How to choose and buy an Orchid.

Orchid Buying Secrets

By Sriram Kumar

Given that Orchid family is vast with species and hybrids, it is always tempting to buy a new orchid online or when you visit a store. It is never easy to say No to a rare cool growing species in tropical and sub tropical weather. It is important to understand size, health, and its growing habitat before making a buy decision.


Most of the Orchids are bought for their beautiful flowers and some times for the foliage (Jewel orchids). It is important to understand the size of the orchid that is sold to get an indication of when you can expect it to bloom

SS - Seedling - Usually takes a few years to bloom

NBS - Near Blooming Size - Very near blooming size

BS - Blooming Size - Has already bloomed or ready to bloom

Specimen - Orchid that is mature and usually with Multigrowth


Picking healthy orchids is the best beginning you could get.

  • - Healthy roots - A healthy orchid\'s roots will be light silvery green when dry and dark green when wet. 
  • - Healthy Leaves – Healthy orchids leaves would be slightly yellow-green similar to a green apple. Leaves should also be free from bugs, blemishes and mushy spots. The new growth should be healthy.
  • - Healthy pseudobulbs – some of the orchids have pseudobulbs (Cattleya/Oncidium, Grammatophyllum etc), if you are buying any of these make sure the new grown pseudobulbs are plump and fat.


Growing Habitat

It is easy to buy a rare or a beautiful orchid in bloom then later to realize that it does not bloom in tropical weather. It could grow well but would never bloom again under tropical weather. Research online or talk to orchid friends before you buy something rare and expensive.

  • - Understand the growing conditions of the orchid you are buying. Sites like IOSPE provide hints about growing habitat and climatic conditions they grow in.
  • -If buying registered hybrids, check the parentage of hybrids and understand habitat and climatic conditions of the parents.
  • -Understand the seasonal changes that happen in their habitat. E.g. some of the Dendrobiums require a complete winter dormancy to bloom in spring


Epiphyte - Grows on trees for support and derives its nutrients and water from rain and air

Lithophyte - Grows on rocks and rock cervices and derives nutrients,water from rain,air and dust

Terrestrial - Grows on ground and derives nutrients,water from ground 


Hot Growing - 200 nights of temperatures of around 29 degrees Celcius

Warm Growing - 200 nights of temperatures of around 24 degrees Celcius

Cool Growing - 200 nights of temperatures of around 14 degrees Celcius

Cold Growing - 200 nights of temperatures of below 8 degrees Celcius

Buying Online

  • - Review feedback and vendor reputation before making a purchase.
  • - Communicate with the vendor and seek inputs on the conditions required to
  • grow the orchid.
  • - Provide feedback to vendor/online for others to know your buying experience.

Useful links fondly called IOSPE for checking details of registered hybrids

Posted in Hear from the experts

Published on 03/06/2016 13:34:23
  • Comments ( 1 )
Thomas Jacob

2016-07-11 13:52:19

Dear Sir Like to know more about how to buy a healthy Quality Orchid buy. And like to know the correct time of seperating the newbuds Thanx Regards Thomas Jacob

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