How orchids are produced

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Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2014
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Adelaide, South Australia
Working in the lab, I've often thought to myself, this process is just insanely complex and labour intensive. I wonder if people truely understand what actually goes into producing that $50 orchid at the hardware store? So I wrote a detailed overview of the whole process. It's a bit of a journey, but I wanted to convey enough details that the reader can understand what goes on, but not too much detail that it will blow their mind.

Feedback most welcome
You would like to get feedback so here we are:
Thank you for the article, very detailed. But I think it would have been better here in "Slipper orchid culture" with a less generalized article about all possible orchids on the world.

It would also have been more interesting to read about the asymbiotic sowing with more detail, photos and the like. Because thats the most intensive part and not managable by many. Whether a plant has been standing in the corner of a greenhouse somewhere for 9 years - well, that's just the way it is. It's not a lot of work - per plant. In this respect the article is like a subliminal "rant" about why the buyer should accept high prices.

The fact that you don't earn much from it is mainly due to the lack of demand. And that in turn determines the price. Too cheap and it's not profitable, too costly and many interested people are put off by the price. Incidentally many growers don't consider this because they have little experience in business management and only think about the insane collectors of rarities of which there aren't many. They then leave cash on the street and could earn much more.

Not everyone sees a reason to buy a 10-year-old AOS/FCC etc. cultivated Paph. rothschildianum plant with dark petals. I do not belong to such a target group. I don't pay $100 or $250 for a plant, in the end it will have just some flowers like a Non-AOS plant also have - maybe they are not so symetrically but I prefer more "natural" looking flowers. If you can sell 3 plants for $50 each or one plant for $100: I think you get the point.
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Why would anyone buy an orchid for $50 at a hardware store? That is the question I have.
I know Home Depot, Lowe’s, supermarket chains, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s all sell orchids. But isn’t that more like an ‘impulse’ buy? It is difficult to understand why many people would spend that much for a plant that they likely are unfamiliar with. $15 maybe. $50, I am not quite so sure.
As additional input, if they are so inclined to drop $50 on an impulse buy, will they care about how it came to be there? Again. I don’t think that they will.

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