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Techniques in Propagating Orchids


There are several techniques in propagating orchids, and these include division, back bulbs, keikis, aerial cuttings, tissue culture and seed. Among the many techniques, division and back bulbs are two of the most popular techniques utilized by home gardeners. Let’s go into more detail on some of these techniques.


Division is a way of propagating orchids by separating or splitting the plant in two or more parts. Each division should have one new shoot, which will result in a fully grown plant that will produce flowers in the next season. Many home gardeners choose this technique as this is one of the simplest. Though you may not like the idea of cutting your precious orchid into two, it is truly a good way to increase your stock and can also encourage your plant to grow better shoots.

To determine if your orchids are ready for division, check to see how many pseudobulbs the plants has. Each division should have at least three pseudobulbs. After division, each new plant must be repotted with fresh potting mix.

This technique in propagating orchids is best done during early spring, as the new season of growth begins. This ensures that each new plant will have a complete growing season to take root and be able to bloom flowers in the next season.

Using Back Bulbs

Another way to propagate orchids is to use back bulbs. In this technique, one makes use of old pseudobulbs that may or may not have flowered. These old pseudobulbs are removed from the orchids during repotting and then they are planted in ideal growing conditions to induce them to take root.


Sometimes, orchids will grow keikis, which are tiny orchids with their own roots that cling to a part of the mother plant. Orchids can have keikis in their stem, bulbs and roots. To propagate orchids from keikis, wait until it grows roots that are around three inches long. Then, separate it gently from the mother plant and put it in a new pot. Place it in a shady area and keep it moist. Feed it only a little bit until it grows bigger.

The Phalaenopsis orchid is a type of orchid that commonly produces keikis.

Propagation by Seed

Propagating orchids with the use of seeds is very difficult, and the home gardener typically doesn’t use this technique. To successfully propagate orchids from seeds, sterile conditions must be in place. The seeds must be placed with a particular fungus that can penetrate its roots and change its nutrients into a usable form so that it can grow successfully. Also, it takes a very long time for the seeds to grow, usually at least three years to as long as eight. This method of propagating orchids is not really recommended for the amateur home gardener.


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