Hahaha, not me!

One of Mom’s Orchids is having a baby!

(Mom’s photo, much better than mine below.)

So weird looking! She thought the stem would produce flower buds, but that definitely isn’t a bud.

Neither she nor I have ever seen an Orchid do this. But some cursory googling reveals that the Mother plant is producing what’s called a “Keiki” which is Hawaiian for baby.

As with everything on the Internet, everyone seems to have a different opinion on what to do with the baby.

I read that the presence of a Keiki may mean that the Mother plant is dying – she throws out a baby to preserve her legacy.

One website said to leave the Keiki on the stem until it forms roots, and even flowers itself, to insure its survival.

Other sites said it’s ok to cut the Keiki once it has roots of its own (which it doesn’t yet).

I told Mom that it reminds me of how some onions “walk” by producing a stem with bulblets that then falls over and roots into the ground.

I’d prefer input from you, my esteemed and super intelligent readers. What experience do you have with this oddball Orchid activity?

Do you think it would “walk” if she put a pot of soil next to the Mother plant?

Given how readily most Phalaenopsis Orchids grow, do you think it’s really necessary to wait until the baby has bloomed before repotting it? Can’t she just snip it off as soon as it has established roots of its own?

We both think this new growth is very cool. Have no idea what caused it, but it’s awesome nonetheless.

If you have any tips for us, that would be great. Thanks in advance!

I’ll update this post with your advice, so others can see it as well.

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Updated:

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Not that I’m an orchid expert or anything, but I think yes, you can probably remove it once it has substantial roots of its own. (I no longer remember where the advice came from, but what I wound up writing in my Phalaenopsis profile was “When a keiki has grown some substantial roots, two inches long or thereabouts, and about three leaves, then it can be removed from the parent and potted up separately.”)

I also doubt that it necessarily means anything bad that the plant has produced a keiki, especially if it otherwise looks healthy.”

Nancy Popp Mumpton of Arizona wrote, “By coincidence, my garden club had an orchid expert and judge as a speaker today. She talked about the keiki (I didn’t know how to spell it until I saw your post (so Thank You for that!). Anyway, she agreed with Mr. S. As soon as it develops some roots you can cut it off and have another plant. The mother plant does not die or anything. It’s happy! it’s a mother!”

Josheph Brenner wrote, “Typically, this is a stress reaction, often caused by prolonged heat during the blooming period. If the plant seems healthy, otherwise, you should have no problems.
The next question is whether you are willing to wait anywhere from 6-12 months for those roots(it can take a while). There are many who would rather devote all of ‘Mother’s’ energy towards flower production.
For those who like to propagate there’s ‘keiki paste’. It duplicates the hormone reaction.”

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And I’ll be back manana with an all-new post, so I hope to see you back here.

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