There is no doubt that orchids are the most beautiful flowers in the plant kingdom. These flowers are highly associated with prestige and the fact that they can be grown indoors has made them quite a darling for many people worldwide. But, how do you grow orchids? There are several ways in which you can grow orchids but for the sake of this post, we shall focus on how to grow orchids from cuttings.
Understanding the basics of orchid plants
Orchids are one of the largest plant families in the world. It has over 30,000 different species and 20,000 hybrids. The orchid family famously known as Orchidaceae can be classified into three categories namely epiphytic, lithophytic and the terrestrial group. Different orchid species grow in different climatic conditions. Here is the deal, if you want to grow orchids indoors; you must replicate the natural growing condition of the plants.
Orchids require intense care and grow under specific conditions. Failure to meet these conditions will make the flowers die.
Do all orchid species grow from cuttings?
The vast majority of orchid species don’t grow from cuts. This is with the exemption of orchids belonging to the Dendrobium genus. Orchids from this genus produce flowers in a single blossom on rather short spikes. Dendrobium orchids produce almost twice as many flowers compared to most other orchid species.
The flowers grow from the nodules located on the stem of the plant. Compared to other species, the flowers fade quickly leaving short spikes on the stem. It is your initiative to clip these spikes either using scissors or a blade. The spikes are prone to infection so you should always disinfect the blade so as to prevent the spread of infection to other parts of the orchid.
How to Grow Orchids from Cuttings?
The two ideal cuttings that can be used to reproduce orchids are stem cuttings and Keiki cuttings. There is a different procedure on how each cutting is grown and we shall look at review both cases.
1. Stem Cuttings
The ideal time to cut the stem is after the flowers fade. At this point in time, the orchid gets back into a vegetative phase which is essential for reproducing new orchids. The following is a guide on how you should go about it.
i. Cut the stems
Using a sharp and disinfected blade cut the stem of the orchids. It should be ideally 1 foot long. Divide this into other 3 or 4 sections ensuring that each stem cutting has at least 3 nodules.
ii. Prepare the rooting tray
The cut stems have no roots. For this reason, you should prepare a rooting tray that will provide optimal conditions for fast root development. You are going to need sphagnum moss, barks or pebbles or sand. Before you can even begin you should disinfect the grow medium then soak it in water to ensure that it's completely wet. When the growing medium is ready: place it on the rooting tray. The tray should be semi-permeable to allow the escape of excess water.
When everything is ready, it is time to place the stem cuttings, the tray should be shallow. Once the cuttings are placed it should be covered with loose plastic polythene to ensure that optimal humidity is maintained. Place the tray on a dark and warm place for a few days.
After a few days, you should notice some shoots starting to develop on the stem. You should transfer the cutting into a grow pot. What are the best grow pots you use:
- Net pots: net pots have a wire-mesh and this will allow breathing space for the roots. In case of any infection, you can hang the pot in direct sunlight hence reducing the chances of root decay or rot.
- Wooden pots: if you choose wooden pots to go for rot-resistant wooden pots. You should also line the pot with sheet moss before you can add any potting mixture.
- Clear plastic pots- these are the best pots if you want to inspect the progress of the roots and for better sunlight reach to the roots.
Prepare the recommended potting mixture then transfer the cuttings into it. All orchids regardless of the species should be planet upright with the shoots facing either sideways or upwards.
2. Keiki cuttings
Keiki is plantlets that develop on the stem or just above the root base of an orchid. If you don’t plan on planting a new orchid the Keiki should be pruned. However, if your goal is to grow orchids though Keiki cuttings then you should wait for it to grow until the roots are an inch long and leaves begin to form.
1 day before cutting the Keiki for replanting ensure that you water your orchid adequately. And, when cutting you should only use a sharp blade and it has to be dipped in alcohol for disinfection. Cut the stem beneath the roots of the Keiki then replant it in a potting mixture of fine orchid barks.
How to Take Care Of Orchids Grown from Cuttings?
Knowing how to grow orchids from cutting is just half a slice. Orchids require intense care and the following is a guide on how you should go about it.
Too much water and the roots will rot, starve the orchid and it will die. You must hit the balance when it comes to watering orchids. Ideally, you should water them once or twice a week. It is recommended that you use a clear plastic pot so as to monitor the progress of the roots. Just recently, it was scientifically proven that you can grow orchids with hydroponics; this is quite a great deal and remarkable achievement.
Orchids thrive in a high humidity area. If the environment you intend to grow your orchid is not humid enough then you should consider purchasing a humidifier. The humidity levels should be maintained between 50-75% depending on the orchid species.
Orchids are naturally dark green with yellow tones. If you discover that your orchids are dark green with no yellow spots this means that you are not giving the plant enough sunlight. On the other hand, too much sunlight makes orchids to turn yellow or brownish.
As much as we cannot argue over the fact that orchids are the most beautiful plants, unfortunately, most people don’t know that you can grow orchids from cuttings. Even those who do can’t walk you through the process.
In this post, we have explained in details how to grow orchids from cuttings and given recommendations on how to take care of the plant. If you found the post useful kindly share it with a friend or two. Thank you in advance.