6 Techniques of Orchid Propagation

When the discussion of orchid propagation comes up at the local orchid society there are six ways to approach the topic: division, back bulbs, Keiki, aerial cutting, meristem or tissues culture and seed. Meristern or tissue culture and seed propagation are not typically done in a home environment. True laboratory conditions need to be in place for success. This is mainly for the need to maintain sterile surroundings.


One plant divided by whatever means into smaller plants is division. This is the most widely used form of propagation by home and novice orchid growers. By making sure the new plants will have at least one new growth shoot the plant should in turn develop into a plant able to flower the next season.

A division is a preferred methodology when wanting to create more plants of the same species. While new growers to the beauty of orchids may not want to pull and cut apart their special plants, there are valid reasons to do just that. Separating a plant encourages growth. So you are actually helping your plants to do better. Each split part should have three back bulbs and at least one shoot of new growth. This is critical for the plant to have enough energy to grow and prosper. Divide in the spring. This will allow your new plants the full season for growth.

Back Bulbs

The methodology of propagating a new orchid from old plants that have flowered and also non-flowered back pseudo bulbs. This approach may result in a time of up to two to three years for the orchid to reach a blooming state.

The best timing for this procedure is at repotting time for your orchid. The other consideration to this propagation is the need to place this new plant into idyllic growing circumstances.

These conditions will induce rooting of the new plant and growth. A key component for this to work well is to make sure you have at least two healthy back bulbs and a growth shoot for the adventure to thrive. While this process is not considered a clone, you will wind up with an identical plant.

This is a great way for home growers to propagate an orchid to increase their flowering plants for enjoyment. One of the species best suited for this type of propagation is a cymbidium orchid.

Division and back bulb methods for propagation are the two predominant types of procedures for the home orchid grower. There are other ways orchids are propagated.


This technique is used with the Phalaenopsis orchid. This is somewhat a natural process. The orchid will produce on a flower spike a node.

This node will turn into a small plant that will grow into maturity a new orchid plant. This node grows in a circumstance where under normal constraints a new branch would start.

Aerial Cutting

This methodology is common to the dendrobiums. If the orchids are placed into a stressful growing environment Keiki the orchid will respond by not flowering and produce plants in their place. This is a suitable way to increase your orchid stock but you do so at the loss of bloom in the short run.

Meristem of Tissue Culture

This propagation is not suitable for a home orchid grower. The conditions needed for success is equated to a laboratory. Sterile surroundings and cleanliness are fundamental to this procedure. Most home orchid growers cannot achieve such an environment. This method is used by professional hybridizers to propagate orchids on a commercial scale.


This technique is best left to the professional. Orchid seed is nothing like the seeds we start for the annual vegetable or flower garden. Unconditional sterility is a must for this process to succeed.

Division and Back blubs are the two types of Orchid propagation best matched for the home orchid enthusiast. You can use these two straightforward modus operandi to achieve results that will rival the greenhouse.


About the Author

With the endless passion for organic living, I - Ann Sanders has come up with the idea of creating A Green Hand. Being the founder and editor of A Green Hand, my goal is to provide everyone with a wide range of tips about healthy lifestyle with multiform categories including gardening, health & beauty, food recipe,...

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