Planning is important when building your collection to avoid wasting money and creating disappointment.
Be sure that you purchase and grow plants which you like, and suit your expectations. Make sure they suit your growing area too. Do not be too hasty in acquiring new varieties. Too many growers choose new varieties which will disappoint when they eventually flower, often some years down the track.
What is your goal? Make sure you purchase the best available showbench plants (including showbench seedlings) if you are attempting to win prizes at your Orchid Club. If you just want lots of flowers just to enjoy, look at the best pot plant types available. If you want to cut your flowers, choose superior cut flower varieties. Some varieties will perform well in all arenas, but not all. Choose wisely.
On the showbench, if your new plant happens to be a mericlone, there will be many other growers growing the same plant and all expecting to win a major prize when it flowers. You will need to grow it better than all those growers, and be lucky enough for it to be at its best on judging day. Unless you are a very good grower, expect to fall short more often than you succeed in the early years. But don’t be too disappointed or frustrated. It takes experience, and it is fun gaining that experience.
Avoid buying plants on impulse. Spend time researching, and talking to successful growers. Avoid believing everything you hear. There are lots of experts who live in the past or are not qualified to give advice. The quality of our cymbidiums is improving greatly every year and if you do not upgrade regularly, your collection will quickly become outdated. It’s not a problem for the hobbyist who is happy with flowers every year, but it won’t cut it on the showbench these days.
Unfortunately, there are also suppliers who offer plants which have little chance of being better than the varieties presently being grown, and certainly not good enough to compete on the showbench in years to come. Some are produced from pirated tissue, which often produces inferior varieties. Some come from breeding programs which are years behind the leading edge hybridisers.
Above all, purchase plants reputable sources to minimise or eliminate the risk of virus. Be wary, ask lots of questions and choose wisely.
Seek out suppliers who you can trust and who are recommended by other successful growers.
Originally written and compiled by Graham Morris from the Cymbidium Orchid Club of South Australia.
Edited and updated for use on this site.