October 10, 2010, Program: Sam Tsui, biography

[The following was provided by Sam Tsui, owner of Orchid Inn, Ltd.]

Sam was born in Hong Kong on November 23, 1952. He traveled to the United States at the age of 22. He attended Illinois State University graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in accounting. He has since completed his MBA. While still an undergraduate student, Sam was employed by Country Insurance and Financial Services based in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. He retired January, 2008 from Country Insurance and Financial Services as a Senior Software Developer in their Information Systems Division. Sam is now concentrating, full time, on his orchid growing business.

Sam met Jeanie Ting while studying at the university. Jeanie is also from Hong Kong. They were married In May, 1983.

He began growing orchids in the early 1980’s. After trying many types of orchids, he became a serious Paphiopedilum grower in 1985. In 1990, he began hybridizing with Paphiopedilums and continues that work today. As he became more involved with Paphiopedilums, he started selling commercially in 1995 as the Orchid Inn. [18218 US Highway 150, Bloomington, IL 61705, Tel/Fax: (309) 662-2386, samtsui@orchidinnusa.com.] He grew orchids in his basement and greenhouses attached to his house. As the business grew, in 2004, he purchased six acres of property and built his first commercial 6,000 square feet greenhouse. Currently he makes over 300 crosses, produces 4,000 to 5,000 flasks or approximately 100.000 seedlings annually.

In the past 15 years, Sam has been very active in the orchid world by traveling to shows, promoting sales, and lecturing. Sam currently fills orders from around the world and attends over 20 orchid shows/conferences a year. He also does approximately 15 Paphiopedilum programs/lectures to orchid conferences, societies and groups annually in the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe. Over the past 12 years, he has judged at the Japan Grand Prix, the world’s largest orchid show.

Hybridizing is Sam’s passion. He emphasizes Paphiopedilum species, Brachypetalum, Parvisepalum and Multifloral hybrids. He only selects the best, most vigorous parent plants in his collection for breeding/hybridizing.  He continues to improve his breeding stock by selecting plants or flasks from his fellow orchid growers that he believes are outstanding examples of their type. 

As a result of Sam’s breeding program, his orchids have been honored with approximately one hundred and sixty awards from the American Orchid Society, Cymbidium Society of America and European Orchid Congress. His most prestigious awards include seven First Class Certificate (FCC/AOS) awards; three Cultural awards including a 93 points Certificate of Cultural Excellence (CCE/AOS) award; and six breeder Award of Quality (AQ/AOS) awards. All these awards are from American Orchid Society.

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