Propagating Orchids: Keikis

How to Get Orchid Babies &/Or More Flowers

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use keiki paste - more flowers


Keiki (KAY-key), Hawaiian for “baby” is the term for a new plantlet growing on a mother orchid. These plantlets can grow naturally and they can be encouraged by using plant hormones. Phalaenopsis and Dendrobium orchids are especially prone to producing keikis. Let’s talk about what happens if your orchid has produced a keiki on its own, or how to encourage Keikis using Keiki Power Pro. Using hormones doesn’t always produce keikis, most often the orchid will produce flowers rather than a keiki–and that’s okay too.

WOW keiki paste is a game changer for promoting orchid flowering

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Roots and Leaves Growing On the Flower Stalk

Your orchid may surprise you when one day you notice leaves and roots growing on your orchid’s flower stalk. This is one way that orchids propagate. The baby plantlet is a clone of the parent plant. This type of propagation is most common in Phalaenopsis and Dendrobium orchids. If you do notice a keiki growing, look for signs of stress on the mother plant. Perhaps the root system is in trouble. Keikis are not always a sign that something is amiss, but it is something to be aware of.

At any rate, leave the little plantlet alone until the roots and leaves are about 2-3 inches long. Then, with a new razor blade cut the keiki from the mother plant. Using a new, unused razor blade will prevent the spread of disease between plants.

Using a potting medium designed especially for young orchids, pot the keiki in a small, clear orchid pot. Be gentle with your new keiki. If possible, provide extra humidity for your fledgling plant. Otherwise, care for your new plantlet as you do the mother plant.


Keiki Paste

If your orchid hasn’t produced keikis on its own, or you want your orchid to produce more flowers, you can use hormones to kick-start your orchids. Keiki paste is marketed as a way to asexually produce more orchids. The question though is that when using the paste, you don’t know if you’ll get a plantlet or a flower stalk. My experience is that most of the time, the keiki paste results in a flower stalk, which I am totally fine with. In my experience, keiki paste works best with Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids (the kind most often found in the grocery store).

Why the Keiki Paste Works

Keiki paste contains a growth hormone called cytokinin that encourages cell division. The hormone is added to lanolin because lanolin sticks to the orchid and won’t wash away if it gets wet. When the keiki paste is applied to an orchid node, the hormone will (hopefully, it doesn’t always work) result in either a keiki (an exact clone of the mother plant) or in an inflorescence (a flower stalk).

Sounds Too Good to be True

I know, adding a bit of sticky goo to your orchid stalk with the hope of an emerging new orchid or a profusion of flowers sounds like wishful thinking, but I’m telling you, the stuff really works! Using keiki paste is SUPER EASY and a little goes a long way. Once you buy the paste, the small jar will last for many, MANY applications.

Materials for Applying Keiki Paste

How to Apply Keiki Paste

node - keiki paste

Begin by locating a “node” along the stalk. If you run your hand along the stalk you will feel a bump. The node will look like a little joint in the stalk.

cut node on orchid stalk - keiki power pro

With a sterilized sharp knife, scissors, or utility knife, cut into the node. Take off enough of the node so the node is flush with the rest of the stalk.

prepare stalk for keiki paste application

The orchid flower stalk is prepared for keiki paste application.

keiki paste

Next, put on your gloves and with your chopstick or cotton swab, scoop out a very small amount of keiki paste.

Apply keiki paste to node

Finally, with the chopstick or cotton swab dab, a small amount of the keiki paste onto the prepared node.

It’s good practice to record in your plant journal which orchid you applied the paste and the date.

What to Expect After Using the Keiki Paste

After applying the paste, I just kind of forget about it. Several weeks later you may notice a little flower stalk growing out of the node–sometimes at an odd angle. You will know it’s a flower stalk because the end will look like a closed fist with tiny bumps on the end.

fist at tip - flower stalk

Pictured above is a flower stalk. If you see what resembles a closed fist at the tip, you know you’ve got a flower stalk.

smooth tip - orchid root

The smooth tip is a sure sign that this is a root, not a flower stalk.

flower stalk growing at an odd angle

It looks a little funky where the new flower stalk emerges and where the dead flower stalk meet.

trim stalk - keiki

With a pair of sterilized pruning shears, cut off the strange angle.

