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Old 12-06-2011, 09:17 PM
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Question pros and cons: nurseries vs distributors?

I was on the phone with a rep from an online orchid vendor and was given the impression that an orchid distributor wasn't the best kind of place to patronize. More specifically, this distributor is said to receive plants from Hawaii and then resells them.

So....what ARE the cons?
I'm still very new to orchids (altho I'm happy to report that most of my plants are exhibiting new growth! YAY!), and therefore have a lot of space left on my windowsills to...fill. I'd prefer to shop responsibly but am not entirely sure what the difference is, lol. What should I consider in a vendor when choosing my sources? (Edit: formerly: where should i be buying from) Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Last edited by Jlie; 12-07-2011 at 02:57 PM. Reason: clarifying vocab
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Old 12-06-2011, 09:43 PM
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I really can't kick in on that topic exactly...but know I only shop for my plants at places that have quality/healthy plants and they carry a full replacement warranty ... within reason of course

The vendor I trust for my orchids I may add is a "mom/pop" small operation.

I trust my vendor and until they do me wrong, I'll continue to do business with them

When the time comes for my advancement into different varieties I will venture out to Clouds a LARGE Canadian supplier
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:06 PM
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I have purchased my orchids from both local nurseries, big box stores, and growers all around the country. I prefer to buy my orchids at shows where I can pick the orchid I want. Orchid shows are a great place to find vendors and get to know which ones plants you prefer. Between shows I prefer to get my orchids directly from growers that I met at the shows or vendors I have found online.

There is a great recommendation thread on geeks for vendors we all have found over the years that we have had positive experiences with.

http://www.orchidgeeks.com/forum/gen...endations.html

Just to name a few of my favorite vendors who sell from Hawaii are H&R Nurseries, Exotic Orchids of Maui, Tropical Orchid Farm, and Carmela Orchids.

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Old 12-06-2011, 10:54 PM
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Before we get too far in this discussion we'll have to sort out what is meant by those terms "distributor" and "vendor".

Is a vendor a "mom and pop" or is is just anyone who sells orchids? Is it big? Small? Is a vendor someone who's place of business you go to in person?

Is a distributor someone who does not grow orchids but just receives them and immediately sells them on or is it a wholesaler? Is it a commercial nursery that might grow their own orchids just in mass quantities or just an importer? Or is it any place you buy from online?

When I lived in America I bought from all sorts of places, large and small, in person, at shows and online. I even bought from eBay. I'd estimate that 95% of my buying experiences were good. There was no correlation between "online" and "bad plants" when i purchased from known reputable nurseries and certainly when I was able to go in person and pick the plants out myself I was happy with the results.

I bought from places like Oak Hill, Hausermans, Natt's, Andy's Orchids, J&L, Taylor Orchids, Norman's, New World Orchids, Krull Smith (now closed), and about a dozen more. I do not know which of these you'd consider "vendors" and which you'd consider ""distributors".
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Old 12-06-2011, 11:03 PM
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I'd second what Shannara said about buying from shows and vendors that have been at shows. For someone just getting started, who wants to get orchids NOW, that may be not much help, but over time, if you can get to a few good shows in your area over a couple of years, you will have the chance to look at the stock that many vendors offer. That's invaluable, and it will give you confidence in buying from them. Of course, a good on-line buying experience will give you confidence too. It's just a matter of experience of different kinds.

Another resource is a local Orchid Society. Mine offers raffle tables with plants from the speakers, or other well-known growers. It's another way to find reliable suppliers.

Last edited by Fishmom; 12-06-2011 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmarch View Post
I do not know which of these you'd consider "vendors" and which you'd consider ""distributors".
Sorry that I wasn't more clear. I meant the difference btw a distributor and a nursery. I assume that nurseries grow their own plants and distributors simply distribute (but obviously care for them while they're in stock there too...???), and was wondering if that difference was something worth considering when I weigh my sourcing options.

Thanks for bringing in mass-market growers and imports too! I'd love to hear more regarding those, good or bad. Naturally, I prefer local mom&pop types but I also recognize the accessibility of the others.

I have been trying a few things, purchasing from local stores, big box store, purchasing from some places that were recommended here like Hausermann, Oakhill, Carter&Holmes (those three are nurseries, right?), and yes, ebay, as well as planning nursery trips to J&L and Parkside which are near enough, and also planning my first orchid show at the end of January, ^____^.

I assume that the folks who attend orchid shows are nurseries? I'm so embarrassed asking these simple questions.

And thank you all for your replies!!!!
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:55 AM
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Kevin, when did Krull-Smith close? I was just there last month - Wow.

Jlie Don't assume vendors at orchid shows are nurseries. I've seen plenty of times at shows where the vendors received the plants they were selling a week or so before.

I'm thinking your question oversimplifies things.

First of all a distributor in the traditional use of the word wouldn't sell to the general public anyways.

As for nurseries, there are orchid specialization nurseries and general plant nurseries that also carry some orchids. Personally, I would never buy an orchid from a general plant nursery, or a big box store/grocery store etc.

