New Orchid Stock from Keikis
The word Keiki may look unfamiliar but I am betting that at least half of you orchid-lovers out there have seen one of these growing on your plants, particularly on Phalaenopsis, the Moth orchid. Keiki is the Hawaiian word for baby and it refers to the little group of leaves which very often grows on the flowering stems of some orchids.
Keikis can be used to increase your stock but you will need patience as they can take up to 3 years to reach flowering stage. Allow them to develop on the parent plant for a while until they have produced at least 3 or 4 good roots. At this stage you can sever the little plantlet from the parent with a sharp knife and pot it up. Using a good quality orchid potting media, such as coco husk, place the keiki in a small pot, just deep enough to make it stable. Water the keiki in and place a clear polythene bag over the pot, securing it with a rubber band. Keep it warm and in a well-lit spot but don’t stand it in direct sunlight. Keep an eye on it and water again when the pot feels very light when you pick it up. This way you will be sure that the growing media has dried out completely and is ready for a good watering again. Remember that constantly wet growing media will eventually lead to root-rot so leave the pot a little bit longer before watering if you are unsure. You can remove the polythene bag when more roots start to develop.
Grow the keiki on for around 12 months or when the pot becomes full of root. At this stage move it into the next size pot, don’t be tempted to jump up several pot sizes in one go.
Remember, this is a little baby and needs nurturing to develop well.