In most cases, you will see new flowers emerging. Or, you may be surprised to see little leaves emerging. These little leaves indicate that you’ve got a keiki, a perfect clone of the mother plant. Do not remove the baby plant until its roots are 1-3″ long.

keiki is an exact clone of the mother plant

Rather than a new flower stalk, I was surprised to see this little keiki.

keiki paste - profusion of blooms

Keiki paste can result in an abundance of blooms.

Make the Most of Your Orchids

Although keiki paste is marketed for growing keikis, I’ve had more success encouraging more flowers. I have had limited success growing plantlets and robust success getting my Phalaenopsis to push out more flowers. And, I’m not the only one. Orchid distributors use it to get the most flowers possible. They know we’ll pass over the orchids with only a few flowers and gravitate to the plants packed with blooms.

Related Posts

Orchid Anatomy and Terminology

Help for Defining Orchid Terms


Growth Patterns of Monopodial and Sympodial Orchids 

Knowing this will help you better water and pot your orchids.

  1. Maria Flores says:

    I have 4 plant but they have green leaves only will I be able to use the paste

    1. Anna says:

      Excellent question. You must wait until you have a flower spike to use the keiki paste. Then make a small cut along one the bumps along the spike. Apply the paste to the cut. I’ve noticed that it works best on nodes that are closer to the tip of the spike than the nodes that are closer to the base of the plant.
      Good Luck!

  2. Susan says:

    Can you apply keiki paste on several nodes on the same stalk or will that overwhelm the plant?

    1. Anna says:

      Are you trying to get keikis or flowers? I’ve applied keiki paste on multiple nodes on the same stalk, but usually it’s only one node that eventually produces flowers. Phalaneopsis are tough plants, but if you’d like to err on the side of caution, just try one node. Keikis usually grow on orchids that are doing poorly. So if you’ve got a dying plant that you’re trying to get keikis to grow on, just try one node.
      Hope you get more flowers, or a keiki soon!

  3. Anonymous says:

    i have a problem about keiki paste.i am from srilanka how to buy it

    1. Anna says:

      I bought my keiki paste online at Amazon. I’m not sure what your buying options are. But don’t worry–even if you can’t get the keiki paste, you’ll still be able to bloom your orchids, it just may take a little more time. I wish I had a better answer for you.

  4. Wilfred Jimenez says:

    Were we can buy keiki paste in manila phil.

    1. Anna says:

      I’m not sure where you can purchase keiki paste in the Philippians. I bought mine online at Amazon. Does anyone else know where keiki paste can be purchased?

  5. Susy says:

    Hi I have 3 orchids one Miniature phalaenopsis and 2 regular and last year they bloom and now they are not blooming what should do with them… thank you

    1. Anna says:

      Thanks for reaching out. It’s always helpful when you know what kind of orchids you are growing, so thanks for that.
      Check out these tips on how to rebloom an orchids:

      How to ReBloom an Orchid

      These are the tools I use to rebloom orchids:

      Top Tools to ReBloom Orchids

      Let me know, Susy, if you have any more questions about blooming your orchids!

  6. Patricia says:

    what is the best keiki powder product name and where to buy online also i live in texas so is there a certain time of the year that you can use this pastes on orchids? im very excited to try this

    1. Anna says:

      Here is a link to the keiki paste I use. I will receive a commission if you purchase through this link:

      Keiki Power Pro

      This product really does work. You can try it anytime as long as there is a node on the flower stalk that you can slice into. I’ve had the most success applying the paste when the Phalaenopsis has just finished flowering. Expect flowers rather than keikis and you won’t be disappointed.
      Good Luck!

  7. santiago says:

    Hi, Anna, I have a problem when I was not present my máma accidentally cut a Keiki, could you help me?

