starting a new orchid
My wife has an orchid that is about four years old. We don’t know anything about orchids and have a couple of questions.
The orchid is on that was bought and a Wal-mart type store and had three or four stems with white blooms. After the blooms were gone we waited to see if it would bloom again. There have been no more blossoms but there are several new plants growing on the old stems complete with roots and leaves. I know nothing of flowers but feel that the new starts could be broken off and planted in an orchid medium, is this the right thing to do?
If this is done and the original stems are cut back, will the original plant bloom again? Or is it a one shot thing?
The next question is if I replant the volunteer plants from the stem, how do you bend the roots to get them into a pot? They feel very fragile.
Thanks for any and all help.
Hmmm, looks like nobody answered you. I hope you're still here.
Yes, they are baby plants called keikis (sp?) which is Hawaiian for baby.
I don't know what kind of plant you have, but one of my Phaleanopsis orchids produced two keikis last year. Research I've done on them said to leave them on the spike (the "stem" that produces the flowers) for 6 months. Well, the plantlets were getting so big and the roots so long I simply couldn't follow that advice! Both plantlets were close together, and I feared if I left them on any longer I wouldn't be able to pot them both in individual pots. I was afraid of damaging one. So I went ahead and removed one of them, potted it up and gave it to my step mom who also grows orchids. Unfortunately she lost a few of hers, and this little plantlet was one of the casualties. A few weeks later I cut the remaining planlet off and potted it. Its been about 9 months since doing that, and my new plant has a spike of its own! Just one flower bud atop it, but from what I've read they aren't supposed to spike until 2 years after they first appeared.
Now, about those roots - Yes, they are easy to break. Orchids also don't want to be in pots that are too big. So what do you do? Beats me. That's why I didn't wait to cut them off and pot them up. What I did find out though is that if you break a root you can use cinnamon on the end of it to sterilize it.
My advice would be to go ahead and remove them (sounds like they were big enough) and put them in new pots. I put mine in an orchid pot (has holes or slits along the sides) about 4 inches in diameter. If it survives you've got a new plant for free!
You won't really hurt the old plant by leaving it on there, but you might inhibit its ability to produce new flowers since it is using energy to nourish the baby plants.
This site tell how to repot orchids.
Here's the main page with lots of info. You may even be able to identify your orchids here.