Home Orchid Propagation

Home orchid propagation. How to grow and care for orchid keikis. Dividing orchid plants. How to propagate orchids.

An Orchid from Florida

An Orchid from Florida
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There are several methods of propagating orchids. Only two are commonly used by home growers as the others require special equipment and must be performed under sterile conditions.

Which method you use will depend on the type of orchid you are trying to reproduce. Because there are different kinds of orchids, with varying habits of growth, what works for one will not always work for another.

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Here's a breakdown of the two most common propagation methods:

Dividing Orchids

Dramatic Orchid IV

Dramatic Orchid IV
Moon, H.g.
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You can propagate orchids that grow in clumps, constantly forming new pseudo bulbs, by division. Dendrobium and Cattleya orchids fall into this category.

It is best to wait until each new orchid division would have at least three back bulbs remaining and one new growth before separating them. This way, you will be left with two strong orchid divisions that will recover and bloom more quickly.

How to Propagate Orchids by Division:

To divide an orchid, soak the pot in water for several hours first. A bucket works well for this. Once the planting media is soft, drain the excess water away and you should be able to pry any roots clinging to the pot away from it without doing too much damage.

Once you've got the orchid out of its pot, take a sharp, clean knife and slice through any roots you can't pull apart with your fingers. Sprinkle a fungicide on any cut surfaces. Ground cinnamon is a good cheap fungicide and you are almost certain to have it on hand. This is what I use.

Repot the two plants. Since you've got them out of their pots, now is a good time to replace the planting media. Dampen the media before using it so that you don't have to water the pots once the orchids are in them. You don't want to risk washing the fungicide away.

Put the plants into pots just big enough to hold their roots. Place them in the shade and water sparingly until they recover.

The greatest danger, any time an orchid's roots are damaged, is rot. So be sure to use the cinnamon and don't let them get too wet.

Orchid Propagation by Keikis


Carney, Dennis
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Orchids that do not produce pseudo bulbs--as well as those that do--will sometimes make keikis (the Hawaiian word for children).

You'll see a tiny orchid, with its own roots clinging to some part of the mother plant. An orchid can have a keiki grow on its bulbs, roots or stem.

The baby is drawing nourishment from momma, so don't be too quick to separate them. Wait until the orchid keiki has roots at least three inches long. Then gently pull it away from momma and place it in its own pot. Keep it moist and shaded for a while. Feed it at half strength until it gets much bigger.

I've had kiekis form on Phalaenopsis , Dendrobium and Vanda orchids. Keikis make orchid propagating easy.

Repotting Orchids Without Fear
Repotting orchids is not as risky an endeavor as most beginners make it out to be in their minds. A little knowledge and preparation make it simple.

Growing Orchids Indoors is Fun Many of the more common orchids make nearly perfect houseplants and require less care than plants grown in soil.

Go from Orchid Propagation back to Caring for Orchids
Caring for orchids offers instruction on how to grow orchids to beginners as well as experienced gardeners. Includes growing orchids indoors, orchid propagation, raising, pruning and repotting various types of orchids.

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