Orchids are often seen as difficult plants to grow. However, orchid enthusiasts can easily multiply their favorite flowers by learning how they propagation!
How to propagate an orchid: What you’ll need
Propagating an orchid is not too challenging in most cases and you don’t need much equipment. Although the methods are quite specific, anyone can do it at home with the right instructions, even if they’re new to orchids!
- Pruning shears that are disinfected with alcohol beforehand
- orchid planters or orchid hangers in an appropriate size
- Sphagnum moss
- Your orchid plant (make sure it’s healthy and not blooming!)
How to propagate an orchid: The myths
One thing to keep in mind about how to propagate an orchid is that, as with other aspects of their care like humidity and light levels (in the right amounts), there are quite a few myths out there.
It’s true that some people have claimed to be able to propagate an orchid using just air roots. However, it doesn’t work well because of the wrong type of cells in root systems and also lack of nutrients for growth so this technique will never yield results as you wish!
The same applies to trying to propagate a Phalaenopsis orchid (also known as the moth orchid) through stem cuttings. The flower stems can’t be used for new plant growth unless there is at least one keiki (baby plant) present!
Lastly, there’s leaf propagation. Re-growing a plant from just one leaf works for some species like succulents and Begonia but unfortunately not orchids!
The only part of the plant which contains cells necessary in order to regrow them are stems so unless your reusing an old stem attached onto another piece of pottery (which could be quite difficult) then it won’t work out well at all.
Now, we learned how not to propagate an Orchid plant. Let’s have a look at the right ways you should propagate an orchid.
How to grow an orchid from a cutting
We are not talking about a flower stem cutting here! The stem cutting is the way to go if you want an orchid like Phalaenopsis!
Monopodial orchid stem cuttings
You can propagate a Phalaenopsis or another monopodial (single-stemmed) orchid like Vanda by cutting the stem. The thing you have to keep in mind, though, is that we’re not talking about flower stems here – these plants are mature with so many leaves stacked on top of each other, so a good solid stem is formed.
You can take a clean knife or shears to basically cut your orchid in half, referred to as topping the plant. The bottom bit with roots can be left in its current container and will continue growing with proper care!
If you want your top part of the root-less plant to continue growing as normal, put a few sprigs in moist soil. With some luck it’ll throw out roots and start thriving!
Sympodial orchid stem cuttings
Sympodial orchids are those that don’t grow from a single stem, but form multiple canes and bulbs. Most of these stems cannot survive being cut for propagation by means of clipping – they must be divided into individual plants.
The Dendrobium nobile is a popular species that can be propagated by cutting and placing in seedling trays. If you separate one cane from this plant, it will sprout into new plants with stunning flowers!
Vining orchid stem cuttings
Vining orchids can be pretty cool, but they’re often less popular than standard-looking species. For example Vanilla planifolia is the vanilla orchid–the plant that produces those delicious vanilla pods you eat! It’s not an easy flower to grow in your garden; however it does make for interesting display when things do start blooming.
From the minute you cut that vine, roots will spring up. No need to worry about topping or chopping canes: just snip where necessary and watch as new shoots form on it! It works for Ludisia Orchids too!!
How to propagate an orchid through division
In order to divide an orchid, you need a multi-stemmed (sympodial) plant like Dendrobium. Monopodial Orchids have nothing that can be divided so there would just come out more bulbs with no rhizome underneath it!
To multiply an orchid through division, make sure you’ve got a healthy plant with plenty of canes/pseudobulbs. Take the flower out and untangle its roots by cutting away all rhizome clump that contains three to four actively growing bulbs each. Most of the time, this would mean splitting the plant in half.
To keep your orchid plants growing, you should plant both halves in a suitable medium. The roots from one side will grow to meet the other and they won’t need as much care since each plant already has its own root system developing.
How to propagate an orchid from keikis
The word “keiki” refers to baby or child in the case of growing orchids. The tiny copies that an Orchid mother plant can grow on her stems and at base are called Kei’s, which is a Hawaiian term for children.
If you have an orchid that produces a keiki, then the work is half done for your plant! That’s because it will grow roots and leaves on its own. The most common type of orchids to do this are Dendrobium, but some other plants like Phalaenopsis also cultivate these little guys very easily at home with careful nurturing care.
So, how to do it?
To grow your own seedling, wait until the plant has grown a few leaves and an air root system. Separate it from its mother using clean shears or knife so that you can give them each their own space.
To make sure your baby orchid is healthy, plant it in the same type of container and soil as its mother. Alternatively you can simply place them next to each other in a potting mix without changing anything about their environment too much – this will help ensure that both thrive!
The little keiki plant is already rooted! This means that it should continue growing just fine.
How to grow an orchid from seed
Orchids are beautiful and unique houseplants that can be grown from seed as well. However, this is a slow process so it’s not for everyone! Growing orchid plants from seed takes time but if you have the patience then these hearty flowers will reward your efforts with lush growth and many new babies in all colors.
If you want to grow an orchid from seed, the best place to buy them is online, and in person at a hobbyist’s greenhouse.
You’ll need to get your hands on some orchids, but don’t worry – the process of caring for them is pretty easy. Orchid plants are usually grown in flasks with special nutrient mixes and careful handling until they’re mature enough to be transplanted into an pot.