Keiki “Baby Orchid”

What is a keiki?

updated 12/10/17

The word keiki is Hawaiian for “baby.” A keiki is essentially a baby orchid produced from your original “mother” plant. A keiki will be the same genre as the mother and will have similar color and likeness. There are two types of keikis: basal keiki and apical/ariel keiki.

  • Basal means it is located at/or near the base of an orchid.
  • Apical means it grows from the apex of the bloom stem of an orchid….way up high.

As defined above, keiki’s can grow in two different locations on an orchid and for two different reasons.

Locations (Places a keiki will grow):

  • Apical keiki – From an existing stalk with its OWN aerial roots (shown above). These grow high on already existing orchid bloom stalks.


  • Basal keiki – Along side the existing orchid, growing from its base and SHARING the same root system (shown above).

Reasons (a keiki will grow):

  • Many times an orchid will “save itself” by sprouting a keiki because it is dying. This happens a lot when crown or root rot has taken hold of an orchid. This is normally due to the orchid being potted in a pot with no drainage thus being overwatered which suffocates the roots.
  • A dormant node on an orchid “decides” to sprout a new keiki in an otherwise completely healthy orchid. This happens when there is a build up of growth hormones.

What should you do with a keiki?

 You can do two different things, depending on where the keiki is located.

A. Apical keiki – If it is sprouting from an existing bloom stem, way up high (as shown in the first example – under locations) with its own aerial roots you should do the following:

  1. Wait until it has at least two or three good size roots.
  2. Snip it off about 1 or 2 inches down the bloom stalk, being careful to not clip the small keiki roots.
  3. Repot it NEXT to the existing mother plant for the first year (if it is time to repot the mother then repot both at the same time in the same pot). After the first year, you may place it in its own little pot. We do this because it’s the same genre and it helps to keep it in the same mix it grew in order to regulate humidity, watering and fertilization. Or, if the mother is suffering, you would want to repot the keiki in a fresh new pot and most likely discard the mother.
  4. When potting it, you will want to push the roots downward with the small shoot that you have cut off. Roots are sometimes not malleable unless wet. If this is the case, then I would recommend soaking them in water before doing this.

It may take months before an Ariel keiki is ready to be cut off. Below is an example.


Note: you can keep the keiki on the existing mother plant and it will bloom, but it may look a bit sloppy because it’s dangling in the air. I would only suggest doing this if the mother plant is healthy and you don’t mind the look.

B. Basal keiki – If it is sprouting from the root base, along side an existing orchid (as shown in the second example – under location), you will want to do the following:

This case is very different from the above one because the keiki is SHARING the root system of the mother (it does not have one of its own) and therefore CANNOT be separated! In this case you should leave it alone. These keikis tend to grow quickly because they are sharing the existing established root system of the mother.

In the case of a basal keiki growing because the mother plant is dying, you would still do nothing. The mother plant will die back/fade away and the basal keiki will replace it. How cool is that?!

In the case of a basal keiki growing because there was a build up of growth hormones on a healthy orchid, again do nothing. The mother and baby will grow side by side and create an even bigger orchid.

Hope that helps,


Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at with pictures of your orchid.

149 Comments on “Keiki “Baby Orchid”

  1. Hi I have had my orchid for 2 years and it’s always flowered over the last 4 months it has grown 7 keikis and two have just started to grow ! So 9 in total I’m told this is very unusual however I’m convinced it’s due to root rot . The oldest keiki is now growing a stem between the top two leaves ! Some of the keiki are close together on the mother plant and the roots entwined and I don’t have a clue what to do – help !

  2. My orchid has just sprouted a keiki and it’s leaves are becoming dehydrated and it has quite a lot of root rot. How can I save both my keiki and mother orchid?

    • Hi,

      Does your orchid currently have drainage?

      How much and how often do you water it?

      “Make sure it’s potted in a singular pot (not two pots) with a drainage hole and only water when it’s VERY dry.

      No Drainage

      How to water

      Just remove it from the decorative pot (if it is in one) and don’t put it back in. Leave it in the inner pot. Orchids like air flow and clear pots also help with photosynthesis.”


      • My orchid has good drainage and is in a clear pot, I noticed the plant had severe root damage so I repotted it last night it only had one root and another coming through. I don’t over water as my other 4 orchids are doing fine. Thanks for your help 😊

  3. Hi I have about 12 orchids, they are green and healthy with green roots, but most of the roots are coming up wards between the leaves, why they are not blooming yet ?

