Hoosier Orchid Company, located on the far-northwest-side of Indianapolis is going out of business at the end of August. William Rhodehamel started Hoosier Orchid in 1989 after a gift of three of the flowers from a friend sparked an ongoing fascination. He eventually cultivated orchids never before grown from seed, as well as some varieties that have never received scientific names. The company grew to become one of the nation’s most specialized orchid growers.

Photo Credit: Hoosier Orchid Company


Rhodehamel said the ornamental flowers have become a commodity now stocked even at stores like Costco. Business also withered because fewer people are showing interest in the myriad specialty versions that Rhodehamel raised. Membership in the American Orchid Society, a group of hobbyists and enthusiasts, has fallen substantially in recent years.

Almost all the plants in the 5,000-square-foot greenhouse at 82nd Street and Lafayette Road will be offered to the public through Hoosier Orchid’s Web site and sales on site. Operations with mail-order and walk-in customers will continue as usual until August 30th, when shelves will be cleared.

Orchids have now gone the way of so many other items that used to dwell only in small stores or specialty shops. They are now available in big-box stores such as Meijer and Wal-Mart. Once the big-boxes get hold of the product, their ability to command large quantities at low prices sets the stage for competition that smaller stores just can’t beat.

So, another one bites the dust – the dust of the corporate big-box stores. When a specialty product such as orchids goes big-box, I can’t imagine anything that is safe.


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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  1. clint jenkins says:

    So how many orchids did you order from him? And, how much did they make selling it out?

  2. None yet. I didn’t know he existed until I saw the article. I was always afraid of orchids because I heard they were so temperamental to raise, so I never bought any. I just stuck with my good old green houseplants.

    But one of my co-workers bought one, and he said it is doing great and now blooming. I am going to order one from the Hoosier Orchid company – maybe two. If my co-worker can raise one, that allays my fears.

    I just didn’t want to put $25-$50 into a plant and have it kick the bucket.

  3. kent strock says:

    In some of the Acres properties on the Fawn/pigeon river you can still find some of these special species.

  4. corymad says:

    its really a shame that they would be gone. I’ve heard so much about the quality of orchids they produce, especially the fascinating jewel orchid hybrid between Dossinia marmorata and Goodyera sp., which they’d named Dossiyera “Tapestry”.

  5. anonymous says:

    so that is not a gmo

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