheap phalaenopsis that are ready to spike. The orchid itself is good at teaching patience since the initiation of a spike to actual bloom can take a while. But it’s so exciting to watch it develop and few things are more glorious than seeing that first bloom open. Et voila! Now you are one of those people who can grow orchids!
 
I have used Kalapana in the past:
Orchid Society Order
email or call with any questions!

-Rafaell

--
Kalapana Orchid Farm
www.orchid.farm
(209) 330-0004
 

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