It would be very odd to find a person who has no idea what an orchid is. On the off chance that you do not know what an orchid is, let me help you out.
Orchids are popular flowering plants known for their colorful blooms, exotic appearance, fragrant smells, and their general ornamental value. They come in a number of varieties inclusive of the over 30000 species and their many hybrids known to man.
Now if you’re contemplating getting one of these wonderful flowering plants, for perhaps your home garden or as an addition to your collection of indoor plants or even as a gift for that special someone; then you might need to consider certain factors.
These factors, which might affect your choice of an orchid plant, include size, species, color, price, ease of cultivation and required growth conditions.
From the above-stated factors, if the price is the factor that will most influence your decision on what kind of orchid to purchase then you’re perfectly in tune with the majority of prospective orchid buyers.
An analysis by a couple of researchers on the consumer preferences of potted orchid buyers found that price was the most important factor affecting the purchasing decision.
This analysis was conducted in the state of Hawaii which, at the time, was the third-largest orchid consuming state in terms of sales.
How Much Does An Orchid Cost?
Common orchid types are available for as little as $10 and will generally only go up to a maximum of $100 for expensive commercially available varieties. However, rare types can cost many thousands of dollars.
In this wise, a reasonable question in the mind of an orchid buyer would be: how are orchid prices determined?
In determining the price of an orchid, a number of variables come into play. First of all, is the type of orchid. An orchid specie that is commonly sourced or found would be priced lower than an endangered or specialty orchid which will typically attract a steeper price.
A second variable will be the location. As with real estate, location plays a key role in the pricing of orchids. This is especially so when environmental and other growth factors are taken into consideration.
An orchid plant that is more suited to growing in location X will certainly attract a lower price than that which requires additional or extra care to be grown in the same location.
A similar price difference will exist when an orchid Y is purchased from a florist in Beverly Hills, California compared to the same orchid being purchased from one in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Another factor that has a direct implication on the price that orchid will go for is the stage of growth of the particular orchid Plant.
A plant already in bloom will certainly attract a price greater than one which is barely just sprouting out. Again, an orchid plant that has multiple buds and has grown to a reasonable size will fetch a price higher than that of one with fewer buds and smaller size.
In all of these variables, the cost, in terms of the time, expertise and other resources, expended in the growing and transporting of the orchid plant put up for sale will always be imputed in its pricing.
Now that you know what goes into the pricing of orchids, let us run through the prices of a number of popular orchids from least expensive to most expensive.
Price of Different Types of Orchids
The phalaenopsis is more commonly known as the moth orchid. It counts as one of the most widely known and commercially available species of orchids.
They are popular for their long-lasting flowers which can remain in bloom for weeks on end and come in a variety of colors. The relative ease of growing them is another reason for their popularity.
Many of these flowering plants are usually sold potted in varying mediums, but more commonly, sphagnum moss. They can be repotted at any time though it is preferable to do so when they are not in bloom. They make for wonderful houseplants. A 4″ pot-sized plant can cost less than $50.
The Cattleya is another popular group of orchids and is most likely what comes to.the mind of many when they hear about orchids.
The fact that this group of orchids is quite sturdy and tolerant of a wide range of temperatures is one reason for its popularity both with beginner and expert growers. The Cattleya produces a colorful variety of large, sometimes fragrant, flowers that can remain in bloom for periods of up to six weeks.
Cattleyas are typically sold as potted plants and a 6″ pot size will cost between $25 – $100 depending on the particular specie, whether a hybrid or a clone.
The miltonia is a group of orchids known for the ease that comes with growing them and fast growth pace.
Comprising of about 12 species, the miltonia is native, chiefly, to Brazil and some parts of Paraguay, Peru, and Argentina. The Miltonia is easily identified by its somewhat star-shaped flowers which are large and long-lasting.
These flowers similarly produce a delicate scent that can be likened to that produced by roses. Miltonias are quite tolerant of a wide range of temperatures and will thrive if properly cared for. A 4″ potted plant will go for about $10-35.
Cycnodes Wine Delight
This orchid is a popular hybrid that can easily be sourced from online florist stores. It is a recipient of a First Class Certificate from the American Orchid Society.
Producing flowers that are burgundy, red or wine in color, the Cycnodes Wine Delight can bloom all year round. Its flowers similarly produce a scent akin to the smell of cherries.
Being easy to care for an orchid, the Cycnodes Wine Delight appeals both to the beginner and expert collector. A 4″ potted plant can be purchased for as little as $33.
Also known as “The Ghost orchid” dendrophylax lindenii is another example of a rare orchid. Native to the state of Florida and parts of Cuba where it displays it’s epiphytic quality, the ghost orchid is one of the rarest of orchids.
It is so rare that it is listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora — a multilateral treaty for the protection of endangered plants and animals.
It is similarly protected by state laws of Florida which prohibit the removal of this orchid from the wild. In addition to being endangered, the ghost orchid is peculiar for its biological makeup.
The plant consists chiefly of a connected collection of roots which perform the function of photosynthesis. The plant is leafless and may produce up to ten white flowers when it is in bloom. These flowers give off an apple-like scent.
The ghost orchid is extremely difficult to cultivate with most plants collected from the wild dying within a year. This is a result of how hard it is to replicate the natural habitat of the orchid.
In this regard, the plant when available for sale is typically sold at the seedling stage with the price being determined by the sum total of the length of the roots. The ghost orchid when available for sale often sells out quickly and commands quite a steep price on the black market.
This orchid is more commonly known as the Gold of Kinabalu orchid or Rothschild’s slipper orchid.
The former name can be traced to the rarity of this orchid and the fact that this orchid grows mostly along the slope of Mt. Kinabalu within the enclosed premises of the Kinabalu National Park in Malaysia.
This orchid is usually clear leaved and produces tall inflorescence that could have as much as six large flowers. These flowers may never be seen by some people as this orchid could take as much as fifteen years to bloom.
First discovered in 1987, this orchid is currently endangered and as such is a plant protected by the Malaysian government.
Its rarity, restricted distribution and lengthy growth period are some of the reasons why a single stem of this orchid could cost as much as $5000 on the black market. This makes this orchid one of the world’s most expensive orchids.
Shenzhen Nongke orchid
The Shenzhen Nongke orchid just might be the world’s most expensive orchid. This orchid can never be found growing naturally in any part of the world as it is a completely man-made orchid.
The Shenzhen Nongke orchid represents the culmination of eight years of research carried out by agricultural scientists at the Shenzhen Nongke University in China. The plant takes about four to five years to come into bloom and is quite delicate and elegant.
At an auction sometime in 2005, this plant was sold to an anonymous bidder for a price slightly exceeding $200000. This outrageous price is certainly not unconnected to the orchid’s rarity and the difficulty encountered in growing it.
From the above, it is clear that orchid prices are a reflection of the prevalence or rarity of the said orchid. The more common orchid is, the cheaper it is and the less common it is, the more expensive it becomes. Unless you’ve got big bucks to shell out, you’d be better off sticking to the more common orchid types.