Brooklyn Orchids

Keikis: What They Are and What to Do with Them

Keiki: A baby orchid!
Keiki: A baby orchid!

Say you have a lovely Phalaenopsis orchid and one day you notice that there’s something growing off of its spike, something that doesn’t look like a flower bud. Maybe it looks like a new leaf or two (like in the photo to the right)…and after awhile what looks like a root starts to appear. What is this growth? Is it normal, and what should you do with it?

I get a lot of questions like these from readers, so it’s well past time to dedicate a blog post to the topic. The growth I described above is a baby orchid or plantlet, known to orchid lovers as a “keiki” (the Hawaiian term for “the little one”). Keikis are clones of the “mother” plant and can either be left attached to the mother or removed and potted individually once they have grown large enough. Keikis can grow off of the spike or stem of the mother, or they can begun to sprout from the plant base, in which case they are referred to as basal keikis (I currently have two of these developing on one Phal). Read more

Keiki Grow Experiment Update

A few weeks ago I posted about my first experiment with trying to propagate my Phals using Keiki Grow Paste. As I mentioned, I originally applied the paste to two of my out-of-blooms Phals; the first application was on March 17 and then I applied the paste a second time on March 30. The two nodes on the mini Phal are not showing any growth, but three of the four nodes on my big white Phal are showing definite growth! Check out pics of the three developing nodes, from the top of the spike to the bottom:

Node #1
Node #2
Node #3

The growth appears to be more than just a side shoot, but time will tell. It’s fun to watch these grow—hopefully they will turn into actual keikis that I can eventually detach and pot on their own!

Also, I just now applied Keiki Grow Paste to three nodes of a Phal’s spike that just finished blooming (this cute orchid from Trader Joe’s). Stay tuned for updates on that one as well.

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