How to Buy Orchids

Did you know that Mother’s Day was not started by a greeting card company, but by Julia Ward Howe in 1870 as an anti-war holiday? And speaking of Mother’s Day, there’s no better gift for mom than an orchid. Whatever the occasion for an orchid purchase, here are some tips on getting the most for your money:

  • Look for freshly opened flowers, with no shriveled buds. If the orchid has multiple blooms and they’re all already open, it can be tough to tell how long they’ll last. If there are a few unopened buds, chances are that the flowers are fresh, and you’ll have the bonus of watching the buds unfurl over time.
  • Leaves should appear healthy-looking and firm, not floppy or too soft. A few small blemishes may not indicate any problem, so if the plant seems to be in good shape, don’t make that an automatic disqualifier. Some varieties of orchids can have darker or lighter green leaf coloration, but yellow or black leaves are bad.
  • If you find insect pests on any flowers or leaves, find another vendor.
  • It’s ok if a few roots are sticking out of the pot. These should be firm and white or silvery in color. Green tips mean the roots are actively growing.
  • Phals and Paphs are great choices since their blooms can last for months, and they can survive in lower light levels often found in homes and offices.
  • If you’re looking for an orchid with scented flowers, remember that some varieties may only have a scent at certain times of the day. Smell the flowers to determine if it’s a scent that you like.
  • For care purposes, it will really help to identify your orchid. Look for a plant with a name tag, or ask the vendor. It’s not always necessary to know the exact name, just the family of orchids to which it belongs.

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3 Comments on “How to Buy Orchids”

  1. Robin Ng Says:

    Thanks for all the great advice. It makes so much sense to buy a plant with some buds that haven’t opened yet, but I always go for the showiest flowers anyway.

  2. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » The Holiday Orchid Says:

    […] Here’s some orchid buying advice on top of this earlier post on orchid buying basics. […]

  3. dave88 Says:

    great article