Tips for Buying from Online Orchid Vendors
This year I've had the new experience of buying orchids from online dealers.
Some beginner tips:
- Many online dealers don't have sophisticated ordering and checkout systems, so expect that the ordering system may be a little old fashioned in some cases.
- Most reputable online dealers only ship orchids during safe weather for orchids, which usually means that they stop shipping around October or November and start again in Spring.
- Some dealers use heat packs (which you can purchase separately) to help ensure orchids have some heat during shipping in cold weather. If you have the option of getting heat packs and know your order will ship in more than 1 day, it's prudent to spring the extra $2.50 for a heat pack.
- It's best to place your orders well before the shipping cutoff as many have a surge of orders around this time. If you beat the rush you might also have a better chance of getting a better product.
How orchids arrive
Orchids will arrive in a cardboard box, all together, depending on the amount of orchids you order (ten or less).
They will likely be wrapped in their pot with newspaper tightly wound around the base and often extra balls of newspaper filling the remainder of the box. Sometimes the box will be filled with packing peanuts and sometimes spikes will have special packaging.
If you're curious and you'd like to see tons of examples for how orchids are packaged, simply visit youtube and look up "Orchid unboxing" or "Orchid haul" and then come back to read this again ten hours later when you get out of that rabbit hole. Go now! Or watch mine below! (My husband doesn't realize I'm recording, lol.)
Some Canadian Online Orchid Vendors: (More coming info soon.)
Tropical Garden Orchids
International online dealers
I don't have personal experience ordering from international dealers (though I have been seriously tempted by a few). What I have learned from research is that ordering internationally can be very complicated, requiring many permits depending on the kind of orchid you are seeking (and whether it is endangered). My best tip about this is to order orchids that you expect can survive potentially quite a bit of time in shipping and stuck in customs or quarantined and prepare yourself for the paperwork and to pay extra for the extra hassle. A good idea can be just to wait for international vendors to visit Orchid Shows in your country and buy your orchids then.
Note, if the type of orchid you are seeking is endangered or sourced from the wild, don't do it. As an orchid lover it is our duty to help with the preservation of orchids in the wild and creating international demand is not a good idea.
Next article, coming soon: Buying orchids from orchid shows.