  4. I have 2 keiki 2 flowers and a new stem from last year’s orchid the keiki now have 3 2ins roots each and the new stem is about 4ins.
    I’m going to get larger pot and potting stuff then when the keiki the are about 3 ins cut them and plant with mother plant

  5. I love your site.I received one orchid,one month ago…and I felt in love with her so I bought 4 really help me with your blog.I’ve seen some video on youtube..about a keiki paste…what do you think about that?Im interested in growing more orchids…and I would like to multiply them at home

  6. My orchid currently has two Keiki’s on it, the one that has been on the longest, the stem is starting to die. The Keiki does not have roots. Can I somehow save it?

    • Hello,
      I have 6 Phals, had them for years. They bloom, they’re growing, and they have all been repotted at some point since I have had them.

      One of my oldest orchids had a Keiki sprout on the top of it’d old stem last year (before I was aware of what a Keiki even was) I left it alone and kept caring for it as usual. I don’t always cut them back after flowering, this one, in my mind, was obviously very healthy and vigorous.

      Well, I was bathing my orchids in the sink a couple weeks ago and the “baby” was knocked clean off. I started researching if it would ever turn into an orchid, or if it was just growing strange because I never cut it back. It never got any of it’s own roots. I still have it hovering near water inside of a shallow bowl shaped vase hoping it might root.

      My host plant is thriving still, so I have no worries about her. My question is, am I wasting my time with this little Keiki? Do you have any suggestions to encourage it to root?

      Thanks a bunch.


      • Hi,

        I don’t have any advice if it doesn’t have roots. I am so sorry. Orchids need roots to be planted so I don’t know what to tell you.

        Hannah 😦

  7. I love your site. I have three orchids
    Of the same variety, the oldest orchid is 3 years old and has bloomed 3 times but I am unsure what to do with it. I was going to repot it today – it has two apical keiki’s – one on each stem. The issue is one of my keiki’s looks like it is going to bloom. The pots have good drainage and I usually water it every couple of weeks from the bottom with 1/4 cup of warm water – sometimes
    With a few grains of orchid food
    Dissolved in the water.
    Should I still cut the keiki’s and repot in a larger pot with the mother as there are
    2 keiki’s?
    Should I leave it alone and let it bloom?
    I will send a picture with my name
    Attached to it

    • Hi,

      Does the keiki have a spike on it? If so I would wait to repot till after it blooms. Repotting now could stunt the blooms.


      • Yes, it does have a spike. I probably won the orchid lottery with this but I’m afraid I will end up losing my orchid

      • Yes, it does have a spike. I probably won the orchid lottery with this but I’m afraid I will end up losing my orchid thank you for everything

  8. Hi! My orchid is also dying like many of the other orchids here are too but it has two keiki’s. One of them has some roots (around 1-2inches) but since the mother one is dying, the leaves of the keiki are starting to wither. Is there any solution to this? Thank you!!

  9. Hello I wonder where I can buy the product keiki grow or a similar product.

  10. I have 2 apical babies on the same stem and the mother has died. They have not grown any roots yet. What can I do to save the keiki?

  11. Hi, my mother orchid has been growing well for nearly three years. It has sprouted three keikis each with roots about 1/2 inch. One of the spikes about two inches above one keiki is turning brown. What can I do to save the baby? Do you need me to send a picture? Thanks in advance.

  12. I was able to stop the spreading of crown rot on one of my phals. It lost a leaf on the top. For months it stayed dormant but about 8 weeks ago a keiki started to grow directly out of the crown. The keiki now has two leaves, 5-6 roots, and a flower spike. Have you seen this or have suggestions on how to possibly remove it and when to remove it?

    • Hi,

      Yes I have have seen this. As stated above this is a basal keiki (growing out of the original base). You don’t want to remove it because it is linked to the original root base. Eventually it will take over and replace the dying mother. You just have to care for the orchid like its normal and wait for it to grow bigger and take over. This could take awhile.

      You can always send me a pic at just to make sure this is what it is.


  13. I’m so glad I found this page! I couldn’t figure out what the heck my orchid was doing, but after reading this I know it’s a keiki! My orchid has a large apical keiki that’s been growing for about 2 years now. I didn’t know what it was, but since I didn’t want to kill my orchid I’ve just left it alone. It survived a move across the country and I’ve been hesitant to change anything since it’s obviously still growing. I’ve had it for about 3.5 years and have never repotted it, which is probably why it has never bloomed since the bloom it had when I got it. I want to repot the keiki, but three of the roots are incredibly long (the longest is 15 inches). Any advice on how to repot it with such long roots, and what size pot to use?

    • Hi,

      Just get a pot that would make the roots snug – not too big. You can soak the keiki (after you snip it off) in a bucket of water to make the roots malleable (maybe ten minutes) so they won’t break and then twist them into a ball shape to make them work in the new pot.

