There are many ways of propagating orchids that can be done right at home. In this way, home gardeners are able to add to their collection of plants and also improve on the original orchid’s health. Methods of orchid propagation commonly utilized by home gardeners are division, keikis, back bulbs and aerial cuttings.
In division, orchids are split into two or more parts, and each part will produce a fully grown plant that will flower the next season. It is a method best done just after a new growth begins, typically in early spring. Each division needs to have three back bulbs and one new growth. It is one of the simplest methods of propagating orchids that many people can easily do at home. Though you may worry about the thought of cutting your plant into two, it is actually good for your plant as it will encourage growth of new shoots that are healthier and more vigorous.
Occasionally, orchids will have a baby orchid clinging to them with its own roots. This is known as a keiki. A keiki can be found in an orchid’s roots, stems and bulbs. In propagating orchids using keikis, you must wait until the roots of the keikis grow to about three inches long. Pull it gently from the orchid until it is separated, then plant it in a new pot. Water and feed it very minimally, and keep it in a shady area. Once it grows bigger, you can then care for it like you would a grown orchid.
You can also use back bulbs to propagate orchids. This method is done during repotting. Once the plant is removed from its old pot, look at its pseudobulbs. Remove the old ones, both those that have flowered and not. Then, plant the pseudobulb in a new pot and care for it well-watering it once and twice a week, exposing it to sunlight and shade, adding fertilizer-basically treating it like a growing orchid. This will induce the pseudobulb to take root and hopefully flower.
In propagating orchids using aerial cuttings, fully grown orchids are cut off at the uppermost part of their stems, just below the aerial roots. The part that has been removed is then placed in orchid mixture to grow. The new plant will be similar to its parent. Most sympodial orchids like the Cattleya, Dendrobium, Cymbidium and Coelogyne are propagated using aerial cuttings.