General Question

LostInParadise's avatar

How do I redirect the runners of a houseplant?

Asked by LostInParadise (27708points) November 23rd, 2012

I have an orchid that someone gave me. It seems to be doing okay. It has thick waxy leaves at the base that stay green all year. Each spring for the two years that I have had the plant, it sent up two shoots that grew to a height of about a foot and a half and produced flowers that were large compared to the size of the plant. In the fall the shoots died back.

This fall, it produced what I initially thought were a new set of shoots, but which must be runners, since thay are growing horizontally. Is this a sign that the plant is healthy? Are the runners above ground because there is no room for them to grow inside the pot? I would like to get the runners to go into a new pot. How can I get the runners to stop growinng horizonally and go into the soil of an adjacent container?

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5 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Are you talking about propagation,,,making baby orchids?

It depends on the type of orchid.

For example,

“How to propagate orchids using the keiki method, usually Phalaenopsis orchids

We have all seen the common ‘Spider Plant’ which grows new plants along adventitious out shoots. The Phalaenopsis plant does a similar trick but along the flower spike where side shoots or buds may have developed. If you examine a Phalaenopsis flower spike you will notice along its length approximately 2 to 3 small bracts (nodes) which are held tightly to the main stalk.

Under normal circumstances these small bracts will remain just that, small bracts and are often overlooked. When a Phalaenopsis has finished flowering you can cut the flower spike back to just above one of these ‘nodes’ to induce a fresh flower spike to develop from it.

A keiki is a small plant which grows from one of the nodes along the stem instead of a branch. The reason for this is the accumulation of growth hormones at that point, this can be either natural (as in this case) or it can be induced by the application of keiki paste which is concentrated form of the correct growth hormones.” Source

Here is an article with a lot more detail and dozens of pictures showing repotting, pruning, clipping, etc.

LostInParadise's avatar

Thanks for the link. That looks like the type of orchid I have.

If I understand the article correctly, if I just leave the runner, which they call an adventious shoot, it should produce a plant on its own. I will just leave it alone for the time being and see what happens.

gailcalled's avatar

It helps if you have the equivalent of a tropical rain forest in your living room or wherever you are keeping the orchid.

But fussing around with the plant should be fun.

LostInParadise's avatar

According to this article, formation of a keiki is not a good sign. I water the plant regularly twice a week and the leaves look healthy. I would like to propagate the plant if possible. It gives me a second shot in case I am doing something wrong.

gailcalled's avatar

I am the messenger here and know nothing about orchid propagation. The link I sent could easily be full of horseradish.

Do you live in a university town? If so, check out their botany department or aggie school. You may be able to find someone who knows what he is doing (which I certainly do not).

A nice little research project, yes?

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