Guide to Orchid Propagation: Multiplying Orchids at Home


With the proper knowledge and technique, propagating orchids at home can be a simple and rewarding endeavor. Our comprehensive guide provides all the necessary details to successfully multiply these exquisite flowers. Orchids, known for their stunning beauty, are relatively low-maintenance and make excellent houseplants when provided with the right environment and growing medium. Considering their expense, our guide on quickly propagating orchids at home is ideal for those seeking to multiply their existing plants to enjoy or share with friends.

How to Multiply Orchids – The Right Time

The optimal time to propagate this beautiful flowering plant is during fall or spring. Propagation is most successful when carried out during the plant’s active growth cycle in spring and summer, allowing for rapid root development.

How to Multiply Orchids from Cuttings?

Propagating orchids through cuttings offers a straightforward method for multiplying them. It’s important to note that single-stem orchids, particularly the Noble Dendrobium (Dendrobium nobile), are well-suited for this approach.

  1. Prepare a tray that is approximately 3-4 inches deep and fill it with a moist mixture of sand and sphagnum moss.
  2. Select a stem from the orchid, measuring around 10-12 inches in length, just below the node near the base. Divide the stem into 2-3 sections, ensuring each section possesses at least one node.
  3. Dip the cut end of each section into a rooting hormone and plant them into the prepared growing medium.
  4. Cover the tray with a transparent plastic bag and place it in a warm location where it can receive bright but indirect sunlight for 4-6 hours daily.
  5. After 5-8 weeks, the cuttings will exhibit new growth in the form of plantlets emerging from their nodes.
  6. For additional guidance, you can watch an informative video on this topic.

How to Multiply Orchids from Division?

Dividing orchids is another method of propagation. However, it is only suitable for sympodial orchids, which grow horizontally across the top of the pot. Divisions should be done when the mother plant becomes too large to manage or when the rhizomes become tangled.

  1. Separate the mother plant into 2-3 sections, ensuring that each division contains 3 to 4 pseudobulbs.
  2. Plant these divisions in pots filled with sphagnum moss or coconut husk/coir. Place them in a location where they receive ample bright but indirect light.

How to Multiply Orchids with Keiki (Pups)?

Keiki refers to a young plant that emerges on the stem of mature orchids, such as phalaenopsis, and can be utilized for propagating new orchids.

  1. Allow the Keiki to remain on the stem until you observe a few inches of long roots extending from it.
  2. Once the Keiki has developed several leaves, it is ready to be separated from the mother orchid.
  3. Cut the section of the orchid stem where the roots have sprouted and plant it in a pot.
  4. Mist the Keiki and place it in a location with abundant bright but indirect light.

How to Multiply Orchids from Back Bulbs?

When orchids flower, their older stems, known as back bulbs, wither and shed all their leaves. Leaving these back bulbs in the pot won’t yield any positive results since new growth is unlikely. However, when properly handled and removed, these back bulbs can give rise to new orchids. Follow the steps below to discover how to propagate orchids from back bulbs.

  1. Remove the back bulbs that no longer possess leaves from the mother plant.
  2. Prepare a plastic bag and fill it with a 2-inch layer of moist sphagnum moss.
  3. Place the back bulbs inside the plastic bag, burying approximately one-fourth of their bottoms in the sphagnum moss.
  4. Seal the plastic bag and position it in an area with indirect sunlight or scattered light, maintaining a temperature range of 70-75°F (21-24°C).
  5. After two months, the back bulbs will exhibit new growth. Once the leaves are a few inches long, transplant them into a shallow container and provide diffused light. Over the next few months, they will continue to develop and be ready for individual pots.

Propagating Orchids at Home – Aftercare

To promote healthy growth of your orchid cuttings, it is important to water the new plants until the excess moisture drains out from the drainage holes when the growing medium becomes dry.

Additionally, nourish the new orchids by applying a balanced liquid fertilizer, diluted to a quarter of its normal strength, once every 4-6 weeks.

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