How To Make Keiki Paste for Orchids? (DIY Recipe) (2023)

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Do you want to use keiki paste on your orchids, Philodendron and Monstera plants to branch a new shoot and to grow a baby plant (keiki)? And are you interested in mixing keiki paste yourself at home?

Keiki paste is 1 part of a chemical called 6-BenzylAminoPurine (as cytokinin hormone) mixed in 1000 parts of lanolin (as carrier). The recipe is simple and can be made at home, but one should be aware of the risks involved and take necessary precautions when handling the chemical.

This article will walk you through the procedure step by step and explain all the details including where to buy the chemical, the necessary risks and precautions you need to be aware of. We will also look into the possibility of coconut water as a natural substitute and some options for buying keiki paste online.

Table of Contents

1. What is Keiki Paste?

The key ingredient in keiki paste is a chemical called 6-benzylaminopurine, also known as benzyl adenine, 6-Benzyladenine, BAP or BA. For easy reference, I will call it BAP throughout this article. According to the American Chemical Society, BAP mimics the plant hormone cytokinin in eliciting plant growth by cell division, shoot multiplication and axillary bud proliferation. It also helps delay aging and keeps cut plants or vegetables fresh.

When applied to a growth node of an orchid spike, keiki paste can “wake up” the dormant node andstimulate it to branch into a secondary flower branch or a baby orchid (“keiki”). That’s why it is commonly known as “keiki paste”.

2. Keiki Paste Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Active ingredient: BAP (available in powder form), 0.1g
  • Carrier: Lanolin, 100g. Lanolin is an oil derived from sheep wool. Lanolin is used because its pH level does not harm the plant and provides a homogenous environment for the hormone.

Recipe:

(Video) Orchid Keikis | How To Grow Orchid Keikis WITHOUT KEIKI PASTE | Propagating Orchids

  • The ratio should be 1 part of BAP powder to 1000 parts of lanolin.
  • You can experiment with the concentration up to 4 parts of BAP to 1000 parts of lanolin but not more than that because of some adverse effects which I will explain below.

Equipment

  • A sensitive digital scale, with increments of 0.01g up to 200g maximum
  • A long metal laboratory spoon for transferring the BAP powder
  • 1 clear container (at least 150 ml) for mixing
  • Small clear jars with lid, at least 20, for storing the final product
  • Dropper x 2 for transferring the alcohol and the final product
  • Personal protection gear (thick rubber gloves, a high-grade respirator, chemical goggles, overalls) is needed when handling the chemical.

Method:

  • In a small glass container, melt lanolin from solid to liquid in a hot water bath.
  • In a small glass container, measure the right amount of BAP
  • Use a dropper to transfer a few drops of 99% isopropyl alcohol to the BAP powder. The alcohol is added to dissolve the powder and for easy transfer. You may sprinkle BAP directly into lanolin but it may be hard to see if the powder is completely dissolved and if there are no lumps in the mixture.
  • Mix the BAP mixture and the melted lanolin together, mix well with a long toothpick for at least a few minutes. By then, the alcohol should have evaporated. If not, put the container in a hot water bath to help evaporate any remaining alcohol.
  • Use a dropper to transfer the mixture to small individual containers and cover with lid.

Here is a video to show the process – Turn on English subtitles. (But, remember one should use personal protection gear during this process)

3. Can I Make Keiki Paste At Home? (PRECAUTIONS)

You can make keiki paste at home. However, there are several aspects and risks you must be aware of and take necessary precautions when you proceed. They are:


– High concentration of BAP can have adverse effects on the plant

The science of plant signaling and growth hormones is complex. An over-dosage of cytokinin can stall growth, cause deformed growth such as dwarfism, and inhibit root growth. Effects may linger for days or even decades for the plant to recover.

According to a study on the effects of BAP on banana shoots (Pereira et al., 2018), different concentrations of the hormone will produce a different number of shoots. The number of shoots increases from 1 to 3 shoots per plant when the concentration goes from 1mg/L to 2.5mg/L.

But, with a high concentration at 4mg/L, growth is stunted, the number of shoots reduces and there were even abnormal shoots with reduced leaf length and cluster formation.

(Video) How to Make 100 Orchids From One Without Keiki Paste

Therefore, getting the right concentration of the chemical is crucial.

