It takes three steps to learn how to start an orchid from a cutting. The process is straightforward, and rooting orchids from cuttings are not something you should feel intimidated by. If you want to have a thriving orchid garden in the UK, it’s not enough to learn the three basic propagation methods because starting from cuttings offers many advantages.
However, it’s worth noting that not all of them will grow from cuttings with a vast array of orchid species. In general, those from the genus Dendrobium are popular for this method of propagation. It would help to check your orchid species first and prepare the ideal growing environment for the cuttings.
How To Start An Orchid From A Cutting For Beginners
Orchids are not the easiest plant to propagate, but learning skills such as stem cutting rooting would surely make you stand out from the competition. To further help you, you should have a polytunnel to start the cuttings. It’ll be easier to control the conditions indoors and avoid drawbacks in orchid growth.
Step #1. Take cuttings
As mentioned earlier, Dendrobium orchids are one of the types that can reproduce vegetatively with the use of cuttings. Make sure that you can successfully propagate the orchids you have with cuttings before starting. For this guide, we’re going to base it on using Dendrobium orchids.
The ideal time to take the stem cuttings is when the flowers fade on the parent plant. You’ll clip the spikes that emerge from the nodes with a sterilised tool to prevent infection. Then, select the stems that are around 1 foot in length and cut them so that each section will have three to four nodes.
The parent plant you choose must be healthy and stress-free, which is why it’s advantageous to grow them in the greenhouse. This way, you’ll be sure that the plant will survive after you’ve taken the cuttings.
Step #2. Rooting
The next step is preparing the medium for your cuttings. Gardeners in the UK often use a rooting tray with moist sphagnum moss and pebbles. Once ready, you will place the cuttings on top of the medium and mist them with water as moisture supports rooting.
To further encourage rooting, cover the tray with plastic wrap and place it in the warm and dark polytunnel area. In addition to the resulting high humidity, you can use the polytunnel and maintain a temperature between 75 to 85°F and regularly mist the cuttings. This resulting environment should help them root and develop leaves.
Should you feed orchid cuttings before replanting? Experienced British gardeners fertilise every two weeks during the first two months with liquid seaweed extract. This practice will help hasten the growth and development of the cuttings for replanting.
Step #3. Replanting
Before replanting, you must remove the cuttings that develop rotting. Select the healthy ones and remove their stem between the keikis using sterilised pruners. If you remember using offshoots for propagating orchids, these plants that developed on the stems are them.
At this point, you’ll replant the keikis the same way as you would in offshoot propagation. A small pot around 2 inches should accommodate them well without the risk of overwatering or limiting the roots. You can also use a mix of sphagnum moss and bark as the medium.
Loosen the medium and soak it to create a moist environment. Plant the cuttings in a way where the offshoots face the sideward or upward while the stem is upright. You can use stakes to help with the plant’s stability and keep it upright as well.
For maintenance of Dendrobiums, you can water once or twice a week, depending on your plant’s size and the current climate. You also want to maintain high humidity, which is easier to do in the greenhouse. Lastly, fertilise monthly from spring to summer to support healthy orchids in the growing season.
Can You Grow Orchids From Leaf Cuttings?
The short answer is yes, but it’s not as ordinary as starting orchids from stem cuttings. If you’re interested, Vanda orchids are famous for this method. The method is not as easy as using stem cuttings, but some gardeners in the UK still attain success using leaf cuttings.
You’ll use a parent stem with new leaf growth and wrap a section of the stem with a plastic bag and sphagnum moss. This technique is quite similar to how you’ll recover orchids suffering from root rot. Therefore, using leaf cuttings, in theory, should lead to rooting if done in perfect conditions.
Orchids may not be the easiest plant to grow, but you can always experiment and find the propagation method suitable for you. If you have Dendrobium orchids, you can learn how to start an orchid by cutting three simple steps. Similar to how you’d root other plants from cuttings, you’ll collect the orchid stem cuttings after their flowers fade.
Select a cutting around 1 foot in length and cut it into sections having three to four nodes. Then, use a rooting tray with pebbles and sphagnum moss to encourage their growth. Maintain high humidity, moisture, and temperature between 75 to 85°F for the cuttings using the greenhouse, and they should be ready for replanting once you notice keikis.
Lastly, replant the cutting so that the stem is upright and the offshoots face upward or sideward. You can stabilise the plant with stakes and wait for the orchid to outgrow the pot for final repotting.