How To Propagate Orchids

How To Propagate Orchids [ An Easy 2022 Guide]

Are you wondering, How To Propagate Orchids? Here is a quick and easy guide with all 5 methods so you have hundreds of orchids!

Looking after houseplants can be a rewarding and pleasant experience, especially when your plants are well cared for and thriving.

However, this does not mean that your favourite plant will live forever, which can be disheartening when you have spent so much time tracking its growth. Fortunately, you can now propagate your plants to grow identical samples of the same species. 

These days, one houseplant that often goes unnoticed by houseplants enthusiasts is the orchid, which is often considered one of the most challenging plants to keep alive.

So if you want to ensure that your orchid will continue to thrive in some form, you can begin propagating it for cuttings. 

In this article, we are going to show you how to propagate your orchid using three different methods that always yield lasting results.

Not only are these methods easy to implement, but they can be utilized from the comfort of your home, without having to be concerned about any serious or harmful effects. 

So let’s take a look at how you can propagate your orchids using some of the best methods currently available. 

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What Is Propagation? 

Before we can show you how to propagate your orchids, you must first understand what the process of propagation actually is. 

In short, propagation refers to the process in which new plants are grown from a variety of sources such as seeds and cuttings. 

Currently, there are numerous methods that can be used to propagate a plant, with each one being broken down into two categories: sexual propagation and asexual propagation. 

Of course, the methods we will be showcasing in this article belong to the category of asexual propagation, as they require cuttings from the original plant to promote reproduction. 

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What Are Propagation Myths? 

When it comes to propagating your orchid, you will need to be mindful of the countless myths surrounding the propagation process. 

Otherwise, you could find yourself trying to grow a new sample using a cutting that will not yield the desired results. 

So to help you further understand the myths of orchid propagation, we have outlined some notable examples in the section below: 

  • A common misconception among orchid owners is that you can propagate an orchid by using air roots, which is impossible as the roots do not contain the correct cells to promote new growth. 
  • The same logic applies to the propagation of moth orchids through the use of flower stem cuttings. Like the air roots, a flower stem can’t be used to grow a new plant unless there is a Keiki present. (don’t worry, we go into more detail about this down below) 
  • Although it is possible to propagate a plan using a single leaf, this practice does not apply to orchids, as the leaves do not contain the correct cells. Instead, you will need to propagate the plant using a leafy stem. 

Now that you are familiar with some of the myths surrounding this process, let’s take a look at what you will need to successfully propagate your plants. 

Orchid Propagation

What You Will Need 

Despite countless misconceptions, propagating an orchid is a very simple task that requires very little in terms of equipment. And although the methods we have chosen can be specific, this does not mean that you can’t implement them from the comfort of your home. 

But before you can get started, here’s a list of everything you will need to propagate your plants: 

  • Pruning shears (these will need to be disinfected with rubbing alcohol) 
  • Orchid planters or hangers of the appropriate size and shape
  • Sphagnum moss 
  • Your orchid (the plant will need to be healthy and not in bloom) 

Now that you understand what tools you will need, let’s take a look at the actual propagation methods currently available. 

How To Propagate Orchids (Using Cuttings)

As we previously mentioned, it is impossible to grow moth orchids using flower stem cuttings. However, this does not mean that all cuttings should be ignored as a viable propagation method. 

Monopodial Orchids 

If you want to propagate moth orchids or any other monopodial (single-stemmed) species, then you can do so by cutting the stem. However, it is important to note that when we say stem we are not simply referring to the flower stem itself. 

Instead, we are talking about a mature orchid that displays many leaves to create a well-formed stem. 

If your orchid displays this particular stem, then you can top your plant by using the following steps: 

  1. Take your disinfected shears and use them to cut the orchid into two halves. 
  1. Once you have done this, take the top half of the stem and transfer it to a planter or hanger filled with sphagnum moss. 
  1. After the top half of the stem has been planted, it should begin to take root and grow as normal. 
  1. As for the bottom half of the stem, you can leave it in its original planter, where it should continue to grow with the correct care. 

Sympodial Orchids 

Unlike monopodial orchids, sympodial orchids do not grow from a single stem but instead form multiple canes or bulbs. Unfortunately, most of these stems can’t be used as propagation cuttings, which means it is impossible to propagate most sympodial species. 

However, there is one exception and that is the Dendrobium Nobile, which can commonly be found in the Himalayas. 

So if you want to know how you can propagate this orchid, we have outlined everything you need in the following steps: 

  1. Take your disinfected shears and cut the canes of the orchid. 
  1. Once you have done this, transfer the canes to a covered seedling tray with some wet sphagnum.
  1. As long as each cutting features a few nodes, they should continue to grow and sprout new blooms.

Vining Orchids 

Although vining orchids are not the most popular of houseplants, there is one species that can be propagated from the comfort of your home. Otherwise known as Vanilla Planifolia, this orchid grows vanilla pods and can be easily propagated using a single cutting. 

If you want to know more about how you can propagate vining orchids, then we have everything you need down below: 

  1. Take your disinfected shears and cut a vine from the orchid. 
  1. Plant the vine in a planter with soil and the cuttings should take root. 

How To Propagate Orchids (Using Keikis) 

The term Keiki comes from the Hawaiian word meaning baby or child, as it refers to the tiny blooms that an orchid mother plant will grow on her stems and base. 

If your orchid displays one of these blooms, then you can use them to easily propagate your plant from the comfort of your home.

Not only do Keikis do half of the work for you, but they are also genetic copies of the original plant, which means any future samples will look identical to the original source. 

So how can you use Keikis to propagate your plants? Well, everything you need to know can be found in the following instructions:

  1. If your orchid develops a Keiki, leave it to develop until it has grown leaves and a sufficient root system. 
  1. Once the Keiki is ready, remove it from the orchid mother plant by using your disinfected shears. 
  1. Transfer the Keiki to a similar planter with the same soil that you used to grow the original orchid. Alternatively, you can also plant the Keiki in the same pot as the mother plant. 
  1. Because the Keiki will have its own root system, it should continue to grow with your care. 

How To Propagate Orchids (Using Seeds) 

Growing orchids from seeds is a very complex and delicate process, which is why it is a method usually reserved for professionals or skilled growers. However, it can be a rewarding task if your seeds yield some beautiful specimens. 

So if you are interested in growing your own orchids from seeds, you will need to purchase seed pods from reputable online businesses. You can even ask a fellow orchid enthusiast to pollinate the seeds for you unless you are dedicated to completing the process yourself. 

Although getting the pods is a rather simple process, it is the rest of the method that can be extremely challenging. Traditionally, orchids are grown in flasks, with special nutrient mixtures and careful handling. 

Because the process is so complex, we recommend that you visit The American Orchid Society for additional information, as they have everything you will need to grow your own orchids from scratch.

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