– Improper handling of BAP can cause health risks

The chemical BAP, according to a biotechnological company, is a skin, lung and eye irritant. It can even cause damage for some and may accentuate any pre-existing dermatitis condition. Entry into the bloom-stream via open cuts, abrasions or lesions may produce systemic injury with harmful effects. When inhaled, it can cause lung damage.

– Improper disposal can disrupt marine life

When you have finished making some keiki paste, you should not clean any used containers by flushing them under the tap to prevent any BAP from being washed into the drains. This is because the chemical is harmful to aquatic organisms and may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment. To properly clean the containers, add a few drops of 99% alcohol and wipe them off with tissue paper.

4. Where can I buy 6-BenzylAminoPurine (BAP)?

BAP is not easily accessible in all countries. If you cannot find the chemical locally, chances are the chemical is not allowed in your country. This can happen as some of the synthetic hormone chemicals can be used to make other substances detrimental to the environment.

You can buy BAP at Amazon.

How To Make Keiki Paste for Orchids? (DIY Recipe) (1)How To Make Keiki Paste for Orchids? (DIY Recipe) (2)

You can also buy BAP from a German company called Merck/Sigma-Aldrich.

The recipe and recommendations given in this article are meant for hobbyists who are interested in making a small batch for their own use. If you can get it from overseas and if you want to manufacture and sell some of your homemade keiki paste products, please check with your local laws if it is allowed.

5. Coconut Water as Substitute for Keiki Paste?

Instead of making a keiki paste, some people consider using coconut water as a replacement. They dip some sphagnum moss in some coconut water and then wrap it around a growth node on a spike.

(Video) We Are Making Keiki Paste.

Indeed, there is cytokinin in coconut water (not coconut milk) which is the liquid endosperm. But can we really use coconut water as a replacement for keiki paste for its cytokinin?

A person who has worked for a bio-chemical technology company said that his company has actually done some extensive testing of whether they can use coconut water instead of the chemical hormones. They did find the hormones they were looking for but not at a reliably steady concentration.

Also, many variables can determine the availability of the natural hormone. For example, it can depend on the age of the coconut, using fresh coconut water vs. canned coconut water, method of extracting the coconut water. Some coconut water is made from extracts only, while others are made from straight coconut juice. If heat is applied in the extraction process, the natural hormones would be destroyed by the heat. Also, the existence of other substances in the coconut can break down the hormones, affecting their availability.

So, the problem with natural sources is that sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It is really a shot in the dark. Even though some people may claim success for growing keikis after applying coconut water, it may not work a second time. There are just too many variables, compared with a synthetic hormone produced under controlled laboratory conditions.

6. Kelp & Seaweed Extract as Substitute for Keiki Paste?

Kep and seaweed extract has both the auxins and cytokinin hormones, among others. But its primary content is auxins which trigger root growth and suppress branching/shoot growth. So, kelp extract can definitely not replace keiki paste. In fact, it is doing the opposite to suppress growth of any new shoots or keiki. Here is an article to learn more about the use of kelp and seaweed extract as a rooting hormone.

Here is another article to learn more about the differences beween keiki paste and rooting hormone.

7. Where Can You Buy Keiki Paste?

Apart from making the keiki paste yourself, you can also purchase it on the internet. They are quite expensive for a small amount but you don’t need to apply a lot each time.

How To Make Keiki Paste for Orchids? (DIY Recipe) (3)How To Make Keiki Paste for Orchids? (DIY Recipe) (4)

Buy on Amazon

(Video) How to grow Baby Orchid Plants (Keikis) - Keiki Paste for Phalaenopsis - Orchid Care for Beginners

Conclusion

Keiki paste is a synthetic hormone that can promote shoot growth. It consists of a chemical called BAP dissolved in a wax-like carrier like lanolin. If you have access to the chemical, you may try out the recipe at home.

The recipe only has two ingredients but it should only be done with care, skills and special protection. Mistakes during the process can cause irritation to the skin and respiratory system, adverse results to plant growth such as stalling growth or a dwarf plant, and would even cause long-lasting impact on the marine life when washed down the drain. Unfortunately, there are no natural substitutes that you can use instead of keiki paste. You would have to either make it yourself or purchase it online.

Happy growing!

Related

Keiki Paste vs Rooting Hormone: What’s the difference?

