I had this beautiful dark purple orchid that died when I was on vacation this year. Luckily, it did leave me a stem that has a baby orchid on it which I learned is called a keiki. Since my whole orchid had fallen apart, I cut the stem off and put it in some water hoping it would make it and it did get bigger. But it's been at least three weeks now since I've done so and no roots have showed up yet! The stem is starting to get fuzzy and the leaves not as stiff!

What can I do?

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  • 1
    get it out of the water for starters. bury the stem in high quality sphagnum moss for orchids. let moss get relatively dry between waterings, or spritz with water daily.
    – That Idiot
    Sep 9, 2016 at 11:27
  • 1
    Agreed. but in addition, cut the stem about an inch on both ends away from the Keiki (or at the point where it turns brown on the one side). Apply some cinnamon to the cuts to ward off fungal infection. You should see it develop new "roots" if you maintain a good and humid but not we environment for it. Make sure it's not exposed to too much light for quite some time.
    – Brenn
    Sep 9, 2016 at 14:00
  • Just cut off the dead stem at an angle close to the junction with live plant tissue. Plant in potting soil kept moist not wet in a 4" pot no larger. Guess it is not necessary anymore to use rooting products. Are there roots growing? If not cut that bottom step back to 1/2 " and plant in potting soil. No fertilizer, yet! Be a good idea to create a 'dome' over your plant with chopsticks and plastic wrap for humidity. Do not put in direct sunlight.
    – stormy
    Sep 9, 2016 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


Good thinking, saving a stem with a healthy keiki attached! The orchid will root from the base of the keiki, not from the stem. Cut off all the fuzzy parts of the stem, but try to leave just 2 inches or so on both sides of the keiki, and set it in a warm place until the cuts dry over (to prevent fungus). If you have hormone rooting powder + fungicide, this is a time to use it. Plant it in moist orchid mix (or moss) with the stem piece horizontal under the plant. Keep it in a humid, warm place with medium light, and water just enough to keep the mix from drying out (don'y let it dry out, though, or you could damage the rooting process.

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