      Hannah 🙂

  14. Hi, I just bought a new phal orchid today and it has two spikes that are in bloom. One spike has 3 of its own leaves that it doesn’t share with the other spike, and the newest leaf is growing from the lowest node, about three inches above the last leaf. Is this normal? Is it a keiki? I have had a few orchids in the past and only one did really well, and I have never seen anything like this. Thanks for your help and your great tips.

  15. I am trying to save my moms first orchid which she overwatered. Mother plant dying leaves green but withered 4 Ariel keiki’s have sprouted over last 3 to 4 months. None of them have a root system. I am very worried mother won’t last until keiki’s develop enough to survive. Any ideas?

    • I am so sorry that this happened! You honestly just have to wait for it to grow enough roots to pot it. I would water it normally and basically treat it like a healthy plant.


  16. Hi there! Love your blog and it’s so informative. I do have a question though, that I can’t seem to find an answer for.

    About a month ago I repotted my phalaenopsis orchid. The bark had become rotted and I realized late that the roots were rotted, as well. My plant showed no signs, which I found odd. The leaves did not wither and it actually sprouted keikis and leaves from both stalks and another at the bottom. I realize they were probably trying to save this plant now! Doing a good job, too, because if you didn’t see the roots, you would not know it is on the way out.

    I’ve usually watered my orchid once every two weeks. I would feel the bark and then water if it felt ready. After I repotted, it seemed to do well but I noticed just this week that one of the large leaves looks wrinkled. The keikis on top also look slightly withered but not dead- yet. I decided to pull the plant up and check it out and found that the rest of the roots that were left are rotted. The bark at the bottom of the pot was slightly moist although I had watered it over a week ago. I took out the rotted bark and put new bark in. But I’m unsure what to do since there is only the new root at the bottom now. I tried to take several pictures to send if you need to see.

    One keiki at the top has one root with two leaves, the other has two roots with two leaves. They do not seem big enough to plant. I clipped off dead roots. The plant still looks very healthy on the top minus two leaves that are slightly wrinkled.

    Thanks so much in advance! And merry Christmas!

  17. Hi, I am trying to help my mom pot her orchid’s keiki. It is apical and has very long roots, maybe 6″? It is a very big baby. Trying to figure out how to get those roots into a pot without damaging them… Can I send you a picture?

  18. Thank you so much for this informative site and the time you devote to it! My question relates to my year old phalenopsis that started growing 1 apical keiki about 5 months ago. Prior to this Mama had previously produced a new leaf so was up to 8 leaves and looked healthy. The keiki still has no roots and only 3 leaves: one at 1.5 inches and 2 only .5 inches long. They don’t seem to be getting any larger and have looked the same for a couple of months. Now Mama has started losing leaves off the bottom as they turn yellow and fall off, so am down to 5 mama leaves with the lowest starting to yellow now. I soak its medium about weekly with an orchid fertilizer when the bark and moss mix dry out and then empty it’s tray before setting it back atop another dish filled with pea gravel and some water to try to keep it humid. The orchid pot sits on top of the rocks so is not wet in its tray. The orchid pot has lots of side holes and a drainage hole to the attached tray. It sits on a bathroom counter with only a skylight above but does not receive any direct sunbeams through the skylight. I’m concerned that the mama is losing her leaves now before the baby is growing any roots. Is there something you’d recommend I do so the baby grows roots before the mama dies? Thanks so much for your help!

    • Hi,

      I would love to help!

      Unfortunately you can not separate the keiki until it has roots so you will have to wait.

      Soaking it once a week seems like a bit much. Are you sure it’s totally dry before watering it? Like dry down by the roots. It seems like it could be suffering from root rot.

      Also I would hold off fertilizing it right now till it balances out. What type of fertilizer are you using?

      Also you can always send me a picture of it at


      • Thank you so much for your response and your help, Hannah.

        I thought it was totally dried out (feeling down into the bark) but it is possible it really wasn’t. I am using an orchid fertilizer 11-35-15 and was using it every watering based on the recommendation given to me by a orchid grower at a local store. I’ll hold off as you suggest. I’ve now taken it out an examined the roots and repotted. There is only one firm root, the other several look like light brown hollow dried tubes. Thanks for the offer to send pictures; I’ll do that. Is it too late with only 1 barely green root left?

      • Hi,

        It’s never too late as long as it has one healthy root or leaf. I have had some come back from this. It’s not easy but it needs to rest and be watered sparingly.


  19. Hi- I just came across this website, Thx for the info! My mama orchid has sprouted a keiki and the roots are very long (actually there are 5 roots)! I’m afraid to separate it from the mama… the mama orchid is still very healthy- so I just want to be sure that I can leave because the keiki is getting quite large… I think this plant is so beautiful- I am afraid I will damage it if I remove the baby… Help!!!

