Would Like Advice On How To Deal With A Baby And The Mother Phalaenopsis

by Tricia
(Santa Fe, NM)

I have been a surrogate mom for a Phalaenopsis (at least I think that is what it is) and have had it now for about 2 years. When I took over the care of it, it bloomed brightly for almost 4 months. It did not bloom this year - instead the bloom stalk produced a "baby bump" and now has produced the baby plant. The baby has 1 root that is now about 1 1/2 inches long, and the bloom stalk is pretty much brown now. The momma has lost all but 1 leaf, and I am worried the baby is taking all the nutrients from the medium. I have no idea what to do!! I do not know what kind of medium the 'momma' plant has (which it obviously liked). Does the baby need to be on its own? Please guide me, so that I can have 2 beautiful orchids.

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Jul 19, 2011
How To Deal With A Baby Orchid and The Mother Orchid
by: Melissa

These are great questions! Thanks for bringing them forward so others can read them as well.

Yes, I suspect that your orchid is a Phalaenopsis, they are somewhat prone to making babies. There are called "keikis" which is a Hawaiian workd for "baby".

What you are describing is a Phalaenopsis (or mother plant) and the "baby bump" on the old spike is indeed a baby orchid. It is a keiki which is an identical genetic copy of the parent plant.

Often when conditions are not quite right for a Phalaenopsis to bloom, or if the plant "feels" like conditions are not quite right they will reproduce asexually by making a keiki.

If the mother plant only has one leaf it is indeed struggling.

The general rule is to wait until the roots are about 2 inches long before transplanting the keiki or baby to its own pot. If in fact the stem is really brown and dying then it would be best to go ahead and transplant the keiki now as it is not getting much nutrients from the parent.

The mother plant has been trying to save itself by reproducing. I suspect that the mother plant has root rot.

Here are my recommendations.

Determine if the stem with the baby is really brown and dead or if it is in fact still green inside.

Check to see if the medium of the mother plant has broken down and if the roots are rotten. They would be brown and dry or brown and mushy if the medium is wet. The pot for the mother should drain and drain well.

I would suggest that you repot the mother plant into orchid fir bark (available at any nursery). This looks like little pieces of wood, not like dirt or soil. Orchid Fir Bark. Take the mother plant out of the pot it is in, remove the media and clean it up. Cut off any dead roots. Use a new single edged razor blade and if the roots are rotten do not use the same razor blade to cut rotten and healthy roots. Repot the mother plant in a pot that drains using medium sized orchid bark. The pot should be about one half to one inch larger that the bare root ball after you have cleaned it up.

For the baby, it will probably just snap off the old stem. KEEP THE ROOTS WITH IT. Put it in a much smaller pot and use fine orchid bark if possible. It will need water more frequently then the parent plant as it is small.

I hope this is helpful in getting you 2 beautiful orchids.

Let me know how it goes or contact me if you have more questions about repotting.

Good luck. And Congradulations on being a new parent.


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