Six on Saturday – Rescue Operation – March 9, 2019

A couple of weeks ago I asked if any of my friends had orchid plants they were going to throw away. If so,  I would love to see if I could make them bloom again. The following week I came home from my 7 a.m. yoga class with a plant. This is what I got from Paulette, my yoga instructor.


This phalaenopsis orchid had one purple bloom when I got it. There was no tag as to the original parentage so if I succeed in resurrecting this plant it will be called Paulette Purple.


I could tell there was a new plant (a keiki — Hawaiian for baby) which had grown on a previous blooming stem. It had long aerial roots and Paulette told me it had two blooms this year.  Usually keikis are removed way before they get this big. I was uncertain about the two 18″ aerial roots. Fortunately there were a number of useful videos on Youtube. I ordered some orchid potting supplies. Special potting mix, plastic orchid pots with special drainage slots, and some New Zealand sphagnum moss.

The supplies arrived this week and on potting day the first thing I did was to soak some of the new potting mixture so it would be wet when I used it. (A tip from one of those helpful videos.)

I cleaned and sterilized my cutting tool with alcohol (another tip) and cut off the keiki. The photo shows it perched on a bowl in my kitchen sink but doesn’t really show the two long  roots. I sprayed the roots with warm water to hydrate them. You don’t want to break the roots and these needed to be bent around and around to go into the pot. When I am transpanting ordinary plants I often root prune. This was not recommended for orchids and after hydrating the roots they bent easily.


Below is the potted keiki. If it lives it will be genetically identical to the mother.


I also repotted the original plant with new potting mix. The three leaves look sad, but maybe it will send up some new growth from the crown.


Behind the repotted orchid is the one with white flowers that I’ve been bragging about. As soon as it’s finished blooming I will repot it as well. It will take months before I know if my rescue operation has been successful, but I’m a patient gardener.


This is what I hope for next year but with purple flowers.

That’s my Six on Saturday, photos this week of an orchid rescue operation. The SoS meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.




18 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – Rescue Operation – March 9, 2019

  1. Phalaenopsis that do not come with a variety name are called Noids (no id) pronunciation like the end of annoyed. Most Phal that you buy from the florist/supermarket are noids as growers don’t bother to register every hybrid colour they create.


  2. I never had a keiki on phalaenopsis but I did like you with a dendrobium and the mother plant was immediately better. The keiki once planted needed time to feel better but your young plant is very beautiful to what I see, it will be fine. In addition to all the hygiene precautions you take, I sprinkle cinnamon on the wound because it’s healing and disinfecting.


    • Had the greens last night. I didn’t even cut off the stems. They were sooooo good. Sweet and tender. I went over and cut some more for tonight’s dinner. The ones I cut weeks ago and putting out new leaves. I may have stakes and deer fencing for your bed at the community garden so don’t buy before I see what I’ve got.


    • The white one is the first I have never killed, let alone gotten to rebloom. So it remains to be seen if this was a one off. And I can’t remember where the white one came from. I don’t usually buy orchids because I hate throwing them away so maybe someone gave it to me.


  3. They are such odd plants. They can look so ugly at times, even when quite healthy. I grew one for many years, waiting for it to stop blooming. Yet, before one stem ran out of buds, another would emerge. It died very suddenly and ungraciously. As much as I disliked it, I was saddened by its death after so many years of reliable service.


  4. I’ve just read about your orchids and will read it again slowly to make notes. I was given an orchid (Phalaenopsis) about 8 years ago. It was in flower and I had it in the office, it never flowered after that until I brought it home with me when I retired last year and it flowered profusely. Nothing showing this year yet.


    • I bring some in for the winter and then put them out for the summer. Under a tree or something. I don’t have any that are strictly inside plants. Even the orchids will go outside this summer.


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