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Baby orchid questions

This is a discussion on Baby orchid questions within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Ten months ago I acquired a Phal in need of "rescuing". I cut off the ...

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  1. #1
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    Question Baby orchid questions

    Ten months ago I acquired a Phal in need of "rescuing". I cut off the dead roots and repotted it. At first it seemed to get worse (through the clear plastic pot I could see at least 2 more roots dying). But after 2 months a new leaf grew, not on the original plant, but off to the side. That leaf was followed by another, and then three roots (including an aerial root). Two months ago the mother plant finally began regrowing roots. That brings me to my questions:

    1) Is the little plantlet what is called a basal keiki?

    2) Since, as I mentioned, some of the roots on the mother plant died and (as a result?) algae is growing on the pot, I was thinking of repotting. Does that sound advisable at this stage?

    3) If I detatch the baby, should I make the cut before or after repotting? ( I've read that when deviding cattleyas it's best to cut the rhizome 6 months before repotting, but maybe I'm comparing apples and oranges?)

    Thanks for your help!

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    A lot has to due with the condition of the roots on the keiki (that's what it is). The roots should be at least 2 -3 inches long to make sure it can support itself before cutting it away from the mother (my experience). I have pots that have algae in them, it's not uncommon with phals... My suggestion right now would be to repot as one, give it another 4 -6 months and then consider detaching the keiki. You should repot and remove keiki at the same time, as a basal keiki's roots are part of the support structure of the momma plant, and so you will need to re-establish both plants in new media that fully supports them.

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    Can you post a picture? It will show us the size of the keikei, and while I've had zillions on Dends, I've never actually seen one on a Phal.

    Thanks!
    Julie

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    Angry keikei

    Does anyone know how to keep from injuring the main plant when removing the keikei from the body? Does the keikei have to be removed ? Its so attached to the body I'm afraid I'll kill the mother!:

    Thanks for any help anyone can provide.


    Joan

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    Hi Joan,

    A keikei left on forever will eventually tax the parent plant's strength. When the aerial roots reach 2-3", it's big enough to pot on its own.

    Removing it does tear some of the parent's tissue, but the Mommy is a big girl and will recover without problem. Sprinkle cinnamon to ensure no infection from the wound, but you shouldn't have any problem.

    Julie

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    You don't have to remove the keiki from the mother. For certain orchids like phals, vandas, they make basal keikis as a means to stay alive and keep on growing if their growing tip is injured, rotted or dead. Since the mother plant still has the roots and maybe a few leaves, it helps nourishing the young keiki and that helps speeding up the growth of the keiki a lot. I would just let it grow like that until either the mother plant decides to die or the keiki grows lot of roots and has many leaves before I would remove the keiki and repot it.
    Other species like dendrobiums also make tons of keikis. Besides as their last ditch effort to stay alive, many of these dendrobs do that as the extra means of propagation. Oncidiums/Zygo do this too but not basal keiki but the keiki sprouts at the top of the leafless pseudobulbs!
    Cheers. Hoa.

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    Thanks for the tips! I didn't realize that the momma plant was dependent on the baby too.

    Julie, I don't have the technology to send a picture right now (I know, I'm living in the stone age, right?), but I should have it by the end of the month and will post a picture then.

    As for the root size, one is 2 1/2 in, the other grew toward the middle where I can't see it. The aerial root is about 4 in. It grew straight down over the edge of the pot, and now I have to be careful that it doesn't touch the pebbles and water beneath!

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    Be careful when repotting not to break that arial root.... If possible, try to put it into the potting media when you place the plants back into a pot.

    As for removing a basal keiki, get a very sharp blade, like a box knife blade, sterilize it. Then cut one stroke through the area where the keiki and the mother are connected. Avoid damaging any roots. You can sprinkle cinnamon on the cuts - not on the roots. repot. Phals are really forgiving, so you should not have a problem when you decide to split off the keiki. Last time I had one it had 4 or 5 good healthy leaves before I split it off from momma. (I've also had cases where once the keiki started to grow, momma just died away)

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    Smile phal keikei

    Thanks so much everyone for all the helpful information. This phal was one that I rescued from a friend who didn't have the time to care for it. It grew the keikei after I repotted and started to care for it. The mother plant did have a number of viable roots. I hope it doesn't die when the keikei grows stronger.

    Joan

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    Cinnamon? Ive never heard of that before.

    HO2 the pot to kill off algae.

    I thought kikkis only came out on the equitant onc's? I would love to see one on any onc if someone had pictures I would be very appreciative!

    I have a phal at work that is only the inflorescence, I has two new branches with buds. I tried some keiki grow on the lowest node, I've seen some activity, but I really want a keiki and not another branch of flowers.

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