  20. Hi Hannah,

    Thank you for you article, it was I was looking for :). I’m new to orchids, just started growing them 2 years ago. I have a few orchids and now two of them have little plants which I learned from your article that it’s called Keiki (such a cute name). My mother orchids have each type of keiki, the apical keiki has 3 2-inches roots and 3 new pointy roots. I want to repot it but I will not be home in December so I think I will leave it with the mother until I return to care for them. Anyway, Thank you so much for your useful article :).

  21. Hi Hannah

    Thank you for this very informative article. I hope you can help me. My orchid was dying and sprouted a keiki, but the keiki hasn’t grow roots yet, just leaves, and the mother has sadly died from crowne rot. i unfortunately caught it too late. Is there anything I can do to save this Keiki?

      • Hi Hannah

        The leaves are still healthy and they are high up on the stem.


      • I would leave it alone and see if it grows roots – it needs to have roots before you can snip it off and repot it. They need to be at least a few inches long. This could take awhile.

        Best of luck and let me know how it goes,


  22. Thankyou for this article. I do have a question for you though. One of my orchid started growing two keiki’s on the stem. I left it so it could grow some more roots before cutting it off. It has been nearly over three months and one Keiki has grown two roots and the other just one and a spike growing. No more. The mother is not doing well at all. The leaves are a yellow tint almost wrinkly. I took a look in the orchid mix and nothing much is happening there. There doesn’t seem like there is a single root that is green. Obviously all the energy is going to the Keiki. My question is do I leave the Keiki growing on the stem as they only have a few roots or do I pot them? And if so do I pot it with the mother or in a individual pot? Since the mother is not looking very good I don’t think it would be regulating the orchid mix very well for a Keiki to grow in.

    • Sylwia,

      That is a good question and I would love to help! I would let them grow for as long as possible before clipping them off. They need at least two or three roots that are near three inches long before you cut them.

      Since the mother is not doing well I would NOT plant them with her. You will need very small pots (maybe 4 inch ones)… I will attach a link below that shows what I mean. They need to have lots of drainage and never be standing in water.

      Hope that helps,


  23. Hiya,

    Firstly, thank you so much for having such a top notch site.

    Secondly, have you any advise about taking care of Mama whilst she is growing stem keikis? All the content I can Google is focused on the youngster. Do you reckon I need to give extra fertiliser support or other nutrients?

    Thank you!

    • Hi,

      That’s a good question! Personally I would not add extra fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can burn roots etc. I would continue to my normal routine.


  24. Hi I am from singapore n I luv plants. I hv an orchid growing in a shell and it’s getting too big. I plan to transplant the keikis (2) but I am afraid they might die. What should I do? (Orchid abt 6 inches wide 5 inches tall.)

    • Hi Tzer,

      I would love to help! Any way you can send me a picture at If not we can try to figure it out here.

      1. Do you know what kind of orchid it is?

      2. Where are the keiki’s located?

      3. It’s growing in a shell? Did you plant it there? Does it have proper drainage (hole somewhere)?


  25. Hi,
    I’m so HAPPY to find this site. I love orchids and a have a few of them, more than two years ago a bought a orchid and she start to grow and half was starting to die so I split the orchid. I never trough away plants i believe in second change so the orchid that was almost dead i keep it and now have two babies, one close to the root and the other one on the air. I need help I don’t know what to do?.
    PS: English is not my first language. I hope I express myself right.

    • Claudia,

      I would love to help!

      As stated above: the one that is attached way below (by the root) you leave it alone. It will take over the mother plant. Don’t do anything.

      The one way up high: wait for it to produce roots that are at least three inches long then cut it off at the stem and repot it. Don’t cut the baby – just the mother stem.

      Orchids normally produce babies when they are dying.

      Is your orchid in a pot without a drainage hole?

      Also how much and how often do you water it?


  26. Hi

    It seems like my phalenopsis is growing 3 apical keikis at once!
    One is about 3 months old and has leaves but hasnt begun to sprout roots yet.
    The 2nd is on the same flower stem and I initially thought it was just a new stem growing from the flower node as it has 4 decently sized buds growing on it but now I see there is a leaf sprouting at the base of the node.
    The third is on a different flower stem and has just started to pop up.

    Is this healthy? I have no idea if I should just leave them?


  27. I just obtained a keiki today. I got it from a garden where the caretaker was cutting off keiki’s and rep-potting them. However he doesn’t remember which mother plant corresponds to which keiki so I suppose this one will just be a surprise for me when (if?) it blooms.

    My question is, how long should I expect to wait before the first bloom?

    Pictures for your reference:

    • Hi,

      That is a Dendrobium orchid (I have a post them) they like to be potted in super small pots. It will take some time to bloom. I would give it a year.


