If you are anything like me, you balk at a price of 15 or 20 dollars for a plant, right? I'm usually in the $1.00 or $4.98 range if it is edible (like a blueberry bush!) kind of girl. So, orchid prices always turned me off. I would walk through the orchid section and just kind of gaze at them and appreciate the beauty, but realize there was absolutely no way i would ever pay that much for one.
Then, I realized that I simply had to buy them after they bloom. You see, the large majority of customers buy the orchids when they are in bloom (understandably). Once the blooms fade, the orchids are marked down significantly. Like to $1.00 each...in the cute porcelain or ceramic pots. SOLD! I bought 3...I should have purchased more :) The catch, of course is that you have to care for the plants and wait for them to bloom.
Thankfully, orchids are quite easy as houseplants as long as you don't bug them. First of all, you need to make sure to water them lightly. A rule of thumb is two piece of ice a week. That is it. DON'T OVERWATER them or they will die a quick death. They also like to have their roots quite squished and sometimes crawling over the top of the pot. This is ok! Orchids are epiphytes, meaning they grow on a larger plant (like a tree) and their roots are literally touching air. Don't suffocate the roots by burying them deep in a huge pot of soil. I have been able to leave my plants in the pots they came in for over a year with no problem. My reward is now a year later with new shoots from the base of the plant.
Now, I simply have to wait for that new stem to grow strong, a flower stem to shoot up and beautiful blooms to unfold from my orchids. Now, the question is - will it be worth the wait? The pots have been sitting in this window for over a year now waiting for blooms. They weren't any work at all really, and needed minimal care. Was the year of waiting worth the $14 saved per plant? To me - yes. Perhaps it seems crazy to you to wait that long just to save a few bucks?
...but isn't that the way it is with anything in life? You must wait or you must pay. Nothing comes free or nothing comes without work. It is simply a balance of whether you would like to pay up front or pay with your time. I wonder at this sometimes with personal growth. (what an awful phrase...but nothing says it quite better...) Is it worth it to simply pay the money and get a degree, or is it worth it to save the money and learn a trade on your own over years and years of experience. I am not sure. I have done both and they both are useful, they both are difficult. I do believe there is more pride of ownership and accomplishment from learning a trade on your own. Learning everything from "scratch" and teaching yourself everything inside out. The question is whether or not it is better to buy the new growth or wait on it...