So….what a world we live in now with a seemingly endless world of orchid collecting at our finger tips courtesy of ebay, so lets have a bit of a look at how ebay has changed the Australian orchid seen
Variety: Ebay seems to have caused two opposing effects – one the one hand ebay has a seemingly dizzying array of orchid varieties available. This pursuit of variety has made orchid collecting more exciting on first glance but can cause a few issues
- It is hard for a novice to work out what they can / cannot grow in their area
- As it is pretty much impossible and not commercially viable to bring several hundred new seedling crosses to market each year the need to maintain such a wide base of plants has lead to a growth in the number of clones available – while good in some respects (we can all have great plants) it can reduce the fun fun collecting as there is less reason to grow and flower seedlings
- The need for variety and new and exciting orchids does seem to be driving more imports from Taiwan onto ebay and then into our greenhouses, while these “exotic” orchids seem exciting Taiwan turns them out in the 10s and 100s of thousands so they are not really that collectible. I am not sure what others are noticing but I am seeing more exotics in greenhouses and being grown than say 5-10 years ago, an area Australia can not compete with Taiwan & Thailand….
This need to pump out clone lines and / or importing flasks from OS could be decreasing the (what was) regular year on year hybridising that has made Australia one of the leading hybridisers in the world despite our small size. Also as some plants are deemed less popular on ebay (eg species / sarcochilus / etc) they are now produced in dwindling numbers.
There are also some cases where variety is not the best thing – for example this year we made 2 speciosum crosses – 2 crosses with maximum potential – this could look quite boring as there are only 2 choices, it would be good to have more variety right? How about if you grow say 3 seedlings of each of our 2 crosses to flowering by which time they will be half a metre or more across (5-9 years), now they are starting to take up some room even with just two crosses! Worse would be if i had bought 3 seedlings of say 10 or more crosses, heaven forbid if some of these 10 crosses were made not because the parents and cross had the most potential that year but in fact been made for varieties sake. There are only so many mediocre orchids one collector can have before they move away from that genus of orchid or from collecting orchids….
Ebayitis: is starting to occur – not always but sometimes crosses are being made because they plants will look great on ebay or the web..eg 1 flower is big and colourful and the second parent looks opposite (opposite colours look best next to each other on ebay) what will the progeny look like? What about other important flower traits like flower count, plant and flower habit, perfume, reliability and longevity of flowering. Just because a plants parents look good on ebay does not mean that the progeny will be great orchids to grow…
For example if you want a great red Sarcochilus the best cross would be 2 great red parents crossed.
Just a few of my thoughts on what is a touchy subject and yes we do list our orchids on ebay too, make what you will of that although we are committed to always having most seedlings available here on our website, generally listing them here first at competitive prices before ebay.
If you have an opinion feel free to comment below 😉