If you are just starting out to grow orchids, buy flowering plants from a reputable dealer. They can be expensive, granted, but there are a number of reasons to go this route. Flowering orchids can last much longer than standard cut flowers or other potted indoor plants at close to the same price.
You will be able to see exactly what you are getting. There’s nothing like being able to see the flower in person. Those beautiful pictures you see from vendors or on the internet cannot give you the same effect as seeing the plant with flowers on it. Even with mericlones, sometimes the flowers are not what you think they are. You will be able to enjoy the flowers for the period they’re out for that instant gratification factor.
You know the plant has already flowered and will be capable of doing so again year after year when grown correctly. Your chances of re-flowering a plant are much greater than getting seedlings or near blooming sized plants to flower. Seedlings although very inexpensive are notoriously difficult for beginners to grow and can take from 5-12 years, depending upon variety, to reach flowering size. Near blooming size plants can take from 1-3 years to flower.
You will know what time of the year the plant flowers and be able to spread out your purchases so that you will have a good chance to have something flowering year round in the future. You will end up with a collection of plants that will offer something interesting at every season.
One of the best choices is to enroll in one of the “Orchid of the Month” clubs offered by the major vendors. You will get a flowering plant every month or every other month, depending upon the offering. This is an excellent way to get quality plants to enjoy throughout the year as well as giving you a good selection of different types of flowering orchids to experiment with. Some will do better than others in your conditions and you can start learning how to grow them better.
Here are some recommended vendors:
Carter and Holmes
First Ray’s Orchids
Oak Hill Gardens
Parkside Orchids Nursery
Tropical Orchid Farm