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Old Aug 6, 2013, 1:38 PM   #1
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Default Horticulture: Starting point for orchids

This photo shows how most orchids are commercially grown from the very beginning. To ensure that all orchid plants are identical when sold to consumer they are actually cloned. Each cloned plant is identical in characteristics to its original. This nursery will start with several thousand mericlones each a fraction of an inch. This method also means that a virus infection can wipe out hundreds of thousands of orchids at a time.
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Old Aug 6, 2013, 2:38 PM   #2
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That's interesting, about them cloning orchids. I wonder how many of the several thousand they start with make it to being sold? I would imagine that even cloning them there would be some type of loss rate, even if they make sure they only clone the hardiest of plants. I like the picture, too.
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Old Aug 6, 2013, 5:26 PM   #3
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I was under the impression that orchids are a "parasitic" plant that grows on the trunks of tropical trees. I have seen them in this environment in Hawaii. I don't know how they are grown in nurseries.

Orchids are not really parasitic but have a symbiotic relationship with the trees they grow on.

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Old Aug 7, 2013, 12:33 AM   #4
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MtnGal, Calr,
Thanks for your comments.

MtnGal, It is true that they probably select only the best plants to use as the "mother" plant pretty much the same practice as Grafting and Air Layering. The loss rate except in cases of viral or fungal infection and insect infestation is relatively low. Nonetheless growing orchid plants for the mass market is labor intensive and time consuming. If it were not for the huge volumes involved you would be looking at several hundred dollars per plant even for common varieties.

CalR, Orchids are really "ephiphytes" i.e. they attach themselves to other plants but only for support not nourishment.

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Old Aug 10, 2013, 9:32 PM   #5
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This is very interesting, and a bit "scary" what science can do
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