Guest Author - Haidy Ear-Dupuy
One simple way to make more orchids is to take cuttings from your current plants. Make sure to use a clean scissors or sharp knife. Once you take the cutting from the mature plant, you can start your new piece of the plant in a moist medium, making sure not to let it dry out. Under certain circumstances, your plants may already be producing roots in parts of the plants, that you can just cut off the area below where the roots grow. You can put this new piece directly into a moist medium and let it grow.
Cuttings from the mother plant
This can be done to dendrobium orchid canes. Since this orchid plant tends to resemble the bamboo, stalks of the dendrobium have notches that allow it to grow plantlets or kikis (baby orchids) from the side of the plants. Commercial growers often cut the plants into pieces, keeping the notches in the middle of each piece. The pieces of the plants are then placed on a flat, well-drained surface. With filtered sunlight and daily watering, the eyes or notches on the plants will produce small plants.
In the tropics or a large greenhouse, this can be done on a large scale to produce many orchids from the same plant. This method of propagation do not allow for different flowers. The baby plants will be exactly like the parent plants.
The vanda and phalaenopsis orchids can also be propagated similarly. The Vanda is a one stem or monopedal plant that produces roots on the main stem of the plants. Once the plant gets taller, more roots will grow out of the plant on the same stem, cuttings can be taken, making sure to take some of the roots with the stem that you cut. So a single plant can be made into multiple ones depending on how many of the roots are protruding from your plants. Though after a cutting, the plants would need a period to grow and mature before it can produce flowers. Remember, that a tall flowering Vanda that could produce flowers two times per year, can stop flowering after you cut them into smaller pieces. They need time to grow and overcome the shock of division before they can get back into the business of flowering.
Dividing the pseudobulbs
Pseudobulbs are the round or oval, plump plants with long leaves sticking out of the top of the bulbs, with small roots at the bottom of them. Some orchids can be divided by separating the clumps with round pseudobulbs, making sure to have some new ones amongst the clumps that you divided, because new pseudobulbs produce flowers. Some of the orchids that can be divided this way are the brasia orchids and the oncidiums orchids. You can divide them by pulling the plants apart or you can use a clean knife to cut the clumps apart.
Dividing the rhizomes orchids
Some plants like the Cattleya grow through producing new rhizomes that put out pseudobulbs. This is similar to the ginger and the iris plants. The cattleyas puts out new rhizomes that grow new plants and eventually the new plant produces flowers. To be flowering, it is important that your plant produces new rhizomes. To divide the plant, you can get a clean knife and cut the plant, making sure that the each of the pieces contains new plant.
Like all new plants, your new orchid cuttings grow best in clean pots. Make sure to clean your pot well with soap water to disinfect the pots, if you are using old ones. If you are putting them into clay pots, make sure to soak the pots well before putting in your new plants. Keep your new plants away from harsh sunlight and make sure they remain moist until you are sure that new roots can be established in the new environments.
Orchids enthusiasts who seek to produce different kinds of flower would cross pollinate the flowers and wait for it to produce seed pods. After the seed pods matured, they pick them and send the seeds to a laboratory to be germinated. Through this method, you can get different kinds of flowers in your new plant, but it can take a few years before you get to see the new flowers.
Of the two ways to get more plants, the first method is faster, if you are not seeking to create new and different colored flowers, you can propagate through division. For manufacturers that want to produce more of the same plants to sell quickly, the first method of propagation offer a more immediate solution.