We propagate orchids 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 specialized 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 work is done in a laboratory under sterile conditions. After germinating, the seeds develop into tiny bodies called protocorms. After a period of months, the protocorms develop small roots and are "replated" onto fresh media, where they are allowed to mature for several more months. Then, the tiny plantlets are "deflasked" and subjected to several months of low temperatures in a process called vernalization. Finally, the 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 based on a number of factors, but primarily the cost reflects 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 auction website 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. If you have any concerns when you receive your plant(s), please contact us immediately. We want you to be successful and will provide additional guidance upon request.
With a few exceptions, we ship orchids bare root during their dormant season. Spring shipping begins in March and continues through April. Fall shipping begins in late September and continues through October. All shipping is weather dependent. Some items, such as bulbs and corms, can be shipped throughout the year except in the most extreme conditions.
Orders are processed in the order in which they are received. If we cannot fulfill your order during the next shipping window, we will reach out and confirm your preference to back-order the item or receive a refund.
Please feel free to reach out to us via email with any questions or concerns. We welcome your inquiries!
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.