Still No Roots On Keiki? (Tips To Stimulate Them)

Sources

Pereira, G. A., Santaella, M. B., Alves, L. M. S. M., Silva, E. C., Flenga, A. I. S., & Santos, D. M. A. (2018). Concentrations of 6-Benzylaminopurine (BAP) in micropropagation of banana ‘Farta Velhaco’ (AAB).Comunicata Scientiae,9(1), 58-63. https://doi.org/10.14295/cs.v9i1.2034

American Chemical Society

6-Benzylaminopurine Health Hazard Data Sheet, Santa Cruz Biotechnology

FAQs

How do you make keiki paste? ›

To make a small amount of keiki paste, warm 1 gram of lanolin in a small glass container. Sprinkle 1 milligram of BAP powder over the lanolin and mix the two ingredients thoroughly with a long toothpick or bamboo skewer. Apply the keiki paste one week after the last flower on the spike opens.

How do you induce keiki growth? ›

Plant hormones such as KeikiGrow Plus can be applied to a node on the bloom stem or base to stimulate the growth of a keiki and KeikiRoot can be applied to stimulate root production. This product also works to stimulate nodes on bulbs of sympodial orchids to create new lead growths.

Is keiki paste only for orchids? ›

Simple application takes minutes and a tiny baby keiki plant clone will appear on flower spike within a few weeks to a month of applying paste. NOT LIMITED TO ORCHIDS - Will also produce plants on the cane nodes of Dendrobium, Cattleya and basal nodes of Vandas.

What causes an orchid to grow a keiki? ›

Many times, however, keikis are created when an orchid is stressed. If an orchid is dying, asexually producing a keiki may be its best chance at passing on its genes. Because keikis are produced asexually, without pollination, each keiki is genetically identical to its mother plant.

How do I get my orchid to sprout a new stem? ›

How To Ensure That Your Orchid Will Grow a New Stem
  1. Give it enough water, but you should allow it to dry out completely before the next watering. ...
  2. Make sure that it is in a room with around 50 to 70% humidity. ...
  3. Fertilize your orchids weekly if there are new growths, then taper off as the plant matures.

Will orchids grow in water? ›

Orchids do quite well in water, as long as they're given the proper care. It may even be easier to grow orchids in water for some, as you don't have to worry about soil maintenance and watering.

Can you root an orchid stem in water from a cutting? ›

You cannot just snip off part of an orchid, place it in water, and expect new roots to begin growing. However, even though propagating orchids from cuttings takes a little more effort than it does with other plants, it's still worth trying.

How long does it take for an orchid keiki to grow? ›

It usually takes about two years for a keiki to become a mature flowering plant. Continue to care for your growing orchid with our 10 Simple Steps to Keep your Orchid Healthy.

How long do orchid keiki roots take to grow? ›

It can take six months to a year for orchid plants to grow roots. Still, not many orchids grow root systems fast. It depends on your species, from the Phalaenopsis orchids to Dendrobium orchids. When attached to the mother, the keiki can develop roots fast or even on the mother plant after a few weeks.

Are orchid keikis rare? ›

More frequent in Phalaenopsis, Epidendrum and Dendrobium orchids, Keikis are rare enough to warrant celebration. Keikis form when a mature orchid propagates itself by producing new leaves and roots – a copy of itself in miniature – along the flower stalk.

What is the best potting material for orchids? ›

Fir and Monterey bark is the most commonly used potting media for orchids. It is long-lasting, porous, and free-draining. Clay pellets are commonly added to mixes to prevent compaction and add drainage.

What can I use instead of sphagnum moss for orchids? ›

Peat moss

It does not decompose like most of the mediums discussed above, but its ability to hold water makes it ideal as a soil additive to your orchid mix. Peat moss is also light in weight and therefore it should be mixed into the soil as a component of potting mix.

What can I use instead of orchid mix? ›

If you're potting your orchid, soil substitutes are necessary; tropical orchids can't survive in regular dirt. Examples of materials that support their growth include bark chips, sphagnum or peat moss, perlite and diatomite.

How do I get my orchids to produce new spikes? ›

To get a new orchid flower spike, place the plant in an area with a lower room temp — about 55–65°F at night should do it. Placing your orchid in a window away from the heater might work, too. We've had best success getting new flower spikes in winter, when our homes and their windows aren't as warm.

Why is my orchid growing so many new roots? ›

These new roots mean that the orchid is at the beginning of active growth and will help a newly potted orchid the best chance at establishing itself in a new pot. When potting, use care as these new roots are fragile.

