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  #1  
Old 06-13-2017, 06:19 AM
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Bulbopedilum Bulbopedilum is offline
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Exclamation Orchid Vendor's Tricks and Lies

Kinda hoping this to get stickied.

Orchid vendors are a great thing, you can get orchids from them! But BEWARE, some of these orchid vendors use sneaky tricks to sell you orchids and for a very high price, way too much than what it's worth! Some even mislead you! So beware. I have compiled a list of tricks used by orchid vendors.
Note
Do some research your self and learn about orchids and you will already know about all of these tricks!
Harmless Tricks
The following vendor tricks don't harm the orchid, just increase the price. You are simply overpaying, not harming the orchid.
1. Arched flowers. Many orchid buyers desire not the enjoyment of growing orchids, but solely for the flowers! Vendors can exploit this flower desire to get more money. This first one is a simple one, they just curve the orchid's flower stalk with some floral wire or sometimes a curved stake. You can do this by yourself. Some phalaenopsis spikes even arch by themselves.
2. Blue orchid flowers. Another flower trick used by vendors is to make blue orchid flowers. This appeals to buyers, but they may not know that the blue color is just plain old dye that they injected into the flower stalk! This is similar to that kindergarden/1st grade experiment where you put white flowers in food coloring. You can also DIY this. If you want actual blue-ish orchids then get Vanda Coeruela or a blue Cattleya strain. But if you want super actual blue orchids then get a cleiosocentron, thelymitra, or dendrobium dedicatulum.
3. Minor Misinformation Sometimes orchids are sold as having redeeming qualities when they really don't have the mentioned qualities. Some are sold as "fragrant" or "miniature" when they are really not! Some are even mislabeled-on purpose. BUT, Some orchids are strange, they sometimes are fragrant, sometimes not. Some have fragrance at certain times of days. Just make sure to research when buying things. IMPORTANT NOTE: The labels saying fragrant, miniature, etc. (Excluding mislabeling) are possibly cultural differences.

Harmful Lies
These tricks are actually harmful to the orchids, the environment, or YOU!. Never do these!
1. Add ice A very common one. "Water your orchids with ice." They say, but in truth, most orchids HATE cold water! Always water with water that is around room temperature. Only some cold-growing orchids, like cypripediums or ophrys are ok or even like cold water.
2. Give lots of light This is not so common but is still done by some. This "give lots of light" applies to normal plants, but not to orchids! Orchids need less light than most plants, and some even desire FULL shade! Only vandas, brassavola, cymbidium, and some other orchids like light, not your typical phalaenopsis though.
3. Bad Divisions Some orchid vendors sell divisions of orchids that are only barely surviving! You will think you have bought a small plant, but you find that you actually bought a damaged, unhealthy plant that is barely surviving!
4. Garden Soil Some orchid vendors are so dumb that they use normal garden soil for orchids! Never use garden soil for orchids! The roots will choke and DIE! They die because orchids grow in very aerated media in nature, even the terrestrial ones wn't take soil.
5. Plain old SCAMS Yes, some people can scam you with orchids! This is not harmful to orchids, but is harmful to YOU! Yes, YOU! Some Chinese sellers supposedly sell Orchis Italiana, Caleana Major, and Black Phalaenopsis seeds. They are FAKE. Orchid seeds are dust-like and white. Sellers usually give you baby's breath, dragonfruit, or in some cases, marvel of peru seeds. This can make you a criminal if you don't have permits.
6. Poached Orchids This is uncommon nowadays but is still existent! Some people go out and pluck orchids straight out of their natural habitat! Victims include orchis, ophrys, calypso, cypripedium, and some other rare orchids. Don't buy from unreliable sellers! These genuses can be bought from specialist Native Orchid Nurseries.

(Contributors: Subrosa, jkofferdahl, pipsxlch, Leafmite, Orchid Whisperer, King_of_orchid_growing, Ray. Thanks!)
If you know any more tricks and lies, please tell me and I will add them!
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Last edited by Bulbopedilum; 06-15-2017 at 08:58 AM..
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2017, 07:37 PM
pipsxlch pipsxlch is offline
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The seed scam has started to appear in my local Craigslist.

Fitting your theme, I more often see orchids being sold as needing shade, when at least in my climate many of the genera being sold need fairly high light, more than many house plants. They'll grow, but never bloom.

