Keiki is a Hawaiian word that means “child” or “baby”. In relation to orchids, it refers to a baby plant that grows on the cane of an orchid, and it is exactly identical to the original plant. Keikis are mostly found on Phalaenopsis, dendrobium, and epidendrum orchids, but they can occur in other types of orchids as well. If a keiki has formed on your orchid, you can either let it grow and flower on the mother plant, or remove it and plant it as a separate plant.
How is a Keiki Formed?
The formation of a keiki results from an accumulation of growth hormones at a node of an orchid plant. Nodes are little bumps that are located along the spikes. One way to encourage the formation of a keiki is to apply keiki paste to the nodes on your orchid. Keiki paste contains synthetic cytokinins that promote the division of cells and development of new tissues, or it may have synthetic auxins for enhancing growth. The disadvantage of using such a product is that it is costly, and it may not be effective every time. If there is a specific specimen that you wish to replicate, you may find it worthwhile to invest in keiki paste. Otherwise, it may be better to wait for the keiki to occur naturally. There are certain varieties of Phalaenopsis orchids that can produce keikis frequently.
In our next post, we will show you how to remove a keiki from the mother plant and grow it as an individual plant. Take a look at some of our past articles to learn more about keikis.