Why is my orchid growing leaves instead of flowers? ›

If your Phalaenopsis orchid starts sprouting leaves instead of a flower at the end of its spike, congratulations! Your orchid is about to become a new parent! These leafy growths are called “keikis,” the Hawaiian word...

What is the best potting medium for moth orchids? ›

The moth orchid should not be potted into a standard potting mix. Always use a specialist orchid mix containing medium to coarse bark (8–18mm screened pine bark chips) and plant into a squat pot that is slightly wider in diameter than the root ball and no more than 150–175mm deep.

Is Listerine good for orchids? ›

On the contrary, there are mouthwash uses that are beneficial for the plants. For example, orchids, you can use Listerine on orchids suffering from bacterial infections and crown rot. Spray the undiluted mouthwash directly on the infected part.

Why won't my orchid grow a new spike? ›

Your easiest solution is to move your orchid to a spot where it gets a few hours of direct morning or late-afternoon sun. This will ensure that the plant gets enough energy to make a spike with lots of flower buds. Introduce this stronger light gradually, however—over a week or so.

Can you grow an orchid from a broken stem? ›

Orchid Flower Spike

If a spike breaks off before the plant is finished blooming, it can be used to produce an entirely new plant. Place the entire spike in a warm, dark environment, keep it misted with water and in six months a new plantlet may develop on the spike.

Can you grow orchids from cut stems? ›

The good news is that phalaenopsis and other single-stem orchids can be propagated from cuttings. Some dendrobium orchids or other multi-stem orchids, like dendrobium nobile, will sprout from cuttings as well. Unfortunately, most multiple-stem orchids will not grow from cuttings.

Do orchids like their leaves wet? ›

Unlike most houseplants, you don't need to keep orchid moss evenly moist; if it stays too moist, the orchid can rot. You can also water your orchid like a traditional houseplant – just apply a splash of water to the moss once every seven to 10 days.

How long does a orchid live? ›

In the wild, orchids are able to live about 20 years, depending on the type of orchid and the environment. Potted orchids do not have quite the same life span, but with proper care, it is not usual for orchids to live for between 10 to 15 years. There are some reports of orchids living for significantly longer.

How often should orchids be watered? ›

While each growing environment is unique, and watering habits vary from person to person, it is generally a good idea to water about once per 7-10 days, when the mix gets dry. Too much watering leads to root rot, crown rot and other over watering problems like fungus gnat infestations.

Can you start an orchid from a leaf? ›

Lastly, there's leaf propagation. Re-growing a plant from a single leaf works for some species, like succulents and Begonia, but unfortunately not for orchids. The leaf would have to have some stem attached, as that's the only part that contains the right cells for regrowing.

How many roots does a keiki need? ›

Success in potting orchid keikis requires that the keiki have at least three leaves and roots that are 2 to 3 inches long (5-8 cm.), ideally with root tips that are dark green. Once you have established that your keiki is the right size, you can carefully remove it using a sharp, sterilized blade.

Can you leave a keiki on the mother plant? ›

Once a keiki forms on an orchid, it can be left on the mother plant and will usually grow into another flowering plant, while still attached. Or, the plant can be removed and propagated into an individual plant. Starting a new plant can be an easy way to add to your collection or share a loved orchid with a friend.

Should you cut back orchid stems? ›

Cut Back the Orchid Flower Spike

This is definitely the route to take if the existing stem starts to turn brown or yellow. Withered stems won't produce flowers. Removing the stem will direct the +plant's energy toward root development, which makes for a healthier plant and increased chances for new bloom spikes.

Can a keiki grow a flower spike? ›

The growth is actually a new plantlet or offshoot which is called a keiki which is pronounced “kay-kee.” Keiki comes from the Hawaiian word for “baby.” Ultimately it can grow into a new flower spike. At first, it is small, like yours but it should soon develop roots and leaves.

Can orchids grow from just roots? ›

Growing orchids from the roots is a way to turn a single plant into 2 or more plants. If you see your orchid growing roots above the soil, that's called a keiki (which means "baby" or "child" in Hawaiian). That bundle of roots is what's going to become your new orchid plant.

Should orchids roots be exposed? ›

(Some orchid pros think that a perlite/peat mix is less likely to produce aerial roots than bark.) Either way, don't cover the roots because they may rot.

