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How Do I Care for Orchid Keikis?

July 9, 2014

care-for-orchid-keikisIs there something seemingly odd emerging from your orchid node? Your plant could be producing a keiki! Orchids can reproduce asexually, and keikis (a Hawaiian word that means “baby” or “child”), are its offspring. On Phalaenopsis orchids, keikis usually form from an accumulation of growth hormones at a node.

Like any baby, keikis require special care so they can grow into beautiful mature orchids. Today’s post will teach you how to best care for your orchid keikis.

Cutting the Cord

As keikis grow, they sprout their own leaves and roots. And while some experts recommend keeping mom and baby together, there will come a time to separate the child from the mom. To know when your keiki is ready to branch out on its own, measure its roots. Make sure the roots are 2-3 inches long. Using a sterile knife, cut the stem about two inches above and below the keiki. Apply a natural fungicide to the cut areas of the baby and the mother plant as an added precaution.

Creating a New Home

Now that your keiki is on its own, you want to repot it. Pick a four-inch pot and, and gently yet firmly push the roots into the fresh potting medium. Since moisture is crucial to the health of your keiki, you want to encourage as much of it as possible. Try to use potting media that contains moisture-attracting ingredients like sphagnum moss (make sure this is damp before you use it) or peat moss. You can also use a commercial potting medium. For more information on orchid repotting, watch this video.

Monitor Sunlight

Even fully-grown orchids can falter if exposed to too much sunlight. You should be extra careful not to expose baby to too much sunlight. Place your newly repotted keiki in a north or east-facing window to give it just enough light. Keep a close eye on it to make sure it’s flourishing.

Watering a Keiki

Make sure you don't forget to water your keiki once a week, just as you would its parent. You should also mist your keiki daily to ensure it retains the proper moisture it needs to grow big and strong.

Keikis are a wonderful addition to your orchid family. Follow these five tips to give them the TLC they need to blossom into healthy adults. Has your orchid sprouted keikis? Share your story in the comments! 

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