What is a keiki?
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.
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):
Reasons (a keiki will grow):
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with pictures of your orchid.