Orchid Stem Propogation: A How To

Growing and maintaining orchidsin your home garden is not always the simplest flower to deal with. They need reduced lighting and soil that drains well.  Although growing from orchid seeds may prove to be a difficult task, nothing is more complex than trying to propagate orchids from existing stems.  Not only does it require a lot of patience, but some additional equipment as well.  

The easiest Way to Propagate But the Most Uncertain as Well

Like most flowers and plants, once they have grown too large or have developed any kind of health problems, the quickest way to propagate is to divide and transplant before it is too late.  If you notice a portion of your orchids turning brown or yellow, dividing the flowers and replanting them in another location might be a quick way to save them so that they can still thrive.  The only problem is that the likelihood of the newly transplanted flowers of surviving is reduced to half the chance if you had left them alone to fend for themselves in their original state.  Either way, the odds are better for a move and potentially will save your orchids.  

Another Relatively Easy Procedure

Taking what is called aerial cuttings is another process that requires little scientific knowledge to complete.  The procedure places the orchid plants in conditions where they have little likelihood of actually flowering.  While these are not harsh conditions, too little light and warmer temperatures will cause this to occur. While this sounds like a negative concept, instead it produces small shoots in place of the flower buds.  Once these mature, they can be removed from the host plant and transplanted elsewhere under proper growing conditions that will yield flowers instead of more aerial shoots.  

The Scientific Way

The procedure that most growers use to propagate orchids can be duplicated in your own homes. However, it requires even more patience and a completely sterile environment.  Seeds can be germinated at a slow rate in sterile conditions if the proper techniques are taken into consideration.  Orchid seeds are placed into flasks that have been cleaned of all possible contaminants and mixed with a homemade fertilizer solution very similar to what you would add to your already flowering orchid plants.  Potassium rich ingredients such as banana extract are included as well as agar, which is a natural gelatin that helps bind the solution and keep the seeds in tact and nourished during germination.  

Once the seeds germinate, they need to be moved to another sterile flask with a similar solution so that there is ample room for them to grow into seedlings.  This process actually will need to be done several times, with sterilization being completed before each transfer to ensure that no mold or unwanted bacteria has entered the flask.  The entire process from seed to flask will take months at a time, allowing them to germinate and mature to the point where they will be able to be transferred out of the flasks in the lab and into the garden.