  28. Hello,

    I have two phalaenopsis orchids which have apical keiki’s at very early stages. I was just wondering how to water them when they grow leaves and roots. Do you mist them? Or do you just water the mother plant and leave the keikis alone until they are ready to be separated (roots at 2 to 3 inches)? If misting is the way to go are there any tips you recommend? The few times I have tried it, the aerial roots became brown and shriveled (I used a fine mist of filtered water); I have taken to using humidity trays instead of misting…

    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you!


    • Hi,

      I would love to help! I prefer humidity trays over misting as well. And you don’t have to worry about giving them extra water. They will gather all they need from the mother plant.

      Sounds like you have a good grasp on things! Good luck.


  29. Hi,

    I would love to help. You can repot it if needs that but there are many reasons why the leaves maybe shriveling.

    Before you repot it…

    How do you water it?
    How much do you water it?
    Does it have drainage holes at the bottom of its pot?
    Where is it placed it your home? Near a window for natural light?

    Can you send me picture at


    • Hi,
      I just emailed you a picture. I water the bark potting mix and I use tap water. I usually water it when it’s really dry and the pot doesn’t weigh much. There are drain holes at the bottom of the pot. I usually leave the extra water in the saucer. It is placed near a window so it gets natural light.


  30. My orchid is growing an apical keiki. It accidentally fell off of my table and one of the keiki’s roots broke. It initially had two roots: one root is now broken and was small to begin with, the other is about 1.5 inches long. Should I do anything to help it? Do I wait until the initial root grows a little longer? The mother plant and keiki both seem to be in good condition, but I feel so bad that the root broke!!

    • I am so sorry that happened. You can’t really do anything to help the baby root. You do need to wait till the roots are longer to repot it. Around two to three inches,


  31. My orchid has an apical keiki! It accidentally fell off of the table and one of the keiki’s roots broke a little bit. It only had two roots (one is now broken) and the other is about 1.5 inches long. Will It be ok? Do I need to wait for the one root to get longer?

  32. I need an advice please. I love orchids, but I do not have experience in its care… I have an orchid with arial keiky without roots,,,what can I do to preserve it. Thanks

    • Hi,

      It will eventually grow roots. This can take months. You can not clip it off until it has roots because you won’t be able to pot it and it won’t survive.

      Wait till the roots are at least three inches long and there is a few of them…then you can cut it and pot it.


    • Hi,

      I would love to help!

      It looks like an Oncidium orchid… Does it have a care tag that says what it is?

      How do you water it? How often?
      Does it have drainage holes for the water to come out at the bottom?
      Where is placed in your home? Outside?


      • it says, that is a “Catta”. we planted in a plastic, transparent cup, usually we wait until is dry to water it and we asked and someone told us to use some fertilizer 20-20-20… and is placed next to a window that doesn´t habe direct light…. (i’m sorry if i don’t express myself right, my english is a little rusty)

  33. Hi Hannah,

    I ‘ve got this 4″ pot size phalaenopsis back in the summer time and I think it’s a Keiki that’s growing from the leaf. At the same time I have 1 bloom from this which looked odd. I like to send pic of this so so you tell me what exactly is happening.



  34. Hi Hannah,

    I’ve had my orchid for about 10 months (my first one!). The roots have never been very strong and today I pulled it out of the pot because I suspected root rot and found that there are no healthy roots left and the crown is rotting. It has two spikes and both spikes are growing keikis! One keiki has about an inch long root, the other has no root yet. I want to save the kieki that has a root before the mother plant dies and am not sure how to do this. The bottom of the two stems seem to be rotting as well so I need to act quick. I have pictures that I can share but can’t figure out if I can post on here. Any suggestions you can offer are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for your help, I love reading your blog!


  35. Dear Hannah,

    Two years ago, I bought an orchid, and after all the flowers were gone…I had to take her out of the moss and put her in wood chips. Shortly after that, the orchid started to die, only few roots had left.
    Long story short, in these few months I see some changes; two little strong leaves grown ( about 3 inch each leaf.) and stopped there, and one baby orchid growing from the base ( already has 2 beautiful small leaves)
    Now, I’m not sure yet, but there might be two more baby orchids growing, but this time just a little higher from the base. I look every day for new changes.
    From your post, If they grow from the base, the keiki cannot be removed from the mother roots.
    What happens if they are really 3 growing and how will they grow mature if there is only one system for all four of them?
    Is it okay to give some food or fertilizer to help the growing?
    Oh, and one more thing…right now, the mother orchid has the 3rd leaf growing 🙂

    So far, I only water the orchid and it seems to love the place where I sat her.
    I have some pictures..but I have no idea how to post them here.
    It might sound verrry very stupid 😀 but every day before I go to work I watch the orchid that maybe I will see new surprises, because I was so sure she will not make it..( yeah…crazy about nature)

    • Hi Lucia,

      I am going to cut and paste your questions to keep them in order.

