Ask a Question

Have a question about your orchids? Need help in selecting the right orchid or keeping your orchids alive?
The Kona Orchid Society invites your questions regarding orchid selection, cultivation, and propagation. Selected questions, along with our answers, will be posted below.

Questions should be submitted by e-mail to We encourage you to attach relevant pictures, in .jpg or .gif format, to assist us in answering your questions successfully.

All questions and attachments will become the property of the Kona Orchid Society which reserves the right to edit all questions for space and content. 

Question:  I have a Dendrobium orchid.  It has a old shoot which is finished with the flowers for now.  Up higher than the pot new shoots have come out and are growing leaves and roots that hang down.  These roots can not reach to the pot.  Do I cut these shoots off and plant them in another pot.
Answer:  What you have are called "keikis", just like our Hawaiian word for children.  With dendrobiums, a flower bud will sometimes abort due to temperature or water stresses and will morph into these plantlets.

As long as they are still attached to the mother cane, they are deriving nourishment from it and they are not causing it any harm.  If the roots are 1 1/2 - 2" long, you can cut the keiki from the mother cane by slicing the old cane thru both above and below the new plant.  Allow the cuts to dry out over night with perhaps a dusting of fungicide or cinnamon and then re-pot in a new pot like a seedling plant.  Or, you can leave the keiki alone until the cane that it is growing from withers and collapses.  Then trim it off and pot as I suggested.

There are excellent, short videos on this topic available on the American Orchid Society (AOS) website.
Sending plants from Hawaii to the mainland
Question:  I will be coming to Kona on Friday.  Is it possible to send orchids from the big island to my mother in Miami?  She loves orchids and grows them in her back yard.  Any ideas on best way to send them would be very appreciated.
Answer:  Agricultural restrictions imposed by California make this a more complicated situation than it need be.  If you are traveling by air, you can hand carry living orchids through the inspection point at the airport.  As long as they are growing in a medium other than dirt or cinder, they should pass without problem.  

If you wish to have plants sent directly from the grower to the mainland (or if you want to hand carry plants in pots), you need to make arrangements with a Certified Nursery. Unfortunately, there are none in Kailua-Kona itself but you can find them in other areas of the Big Island.  You may pay more for shipping than for the plants themselves, but even so, it may still be a bargain.