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Browse displays, get growing advice at ‘Orchid Magic’ international show and sale

The best place to buy orchids — whether “starter” orchids for the novice grower or interesting and unusual varieties for more advanced aficionados — is at an orchid show, says Debby Halliday, president of the San Diego County Orchid Society.

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This year’s SDCOS international spring show, “Orchid Magic,” debuts March 18 and continues through March 20 at the Scottish Rite Center in Mission Valley. Expect lush, colorful displays of mostly tropical and subtropical orchids gracing the exhibition space, which will be filled with the fragrance of exotic beauties, with blooms ranging from tiny to plate-size and lasting from a few days to months.

“Visitors to this show will discover world-class displays, hundreds of magnificent plants and top orchid vendors,” Halliday said. “They can hear from expert speakers about growing orchids and orchid conservation.”


Displays will include multiple large-scale designs featuring unusual specimens, locally bred hybrids and rare species, with over 300 orchids. Also exhibited will be competitively judged entries in 18 judging sections, each with six to 10 classes.

Browse displays, get growing advice at ‘Orchid Magic’ international show and sale

About 18 vendors, including nationally known local and California growers plus three from South America, will offer hundreds of orchids for sale — refreshed daily — and cultivation supplies. The organization’s Conservation Committee will sell orchids donated by members to benefit the society’s orchid conservation projects around the world.

Prices for orchids range from about $10 for a small “starter” orchid to $100 for a large unusual plant, with many interesting choices in the $20 to $30 range.

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“The show is a good place to see what’s out there,” Halliday said. “One benefit of buying at a show is that the people selling there really know orchids and what grows well in different locations. They can guide you in the right direction.”

On Saturday and Sunday, SDCOS will offer four classes on subjects such as basic orchid care, succeeding with Trader Joe’s orchids, reblooming and repotting orchids and choosing varieties appropriate for outdoor growing.

In a normal year, SDCOS holds four shows; the others are free, smaller public shows held in Balboa Park at the Casa del Prado, Room 101. January’s show was canceled because of COVID-19, as was the 2021 spring show.

“Orchid Magic” runs from 3 to 7 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The Scottish Rite Center is located in Mission Valley at 1895 Camino del Rio S. Admission is $10 per person or $12 for a weekend pass, with children under 12 free. The website, sdorchids.org, offers a discount coupon along with latest show details and an updated workshop schedule.

Sours Larson is a San Diego freelance writer.

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