      “I had to take her out of the moss and put her in wood chips. Shortly after that, the orchid started to die, only few roots had left.”

      I am not saying this is wrong but I have never heard of anyone potting an orchid in straight wood chips. I have heard of wood chips being added in a mix of moss or bark etc. but not straight wood chips. What led you to this?

      “Long story short, in these few months I see some changes; two little strong leaves grown ( about 3 inch each leaf.) and stopped there, and one baby orchid growing from the base ( already has 2 beautiful small leaves)”

      That is good news! New leaf development means its growing and thriving.

      “From your post, If they grow from the base, the keiki cannot be removed from the mother roots. What happens if they are really 3 growing and how will they grow mature if there is only one system for all four of them?”

      I have not heard of three keiki’s growing from one stem but that does not mean this couldn’t happen. I would love to see a pic. You can email me at

      Orchids are quite hardy and if they are producing keiki’s then they “know” what they are doing. Aerial keiki’s like this take a LONG time to produce roots that are long enough to make then viable for repotting. You will have to wait and see.

      “Is it okay to give some food or fertilizer to help the growing?”

      Yes. I use orchid fertilizer from called Feedme. You can also buy specific keiki growth fertilizer – I have never used it but it is suppose to work quite well! You can basically use and fertilizer that is designated for Orchids…

      “So far, I only water the orchid and it seems to love the place where I sat her.”

      That’s great!

      “I have some pictures..but I have no idea how to post them here.
      It might sound verrry very stupid 😀 but every day before I go to work I watch the orchid that maybe I will see new surprises, because I was so sure she will not make it..( yeah…crazy about nature)”

      Your not crazy…I do the same thing. Email is – send pics.

      Hope that Helps,


      • Hello, again

        I don`t know why, but the e-mail does not work..keep getting errors…so, I managed to upload few pictures.
        Hope this works 🙂


      • Lucia,

        Just got the pictures!

        Those are definitely basal keiki’s and since there growing from the base just leave them alone.


  36. oh boy, I was afraid of this…
    Just bought a sale mini phal a few days ago and it had a funny “root” growing (actually 2 of them) at the base and I kept telling myself it’s a new bloom spike. Well it’s still in bloom at this moment, so it makes no sense for it to be sending up new spikes. I knew this, but was trying not to admit that I think the mother is dying….
    As I said, she is currently in bloom (one is shriveled today and I assume this will continue to happen, not just the one). She’s in a no drainage clay pot and I was planning on drop-potting. Do you suggest I completely repot now; wait til she drops all her current blooms, then repot completely; or drop pot now, then complete pot when done blooming?
    One other bad thing- I plan to repot in a bark mix and she’s in moss.
    I don’t think I would do ok with moss, but maybe that’s what my phals need. idk… I know it’s a drastic change for orchids to change the type of media, but again, I prefer to use bark because I think I’ll over water if I don’t.
    ahhhhhhhh idk! I feel like I’m killing my 3 phals all at once right now (have other stuff going on with other 2, but I’ll leave that out if this).

    going crazy…..

    thanks for any advice….

    • Hi,

      I would love to help. I am going to cut a paste you questions so they stay in order.

      “Just bought a sale mini phal a few days ago and it had a funny “root” growing (actually 2 of them) at the base and I kept telling myself it’s a new bloom spike. …….. I knew this, but was trying not to admit that I think the mother is dying….”

      Are you sure they are not aerial roots. I have a post on this.

      “Do you suggest I completely repot now”

      No I would drop pot it. That way you won’t loose as many blooms. And it’s fine to eventually repot it bark. You don’t have to worry about the bark now because when you drop pot – you use the moss that its currently in. Just find a similar size pot with drainage.

      “I feel like I am killing my orchids”

      You are not. Your dealing with the aftermath of people putting them in pots with no drainage and the fact that they have probably been shipped all over the country etc. You now just to have make sure your watering them properly, they are near a window and they have drainage. That’s basically it for now.

      All the rest of the things you can think about later – fertilizer etc.

      Hope that helps,


      • Thanks so much!
        I drop potted in a clear yogurt cup that I cut holes into (the orchid board peeps are so helpful!) last night.

        Definitely not a root. It has the zig zag pattern of leaf formation (does that make any sense?)
        I mean, it COULD be another spike, but I haven’t heard of a Phal sending up a new spike while its in full bloom.

        I would send you a pic if I could.

        Any advice for a smooth transition from miss to bark? I think I shocked my other 2 when I did that. They’re fine now though. Just got a tad dehydrated at first.

