Moth orchids now easy, affordable

Oct. 24, 2009 at 2:36 PM

DAVIS, Calif., Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Millions of moth orchids cloned in Taiwanese labs and raised in U.S. nurseries are dispelling the myth they're difficult to raise, growers said.

Once an exotic luxury, moth orchids now are a staple at Homes Depot, Costco and supermarkets throughout the country, said Doug Brothers, who manages Rocket Farms, Salinas, Calif., a major orchid grower.

"Orchids are taking the place of cut flowers. The market is enjoying something that lasts," Brothers told The Sacramento Bee in a story published Saturday.

With little water or attention, moth orchids can bloom for weeks, botanists at the University of California, Davis, said. Large moth orchids, formally called phalaenopsis, sell for less than $20 while smaller plants sell for below $10.

Prices dropped and the number of orchids increased several years ago when U.S. regulators allowed foreign orchid producers to ship plants in sterile sphagnum moss instead of bare root, assuring a ready-to-grow plant, Brothers said.

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