What does the rarest orchid look like? ›

Ghost Orchid

These endangered orchid species got their name because of their stark white color, courtesy of the absence of chlorophyll (the green pigment found in plants) in their florets and their lack of leaves, which interestingly make them seem like they're floating in the dark.

How do you tell if an orchid is a boy or girl? ›

When they bloom the large waxy flowers will be either male or female. The male flowers are typically showier and are produced at lower light than required for female flowers.

Do orchids like clay or plastic pots? ›

With proper drainage, Phalaenopsis orchids will thrive in nearly any container; but plastic and clay pots are most common. Here's how the two stack up: Plastic pots are cheap, light, and available in multiple sizes and colors. Many people prefer plastic over clay pots because they offer better water retention.

Do orchids grow better in moss or bark? ›

The orchid industry loves moss because it is very easy to pot and is lighter and cheaper than fir bark. The markets and nurseries adore Sphagnum moss also because it can retain water for a much longer period of time than bark, which means less watering.

What is a natural fertilizer for orchids? ›

Milk (contains Nitrogen, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium)

Milk contains nitrogen-building protein that your orchids require. Feed the plants by mixing one part of milk to four parts of water. Use this every two weeks.

What type of moss is best for orchids? ›

Sphagnum moss is a fine substrate, and it can hold water better than bark. Its water retention ability makes it an excellent potting material for young orchids.

Is soapy water good for orchids? ›

A mild dishwashing detergent can serve as an effective treatment for aphids and other pests. Simply mix 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent with a half gallon of water. Pour into a clean spray bottle.

Can I use Epsom salt for orchids? ›

Some growers use ½ teaspoon per gallon with every watering, while still others use a higher concentration in the autumn to encourage blooming. A general rule is to err on the conservative side since orchid roots are sensitive.

Do orchids like hydrogen peroxide? ›

Reality: Hydrogen peroxide is able to kill and inhibit microorganisms, but not at the rate that is healthy for your orchid's roots. Recent research has shown that hydrogen peroxide has the potential to harm more than help orchid root health, causing root decay rather than encouraging root growth (Goossen et.

Is keiki paste the same as rooting hormone? ›

Keiki paste is a cytokin hormone. It induces growth in the node of the plant. Cytokin is not the same as what's in pastes or powders made for root growth, they contain a hormone called auxins.

What is in cloning paste? ›

Cloning paste contains synthetic versions of growth hormones naturally produced by your plants. When the formula is applied topically to plant stems, it speeds up the production of new growth. For this reason, cloning paste can be useful for propagation.

What is keiki paste for orchids? ›

Crazy Keiki Cloning Paste is a specially formulated blend of hormones and vitamins that will convince your orchid to produce a baby orchid clone or extra flower stalk... naturally! It's super simple to use and a little bit of paste goes a long way.

Can cinnamon replace rooting hormone? ›

Cinnamon as rooting agent

Cinnamon as a rooting agent is as useful as willow water or hormone rooting powder. A single application to the stem when you plant the cutting will stimulate root growth in almost every plant variety. Give your cuttings a quick start with the help of cinnamon powder.

What are the 3 types of clones? ›

There are three different types of cloning:
  • Gene cloning, which creates copies of genes or segments of DNA.
  • Reproductive cloning, which creates copies of whole animals.
  • Therapeutic cloning, which creates embryonic stem cells.
8 May 2018

What are the 4 steps in cloning? ›

In the classical restriction enzyme digestion and ligation cloning protocols, cloning of any DNA fragment essentially involves four steps:
  1. isolation of the DNA of interest (or target DNA),
  2. ligation,
  3. transfection (or transformation), and.
  4. a screening/selection procedure.
5 Dec 2014

How do you stimulate orchid stem growth? ›

To get a new orchid flower spike, place the plant in an area with a lower room temp — about 55–65°F at night should do it. Placing your orchid in a window away from the heater might work, too. We've had best success getting new flower spikes in winter, when our homes and their windows aren't as warm.

How long does it take for keiki paste to work? ›

It takes a few weeks before the paste starts working. After a couple of weeks you should begin to see some growth. Sometimes I'll carefully take a toothpick to push aside the paste and see if something is growing! A baby keiki should be left on the mother orchid until 2 to 3 roots grow 1/2 inch long.

Will an orchid Rebloom on the same spike? ›

Of all of the more commonly available orchids, only Phalaenopsis (the moth orchid) will re-bloom from its old spike. Phalaenopsis will generally re-bloom given a little extra care.

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