Besides overeager vendors that will claim things can grow for you that most likely won't (lately I've been having vendors assure me that I can successfully grow Miltoniopsis, even though I'm a strictly outside grower in Florida), I'm peeved by a local vendor that splits plants into single pseudobulbs, then tightly packs 3-4 of those bulbs into a pot with spag. You buy what you think is a small plant, only to find it's a few damaged individual growths that have a hard time surviving, and will be reduced to almost just deflasked sized growths if they do have an undamaged eye or two to sprout. I'm not against selling and have willingly bought individual pseudobulbs, but represent them honestly. I think this grower keeps going because they do get interesting things no other vendors seem to carry, and are fairly cheap on most things (that aren't damaged hidden individual bulbs that is).

Last edited by pipsxlch; 06-13-2017 at 10:59 PM.. Reason: was added above
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  #3  
Old 06-13-2017, 08:33 PM
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Orchids sold as______when they are not.
1) a frequent bloomer
2) fragrant
3) miniature
4) easy to grow
5) Intermediate/warm growing
6) Blooming size
7) a year from blooming
8) tolerant of low humidity
9) a specific orchid
10) miniature to small-sized (you think it will fit in your terrarium but it grows over a foot tall!)
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Last edited by Leafmite; 06-13-2017 at 08:35 PM..
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  #4  
Old 06-13-2017, 11:09 PM
fooferdoggie fooferdoggie is offline
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the seed thing is on amazon and may purple strawberries blue straw berries see what a deal
Amazon.com : world's rare orchids 20 seed/pack mixed color orchids, potted orchids : Patio, Lawn & Garden
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Old 06-14-2017, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fooferdoggie View Post
the seed thing is on amazon and may purple strawberries blue straw berries see what a deal
Amazon.com : world's rare orchids 20 seed/pack mixed color orchids, potted orchids : Patio, Lawn & Garden
I couldn't find the location of the seller in that listing. They might ship seeds from outside the US into the US. This is illegal without proper permits. The seller makes no mention of US import permits, nor US import regulations. I have seen, for many years now, Amazon and eBay seem to ignore the law on importing plant material into the US.

Some overseas vendors say they will provide a phytosanitary certificate for seed shipments into the US. This is not sufficient.
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Old 06-14-2017, 09:41 AM
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Bulbopedilum Bulbopedilum is offline
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I added all of the things you guys said. Thanks!
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  #7  
Old 06-14-2017, 10:44 AM
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Orchid Whisperer Orchid Whisperer is offline
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A few comments about the lists in the original post.

Arched flower spikes. Some orchids, notably Phalaenopsis, arch naturally if not staked. I would not call this a trick, even if staked; many vendors stake spikes to give a more upright appearance. This is just presentation.

Blue (or other dyed) flowers. When these first started appearing in stores, the plants usually were not labeled as dyed. Marking the tag as dyed is more common now (I don't care for the odd colors, but as long as the grower is meeting a demand, and is honest about the dye job, I am OK with this practice).

Minor misinformation.
Fragrance: I have some orchids that are fragrant during some bloom events, not fragrant during others. I have a Cattlianthe Golden Wax that I have had for 32 years, it has mostly been non-fragrant, but 2 years ago, bloomed with a wonderful, strong spicy and sweet fragrance (and no fragrance during later blooms either).
There are of course orchids that are only fragrant at certain times of the day, or fragrant during certain parts of the flower's bloom time.

Give lots of light. This is certainly true of many orchids. Vandas, Brassavolas, Papilionanthe, Cymbidiums, and others need lots of light to bloom well. So, this can be good advice for certain plants.
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Old 06-14-2017, 10:54 AM
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Regarding blue orchids, you have just repeated a common fallacy. Coerulea type Vanda and Cattleya are not blue, they're purple. The only Vanda that possess true blue coloration to my knowledge are the genus Cleisocentron which produce clear sky blue flowers. There are also several genera of terrestrial orchids in Australia that contain true blue species.
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Old 06-14-2017, 12:05 PM
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I agree, although actual blue orchids are not commonly sold to the average consumer, they do exist. They're just not the Phals or Dendrobiums that are being sold as blue when they are actually dyed.

Coerulea variants of Cattleyas are, as stated, not actually blue. They are a kind of blue violet.

Vanda coerulea or Vanda coerulescens are not actually blue as well. They are a blue violet.

Cleisocentron merrillianum is actually naturally blue. Btw, this plant naturally grows in the highlands of Indonesia.

Many orchids in the genus Thelymitra that come from Australia are actually naturally blue.
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Old 06-14-2017, 03:05 PM
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As stated above where individual pBulbs are packed into a pot to look like a larger plant. Here we sometimes pay for a large plant, only to find it is a couple of small ones wedged into the same pot.

Also I bought a couple of catasetum, and expected for the money to get a decent sized plant, only to find they were small backbulbs pulled off a larger plant with a minute shoot.
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