        Thanks again!


      • Hi,

        I would need a pic… Sorry but I can’t tell from the description. You could email me a pic Or you could find a similar pic on the web and link it to your response here.

        If you wanted to smoothly transition from moss to bark you could mix bark and moss one year and then the next go straight to bark.

        But honestly I am sure they will be fine. I go straight from bark to moss all the time. I leave them out of sunlight for a few days and let them rest. And when I first repot the moss is wet and I don’t add extra water or any fertilizer until the next time I go to water them – which is normally at least a week away.

        I feel like this is a gentle way to let them get used to the new surroundings.


  37. Pollination success! Now I’ll have to wait 9 months. I’ll see if I can e-mail an picture to you. It’s on my new orchid I bought (old one out of bloom already).

      • I thought I had been so clever with my baby orchid and yet i see there are so many proud parents, im not at all unique.This is really a great site . good luck with your future orchid family and thanks so much for all the valuable information

      • I would like to believe most orchid growers are unique!! Many people are scared off by them – which is sad because they are easy to grow once you get the hang of it.

        Good luck in your “baby!”

      • Gift from a friend for inviting them to a “chaff dish?” (from google translate), and I tried pollinating all the flowers (except for one that was only half-opened) and all the flowers I pollinated are drooping but the one that I didn’t pollinate that is now fully opened is still fine. Is this natural?

      • Maybe I wasn’t thinking. So I got ANOTHER orchid as a gift (now I have three) and I’m pollinating them. But one flower wasn’t pollinated. (I didn’t try pollinating all of them) The flowers that were pollinated were drooping. The one that was NOT pollinated isn’t drooping. Are the ones that are pollinated supposed to be drooping?
        I hope that was clearer.

      • Hi,

        I have never pollinated orchids. Sounds so interesting!! So I don’t know if that is the cause. Sorry,


      • Oh. Sorry. I forgot about this. I keep thinking of you as an expert. Maybe you can try pollinating them! I remember I suggested it somewhere (can’t find it).
        Thanks anyways,

      • Nope just another learner 🙂 I have been doing this for about 5 years now and mostly learn stuff from local growers here and my favorite website I know a lot about basic stuff but pollination is a little above my knowledge – maybe I will try that in the future.


  38. i too have grown a keiki, mine was in flower it had been there quite a few years. i cut it yesterday and potted it up, not knowing any better, i hope i did the right thing. the mother plant it looking healthy and i am wondering what i should do with the stem that bore the keiki. should that be cut or just left. it has incidentally leaves growing from each node along its stem.

    • Linda,

      Sounds like you did the right thing:)

      The stem has leaves? That is strange – are you sure they are not other keiki’s?

      Normally I cut all my stems back as soon as they are done flowering – but that is also because they turn brown and die. I am wondering now if you removed the keiki if it will die back naturally because its has been supporting the growth….


  39. Hello i have had my orchids for about months and a half. Most of my flowers fell off and i seen new roost coming out but they were not going down so i repoted. One of them the roots are long and green with white looking roots. But the stem is starting to turn brown at one of the tips. Is that okay. I had to plant in a blend of orchids mix because they didn’t have the moss. Will it be ok? Also i have another one most of the roots were bad so i cut them off also repot that one still had 4 more flowers on them. But it also had new roots one only had 4 left and one only had three but the stem to this also seem to going brown. Will they be ok

    • Antoinette,

      I answered your questions below one by one. The answers are below your quoted questions:)

      “Hello i have had my orchids for about months and a half. Most of my flowers fell off and i seen new roost coming out but they were not going down so i repoted.”

      Roots that grow above the surface of an orchid are called ariel roots and are not super attractive. The can look whitish grey and never seem to look super green like the roots that are buried.

      This is just how they look though… They are normal and healthy and I do try to bury them when I repot my orchids. Sometimes though this is impossible if they are in between leaves. Then I just leave them.

      “One of them the roots are long and green with white looking roots. But the stem is starting to turn brown at one of the tips. Is that okay.”

      By stem I am assuming you mean the stem the flowers are on. If so its is completely normal for it to turn brown, die back and eventually be cut off.

      Look at this post for more on this…

      “I had to plant in a blend of orchids mix because they didn’t have the moss. Will it be ok?”

      I am sure that is fine.

      “Also i have another one most of the roots were bad so i cut them off also repot that one still had 4 more flowers on them. But it also had new roots one only had 4 left and one only had three but the stem to this also seem to going brown. Will they be ok”

      I normally do not repot orchids while they are in bloom because they can loose flowers because of the shock of repotting but as far as the stem goes look at the link above… It’s natural for a stem to go brown.

