Guest Author - Susan Taylor
One thing to consider seriously is joining an “Orchid of the Month” club. There are many available—almost every commercial nursery has one. There are many price ranges and some have a six month or year signup requirement so be sure you know what the rules are before signing up. The one that I used was Haleahi Orchid of the Month. This is a month-to-month plan with no long-term prepayment. Another important thing to remember is that if you live in the colder Northern climates it may become necessary to stop your subscription during the coldest months, or have heat packs added to your shipments. Conversely, for those of us in the deep South, July and August are very bad times to get plants unless they’re coming from similarly hot areas.
The main advantage of starting your collection this way is that you will get a flowering plant each month to enjoy right now and you will also accumulate plants that will give you flowers around the year as they should also bloom next year at approximately the same time. This will eventually allow you to have flowering orchids year round. Unless you have the opportunity to shop somewhere local every month and purchase a flowering plant, this is difficult to do on your own. I set up a display location in my dining room for the blooming plant of the month and then moved the non-flowering plants to a bedroom where I had more humidity and light for them to rest, recover, and re-bloom.
Look through the vendors on OrchidMall and find those who offer an Orchid of the Month Club. Try to tailor your choice of club with the type of orchid you are interested in collecting. If you’re interested in cattleyas and are growing indoors, then try to find someone who will provide miniature or compact size plants for you.
If you are not sure which genus you are interested in, look for a club which will send a variety of plants. This gives you a chance to determine which ones you like best and which ones grow in your environment. One club I used sent a Cattleya and a special free plant each month…so I discovered Dendrobiums, Brassias, and Oncidiums and found that they survived and re-bloomed for me.