R. K. Gems, Orchids & Tropicals

Ordering & Shipping Information

TO PLACE AN ORDER BY PHONE:  Please call us at 218-821-3556. If we are not available to answer the phone, please leave a number where you can be reached, and we will return your call as quickly as possible - usually within a couple of hours at the most, and we will make every effort to reach you within 24 hours. Even if we are attending an orchid event, we are almost always able to return calls within a short while, unless of course we are out of the USA. If you do not receive a return phone call within 24 hours, by all means send an email to let us know you have called and have not received a return call.


The quickest method to place an order is online via the website. As you browse through the "Plants for sale" area, you will notice buttons next to plants that state you may "Purchase On-Line Now”, or “add to cart”.  There may be a number of choices, regarding size. Simply click on the button for the selection you wish to add to your cart while shopping. Please remember, shipping costs are not calculated on-line. We will Email or call you with your shipping costs after we receive your order to instruct you on the shipping charges and to collect those charges. We will call you back or e-mail you back quickly - making every effort to reply within 24 hours. We will review your order with you to confirm the items you want, shipping times and methods. If the weather is neither too hot or cold, we prefer to ship USPS Priority Mail, or Flat Rate, but other methods are available by special arrangement, depending on your location, the types of plants being shipped, and weather conditions. For rapid or overnight shipping, we generally prefer to use Fed Ex.


Shipping is based on actual shipping costs, plus a minimal packing fee of two dollars. Due to the way PayPal structures its shopping buttons and shopping cart, we pay the PayPal fee on all shipping charges collected via PayPal, as if it were a purchased plant or an order for any piece of merchandise. Given the range of plant sizes, there is no feasible way to charge specific amounts for shipping to be included/calculated for individual plants via the shopping cart. When we receive an order via PayPal, we will calculate the shipping, based on the size and weight of the total plants, and send you a PayPal “Invoice” for shipping in an email. The email will contain a PayPal button specific to your order, and all you need to do is click on the button in the email message and it will take you to the PayPal checkout process. Orders will not be shipped until all shipping charges have been received. Please read the following information regarding shipping arrangements and special conditions.

       Our greenhouse is located in one of the coldest regions of the USA, and winter temps are far too cold at times to safely ship during the winter. We generally discourage shipping anything but large orders between the end of October and some time around the middle of April or even early May. We can, however ship with heat packs, and extra insulation if it is important to have an order shipped during winer months. We sometimes accumulate orders during cold weather and drive them to the Minneapolis Fed Ex Depot at the airport, so they are not exposed to cold in unheated trucks for several hours after they leave our area. If we ship from our local Fed Ex station, the orders will go on an unheated truck and travel at least 125 miles before being off-loaded at the Fed Ex depot in the Twin Cities.  Large plants,  plants shipped in-pot, expensive and irreplaceable plants, and cold weather may require special packing and shipping. These types of orders require that we contact you about the individual order to arrange for special packing and shipping schedule options.

        We will not ship orders when weather conditions here or at the destination site create significant risk for damage or loss due to excessively hot or cold weather. USPS shipments cannot be insured for loss due to temperature extremes, and  priority or Express mail can not always be guaranteed for next day delivery to all locations. USPS insurance will only cover items that are physically damaged or lost - meaning if they are damaged, they must  essentially be crushed or mangled to the point of the contents being lost or spilled out of the box. While the USPS insurance will cover parcels that are “lost”, there is a grace period for them to find the package, and if the plants in the package are dead when the package turns up, it will be delivered, and no insurance will be paid. Luckily, the vast majority of USPS packages arrive in fine shape, but we will not ship via USPS if the order is for irreplaceable plants, or expensive plants that should be insured and shipped overnight. For those plants, we ship only via Fed Ex, fully insured for actual value, and recommend Fed Ex 1 day if the package is likely to be subjected to low or high temps en route or at the destination.                 

        Special arrangements will be necessary to ship some orders to minimize or prevent expensive, irreplaceable plants from being killed in transit, or as the result of being left outdoors for more than a brief period after they are delivered. Customers will need to arrange for shipping so that someone will be available to receive shipments when they arrive.  We cannot guarantee that plants damaged or lost in shipment can be replaced even if insured, due to limited availability of some plants. In those cases, the plants will be reimbursed to the customer, AFTER we collect the insurance claims.

If you are ordering during times of hot weather or during winter, we advise that you contact us via phone about your order instead of placing your order online. Also remember that orders will be filled in the order they are received, so if you send us an order via “snail-mail” plants that are very limited in availability may be gone by the time we receive your snail-mailed order.


You may send us a letter with an order, but we prefer that if at all possible you call us about availability and shipping prior to sending “snail-mailed” orders. Such orders can be paid by personal or business checks, or by money order, and we prefer that customers contact us via phone to complete all aspects of ordering, shipping and payment prior to sending final order information andpayment via "snail-mail". If “partial payment” for an order and shipping is received, the order will be held for shipping until all balances have been paid. All orders paid by mailed check or money order will be shipped  money orders or checks have cleared the bank.

Minnesota residents are charged Minnesota sales tax.