    1. Anna says:

      Pot up your keiki. Use sphagnum moss as you can keep it moist. If you can raise the humidity level around your keiki, that would also be helpful. Keep the moss moist, but not soggy.
      Warm regards,

  8. Danny Davies says:

    Hi Anna.
    What do you mean. Make a small cut along one the bumps along the spike. I haven’t heard this one before. I have always taken off the covering of the bud, before applying the Keiki paste. You can apply the paste between the leaves, for a flower spike.

    1. Anna says:

      Thanks for sharing ways you use keiki paste! Do you use the paste just on phalaenopsis orchids, or have you tried is on others, such as dendrobiums? Yes, you can also apply keiki paste on a node along the flower spike.
      It was great hearing from you,

  9. Tam says:

    Anna, I’m wondering whether you’ve tried Danny’s suggestion of applying keiki paste between the leaves to grow new spikes. I just got my paste today and will try it on a few nodes and between the leaves to see what I get. Thanks for the article!

    1. Anna says:

      I haven’t tried it – I’ve actually been meaning to, but just haven’t got around to it. Please, try it, I’d love to hear how it goes. This is the motivation I need to try it myself;-)

  10. Candy Wert says:

    I am very lucky, My mini”s gave me a Keiki and then
    the Keiki gave me a nice long spike with beautiful flowers
    and my Keiki has nice long roots I won’t take the Keiki off I had
    it for a long time I figure as long as it is living and healthy I will leave it be
    Thank you

    1. Anna says:

      Thanks for your comment. Leaving the keiki on the mother plant is a wonderful option. Keikis do not need to be removed from the mother plant and does increase the keiki’s chance of survival.
      All my best,

  11. Sandra Aanderud says:

    I have a baby phal which produced no leaves at all for two years. It did grow air roots and one flower stalk. After the flower stalk finished, I trimmed it to two nodes. Then I put keiki paste on the second node but also in the crown – just to see if anything could be started. Three weeks later I have a new leaf forming at the crown, as well as a flower stalk vs keiki on the flower stalk node.

    1. Anna says:

      That’s wonderful! Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you gave your orchid the boost it needed!

  12. Terry says:

    I have 2 moth orchids each about 3 years old. One seems to be doing fine, but the other one is not thriving. I put them outside on my covered patio this summer( I live in E. Tn, so they get plenty of humidity) . The sickly one is sprouting new roots and has new leaves growing near the bottom of the plant. However 2 mature leaves near the top of the plant yellowed and dropped off, but 2 new leaves have begun growing there. Both orchids are planted in a wood chip type orchid mediuim. The healthy one is still in it’s original clear plastic orchid pot, the sickly one I transplanted a year ago into a ceramic pot. Roots grow out the sides of it, but do not seem to grow down into the medium, so it seems to just sit on the medium. I cannot find clear plastic orchid pots where I live and the wood chip orchid mix is the only one sold here. Can you suggest sources for these items and well as offer suggestions for my puny orchid? Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge about orchids!!

    1. Anna says:

      If the unhealthy orchid is now growing healthy leaves, that is a good sign. If leaves are dropping off – I am assuming you are growing a dendrobium – please let me know if this is not the case. If your orchid is planted in fresh potting mix and you are still getting aerial roots, that is okay. Sometimes aerial roots can mean that the potting mix has broken down, but since the mix is fresh, don’t worry about the aerial roots. If, in fact, you do have a dendrobium, be patient as dendrobiums do not like to be repotted – and your orchid may be acclimating to its new pot.

      Keep in mind that some orchids are deciduous and lose their leaves. Leaves that yellow and fall off can also mean that the orchid is overwatered.

      I am going to include a couple of links to some helpful articles:



      Take care,

  13. Linda says:

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience. Am new to orchids. There is one flower growing under a leaf at the bottom of the plant. It has a short (2″) stem. Is this a keiki? A phaleonopsis.

    1. Anna says:

      Though a 2″ stem is unusual, it does not sound like a keiki. A keiki will always have leaves that are separate from the mother plant – and sometimes a keiki will have roots as well.

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START HERE to Learn How Grow Healthy Orchids!

Care for your orchids with confidence.