The tradeoff is simple, when you buy orchids from a reputable grower you get good quality plants. Generally speaking you do pay more to buy from a quality grower, but you save a lot of time you would otherwise spend on repotting and trying to treat sick plants. Generally speaking mail-order nurseries devoted to orchids are a better bet than local nurseries that receive large shipments of orchids, but those smaller independent nurseries are still a much better choice than big box stores. Here is some basic advice on finding good orchid sellers.
- Check out mail order nurseries and greenhouses devoted exclusively to orchids. These places can sometimes be pricey, but you will usually get good plants. Generally you pay more for better plants.
- See if you can find anyone online who has written about the greenhouse or store in question. What did they have to say?
- Ebay can sometimes (but not always) be a good way to get plants. I have purchased some really nice plants on ebay and I have also purchased some horrible plants. The deals are good, but buying on ebay is a big risk.
- Go to the nursery or greenhouse yourself so that you can check out the plants. Small local nurseries and plant stores can be places to get very nice plants.
- There are a lot of mail order orchid nurseries out there. I recommend checking out the Orchid Mall, they have compiled a long list of orchid sources. A couple great mail order companies that I recommend in the
Midwestare and Oak Hill Gardens Orchids Limited. I have also heard good things about J & K Orchids. However, there are hundreds of mail order orchid places all over the world and the Orchid Mall has them listed by country as well as alphabetically.