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  #1  
Old 04-24-2019, 10:57 PM
L. Vilas Boas L. Vilas Boas is offline
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How long until an orchid is considered an adult? Female
Default How long until an orchid is considered an adult?

This is more out of curiosity, because I have been considering getting young plants since they are a lot cheaper. How many years until an orchid can be considered an adult plant? And, does an orchid bloom before it is an adult?
Perhaps, the most important question: how much more difficult it is for a begginer such as me to care for a young plant? Do they demand more than an adult does between blooms?

Thank you!
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  #2  
Old 04-24-2019, 11:05 PM
fooferdoggie fooferdoggie is offline
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How long until an orchid is considered an adult?
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it depends on the orchid they vary quite a bit. as long as they are potted up they take the same care. unlike other plants the smaller they are the slower they grow.

Last edited by fooferdoggie; 04-24-2019 at 11:22 PM..
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  #3  
Old 04-25-2019, 10:29 AM
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MrHappyRotter MrHappyRotter is offline
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How long until an orchid is considered an adult? Male
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L. Vilas Boas View Post
How many years until an orchid can be considered an adult plant? And, does an orchid bloom before it is an adult?
It depends on how you define "adult", the type of orchid you have, and how well you care for it. "Adult" isn't really a term commonly used when describing orchids, and like most colloquial terminology, is ambiguous and open to interpretation.

The more commonly used terms (though not scientific and still open to interpretation) are blooming size and mature size. You will not find complete agreement on what these terms mean, and they are the topic of many disappointed and irate rants here and on other forums. However, I think the most commonly accepted meanings are:

Blooming size - Capable of blooming within the next typical blooming season, or within a year with proper care. But no guarantees that it will bloom in this time frame.

Mature size - These are older plants, blooming size, which have essentially reached full sized growth. It means the psuedobulbs (for plants that have them) and leaves (for plants that have them) are basically as large as they'll get in a given set of growing conditions, and that it's reasonable to expect the plant will bloom to its full potential at the next bloom season, usually in less than a year.

Many orchids can sometimes bloom while they are still young seedlings, it's called precocious blooming. It's typically hit or miss (some will, some won't) as to whether a blooming sized plant will actually bloom at this size. Additionally, precocious bloomers tend to have fewer flowers, shorter spikes, smaller flowers and things of that nature. In contrast, mature sized plants should be old enough that virtually all individuals of that size will bloom in season, and should be large enough that the blooms / spikes live up to their full potential.

Orchid seedlings can take anywhere from 1 - 10+ years after being removed from the flask before they are blooming sized, though I think 2 - 3 years is fairly average for the typical tropical genera most commonly available within the hobby. However, it's highly dependent on the type of orchid and how well you care for it. To reach mature size is more likely to take 3+ years from flask.

Phalaenopsis and many Oncidium alliance plants are known to be early bloomers, for example. Large growing, large flowered Cattleya alliance plants tend to not bloom until they've got a lot of size on them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by L. Vilas Boas View Post
Perhaps, the most important question: how much more difficult it is for a begginer such as me to care for a young plant?
It depends on the type of orchid, as well as your luck and skill. Since I know none of this information, it's a stab in the dark to answer.

Some are easier to grow from the seedling stage than others. There are a lot more opportunities for something to go wrong before you get to see the first blooms. Seedlings desiccate more quickly in low humidity or if you water too infrequently. It's also a lot easier for disease or pests to obliterate a tiny plant before you notice. They've also got less "reserves" built up to help them weather any inadequacies in care they might receive from an inexperienced grower. So, it all adds up.

Most often, I recommend starting with a cheap blooming sized plant for beginners. Then, once you figure out how to grow and what type(s) do best for you, then you can start investing in some young seedlings. In a tropical area, that recommendation might change, though, depending on what type of orchid(s) you intend to buy and how you intend to grow them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by L. Vilas Boas View Post
Do they demand more than an adult does between blooms?
More frequent watering is often necessary. More attention to detail as well. Higher humidity may be required and higher temperatures are often recommended for certain types to help them grow more quickly. Seedlings often need different potting mix than an adult, for instance, they may do better with moss or need smaller sized pieces of bark if potted. They might also need more frequent repotting. There are a lot of variables and considerations here. A lot of this depends on your growing conditions and the type of orchid you've got.
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  #4  
Old 04-25-2019, 08:37 PM
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Fairorchids Fairorchids is offline
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How long until an orchid is considered an adult? Male
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While there is considerable difference between various genera, let me give you an example to put it into perspective (full disclosure: I grow in a greenhouse).

In 2013, I purchased smallish seedlings of Ascocentrum Mona Church (= Asctm. ampullaceum x Asctm. miniatum).

In 2014, when I considered them NBS, one bloomed with a short spike (8-10 flowers).

In 2015 this plant, now considered BS, produced a spike with 15-20 flowers.

In 2016, now considered Mature, this plant produced spikes with +/-30 flowers in April, and then again in June/July, and finally for the third time in September. At the end of that season, I also noticed a basal keiki starting (= plant is on it's way to becoming a specimen).
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  #5  
Old 04-26-2019, 08:00 AM
L. Vilas Boas L. Vilas Boas is offline
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How long until an orchid is considered an adult? Female
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I see.
Thank you for the wonderful information, MrHappyPotter, and for the practical example, Fairorchids! I will add this to my considerations before I decide on my next acquisition.
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