Guest Author - Susan Taylor
I've gotten several inquiries about the pros and cons of gifting an Orchid of the Month for the holiday gift giving season. The answer, of course, is "It depends Ö"
For the novice or intermediate orchid hobbyist the answer is go ahead and gift the very best you can find. The choices can be as simple as a certain amount per month, generally in the $30 to $50 range, and paid as the orchid is shipped. The advantage to this program is that you can cancel at any time. Another common option is a three, six or twelve month contract paid in advance guaranteeing delivery each month.
I really like this kind of gift for the novice because it provides a wonderful base of plants that will flower throughout the year for years to come. I joined one of these clubs for several years and now know that I will have something blooming at almost any time. My first month's orchid was a Cattleytonia Why Not for which I recently got a blue ribbon at a local show. It's flowered every year for me. The second was a Brassia Eternal Wind -- a "Spider Orchid" that has flowered faithfully with 5 inch spider shaped flowers. The different growth habits of the various types of orchids has made watching them grow and flower a treat. It also lets the newer hobbyist determine what works under his conditions and what he likes to see flower. I would recommend a service that will provide different kinds of orchids unless your friend is concentrating on only one genus.
Take into account what kind of growing conditions your friend has available so that you can tell the vendor and let them determine what will be the best for that person. Some people only have room or like miniatures; some like compact plants; some only like Cattleyas. Try to get as much information as possible before you order.
For an advanced hobbyist this is probably not the best option unless he or she has an exceptionally close relationship with a specific vendor;.then that vendor could provide the exact type of plants the hobbyist wants. The better option in this case would be a gift certificate from the vendor so that your hobbyist can pick out what he or she truly wants or is missing in his collection. An alternative to this could also be a credit card gift certificate that could be used at multiple vendors for flowers or supplies. Or you could just ask exactly what plant the hobbyist has been eying lately and pick that one out specifically.
Here are some of the orchid of the month clubs I found from reputable vendors that I am acquainted with:
Carter and Holmes
1 888 Orchids