Orchid plants have an infamous reputation of being hard to propagate. But the formation of a Keiki will tell you otherwise. Through a Keiki, you can propagate dendrobium orchids with ease. With this plantlet, the propagation of this plant is the easiest of them all. However, having a bit of patience will come in handy in making the whole process a success. That said; let’s have a bigger picture of what the growing Keiki is and how to remove a Keiki from an Orchid.
What is a Keiki and what does it look like?
At some point, your orchid may develop a baby plant on the stem. Also known as an Orchid plantlet or a Keiki, it is a clone of the main plant but produced asexually. The term Keiki in the Hawaiian language refers to a baby. The occurrence of this plantlet is often a surprise to many. At the same time, many plant owners with orchids are unaware of what it is when it forms on their plant.
So, what does it look like? Let’s find out. A Keiki orchid is identical to the mother plant when they are fully mature, and not just physically, but also genetically. In other words, they’re pretty much considered a baby orchid.
To identify it on the orchid, they will start to grow as a little round node that’s green. With time, it begins to develop smaller leaves and then resembles the same plant but in a baby Orchid form.
They will usually form on the orchid stem where the nodes are found. But they could also be found at the end of the flower spike where the concentration of growth hormones is highest. In the beginning, you may assume that it’s a flower spike that’s developing, but when the leaves begin forming it’s when you are certain it’s a Keiki.
How to plant a baby Orchid?
Planting this Keiki Orchid is a lot easier than you would imagine. To start, you must clip it from the mother plant ONLY when it’s ready. You will need to sterilize your cutting tool to make a clean cut and to avoid infections on your plant. Meanwhile, if you want to prevent more Keiki’s from forming, clip the flower spike at the end of the bloom. To protect the cut sections from infections, use cinnamon as a natural solution to fungal infections.
How to remove a Keiki from an Orchid:
I know it may be a nerve-wrecking going through with this process, but trust me, it’s a lot harder than it sounds.
1. Do not be in a rush to separate the plantlet from the main plant. Be patient and allow its roots to reach between 3 to inches long. Also, it should have several leaves at the time of transplanting.
2. Once the conditions above are met, clip it from the parent/mother plant about two inches below the stem.
3. Use cinnamon on the cut sections to prevent the emergence of fungal infections.
4. Use a separate pot with a fresh orchid mix to plant your Keiki and then water it well.
5. Once you are through, find a strategic location with plenty of shade but with access to natural light.
6. Meanwhile, maintain other growing conditions like moist soil, nutrient-rich soil, warm temperature, and enough humidity.
And there you go. You did it! You removed a Keiki from an Orchid!
How do you repot a Keiki?
After the plantlet roots are about two to four inches long, then it’s ready for repotting. You can prepare a fresh orchid mix in a separate pot to plant the Keiki. However, it’s highly commended that you plant it in the same pot with the mother plant when you repot it.
According to findings, the mother plant regulates the growing conditions, especially in the soil. This in turn encourages healthy plantlet growth. However, this should last forever; you only need to keep them together for a year.
When repotting, place it next to the mother for better soil conditions. Meanwhile, ensure the plantlet roots are growing deep in the soil for fast establishment. And this can be done by burying part of the cut from the flow spike in the soil to anchor the plantlet and maintain it upright.
How long for a Keiki to bloom?
From the time you plant it in a separate pot, this plant will take nearly two to three years to flower. Therefore, a bit of patience is necessary. However, some people get lucky, and their plantlets will bloom after a year. But with an optimal growing condition, you can expect your Orchid Keiki to become a flowering plant earlier than the expected 2-3 years.
How do you cut and plant a Keiki?
Cutting and transplanting a Keiki is easy as mentioned earlier. Prepare your cutting tools and sterilize them to prevent the chances of infections. Furthermore, you will need another pot and a fresh orchid potting soil ready to go. You can make this yourself if you wanted to. But I find that its a lot easier to purchase this one.
As a reminder, you should cut and plant your Keiki after the roots have grown over three inches with several leaves forming. And this should take about a year or so after noticing it on your plant as a node.
To cut, take a sharp and sterile cutting tool, and clip it down the flower spike about two inches from the plantlet. Once you’ve separated it from the parent, use the above technique on how to plant Dendrobium Keiki.
How do you encourage Dendrobium Keiki growth?
Naturally, Keiki grows due to environmental stress like extreme growing conditions. The plantlet is like insurance that the plant legacy will prevail even when the parent plant fails to survive. In most cases, the cause is higher surrounding temperatures. After its formation, you can choose to clip it off immediately or allow it to grow if you want a new plant.
On the other hand, you can induce Keiki growth for propagation purposes. That said, you can try exposing it to intense temperatures but this is based on luck. If you need guaranteed results, then you need to use the KeikiPro Orchid growth hormone paste.
This paste has high concentrations of cytokinin also known as plant growth hormones. This may help to get a Keiki on your orchid. When you apply it to one of the nodes on the stem, it encourages the growth of the plantlet.
How long does it take a Keiki to grow roots?
Unfortunately, there is a need for patience in this case. From the time the node appears on the stem, the plantlet takes almost a year for the roots to develop well and the plantlet to grow a little bit bigger.
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