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You have invested in an orchid, and with time you stand amazed as something odd arises from the node. Yes, your orchid is producing a baby. A keiki is a plantlet or a baby orchid produced by orchids such as dendrobium, phalaenopsis, and oncidium.
The orchid can reproduce asexually, and the baby plant known as orchid keikis is an offspring of some species like the Phalaenopsis orchids.
The keikis grow from the collection of growth hormones found at the node. Like your babies, the keikis need extra tender loving care to grow into mature orchids.
So, today Plantly will help you with orchid keikis care.
How to Care Orchid Keiki
The first step as your keikis grows and sprouts its leaves and roots, you need to cut the cord. While many orchid experts recommend keeping the mother plant and baby together, a time will come to separate keikis from the mother.
So, how do you know the time is right it is not as if it will give a sign of labor pains. No, you need to measure the roots. When the roots reach up to three inches long, it is time to cut the cord using a sterile knife.
You do this by cutting the stem two inches above and below the growing keiki. Then you apply a natural fungicide to the baby’s wound and the mother plant for protection against bacteria or fungal infection.
How to care for orchid keiki is simple with the following tips here.
The Type of Soil Orchid Keikis Needs
Now that you have removed the baby plants from the parent plant, it is time to give them a new home. We recommend using a four-inch pot with fresh potting media to plant your keiki.
As moisture is essential for your keiki, it helps to use a potting media that can retain moisture, like sphagnum moss or peat moss. Or you can also use coco chunks or coco peat.
The best is to dampen the moss before placing it in the pot. You can also use potting soil similar to what the mother orchid grows.
Placing your baby plants in the container helps to extend the roots to point down, as curled roots will not absorb enough nutrients and water.
Light Need for Orchid Species The Same as For Mother Plant
Whether you have a mature orchid or keikis, it can bruise with too much sunlight. Hence, your baby plants must not be exposed to direct sunlight. We recommend placing your keikis orchid in the south or north-facing windows to receive bright indirect light.
How To Water Orchid Keiki
Now, as with any orchid from the Phalaenopsis orchids, Dendrobium orchids, or other orchids, it needs watering. You can do this by watering the orchid plants once a week as you would with your parent plant. You can also mist your babies daily to help retain moisture for them to grow.
Temperature and Humidity Levels
When it comes to planting growth for the baby orchid plant, it helps to adjust the temperature and humidity levels. While not mandatory, it helps to have a thermometer and hygrometer on hand.
The two devices will help display the right temperature and humidity levels for your indoor plants. When you observe these devices, you can adjust the needs accordingly to 65°F-75°F and 60% – 90% humidity.
Using damp sphagnum moss helps increase humidity and does not need a humidifier. Yet, you will not notice growth immediately as it takes time. So, your keiki’s will take time to grow roots or sprout flowers.
How Long Does It Take Until Roots Develop
Removing keikis from the mother plant and transplanting them to a pot is half the work. You will still need to wait for plant growth to take place. Without hydrated roots, your baby orchid will not grow or produce flower spikes.
It can take six months to a year for orchid plants to grow roots. Still, not many orchids grow root systems fast. It depends on your species, from the Phalaenopsis orchids to Dendrobium orchids.
When attached to the mother, the keiki can develop roots fast or even on the mother plant after a few weeks. Hence, it can take a year for the keikis to sprout new roots. The crucial thing is to wait for the roots to grow long enough, as failure to do this leads to wilting.
Also, never remove your orchid plant too soon from the parent plant. Even if it takes up to a year, separating the orchid keiki from the mother orchid is best when the aerial roots are long enough.
So take out that tape measurer and keep measuring the roots until it reaches at least three inches long. Furthermore, if you want your keiki growing roots faster, rub one tablespoon of aloe vera on their roots. You can buy aloe vera plants to use a cut aloe leaf or the liquid.
We also recommend natural conditions for optimal growth, which helps to learn more about the mother plant growing in its native habitat. Another helpful thing for root growth is using a keiki paste. But use it sparingly as too many limits the nutrient and water absorption.
How Long Will It Take Before You See a Flower Spike
The flower spike can take a while to develop from your keiki as it needs time to mature. Orchids are slow-growing outdoor plants, but they are long-lasting. So, how long it will take to bloom depends on different factors.
Typically it can take up to three years for some orchids to flower. As the keiki is an exact clone of the parent plant, you may need to wait three years before seeing bloom spikes. The flower will also be the precise color of the mother orchid.
You may find that some orchid species grow flower stems quicker than others. The best is to research the type of orchid you have and how quickly it will flower. Another important thing is the temperature and humidity, which can affect the development of the keiki roots and flower stalk.
Lastly, orchid keikis can grow slower and longer than your mature orchid as it is a natural process. Therefore, another important thing is not to stress if you do not see a bloom spike within the recommended timetable.
As mentioned, some Phalaenopsis keikis and other orchids, when it comes to orchid propagation, can take longer to grow.
We hope the information provided helps you keep your baby orchids flourishing following the above steps. But when you see keiki attached to the mother, you need not remove it. Instead, you can leave the baby on your parent plant as it will grow into a happy orchid to bloom simultaneously.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!