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1) How do I send seed to the laboratory?

Dry seed should be placed into a paper envelope with the edges sealed with tape to prevent the fine seed from leaking out. Intact seed pods should also be placed into an envelope incase the pod cracks in transit. Both packets of seed and pods need to be plaved into a rigid container such as a Post Pak CD mailer to prevent the contents being crushed in transit. Please send seed or pods on a Monday so that there is less chance of the parcel getting delayed in the post over a weekend.

2) How do I send plant material such as a Cymbidium lead to the laboratory?

Leads need to be sent in a rigid container such as a small box to prevent crushing in the post. They also need to be kept moist to prevent the leads drying and the dormant buds from shrivelling. Wrap a little sphagnum moss of damp tissues around the base of the lead and then cover the end of the lead with a small plastic bag to keep the rest of the parcel dry. Don’t cover the leaves with plastic or they will swet. Send to the lab by Express Post. Please let the lab know that you have some leads to send so that we can have media ready to culture the lead ASAP.

3) How long does it take to grow seedlings from seed to deflasking?

The time required varies greatly depending on the genus of the orchid and whether it is a hybrid or a species. Hybrids tend to grow much faster than species. Some Phalaenopsis seedlings may only take 7 months to be ready to deflask while Pleiones that require two periods of dormancy in flask take 2 to 2.5 years. Most hybrid Cymbidiums and Dendrobium seedlings will be ready to deflask within 12 months.

4) How long do mericlones take to grow to deflasking?

The time required is even more variable than for seedlings because it depends on how many clones of each variety that you order. If you order 100 Cymbidium clones it may take 12 months while if you order 1000 clones it may take 18 months because tyer is the extra time involved in multiplying the initial 100 plants into 1000. It usually takes longer to clone other genera  and Dendrobiums usually take 18 months for 100 plants.

5) How sucessful is cloning?

Cymbidium hybrids are the most sucessful at about 95%, Dendrobium hybrids about 65%, Sarcochilus hybrids 80% and Cattleya hybrids 50%. Species are much more difficult to clone.

6) What information does the laboratory need about my plant?

We don’t need to know what the name of your plant is, just use a code number that you write down where you won’t loose it. Please give as much information as possible about your plant to give us the best chance possible to grow it. Tell us the genus, and any specific requirements such as: it grows in alpine conditions, is very tropical, is it a species, does it grow on limestone or in a peat bog?

7) How do I know that my seed pod is ready to harvest?

See the page on ‘How to produce Orchid Seed’ for detailed information.

8) Is my lead at the correct stage to send to the lab?

See the page on ‘Preparation of Plants to be Cloned’ for detailed information.

9) What is the best number of plants to order per flask?

The number depends on your requirements. You will obtain the largest plants if you order Maxi flasks of 25 plants and progressively smaller ones if you order 30 plants or 40 plants per flask. More plants per flask result in slightly less expensive plants.

10) Are large plants always best?

Not necessarily. Some commercial growers request their plants supplied at about 2/3 full sizebecause they tend to be easier and faster to deflask. This does require better deflasking conditions than for larger plants. Please let the lab know well in advance if you prefer 2/3 size plants.

11) Can I receive my plants at a certain time of the year?

You can, however you need to advise the lab when you place your order. We time the various stages of the process to try to have the plants ready when you require them. This is not always possibly because of the differing growth rates of individual crosses. We do not hold plants when they are fully grown because they will deteriorate on storage. We prefer to delay the earlier stages of growth to get the plants ready at the correct time of the year.

12) What information is needed for delivery?

We routinely deliver our flasks by TNT Express and they need the following information: Your street address and not a PO Box number, your daytime phone number, email address and somewhere the courier can leave the parcel if you are not at home.

13) Can I keep my flasks for a while when I receive them?

We routinely deliver our flasks for Interstate and International Orders by airfreight. During delivery by airfreight there is a risk of the cultures becoming contaminated because of the large changes in air pressure that occur during aircraft takeoff and landing. Our flasks have airtight seals and contain membrane breathers to minimise the risk of contamination in transit but the risk still exists. For these reasons flasks are not recommended for reculturing in a laboratory and should be deflasked immediately on arrival. We cannot guarantee the sterility of flasks once they have left our laboratory.