When you get into the orchid nurseries, some hold the majority of their stock for a short time. Some do their own hybridization and flasking and grow them up and then sell. And some do every level in between. And most go back and forth between these options. And also these orchid nurseries buy and sell to each other as well.
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:05 AM
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Quote:
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Kevin, when did Krull-Smith close? I was just there last month - Wow.
They did get rid of their Paphs recently. Maybe Kevin thinks they're dead to him now.
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:30 AM
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rcb, you said "I would never buy an orchid from a general plant nursery, or a big box store/grocery store etc.". Why is that?

I'm just learning about the pitfalls of buying orchids. Unfortunately here in Ontario Canada I don't have the choice you lucky people In the USA have. I just recently went to the Clouds' retail weekend (they are open to public one weekend a month) and purchased wonderfully healthy plants and got sound advice while I was there and late by email.
I have been learning the hard way even at orchid shows, it's buyer beware. The price of naivete is disappointment. I have learned not to be dazzled by the beautiful flowers on the plant when I am considering a purchase and to take a careful look at leaves, stems, roots and medium.

The info on the forum here has been very valuable too.
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Old 12-07-2011, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
They did get rid of their Paphs recently. Maybe Kevin thinks they're dead to him now.
There is a bit of truth to what Andrew said. I did assume that because they sold off all their paphs that meant they were completely shutting down. I always thought of them as a paph house and never thought much beyond that.
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:23 AM
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My consideration has always focused more on the knowledge and level of care provided by the retailer. If they know what they're talking about and take good care of their stock, I'll by from them regardless of the venue. Granted, the condition and selection of plants play a factor too.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:08 AM
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I think that there are so many variables that it isn't possible (or smart, for that matter) to generalize, but a couple of the things to be considered are the knowledge of the source, not so much how they get their plants, as Phil mentioned, and your own level of knowledge. Consider some scenarios:

> I grow my own plants to a limited degree, but buy for resale a lot more. Greenhouse space (and the size of my personal collection) being the primary constraint forcing me to have the balance as it is. I'm pretty knowledgeable about the plants I sell, and back them well, so whether I raised them or not is mostly irrelevant.

> There used to be a nursery near me that focused primarily on seasonal plants - bedding in spring, poinsettias and kalanchoes in winter, etc. - but they also had a pretty nice selection of phal hybrids, and by ME knowing enough, I found some really interesting botanical species and hybrids that I have never seen elsewhere.

> The grower at my local Lowes got in a bunch of paph hybrids with an assortment of orchids they ordered for resale. Not surprisingly, they knew little about orchids, so they are not a good source of information for the newbie, but I took those paphs off their hands for a song, giving me some nice additions to my own collection, and some to sell.

So let's consider some other scenarios to be considered:

> You want to collect Chinese cymbidium species, and you live in Manhattan. Not a lot of nurseries growing those in the area, but you can find them in some stores. Do you not collect those?

> There is a large, well-respected orchid nursery (that many here have praised) that has several greenhouses and many different genera of orchids available. I know for a fact that they purchase thousands of plants at a time from growers around the world, and do little, if any, of their own growing, other than after purchase, just like me. I consider them to be a better source of plants than many growers I have visited.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:30 AM
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Krull Smith has switched from breeding Paphs to Bulbos and still offers Catts and Phals.

Renee are all of his g/h's still in operation?

Brooke
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:35 AM
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Brooke, not sure because I had not gone there before the Paphs were sold off.

But, the huge greenhouse to the left of the entrance is open, and the one to the immediate right is open, and it looked like another one beyond that, but I didn't get down to that one. Remember I only had 30 minutes. I did see they had some Catasetum Alliance for sale also. More this year than last year it looked like.

All of the benches are not chock full though, but there was plenty for me

And it looked liked they were still growing daylilies too.

Elona, many reasons, but an important one imo is the orchid nurseries are the ones that bring in the species, and do the hybridizing (what is left here in the US) etc. So when I have money to spend I'd rather see it go to the nurseries that support the orchid hobbyiest rather than pot plants.
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Old 01-21-2012, 02:15 PM
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I was doing my usual self-education and came across this article from a grower:
Why is your show attendance (or orchid society) shrinking ?

The article is about orchid hardiness and acclimation stress (basically growers vs. 'flippers' who import their plants) Naturally, I thought back to this thread. It's interesting! I just thought I'd share it.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:22 AM
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Interesting topic I am a hands on type of girl I like to be able to see and inspect what I am going to buy and ask ???'s if I have any.

Living in Maine and growing orchids is a challenge. There is one good orchid greenhouse about an hour or so drive from my house.One of the owners has over 30 yrs of orchid experience and I just love to pick his brain

One of my dealers who is a OS member has a greenhouse. She sells everything from African violets,seasonal bedding plants and flowers, landscaping plants,supplies,etc She gets a lot of her orchids from Andy's, Kalapana orchids. I see nothing wrong with it. I would much rather buy from her than a big box store that only cares about the bottom line and don't know squat about care. I look for quality not quantity Due to customers requests has started getting different stuff other than the standard phal, catts and dens.

About the flipping thing. The customer is always right. If you don't have what they want a customer will go elsewhere. IMHO, it don't matter who sells as long as the plant is healthy and the seller knows their orchid culture
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