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Discussion Starter #1
This could be too late to ask since my tank, I think, is all filled up. Today I just received my online order from a well known vendor. $20 shipped for 3 plants. 2 pots of Bolivia Wandering Jews and 1 5" tall bromeliad (Neoregelia 'Donger'). I wasn't impressed by the quality of these plants but wasn't that disappointed either. There are a lot of broken stem tips on the Wandering Jews. Fortunately, these are fast growers and pretty hardly and I am using them as fillers. The bromeliad is actually a pulp with not much leaves and spreads. With $20, I could generally get more and fuller plants at my local Lowes and Home Depot.

I have spent over $130 on plants for my vivarium and only these 3 I got today I ordered them online. And those 3 small air plants too. The rest were purchased locally at Lowes and Home Depot, and my local orchid wholesaler.
 

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Venture out a bit and ask around about greenhouses that actually still work with tropicals. The mail order trade, box stores, and now supermarkets have largely made it a thing of the past to go to a greenhouse operation for what you're looking for. Orchid growers will carry some of those things, but not much.
I know it's WAY out of your neck of the woods, but Dan Schantz is 90 minutes for me too. But it's one of those places where you can really spend a couple of hours or more in.
http://www.danschantz.com/

A friend took me there a few years ago, and I was just amazed at some of the things they had. Pitcher plants small and large, tiny ferns of enough varieties to make my head spin, Not just your typical Aralia, but 4 different varieties, loose air plants for $3. I could go on, but you get the picture. My son will be playing baseball really close by there during the summer, so I can already see my wallet shrinking.

It's been a bunch of years now, but the when the Orchid show used to be in the Bronx Botanical gardens, it wasn't 100% orchids. I'm not sure where that show is now.

Just some thoughts, but if you talk to enough orchid people you'll find alternatives and little gems you missed in the nooks and crannies of the city.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Venture out a bit and ask around about greenhouses that actually still work with tropicals. The mail order trade, box stores, and now supermarkets have largely made it a thing of the past to go to a greenhouse operation for what you're looking for. Orchid growers will carry some of those things, but not much.
I know it's WAY out of your neck of the woods, but Dan Schantz is 90 minutes for me too. But it's one of those places where you can really spend a couple of hours or more in.
http://www.danschantz.com/

A friend took me there a few years ago, and I was just amazed at some of the things they had. Pitcher plants small and large, tiny ferns of enough varieties to make my head spin, Not just your typical Aralia, but 4 different varieties, loose air plants for $3. I could go on, but you get the picture. My son will be playing baseball really close by there during the summer, so I can already see my wallet shrinking.

It's been a bunch of years now, but the when the Orchid show used to be in the Bronx Botanical gardens, it wasn't 100% orchids. I'm not sure where that show is now.

Just some thoughts, but if you talk to enough orchid people you'll find alternatives and little gems you missed in the nooks and crannies of the city.
Thanks for the link. :) Glad I am done shopping for plants...unless some of them died. I will probably stick to my local orchid wholesalers in NYC Manhattan. Last time I checked, they don't have a lot of smaller specie selections suitable for a terrarium and vivarium. My local Lowes and Home Depot carry a lot of the smaller cultures but they generally carry the normal plants. Only occasionally I would find something rarer and exotic.
 

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Find a local garden center/nursey/green house. They will have much more variety, quantity, quality, and often more SPECIALTY or RARE plants that you will NEVER find at a home depot or lowes. Also, they are often able to bring in plants especially for you if you find a quality one. Saves you on the shipping. Where I work, we get allll kinds of exotic tropicals, rare tillandsia, rare cacti and succulents, etc. Not to mention, we take muuuuch better care of our plants and have far more in-depth knowledge for specific plants than someone in a box store would have.

Worth googling to find one like our's in your area. Maybe your local orchid growers have access to vendors that could bring in more specialty stuff for you, you may inquire w/ them.
 

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As much as I really hate what the box stores in general have done to the availability of certain things, every so often they do have a gem or two. But as you noted, not many.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Find a local garden center/nursey/green house. They will have much more variety, quantity, quality, and often more SPECIALTY or RARE plants that you will NEVER find at a home depot or lowes. Also, they are often able to bring in plants especially for you if you find a quality one. Saves you on the shipping. Where I work, we get allll kinds of exotic tropicals, rare tillandsia, rare cacti and succulents, etc. Not to mention, we take muuuuch better care of our plants and have far more in-depth knowledge for specific plants than someone in a box store would have.

Worth googling to find one like our's in your area. Maybe your local orchid growers have access to vendors that could bring in more specialty stuff for you, you may inquire w/ them.

I think I find one which is only 6 miles from me. :) Not sure. According to the reviews, the price is double than those in Lowes and Homedepot. BTW, plants from Lowes and Home Depot aren't bad provided that you get them within a day or two after they received their shipments. If these plants left there for more than few days, most likely they would be killed by their staff from over watering and etc.
 

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There are a couple of places that are worth checking out:
http://www.neherpetoculture.com/
joshsfrogs.com
blackjungleterrariumsupply.com/ - although they are going through closing/restructuring to an online platform only
glassboxtropicals.com
ebay
tropiflora

Those are a couple that come to mind. Also check out dendroboard.com for lots of info!

I buy on ebay, some of the stores mentioned here, but have not tried ordering from import stores. Generally, it depends on what you are looking for. For example I'd try andysorchids.com for orchids, mountainorchids.com for begonias, tropiflora.com for bromeliads, etc. Go on dendroboard and read around and familiarize yourself with what's out there.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow, finally decided to voice my complaint to this vendor. At first, they offered to send me another pots. They asked for photos and I sent them 2. After that, they tried to convince me how the plants would recover even though they were half dead and almost all of the stems were damaged. Is matter of principle that I was expecting to buy healthy plants. I wasn't planning to buy half dead looking plants and expecting to nurse them back to health. If I want to do that, I would just buy them from Lowes or Home Depot.

Sounds like they aren't planning to send me another pots, but didn't flat out telling me NO. :)

PM me if you want to know where I bought the plants. Sigh.....
 
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