      Hope that helps,


  40. Hannah,

    Okay, I’ll just hang in and hope that the mother plant will continue to do fine. As I said, I trimmed of rotten roots and repotted it in the same pot, but with new substrate. So far, so good and hopefully I’ll get a new keiki from it. I’m glad I could help on the terminology, despite my own confusion about it 🙂 Keep up the good work with this site! Thanks a bunch!


  41. Hi! Great site and advice! I’m so frustrated that I didn’t find it about four hours ago though, because I had a basal keiki on one of my Phalaenopsis plants (my first keiki, I was so excited!) and intended to separate it from the mother and pot it on it’s own. Unfortunately (although now, after reading your post, not surprisingly) it didn’t work. I didn’t manage to get the keiki off intact so I had to throw it away. I interpret what you write as basal keiki —> (usually) dying mother plant. I also discovered quite a bit of rotten roots on the mother plant when repotting, which makes me even more worried that this is the case (I cut off those roots before repotting and improved drainage this time, so hopefully not a problem anymore). Other than that, the mother plant seems just fine. It has a stem in bloom with 8 nice big flowers (been flowering for about 1 month now so it’s recently developed) and the leafs all seem healthy. Do you think I need to worry? Did I lose 2 orchids tonight? 😦

    Again, great site, definately going to use it again!

      • “…because I had a basal keiki on one of my Phalaenopsis plants” 🙂


      • David,

        I was asking “where” it was located on the plant. There are two places it could be..down low (where you are not suppose to separate it) or up high on a bloom stem (where you can separate it). 🙂 I need to know in order to properly answer your question:)


      • Hi again,

        I’m really not trying to be rude, so I apologise if it sounds that way, but doesn’t the term “basal” mean that the keiki is growing at the base of the plant? So a basal keiki is therefore not on a stem. Aren’t keikis on stems called apical keikis? Anyway, my keiki was growing alongside the base of the mother plant, from one of the roots. 🙂

      • David,

        Not rude at all:) I actually didn’t know there were two different terms:) I should have read your response better:)

        I don’t think you lost both plants if the mother seems to be doing okay but in the future don’t separate a basal Keiki from the mother because the baby actually takes over while the mother plant dies back. Eventually the baby becomes the main plant… That is the case with the two (basal keiki) I have.


      • David,

        Just did some research on orchid terms and I going to change the language on this post 🙂 thanks for the heads up! You were right:) I love learning new things…that’s the whole reason I did this site. Great job!


  42. Thank you very much for the advice! I couldn’t figure out what was going on with my orchid!! I’ll continue to water and fertilize my orchid until the 3rd root appears then repot the mother and baby plant!! ;D

  43. Hi, I’ve had my phal for 7 years. Three years ago I moved across the country to a cold, dry city. The phal did fairly well although it flowered less often. This year, the leaves suddenly yellowed and became wrinkled, then sprouted a stem with a keiki. I’m fairly sure the main plant is dying; what should I do about the baby? I’m worried that the original plant will die before the little one can sprout roots.

  44. Good thing you said about healthy orchids growing keikis. Phals don’t necessarily have to be dying to produce a keiki.
    Usually basal keikis are hard to separate without doing damage so it’s better to let them with the mother plant. But you can do it if the keiki has its own roots.

  45. Thanks Hannah,
    Tried taking a picture but it is not looking as I intended to, not clear at all. Thanks for the advice and I think I have to be more patience that I am. They are about 1.5 inches now and hoping the roots will sprout before the mother plant all yellowed out. Will provide an update if they make it, and keeping my fingers crossed. They are both fairly small plant but had produced pleasant flowers.

    • J,

      Hi! I would love to help. Where are the Keiki’s located? At the base or way up high on the stem?

      If the Keiki is located at the base, then it is sharing the roots with the mother and the mother will die back and the Keiki will take over.

      So in this case you will do NOTHING. The Keiki will take over and the root system will be transferred over.

      If the Keiki is way up high on the stem we can talk about what to do. Let me know:)



  46. Hi Hannah,
    Thanks so much for you help. I will taking care of my new little keiki, and will post pic later. 😀

  47. Hi Hannh,
    Thanks so much for you help. I will taking care of my new little keiki, and will post pic later. ❤

  48. I’m so please to find this site. I just find yesteday that my orchid that is dying, and I was about to get rid off. It has a new shoot growing from the bulb. I’m very excited, but I do not know what to do with the new shoot. I hope you would give me some advice. Thanks

    • Hi Martha,

      I would love to help! 🙂

      What typed of orchid is this? And what do you mean by dying? What does the initial orchid look like? How long have you had it?

      As far as the new growth? Can you send me a pic? if not then can you explain what it looks like?

      Hope to figure this out with you 🙂


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