Increasing your Orchid stock from back bulbs
Following on from the article I did last time, I thought another one regarding orchid propagation would probably be interesting to many of you. Some orchids, such as Cymbidiums, have bulb-like swellings at the base of the leaves which sit clear of the growing media. These are known as pseudobulbs and the back bulbs are the leafless ones that you may find growing behind them.
When it comes to re-potting time you can use the back bulbs to increase your stock. Remove the plant from its pot and either pull the psuedobulbs apart or, if the the roots are too tightly knitted together, use a sharp knife to split the plant up. Now look at the back bulbs and discard any that are soft or shrivelled.
Now that you have selected your firm healthy bulbs, clean away any old papery growth from around the base and also trim back the roots, just leaving enough to enable you to anchor the bulb in its pot or tray. If you have got a lot to propagate use a seed tray filled with orchid growing media or small plant pots are ok if you just have one or two bulbs to do. Don’t bury the bulbs too deeply, they should only have their roots covered. Place in a warm, well-lit spot and water in. Mist-spraying regularly will help get the back bulbs off to a good start.
Eventually new roots should develop and leaves will start to appear. Now is the time to pot up each bulb into its own pot, again using an orchid potting media. A pot just large enough to accommodate the roots is absolutely fine for the the first year.
Flowering stage should be reached in 2 – 4 years time.