Our orchids are grown from seed using an asymbiotic technique called micropropagation. Orchid seeds, unlike those of most terrestrial plants, do not have an endosperm—the seed part that provides food at the earliest stages of plant growth. Instead, orchids have evolved so that their tiny, dust-like seeds establish a symbiotic relationship with soil fungi. Because this process cannot be reliably replicated, orchidists have developed techniques wherein the seeds are sown on a mix of minerals, amino acids, and other goodies, and fortified with a gelatin-like substance called agar. The actual seed-sowing is done in a laboratory under sterile conditions. The seeds develop into tiny bodies called protocorms which are, after a period of months, "replated" onto fresh media and allowed to mature for several more months before they are "deflasked" and subjected to several months of low temperatures in a process called vernalization. Finally, the tiny seedlings are planted into community pots or compots where they grow for several years before being individually potted. From seed to blooming plant generally takes five years or more.
We set our prices primarily based on our investment in propagating and growing them. Raising hardy orchids to maturity takes more effort and about the same amount of time as rearing a 2" - 3" caliper tree from seed or grafted cutting.
In the vast majority of cases, native orchids listed on eBay have been collected from the wild, in most cases unethically, in some cases illegally. Please do not patronize these sellers because it supports an illicit market that compromises the native populations of these wonderful plants. One of the prime reasons that we started Special Vegetation is to provide a legitimate, sustainable alternative for folks who wish to enjoy orchids in their own gardens.
We guarantee that your plant(s) will arrive in good condition. They are inspected prior to shipment and packaged to ensure their safety during transit. After that, the success of your plant is subject to a range of conditions out of our control, including weather, pests, and the skill of the grower.
Like all plants, native orchids really want to bloom—it's the only way to perpetuate the species. If yours hasn't flowered, there are two primary reasons, maturity and siting. First, most plants will not flower until they are five or more years out-of-flask. If you purchased a maturing or near-blooming size plant, give it another year or two to see results. Once it begins to bloom, it should continue each season, providing it's cultural requirements are met. Second, most orchid species grow best in partial shade. A bit of sun in the morning, followed by dappled shade for the remainder of the day is best. Too much sun is detrimental, but too much shade will mean few blossoms, even with a healthy plant.