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Your best advice....

This is a discussion on Your best advice.... within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I thought of a good question from a newbie like me to the senoir orchid ...

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  1. #1
    My Grow Area
    On a Porch/Patio.
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Cattleya, paph, intergenic
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    32

    Default Your best advice....

    I thought of a good question from a newbie like me to the senoir orchid growers here.

    I would like to become a grower of orchids eventually. I want to specialize in large, fragrant cattleyas. (probably, orange, green, blue etc.) I also want to grow pink and yellow lady slippers. (the complex kind with the big fluffy pouches.)

    And a little of anything else that tickles my fancy.

    Right now I have a house and grow indoors in winter and outdoors on screened in porch. I have collected one species plant and many crosses I like.

    In your experience.....what is your best advice for people like me who want to become a breeder, shower and grower? can't wait to read your replies!

    Bluefirepegasus

  2. #2
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
    Real Name
    Bruce Brown
    My Grow Area
    Greenhouse
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    Cattleyas & Slippers
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    Mar 2003
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    Arkansas
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    Default

    These are just my thoughts on the subject. Use them as you will.....

    Well, first remember to have lots of patience. Next, you will need $$ for the greenhouse and all the stud plants and materials. My advice is look at your longterm goals. There are many players in this game and they have lots of money backing them.

    Start out sending your crosses to a reputable service for flasking and compotting. Catts and paphs have different requirements and you will need to provide excellent conditions for both. Join an orchid society if you have not and get into the show circuit. Go and display your plants in the society booth and then eventually in your own display. Meet the people in your region that grow and breed orchids at the commercial level and ask lots of questions.

    Volunteer and learn first hand about harvesting seed and flasking. Learn as much as you can about the process before jumping in head first.

    Good luck to you!

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
    clintdawley's Avatar
    clintdawley is offline Wrapped in metal..wrapped in ivy...
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    Clint M. Dawley
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    Default

    Gosh, there is so much I couldn't narrow it down to just a few things.

    I think first and foremost is education--read everything you can get your hands on and talk to lots of people that have "been there..done that" to learn from their mistakes...just like BD said a society is a good place to start.

    Secondly, you have to make sure you LOVE doing this or it could become just another job and not a labor of love.

  4. #4
    My Grow Area
    On a Porch/Patio.
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    Cattleya, paph, intergenic
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    Jan 2008
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    Default

    I have already joined a society and have already showed twice. Once with my society and once by myself. If I have enough money for hotels then valentine's weekend will be my next show I am going to by myself.

    I know I have not even scratched the surface of knowledge yet, but I am a total nerd whose degree in horticulture is getting no use right now except for orchids. (gah I wish the job market was better.) In the case of researching if you were wondering.....hehe...I have an orchid encyclopedia and another nice book about orchids in both bathrooms for some "light reading". My laptop is bookmarked with nerdy orchid websites and things I think might be good for later attempts.

    It is official folks.....I have the full blown disease. And yes, I am pretty patient. I once waited seven years for a plant to bloom. I never say die until the plant lady sings!

    Bluefirepegasus

  5. #5
    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    Saratoga Co. New York
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    Default

    by a grower, do you mean commercial or for pleasure?

    As already said, knowledge is the most important. Check your local OS, most societies have a library where you can borrow books for reading. Some knowledge needs to come first hand and can't be gained by reading. I have been growing for more than 7 years now. My collection is now close to 500 plants. For me, it has only been almost 2 years since I made my first cross. Yes, patience is important. It may take 5 years from making a cross until blooming and with some species even longer. I made my first cross in March of 2006. It has only been moved from flask to compot within the last couple of months. If I was growing them here in NY, it may be another 3-4 years before I saw a first bloom. I am cheating a bit and am having my plants grown in Hawaii, which should bring them to blooming quicker than if I grew them here in NY. I hope to cut that back to 2 years before my first buds.

    I will sell some of them but I am not thinking of being more than a hobbyist. I know commercial growers and vendors. It becomes a business and they break their butts to turn a dollar. They are on the road doing shows which effects their home lives. If you are in an area that requires heating a greenhouse, that cost is now very high. It is not a bed of roses.

  6. #6
    smartie2000's Avatar
    smartie2000 is offline Senior Member
    Real Name
    Fren
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    Under Lights.
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    Phrags, Paphs, Catts
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    yea...speaking of $$ the electricity bills are higher now too even though I didn't change much household electricity use. I grow with fluorescent shop lights. It was very simple when everything grew on a window, but I flooded myself with plants.
    My advice is to buy things wisely or you will run out of space.

  7. #7
    My Grow Area
    On a Porch/Patio.
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Cattleya, paph, intergenic
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Default

    I do want to be a commercial grower. But, I think it would not be for my main source of income. I think I would do it on the side and have a fulltime job.

    and yes, the greenhouse expenses would be costly. But, right now I don't have the money or the space anyway.

    And yeah....I am really trying to think about what kind of orchids I really want to grow. I don't want to stretch myself too thin and have too many different plants trying to all grow under the same conditions.

    I also thought of having my plants flasked or cloned somewhere else for me.


    Bluefirepegasus

  8. #8
    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    Default

    One think about a greenhouse, there are different micoclimes in it. I can grow and bloom cloud forest species as well as lowland species.

  9. #9
    My Grow Area
    On a Porch/Patio.
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Cattleya, paph, intergenic
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    Jan 2008
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    Default

    Very interesting. Do you have the kind of ghouse that has the cardboard curlies in the back with water running down them? I worked for a grower that had that.

    Bluefirepegasus

  10. #10
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
    Real Name
    Bruce Brown
    My Grow Area
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    Cattleyas & Slippers
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    Arkansas
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluefirepegasus View Post
    Very interesting. Do you have the kind of ghouse that has the cardboard curlies in the back with water running down them? I worked for a grower that had that.

    Bluefirepegasus
    Kool-Cell. Yes. Very vital for keeping the gh cool and the humidity up.

    Cheers,
    BD

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