How to Propagate an Orchid Plant

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My orchid plant seems to have outgrown its container. Could you tell me how to propagate it.


Hi Brian,

Here are some steps to follow if you want to divide and propagate the plant.

Take the plant out of the pot. If it is so root bound that you can’t get it out, soak the entire plant for about 30-40 minutes and then gently tug until it comes out.

Shake off and remove as much of the soil or bark that is covering the roots as possible. If the soil has become so compacted that you can’t easily remove it, squeeze the root ball then turn it a bit and squeeze again, squeezing and turning until the soil loosens and drops off.

Take a minute to examine the roots and use this opportunity to remove any that appear dead or damaged. Live roots feel firm when you squeeze them, dead roots feel hollow. Wipe off your pruning tools with alcohol before using them.

It looks like you have a phaleonopsis orchid plant, but in case I’m wrong I’m going to describe two options now. If there is just one root ball, check to see if it seems to naturally divide and go in different directions at some points. These would be good places to pull apart or cut the root ball. Be sure that each piece has several healthy roots. If you find pseudo bulbs in the soil, separate them into groups. There must be 3 or more pseudobulbs per group.

Plant each root ball section or group of pseudobulbs in their own pot. The pot should be about 2” larger than the pseudobulbs or root section. Be sure there are drip holes in the bottom of the pot. First place a layer of bark, small pebbles, or even styrofoam peanuts at the bottom for good drainage. Add enough orchid medium so that the root sections or pseudobulbs are several inches deep below the surface. Firm up the soil and water.