Are you trying to figure out how to reproduce phalaenopsis orchids in the UK in your very own garden? Also known as the moth orchid, this type of orchid is one of the most popular choices among newbie British gardeners because cultivating them is extremely easy compared to other varieties. They’re also known for their dramatically shaped petals with colours ranging from immaculate white to deep purple.
However, contrary to what others think, the phalaenopsis orchid is more than just a pretty face. Aside from the fact that moth orchids grow leaves directly from the roots, these leaves closely resemble a succulent.
On average, phalaenopsis orchids can grow from about 6 inches to 3 feet in terms of length. Furthermore, it can also spread from approximately 8 to 12 inches in terms of width. Although these are usually grown indoors, they can also thrive outdoors in UK areas with plant hardiness zones of 10 through 12.
One interesting fact about phalaenopsis orchids is that one can identify them as epiphytic. Identification means that although they can grow on trees and branches, they don’t nourish their hosts. In other words, phalaenopsis orchids are far from being parasitic because they take their nutrition from air and water.
Furthermore, you can expect this orchid species to thrive well using specific kinds of growing media that include medium-sized pieces of fir bark or sphagnum moss.
3 Ways to Reproduce Phalaenopsis Orchids
When phalaenopsis orchids are grown in the wild, they rely entirely on insect pollinators to trigger the production of seeds by transferring pollen to the phalaenopsis orchids’ female reproductive organs. In other words, the bees, moths, butterflies, and flies come in contact with the moth orchids’ pollinia and transfer these waxy pollen sacs to other orchid blossoms.
However, when grown indoors or in a greenhouse, their growers try to reproduce moth orchid plantlets using any of the three techniques mentioned below. However, before we talk about these techniques, you need to understand that horticulturists use the word ‘keiki’ to refer to a plantlet that another orchid plant has produced asexually. The literal meaning of this Hawaiian word is ‘baby’ or ‘the little one’.
Technique #1: Growing keikies on a moth orchid spike
For this technique, you’ll need to purchase a keiki rooting hormone from the local UK garden supply centre to promote the growth of your orchid offshoots. Before you start cutting, make sure that you get your tweezers and scalpel soaked in a sterilising solution (1-part bleach and three parts water) for about five minutes.
Once you’ve air-dried these materials, you may start cutting through the covering of a bud that’s growing at a node while you carefully avoid cutting into the node. Next, you need to apply a small amount of keiki rooting hormone paste into the bract. You need to use a pair of tweezers to pull the bract back and close it again after the application.
As soon as you spot several 3-inch-long roots shooting out of a keiki, it would help if you cut it from the stem so that you can plant it in a different pot. Ensure that you set this pot on moist gravel without allowing its bottom portion to stand in water. To moisten the bark or the sphagnum, you’ll need to water this and mist it daily until the keiki established correctly.
Since Phalaenopsis orchids prefer bright yet indirect light, make sure that you place your newly planted keikies in a window that’s facing east or west. Furthermore, it’s essential to keep the temperatures consistent between 66˚F to 86˚F when it’s daytime and 61˚F to 66˚F when it’s nighttime. Keep on misting them daily until you see their roots establish themselves in your potting mix.
To keep the potting mix from drying, be sure to water it weekly in the morning and never at night. As you water your plants with tepid water, don’t let the water accumulate above the crown of the orchid. Also, make sure to avoid letting their roots stand in the water.
You may fertilise your phalaenopsis orchids once a month. Choose to use a fertilising solution made up of 1/4 teaspoon of 20-20-20 fertiliser for every gallon of water.
Technique #2: Growing keikies in sphagnum moss
Another way to reproduce moth orchids is to apply keiki rooting hormone into the node’s bract before using nylon stocking to secure sphagnum moss around the plantlet. Next, you need to allow the keiki’s roots to grow by leaving them on the spike. As the keiki matures and grows roots into the sphagnum moss, you may remove the sphagnum moss from the spike and transplant the keiki in another pot that has more sphagnum moss in it.
Technique #4: Growing keikies through layering
To layer a moth orchid keiki, you need to use keiki rooting hormone to treat an uncovered node before bending its spike over to allow the keiki to contact the bark compost sphagnum moss in a container or a pot. Since the mother plant nourishes the plantlet, it will eventually grow roots into the composted bark or the sphagnum moss. Avoid severing the keiki from the mother plant until it becomes self-sufficient.
Is it a Good Idea to Grow Phalaenopsis Orchids in a Hobby Greenhouse?
It’s a great idea to grow your gorgeous phalaenopsis orchids in your hobby greenhouse. Besides the fact that the enclosed space offers them protection against harsh weather conditions, destructive pests, and animals, you can also have more control over your plant’s growing environment. When you set up your hobby greenhouse, it would be easier to manipulate the temperature, moisture, and light inside your botanical oasis.
Final Thoughts on How to Reproduce Phalaenopsis Orchids in the UK
Now that you’ve finally figured out how to reproduce phalaenopsis orchids in the UK, you might want to try growing them in your very own hobby greenhouse. Discover why polytunnel gardening in the UK can be an enriching experience for you.